Indulge 14th Anniversary Special: From intermittent fasting, turmeric to Vitamin C, here are the 10 health myths that were busted this pandemic
The goal was to eat, sleep and breathe better. Focus on a balanced lifestyle also led to a number of myths being busted.
Early last year, the COVID-19 pandemic changed our lives and outlooks. We started making lifestyle changes while taking extra care of our health and immunity. The goal was to eat, sleep and breathe better. Focus on a balanced lifestyle also led to a number of myths being busted.
Here are a few that might catch you by surprise...
Garam masala is heaty in nature and causes acidity or indigestion
Truth: When you mix different spices you combine their healing properties, which is generally assumed to be heaty in nature, but we need to have warm or heat-inducing foods in moderation to boost metabolism, reduce inflammation, detoxify the body, improve energy, burn fat, improve Immunity, lose weight and to keep going throughout the day. Using garam masala in moderation will never increase the heat and acidity in the body but we saw spices like turmeric, pepper, ginger, clove, cardamom, cinnamon and fennel help many people during the pandemic to keep their immune systems in check.
One has to focus only on eating healthy to keep beauty and immunity in check
Truth: During the pandemic we saw people were eating only home-cooked food but they were still gaining weight, feeling lethargic or faced other health concerns. That’s because when we think of health we have to focus on four verticals of lifestyle — food, activity or movement, adequate sleep and stress or emotional well-being. Only when all of these parameters are in harmony, can one achieve great health.
Myth: Tea and other liquids are allowed during fast
Truth: During the fasting period you are supposed to drink only plain water and nothing else. No lemon water, tea, coffee, infused water, herbal infusions, etc, because these might engage one’s digestion a bit. Instead, we want the digestive system to divert all its energy toward healing and detoxification.
Compromising on sleep to achieve our goals is commendable
Truth: Getting plenty of sleep can help you build a stronger immune system which ultimately will protect you from a viral attack, cold or flu. During the pandemic, we have seen many studies and research that indicated T cells (natural killer cells) go down if we are low on sleep and inflammation of cytokines go up, which makes the body prone to different infections. Sleep deprivation suppresses the immune system which makes us feel weaker and fatigued.
Doing intermittent fasting daily is fine
Truth: The right way to fast is by having an early dinner around or before the sunset. Then you can do 10-12-14-16 hours fasting based on your body’s cues and break the fast in the morning. This way, your hours of sleep will also get counted in the fasting window. Plus, you don’t have to fast every day. Twice or thrice a week is completely fine to detoxify the body and improve metabolism. Break your fast with lemon water to keep the body alkaline and in case you can’t tolerate lemon, then fennel water is also an option. After an hour, you can have a bowl of fruit to get natural digestive enzymes to line the gut and keep the body more alkaline. Follow this up with a cooked breakfast or lunch.
Having Turmeric tea or an infusion in itself helps in improving your immunity
Truth: Curcumin is the compound found in turmeric which has anti-inflammatory properties and helps in improving our immune system. But to increase curcumin’s bioavailability, one needs to consume it with black pepper. Piperine found in peppers enhances the absorption of curcumin and thus improves immunity.
Vegetarians can’t get proteins from their food
Truth: A vegetarian meal is balanced with a proper amino acid profile wherein protein is complete and its adsorption is perfect. Cereals lack one amino acid called lysine (and contain methionine). Pulses, on the other hand, lack methionine (and contain lysine). But when they are together in the form of dal roti/dal rice/khichdi/lentils with millets etc., then we are getting a complete amino acid profile that enhances the protein absorption in the body. During the initial lockdown, it was difficult to get non-vegetarian food and that’s when many people thrived on humble, well-balanced khichdi as their meal.
Stress has nothing to do with health, body and digestion
Truth: Due to the pandemic, we saw many people getting stressed and anxious which led to suppressed immunity. High-stress levels in the body means there are elevated cortisol levels, your digestive system doesn’t work anymore. All other body functions like detoxification, hormonal balance, immune system, etc. go for a toss. If you eat under stress, it means you are in the sympathetic nervous system or fight and flight mode and not in the parasympathetic nervous system or rest and digest mode. In fight and flight, you’re not digesting anything that you’ve eaten but store it as fat. In fact, you’re creating more acidity and issues in your body which can also affect digestion in long run. When one has chronic anxiety and chronic emotional stress, then the body is not producing enough enzymes to digest the food. This, in turn, impacts your weight, digestion and immunity.
I have a social life with too many commitments and I can’t stick to home-cooked food and early sleeping hours
Truth: During the lockdown we all saw that this is the biggest myth and everyone, even the biggest socialites were staying in their houses, enjoying home-cooked food and slept early to keep their immune systems in check. It’s just one’s priorities that change depending on different situations, but no matter what, our health should always be right on top of the list.
Only fruits high in Vitamin C can help boost the immunity
Truth: Vitamin C is an essential nutrient to help us improve our immune system but ultimately we can’t just survive with one nutrient. So, a good practice would be to add different fruits and veggies to your routine to get an array of vitamins and minerals which will enhance the performance of your immune system.