We have all heard those do’s and dont’s about cooking , food and being in the kitchen. While many of them hold ground and have truth to them, others are just not quite true. With the society at large becoming more health conscious, alot of foods are being avoided at all costs. I am a believer that every single food can contribute to the well being of our bodies. It is just important for you not to overindulge. Here are some 7 most common food myths:
Disclaimer: I am not an expert, I am not a doctor/nutritionist neither have I ever personally lived any of the myths below. Plenty of information online shall conflict with what I write, so will some of your opinions. But I still do believe the below are myths either way.
So here we go:
Fact : It is too much fats that is dangerous for you, but the little you use for cooking will not cause harm. For example, if you use some oil or butter during the making of your peas, it will not make you die. But if you eat fries as a daily recreational activity, that should be a point of concern. While eating too much fatty food will have catastrophic effects on your overall health, there are some fats that are very important and beneficial to the body. Healthy fats are essential for good health and have been shown to protect us from a range of diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Healthy fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, found in nuts and seeds, olives and olive oil, avocados, canola and canola oils. They also include omega-3 fatty acids found in soybeans, dark green vegetables and oily fish. Healthy fats have also shown to help decrease total cholesterol levels, while omega-3 fats in particular have been shown to have many other health properties, including reducing blood pressure and assisting with inflammatory bowel disease.
Yes, you can eat fried food. You can cook with oil. All you have to take care of is to be moderate. You can read more about this here.
Fact : This is by far the most common and the most accepted myth by Kenyans. Kenyans are very conservative eaters and when someone told them that spices are bad, majority believed it. I have no idea where it came from but people actually took it hook, line and sinker. While they may aggravate certain conditions e.g ulcers, they are not the cause of them. Spices come from plants. For example Black pepper spice comes from black pepper seeds that have been crushed. Garlic powder comes from fresh garlic cloves that have been peeled, dried and powdered. Chilli powder comes from whole chillis that have been dried and crushed too. Spices come from nature. They will not make you sick, are not radioactive neither will they open a third eye on your forehead. So relax. Food in restaurants tastes so good because they use an array of spices cleverly. Food by Kenyan coastal communities tastes fantastic since they do not shy away from their spice. Step out of your comfort zone and make this necessary upgrade of cooking with some spice.
Fact: While some people may have reactions to eggs, they are actually good for our health. But what we have done to them is labelled them bad and banished them to the naughty corner for all eternity. Eggs are nutrient rich. They are a very good source of protein and are quite affordable. Besides protein, eggs are abundant in vitamin B2, selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper. While the egg white has lower amounts of fat and cholesterol than the yolk, that still is not reason enough to vilify this nutritious food. According to BBC Good Food, a medium egg contains about 100mg of cholesterol, a third of the 300mg recommended daily limit. So if you have two eggs once in a while for breakfast , you are still below the daily recommended limit. Also it is saturated fat in the diet, not dietary cholesterol that influences blood cholesterol levels the most. Read more about health benefits of eggs here. But if you have been previously found to have high cholesterol, do not take the risk.
Fact: Meat is your friend. I repeat, meat is your friend. The proteins in meat function as building blocks for muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. They are also building blocks for enzymes and hormones which we cannot do without. This healthy food groups include not only proteins, but B vitamins (niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, B6 and B12), vitamin E, magnesium, zinc and iron. If you are also seeking to loose weight without starving yourself, consuming more protein rich dishes is thought to be the best way to go about it as asserted in the atkins diet. And for those who want to gain weight safely too but keep love handles at bay, building muscle is the way to go. And this is achieved by increasing protein intake.
Fact: It is sugar in excess that is harmful to you not a tiny bit. Not unless you have been told by doctors to totally avoid sugar. If you eat that donut today and have another (or two, ahem mr.Donut Kenya 🙂 ) next week Wednesday, that will not kill you. A little indulgence is not bad. However, if you eat 6 donuts in the morning with coffee that has 6 teaspoons of sugar, then 2 cans of soda in the afternoon with your lunch and a box of chocolate coated biscuits in the evening for supper, those large quantities of sugar will wreck havoc on your body. You may feel ok now, but years down the line your body will take the brunt. Be moderate when it comes with sugar or sugary foods. Do not avoid it all together, but do not over do it. On a lighter note: Chocolate has been found to have a lot of health benefits to your overall health. As a chocolate lover, I feel like I always knew this in my heart. LoL. Read about this here
Fact: I believe that your body needs and will benefit from every single thing put on this earth. Avoiding everything else on earth and eating just fruit is like going to disney land and going on just one ride. To each their own but our body needs a lot more than just fruit. Do not get me wrong, I am not saying do not eat fruit, I am saying balance this out by enriching your body with nutrients from other food groups. This craze is not common in my country but in many western nations, it has almost taken root. Many people have become healthier after turning vegan, but many more are just as healthy while eating everything else. Be careful not to go overboard/obssesive with weight loss goals.
Fact: Where did this one come from? Coffee does not cause cancer. Plenty of research has been done regarding this and the result has always been the same: “Most evidence suggests that regular consumption of coffee and/or tea has no risk of cancer at any site.” Some studies have found that a freshly brewed cup of coffee may actually help your body to fight cancer. Antioxidants in both regular and decaffeinated coffee, many of which are produced during the roasting process may have beneficial effects. Antioxidants can reduce levels of damaging free-radicals and have been shown in studies to have both cancer and age-fighting effects. So is coffee or tea good for you? Yes. Read more benefits here.
There are plenty of food myths out there. So many most of them could not fit here. But from the above, I think I can summarize it all by saying nothing is 100% good or 100% bad. All you need to do is to be moderate with everything and your body will be good to you too. Life is too short not to indulge in some foods :). So eat up, but keep healthy. Moderation is always key.
Which other common food myth have you heard? Do tell. I would love to hear from you 🙂