Health Myths……

Myth is a belief which tries to explain natural phenomena or a social custom. Myths are beliefs prevailing in our society from ancient times. They are being carried in the families from generations giving them a traditional pattern. Health myths are those beliefs which in some way or the other are related to the health .They may be regarding  the food articles , disease states or to a particular physiological phase of life.

Many of the myths appear to be baseless as they do not have a firm explanation. They are simply being observed because they have been passed to the present families from the ancestors. The parents today are unable to outrightly disregard their ancestor’s beliefs.

  1. Food-MythsAvoid milk , banana and citrus fruits if a person is having cold and cough. Milk produces  excess mucus hence is  to be avoided by  a person having cold and cough.
  2. To lose weight you should avoid food and fats. Low fat diets are considered healthy. Low fat consumption has lead to increased intake of trans fats which increases the risk of obesity , diabetes and heart disease. Eating fat does not make you fat. The primary cause of excess fat and chronic diseases is the consumption of too much sugar which may be in form of fructose , sucrose or the grains.
  3. Eating potatoes increase weight. In fact potato when consumed in the boiled state help in losing weight . In this form it gives a sense of fullness which lasts for a long time , so one eats less and loses weight . When used in the form of fries and chips it act as a trigger for weight gain.
  4. Artificial sweeteners  are zero calorie products and so are healthy. In fact people using artificial sweeteners gain more weight than those who consume caloric sweeteners.Sweet taste increases hunger hence leads to weight gain. Sweeteners increase craving for sweets. Artificial sweeteners  specially aspartane causes a number of health problems.
  5. Saturated fats cause heart disease. This was supported by the Food and Nutrition Board which said that saturated fats and cholesterol have no beneficial role in preventing chronic disease. The truth is that saturated fats are an integral part of cell membranes and a variety of hormones. They are the carriers for fat soluble vitamins and help in their absorption. Saturated fats are the preferred fuel for heart .
  6. Soy products are good for health. This is a misleading fact .Unfermented soy products are not healthful additions. They have been linked to a number of problems as malnutrition , digestive distress , immune system breakdown and many more. Organic and properly fermented soy like tempeh, miso and natto do have health benefits . Genetically modified soy products have their own health risks.
  7. Milk is considered to be healthy. Milk does good only when it is raw. Pasteurization alters the physical structure of milk which causes allergies and immune problems. Lactase is destroyed, vitamins as A, C, B6 AND B12 are diminished and the fragile milk proteins undergo transformation to structures which can be harmful. Beneficial bacteria are also eradicated. In contrast the raw milk is a good source of beneficial bacteria ,vitamins and enzymes and calcium.
  8. Whole grains are healthy. ALL grains elevate insulin levels which increase the risk for disease. Should be avoided by overweight individuals, diabetics ,those having high blood pressure and  high cholesterol.  These persons have insulin resistance . However people with normal body weight can benefit by consuming whole grains.
  9. Drinking 8 glasses of water in a day is good for health.This has been traced back to 1945 year recommendations from Nutritional council.It is not a must to go behind it because the total intake of water is also replenished by consuming fruits and other beverages. Drink whenever you feel thirsty .
  10. Giving excess sugar to children makes them hyperactive .This is not true as there is no difference between the sugar levels of hyperactive and normal children.
  11. Giving  excess sugar to children leads to Perianal itching and worm infestation.Worm infestation definitely causes itching in the Perianal region but it has no relation with sugar intake.
  12. Click to BuyDo not give papaya , turmeric or any yellow colored food stuff to a person suffering from jaundice.It is presumed that jaundice deepens by consuming such food stuffs.In fact papaya is a food recommended in patients with jaundice due to its rich nutritive values.
  13. Do not give chapattis, dal , citrus fruits , bananas to a women who is in the post partum period .It is believed that these cause acidity in the women which is harmful for the newborn.Health personals recommend a balanced diet right from the first post partum day unless some operative procedure has been done.
  14. Do not give egg plant {baigan} to a pregnant woman as she will give birth to an infant having  dark complexion. There is no logic behind this .
  15. To produce a fair infant eat lots of coconut in the pregnant state.
  16. Giving ghee and dry fruits to a female who has delivered recently causes fast recovery.This is true to some extent but for proper development of the newborn mother should take a balanced diet.If not followed she becomes obesce and lethargic.
  17. Eating chocolates and fried foods develops acne.No correlation has been found in people having acne and their habit of taking chocolates. Acne is mainly due to hormonal changes at puberty.
  18. Drinking coffee after consuming alcohol helps in elimination of alcohol. Coffee only makes one alert.
  19. Diet which does not have meat is not nutritious.There are good nutritious protein sources in the vegetarian diet. Quinoa is anexcellent source of protein having all essential amino acids.
  20. Fluoride in water lowers risk of cavities in teeth. Fluoride works on the teeth from outside and not from within. Therefore its incorporation in toothpastes is valuable. Oral intake of fluorides is harmful  causes dental fluorosis , thyroid problems and many others.There is no difference in the rates of dental caries in countries using fluorinated and normal water.The problem of caries is based on the personal habits of the individual.

Health Myths1

  1. Keep the newly born child with the mother in a dark , ill ventilated room is considered appropriate in some families.This they follow so that the female can rest undisturbed with the newborn .I suggest that both should be kept in a well ventilated lighted room so that any ailment or jaundice can be detected early.
  2. The mother is given full rest in the postpartum period and allowed to look after the newborn .This is a good practice as it helps in developing good bonds between the mother and the child. Disadvantage being the mother puts on excessive weight and becomes lethargic.
  3. The adolescent girls or the women having their periods are not allowed to work in the kitchen .This is a good  tradition as it provides rest to the concerned females .It  has an hygienic  aspect also .The disadvantage being the embarrassing  situation faced by the girls in front of the opposite sex siblings and friends.
  4. Avoid giving citrus fruits to the female in periods . Spicy foodstuffs are avoided because of the fear of producing heavy bleeding in the period. Vitamin C in citrus foods helps repair and helps in controlling bleeding.

  1. myths1Avoid milk and do not feed the child when he/she is having loose motions .Milk is also avoided by the adults. Patients are advised to take proper diet even in the phase of diarrhea.
  2. In febrile conditions cover up the body and put on more clothes . Rather the treatment for hyperpyrexia is giving bath , cold sponging with normal water and removing all clothes from the body .The patient is kept in the air conditioned room .
  3. Do not give medicines when a person has fever with rashes over the body .The notion behind being flaring of the rashes by the medicines. In such cases uncontrolled high fever lands up the child into convulsions –fits.
  4. Catching cold when going out in cold weather. Cold is due to viral infection .The virus binds the respiratory epithelial cells and watering starts as the body’s defense system is activated to remove these particles from the body .People mostly remain indoors in cold weather which makes the virus spread easy.
  5. Flu vaccine gives flu. The vaccine is made to prevent one from flu . In some conditions flu does occur when the person taking the shot has already harbored the virus and antibody production has not occurred.
  6. Reading in dim light or watching the TV by sitting very close to it weakens the eyesight. There is strain on the eyes when you read in dim light but no direct relation .However when the child watches the TV by sitting close by it suggests that get his vision checked .
  7. You should exercise a lot to sweat .Sweating expels out the toxins from the body. The sweat only contains the salts and no toxins.
  8. 8.Distressed respiration  is considered to occur due to the influence of spirits. Children are taken to the tantriks for jhhaada and Kaadas. Counter irritation by hot iron bars is given on the abdominal walls , a very painful condition indeed. Patients of jaundice and high fever also visit the tantriks for getting sacred threads.
  9. Cracking your knuckles too often will cause arthritis. No relation has been found between the persons with this habit and arthritis.
  10. It is safe and health promoting habit to lick a wound. In fact this can be a mode of infecting the wound and turning it into a delayed healing one.
  11. Shaving the scalp causes hair to grow thicker and darker. There is no relation between shaving of hair and the number of hair bulbs.
  12. Sun exposure causes skin cancer. Research shows sunlight prevents skin cancer. Vitamin D is formed in the skin by exposure to sunlight .This vitamin attaches to the genes in the skin and protects from the harmful effects of ultraviolet light. If sun exposure is avoided or sunscreen is used then this protective effect does not come into force.
  13. Do not go swimming soon after taking meals. Wait for 30 minutes before going .
  14. Feed an infant with goat’s milk if he/she requires top milk.This milk is low in fat and it is considered good for the health of the infant . On the contrary this milk is deficient in folic acid and prolonged used leads to stomatitis and anemia.
  15. Do not pick up a crying infant , let him cry and calm down by himself .They say that the child becomes stubborn by your response and cries often to seek your attention . In fact the mother infant bonding depends on the responsive care provided by the mother . This responsive care will determine the development of the child.
  16. The infant should be reared on milk only .Solids should not be given in the first few years . Milk is considered enough for the development . Milk being deficient in iron makes the child anemic .Introduce complimentary food in time.


The list of such myths is very big. You have to believe only which you consider have a scientific or some logical base, do not go blindly after them.

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