‘Eat your carrots if you want sharp vision.’
Surely you’ve been told this by elders while growing up. I have, and now, I repeat it to my sons as well. But how true is it?
In this article, we speak to Dr Raghuram Mallaiah, Head, Neonatology, Fortis Le Femme, New Delhi, about health facts and myths
1. Rinsing your teeth after brushing is a must
Dr Mallaiah says, “This is something that even as doctors we are often asked, and my answer is – NO.”
He explains, “If you rinse as soon as you brush, the concentrated fluoride in the toothpaste is also washed away, diluting the effect of the toothpaste.”
It is important that you spit out any excess toothpaste after you have brushed, however, do not necessarily rinse, as this is counterproductive. Doing so will reduce the preventive measures of the fluoride.
2. Reading in the dark can lead to a decline in vision and strain the eyes
While part of this is true, the other part is a myth. Reading in the dark can lead to headaches and put an undue strain on the eyes. However, it has nothing to do with your vision.
Your vision tends to weaken over time for most people, and the reasons for this could be family history and your own biology.
Dr Mallaiah says, “Reading in the dark does not lead to any lasting impact on the eyes. If you do end up reading in the dark, see that the light is shining straight on to the page and that it does not come from over your shoulders as that will cause a glare.”
3. One must brush after every major meal
If you, like many others, believe that brushing after every major meal is important, you are in for a surprise.
Dr Mallaiah says, “You should brush every day! That is important – however, brushing immediately after every meal might end up damaging the enamel of the teeth.”
The body uses saliva to correct the acid levels in the mouth post a meal and it is advisable to let the body do its job. Dr Mallaiah’s suggestion to those who feel the need to brush after a meal is to wait for at least an hour before doing so.
4. Eating carrots will enable you to see in the dark
Carrots contain high levels of Vitamin A, which contribute to strengthening your eyesight, but it most certainly does not equip you with any extra powers to see in the dark.
Carrots also have a low glycemic index (GI), meaning that they don’t cause a spike in blood sugar when you eat them and are a recommended vegetable for those who suffer from diabetes.
Adding to this, Dr Mallaiah says, “While Vitamin A deficiency can lead to night blindness, consuming carrots will not allow you to see in the dark. The nutrients and vitamins found in carrots are extremely helpful for boosting eye health and maintaining good eyesight. They are also high in fiber and prevent constipation.”
5. Feed a cold, starve a fever
This is a classic saying that you might have heard at some point. This stems from the belief that fasting is a great remedy to combat a fever.
Dr Mallaiah says, “To get better and have energy to fight the illness, it is important that fluids and food are consumed. One mustn’t restrict themselves as it doesn’t make them feel better, but only leads to the further weakening of the body.”
On the contrary, when you has a fever it is important to keep yourself hydrated since fevers generally leaves you completely dehydrated.
6. Stress can lead to stomach ulcers
“Stress is very harmful,” says Dr Mallaiah. However, can stress lead to stomach ulcers?
He answers, “While it can increase the quantity of stomach acid, it is not the main cause of stomach ulcers, which are mainly caused by bacteria which has accumulated in the stomach.”
If you are susceptible to stomach ulcers, it might help to reduce portion size of your meals, watch your weight, and avoid very oily and fatty foods. Also, stay well hydrated with water and fluids through the day.
7. Egg yolks are bad for you
“On the contrary, egg yolks are anything but bad for you,” says Dr Mallaiah. “Eggs are powerhouses of nutrients and are filled with HDL (good cholesterol), which allow them to help combat heart risk and disease. In fact, HDL cholesterol counteracts the effects of bad cholesterol on the body.”
Egg yolks are rich in vitamins A, D, E, B12 and K, and minerals such as folate, iron and riboflavin. These are often referred to as the perfect food given that they contain all he necessary minerals and vitamins. Do ensure that if you consume eggs, you eat the egg yolks too, but in moderation.
8. Coffee intake can stunt childhood development
This is something I was told very often when I was growing up. Keen on knowing whether it is true or not, I ask Dr Mallaiah to shed some light on it. He says, “When it comes to drinking coffee, the only thing you must worry about is excess caffeine leading to disrupted sleep or heightened anxiety.”
The basis of this myth stems from the idea that caffeine in coffee can be the cause of osteoporosis and Vitamin D deficiency that makes the bones fragile. However, no conclusive findings have been made for the same, says Dr Mallaiah.
While we have taken utmost care in busting these myths, we recommend that you always check with your medical practitioner in case of any query.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)