Destination KSA - Your Guide to Saudi

Destination KSA - Your Guide to Saudi

Busting Your Grandma’s Health Advice

Busting Your Grandma’s Health Advice
By Mirvat Ammouri

I remember how mom would say something that even as a kid, didn’t make sense to me. It sounded more like the ghost stories my mom would tell when I was being a troublesome children.

Something like: “Don’t keep the closet door open, or else the boogeyman will come get you”. Sounds funny, but it used to work, on me at least.

When it comes to food, I’ve still maintained some of those weird, nonsensical do’s and don’ts that my mama told me as a kid. But today, I am interested in finding out if there is actually some truth to them. After all, my mama got them from her mama as well, and sometimes, antiquity can prove to be true and worthy. We’ve asked you to share some of your mothers’ and grandmothers’ health advice. Here’s the list of health tips that we’ve investigated and busted.

Note: Kindly Consult with your doctor before following any online health advice.
Showering after food will cause indigestion:

My mom always insisted that I shower before my meals. Taking a hot shower especially diverts more blood closer to the skin in order to cool the body. If you’re particularly vulnerable to slow digestion, it is best if you shower before your meals to maintain the blood flow to the digestive organs. Even though there is no known detrimental effect on the body, you can always benefit from slow and mindful eating that is not rushed by any activity afterwards.

  • Verdict: Gauge how you feel. Make eating a slow and enjoyable experience.
Drinking water and lemon on an empty stomach makes you slim:

This is another myth of using food to induce weight loss. This is circulated with the cleansing boom happening in Hollywood and with celebs. Drinking a glass of water is a good fresh start for the belly. It cleanses the digestive system and hydrates the body after sleep. A dash of lemon is good to get an acidic medium which is necessary for a good digestion. Weight loss is the result of less calories in and more calories out. If you choose to add this to your healthy habits, you can go ahead, knowing that it won’t do anything measurable for weight loss.

  • Verdict: No food or beverage will contribute to weight loss directly.
Sleeping after having food gives you nightmares:

Sleeping is your body’s way of restoring itself (and the mind) to a state of rest and inactivity. Eating close to bedtime hours keeps the digestive muscles active, delaying your sleep time. An active body also delays your ability to enter into stage 3 or 4 of your sleep cycle, keeping you closer to stage 1 where most dreams occur.

  • Verdict: Always sleep on a rested stomach (at least 3 hours after dinner).
Eating walnuts, almonds, and fish makes you smarter:

The brain needs a good source of fat and proteins to function well. It spends energy in the form of glucose. Quality is very important when sourcing these foods (always choose organic non-modified sources). The method of cooking is also important. Choose unsalted and un-sugared, raw nuts rather than packaged forms. These foods are a good source of vitamin E (an essential antioxidant) and omega 3 oils which are essential for cognitive power.

  • Verdict: All are essential for healthy functioning of the brain.
Eating fish and milk together gives you white patches on your skin:

Many people still believe till this day that such a combination causes a skin disease called vitiligo (white pigmentation of the skin). This myth is still followed by many in our part of the world, Southeast Asia, and other lactose intolerant nations in Africa and around the world. No evidence exists to link this food combination with the disease. Since both milk and fish are animal proteins, it would be wise to avoid their combination (if you’re digestion is vulnerable) as milk slows down the digestion process when it curdles in the stomach. Keep in mind that many recipes use fish and milk as ingredients including, Indian fish curry, fish pie, and fish poached in milk.

  • Verdict: No evidence to suggest so. You may experience slow digestion though.
Turmeric Milk is the golden elixir:

There is a reason this spice is considered the holy spice of India. This golden powder, which is made from turmeric sticks that are crushed and grinded, has been used in Ayurveda and other traditional medicine for centuries to detoxify the body, relieve joint pain, and more. It is always preferable to use the sticks rather than the powdered form. Turmeric is renowned for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is high in antioxidants. If you suffer from allergies to milk, you can use coconut milk as a better alternative. Always make sure to watch the sugar content on the packaging. Aim for less processed versions.

  • Verdict: An excellent drink. Choose the milk wisely.
Whiten your teeth with activated charcoal:

Although this method was traditionally used for medicinal purposes, this alternative remedy is seeing a comeback. In theory, activated charcoal binds to the compounds that cause stains on your teeth. Users make a paste by mixing it with water and placing it on a tooth brush. The results mentioned are more personal, making it more clear that it’s best to consult your dentist before using this home remedy. Other products have a proven track record at whitening teeth at home. Keep in mind non-activated charcoal is dangerous for your health.

  • Verdict: It is better to have a routine dental cleaning session at your dentist.
Green tea after meals helps you lose weight:

I think it should become more apparent to most people today that losing weight comes down to less calories in and more calories out. The studies on any food can be very conflicting. Even if tea does have fat burning properties, it is not enough to cause weight loss. Drinking liquids while eating dilutes the enzymes and slows digestion. So, to enjoy a good cup of tea, you should wait at least an hour after food. Watch the sugar content.

  • Verdict: No food or beverage will contribute to weight loss directly.
An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away:

Apples contains pectin, a fiber that maintains health of digestive system, boron a nutrient for strong bones, some antioxidants and vitamin C. It also contains fructose, fruit sugar and water. Blueberries as such contain far greater antioxidants and fiber than apples. It is better to vary your intake of vegetables and fruit. Make sure you choose organically grown produce to limit your intake of chemicals and other pesticides which are detrimental to your health.

  • Verdict: Consume a variety of vegetables and fruit daily instead.
Chicken soup cures the flu:

It contains proteins from chicken, fats in stock, fibers in vegetables, salt and other herbs rich in antioxidants and other helpful compounds. This soup won’t cure or prevent the flu, but the ingredients provide good nutrition for the body to absorb while sick.

  • Verdict: No direct effect on the flu. It is however, a good remedy to nourish your body during sickness.
Rock candy is a remedy for sore throat:

Do you remember those semi-white, ice-looking crystals that tasted sweet? Originating from the orient, these sugar crystals differ from table sugar in their method of crystallization. Sugar has been used in traditional Indian medicine to mask the taste of medicine (as you would give a child something sweet to mask something bitter).  It has traditionally been used for cooking especially in China and India or after a meal as a mouth freshener when mixed with some herbs. There is no evidence to suggest that it has any direct effect on a sore throat.

  • Verdict: It’s just another way to consume sugar.


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