It’s time to spring clean those health myths that have settled like cobwebs in the recesses of the mind. Is there a developing epidemic of obsessive health consciousness in the quest of avoiding frailty, wrinkles and illness? There is actually a name for this obsession – orthorexia.
Has food become an enemy which needs to be weighed and supplemented with vitamins and minerals? Are we so worried about not getting enough sleep in order to work harder and smarter the next day that we are fulfilling our own prophecies of insomnia?
Lately when I go out to dinner with friends, they like to talk about super foods, omega 3’s, supplements and going gluten free. It’s enough to take the joy out of eating! I ask if a blood test has shown them to be vitamin/mineral deficient, or if a doctor has diagnosed them with celiac disease or an allergy to gluten. The answer is they have voluntarily changed their diet. They are shocked when I say that complex carbs boost my mood and give me energy.
5 Myths unmasked:
- Super-foods: Every season there is a new berry from the Amazon touted as a miracle food. Then researchers invalidate the miraculous claim. Currently, the American Medical Association advises that you eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grain complex carbs along with healthy fats. If certain fruits and vegetables have been sprayed with pesticides or grown in contaminated soil, or if fish and chicken have ingested chemicals and antibiotics, you will be hedged by the diversity instead of overwhelmed by a single toxin. The premise still holds true: That which doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.
- Stress: Many believe that the goal is to live a stress-free life. Actually, a little stress, otherwise known as acute stress, is good for you as it wakes up your immune system and prompts you to perform better. And who among us can live a stress-free life? The mere thought is a stressor.
- Supplements: Although a huge industry, they are not as good as the real thing like getting Vitamin D from the sun on exposed skin or getting phytonutrients and minerals directly from food. No one has yet duplicated what is in a broccoli floret. In fact, taking too many antioxidants in pill form could interfere with bodily processes like impair the body's ability to deliver oxygen to the muscle so that it doesn't work properly. Antioxidants can reduce the benefit of strength training. A calcium supplement claims to build strong bones, but taking too much could cause calcification in the cardiovascular system which can lead to heart issues.
- Brain games: Doing brain games will basically make you better at those brain games. If you want to build new neurons in the brain and to boost cognitive ability, then exercise – both cardio and strength training augment different areas of the brain – and aim to learn something new like a foreign language or how to play a musical instrument.
- Human Growth Hormone: Taking HGH for its anti-aging and longevity benefits could be a bad idea. Studies suggest it could increase the risk for cancer by jumpstarting cancer cell growth and even trigger an earlier death. Lower levels of a byproduct of HGH actually point to longevity in the older population. Think too much of a good thing.
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