Health Chat

Myths and legends
Are carrots really good for eyesight?

Yes and no.  Carrots will not improve your vision if you have less than perfect vision and indeed carrots will not restore a blind person's vision.However, the vitamins found in carrots will help promote overall eye health.  This vegetable contains beta - carotene.  This is a substance that the body converts to vitamin A, which is important for eye health.  Lack of this vitamin results in blindness.  However, there are cases where eating an excessive amount of carrots will turn your skin orange so be careful!

Carrots also contain lutein which is a powerful antioxidant.  Foods rich in lutein have been found to increase the pigment density in the macula, which is an important area which allows for colour vision focus.  The greater the pigment density in this area, the better protected your retina is and the lower the risk of disease in this macula area.

Do spicy foods cause ulcers?
Ulcers are essentially sores in the lining of the stomach.  They also occur in the section of the small intestines called duodenum or the upper swallowing tube called the gullet or oesophagus. For many years the medical profession believed that eating spicy or highly acidic foods caused ulcers and so people with ulcers were put on very bland diets.  This did not cure the problem.  The vast majority of ulcers are actually caused by a bug called Helicobacter pylori.  This bug breeds deep inside the stomach lining eventually causing an ulcer.  


However, although this bug is the principal cause of ulcers, there are several other ways to develop this problem.  Medication such as aspirin, brufen, grandpa powders(r), disprin(r) and similar painkillers also destroy the inner lining of the stomach.  However, spicy food is not to blame.

Which will raise your cholesterol more - beef, chicken or seafoods?
The cholesterol in your system is determined not only by the food you eat, but the type of fat the food contains.  Saturated fats have more impact on raising your blood cholesterol, so if the beef is lean, it should contain less saturated cholesterol for example a chicken drumstick with the skin on it.  Sea-foods such as prawns do contain saturated cholesterol but also contain protective heart friendly poly-unsaturated fat, which helps to lower blood cholesterol. 

Is there such a thing as 'detoxing'?
Absolutely not.  This is a multi-milliom pula/dollar industry that has been based on junk science that uses packaging, tabloids and a flurry of magazines to sell the word 'detox'.  The result it a hugely successful market for these products and manufacturers selling to gullible men and women (often very intelligent ones too!) to part with heard earned money.  Large sums are spent on colonic treatments and 'cleansing' rituals that are as effective as swallowing chalk.

There is no scientific basis to 'detoxing'.  The body is perfectly capable, in most instances' of removing harmful and waste products you ingest, digest and consume.  The liver and the kidneys are your 'detoxing' organs and do the job better than any remedies sold by manufacturers.  Nor do these organs require any help in most circumstances.  Regular exercise and lots of fluids is usually all you need to get your system back in gear after the holiday season.  Anything else, including colon cleansing, is a waste of time and money.

Editor's Comment
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