Misconceptions, or as they're popularly termed – myths, surround every aspect of our life, and nutrition is no exception. Let's debunk some of these myths in the nutritious food segment.
1. Millets vs. Whole Grains
Many of us assume that millets are the healthier alternative. But the distinction between whole grains and millets is crucial. Whole grains, sometimes referred to as naked grains, are harvested and sent straight to our kitchens without stripping any part like bran and fibre. Rich in antioxidants, minerals, B vitamins, and phytochemicals, these are grains in their purest form. Examples include Raagi, Bajra, White Jowar, Red Jowar, Yellow Jowar, Corn, and Traditional rice.
On the other hand, millets like Proso millet, Kodo millet, Little millet, and Horse tail millet are husked grains. The outer coating isn't edible like in whole grains. Thus, the general statement "Millets are healthier" is a misconception.
2. The Truth About Sprouts
Sprouts are often hailed as superfoods, but the truth is they are susceptible to bacterial contamination. Salmonella and E.coli, two harmful bacteria, are often found in sprouts. Consuming them without proper cooking can lead to adverse effects on the liver. Also, while sprouts are free from antinutrients like phytates, they are not prebiotic like unsprouted grains.
3. Copper Containers: More Harm than Good?
It's believed that water stored in a copper container becomes alkaline over time. However, the reality is that storing water in a copper container for prolonged periods can lead to copper toxicity. To ensure safety, store for only 6-8 hours and then transfer to another container. Interestingly, using turmeric in cooking can help in cheating heavy metals, including copper.
Understanding Activators and Catalysts
In simple terms, activators and catalysts are agents that cause change or enhance a process.
1. Vitamin C: Boosting Iron Absorption
Despite consuming iron-rich foods, iron deficiency and anemia remain prevalent. This can be attributed to the lack of Vitamin C, which acts as a catalyst for iron absorption. Pro tip: Add a squeeze of lemon to your green leafy dishes after cooking to enhance iron absorption.
2. Piperine and Curcumin: A Perfect Pair
The health benefits of curcumin are manifold. However, for better absorption of curcumin, a little help from piperine found in black pepper is necessary.
3. Magnesium Enhances Vitamin D
Magnesium serves as a catalyst for vitamin D, aiding in calcium and phosphate regulation, hair loss prevention, and wound healing post surgeries.
4. Bromelain Boosts Quercetin Absorption
Quercetin, a pigment in colorful vegetables, plays a pivotal role in combating free radicals. A hint of bromelain, primarily found in the central stem of pineapples, aids in its absorption.
Precursors: What Are They?
Precursors can be viewed as forerunners, specifically, a substance that derives from another through metabolic reactions.
For instance, betacarotene is a precursor of vitamin A. While vegetables don't directly contain vitamin A like some animal sources, the human liver synthesizes vitamin A from betacarotene in vegetables.
Another example is button mushrooms, which can be a precursor to vitamin D when exposed to sunlight during peak hours.
In the realm of nutrition, it's paramount to stay informed and discern facts from myths. As we continue to learn and evolve, it's essential to base our food choices on knowledge and not misconceptions.