[Photo provided to China Daily]
Feed a cold, starve a fever
When the sniffle season comes, many pile up their plates to help them beat the infection.
Dr Sarah Brewer, GP and medical director of Healthspan, told MailOnline: ‘This old wives’ tale is based on the belief eating will generate warmth when you have a cold.
old wives’ tale：无稽之谈，荒诞故事
‘Avoiding food may help you cool the body when you have a fever.’
However, Dr Brewer was quick to point out there is no ‘firm evidence’ to support either theory.
‘Listen to your body,’ she said. ‘If you feel hungry, have something nutritious to fuel the body as your immune system fights an infection.’
Dr Kathryn Basford, a GP at Zava, also argued it is more important to stay hydrated when battling a cold than to overindulge in food.
She told MailOnline: ‘Water, juice, and hot liquids, like soups, along with food, will help fight cold infections by keeping the body well-hydrated and nourished.’
When it comes to the advice to ‘starve a fever’, Dr Basford stresses this is ‘not a good idea’.
‘It’s not uncommon to lose your appetite when you’ve got a fever, but starving yourself is not a good idea, as it can deprive your body of the necessary energy needed to fight a virus,’ she said.
Apples. [File Photo]
An apple a day keeps the doctor away
An apple a day keeps the doctor away is a rhyme many of us can recall from our childhoods – and it may hold some truth.
Apples are rich in antioxidants called flavonoids, which have been shown to lower the risk of a premature death, particularly from heart disease.
The popular fruit has also been linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and even some cancers.
To reap the benefits, it may be best to enjoy apples whole, rather than opting for juice.
‘Apple peel also has blood-pressure lowering actions similar to those of ACE inhibitor drugs,’ Dr Brewer said.
Dr Basford stresses it is important to eat a varied diet and not rely on just one fruit or vegetable to keep you healthy.
Le Creuset/ unsplash
Carrots help you see in the dark
‘This old wives’ tale does have some basis in fact,’ Dr Brewer said.
‘Carrots are a source of the pigment beta-carotene, which can be converted into vitamin A in the body when needed.
‘Vitamin A is needed to make an eye pigment called visual purple, which is extremely sensitive to light and allows vision in low-light conditions.
‘Lack of vitamin A can lead to night blindness. So, if you are deficient in dietary vitamin A, eating carrots might help.’
Dr Basford agrees, but warns carrot eaters not to expect perfect nighttime vision.
‘The idea that eating carrots can help you see in complete darkness is unfortunately a myth,’ she said.
‘Making sure you have a balanced diet, including vitamin-A rich foods, like carrots, can help you to maintain normal healthy vision.’
Consumers choose red wine at the Chongqing International Exhibition and Trading Center in January. [Photo/Xinhua]
Eating before drinking soaks up alcohol
This old wives’ tell is only partially true.
‘If you drink on an empty stomach, alcohol is rapidly absorbed through the stomach lining,’ Dr Brewer said.
‘If you eat on a full stomach, this effect is reduced and alcohol absorption is slowed, as more alcohol is “escorted” through to the small intestine.’
on a full stomach：饱食后，饭后
Foods that are broken down slowly, and therefore have less of an impact on blood sugar, may be particularly beneficial, Dr Basford added.
‘To ward off the effects of excessive drinking go for slow-release foods like bananas and yoghurts, or things with a high-protein content like hummus, meat or nuts,’ she said.
Although this sounds promising, studies have shown blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits tend to be reached after less than 45 minutes of drinking, regardless of whether someone ate beforehand.
Chocolate-banana ice cream [Photo/IC]
Chocolate gives you spots
‘Chocolate’s impact on skin is heavily debated,’ Dr Basford said. ‘It’s unlikely those with clear skin will experience spots as a result of indulging in chocolate.
‘But if you have existing issues it might be a good idea to keep an eye on factors that might be causing flare-ups.’
A study of male acne sufferers had them eat 25g of 99 percent cocoa chocolate every day for four weeks.
After a fortnight, the men’s spots, including black and whiteheads, had significantly increased.
Exactly why this occurs is unclear. Evidence suggests the antioxidants polyphenols, which are found in high amounts in dark chocolate, may be to blame.
Cocoa polyphenols may trigger an increased immune response against the bacteria that cause acne, leading to inflammation.
Cantonese people have an encyclopedic collection of soups for every occasion, and for all weathers. Black chicken herbal soup is among the choices for summer. [Photo provided to China Daily]
Chicken soup cures colds
A steaming bowl of warming soup may be ‘just what the doctor ordered’ when suffering from a cold. But the extent of its benefits may differ depending on the recipe.
just what the doctor ordered：正合我的心意；正是我想要的
‘Garlic is anti-inflammatory, which can help the immune system fight germs’, Dr Basford said.
Dr Brewer agrees chicken soup is ‘comforting’ when you feel under the weather but questions whether it really gets rid of a cold quicker.
under the weather：不舒服，身体不适
‘There is nothing magical about chicken soup, but it is nutritious and comforting, providing energy, fluids and warmth,’ she said.
‘Drinking any hot liquid will help soothe a sore throat, and the warm vapours will help clear a blocked nose.’