Guest Writer Feature: 6 Common Filipino Food Myths: Fact or Fiction by Christina Mae D. Bernardo


Today's guest writer is MindMover intern Christina Bernardo, a student of BS Development Communication from University of the Philippines - Los Ba├▒os. 


If you're a lola's girl, I bet you know a lot of myths that you still remember up to now. It could also be that you believed some of these. 

In my experience back in high school, my friend told me that the reason why he is small is because he often drinks coffee at home. His mother told him not to, but he would not listen. So he was nagged by his mother many times until he believed that coffee retarded his growth. 

The most unforgettable moment in my life was when I had my first menstruation and my mother told me to wipe my face with my underwear. I was scared that she might get angry if I would not do it, but I really could not do it, so I just pretended. I used clean underwear instead of a used one. 

That's why I decided to make this blog entry. This could be useful for you if you have been confused by these myths. I included here six common Filipino myths specifically about food, because Filipinos love to eat a lot. 

I think we better start with the last myth on my list: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Apple skin has a lot of fiber and antioxidants, vitamins (mainly vitamin C), and minerals as well. Apple has no trace of fat or cholesterol, making it helpful in preventing atherosclerosis and heart disease because of its soluble fiber, such as pectin. Not only that, apples lower the risk of asthma. However, our first myth is FICTION. There is no evidence which can prove that an apple a day keeps the doctor away - but it is a healthy choice anyway, so why stop eating them when they benefit your body in many ways? 

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Fifth: "Eating sweet potatoes make you fart." Before, I thought this was not true, but I soon discovered that it is actually a FACT. Foods that contain a lot of polysaccharides like sweet potatoes really can make someone fart a lot. Polysaccharides are carbohydrates that our intestinal bacteria feed on to produce the extra flatulence or farts. So if you want to enhance your "fartiness", here are some of the foods you can experiment with: beans, corn, bell peppers, onions, garlic, cauliflower, cabbage, milk, bread, eggs, oats, raisins, lentils, cashews, radishes, and turnips. 

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Fourth: when my sister was a kid, she accidentally drank a glass of water with drowned ants in it. I was so worried that something might happen to her, but my grandmother told me not to. She said that it is good because ants can improve my sister's singing ability and may even help her achieve a golden voice; but of course, this one is FICTION. There is nothing ants can do to give you a voice like Sarah Geronimo's or Lea Salonga's. However, this is not our fourth myth:

                                               [Photo credit: Vincentius Ferdinand/Caters News]

It is: "Ants can help clear throat infections." Formic acid, a strong caustic substance used as an astringent and counterirritant, is produced by ants and bees, and suppresses the development of bacteria. In fact, formic acid was named after the red ant Formica rufa which produces a huge amount of the same acid. So this is a FACT. 

Third: "Tomato seeds can cause kidney stones." I remember when my father told my mother not to include tomato seeds every time she would cook my favorite dish, sinigang. He kept telling us it would affect our kidneys, but it is clear to me now that this is FICTION. Kidney stones may develop when a person has high calcium intake, and his small bowel absorbs a lot of it. Also, he may have intestinal problems, urinary tract infections, or have inherited a disorder from his family members which leads to the formation of kidney stones. You also have an increased risk for kidney stones when you have hypertension, obesity, poor dietary habits, metabolic syndrome, are exposed to too much stress, do not drink enough liquid especially when the climate is hot, and do not exercise.

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Second one is: "Don't eat too many peanuts or you'll grow pimples and acne." Many girls are affected by this belief. There are instances where girls avoid foods which contain peanuts like peanut butter and chocolates. Actually, a lot of studies have been conducted and are still being conducted in order to find out if there is a direct relationship between diet and acne, but little evidence supports this assumption. Thus, this myth is FICTION.

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This one is the first on my list: "Don't eat sour fruits while menstruating, because you'll have stomach cramps or dysmenorrhea." This myth has haunted me for years, until I heard from a doctor that this is FICTION. There is no connection between what you eat and how painful your dysmenorrhea is, or that eating a green mango will give you stomach cramps. I think many of the girls reading now are jumping in delight. 

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Just remember that the reasons why some women suffer pain during dysmenorrhea is because of the contractions of the uterine muscles wanting to expel unwanted tissues, congestions of endometrial glands found in other parts of the reproductive system, and tumors like myoma.

To everyone that has read this, I hope that this will serve as an eye opener. I hope you learned a lot and will learn more by researching on other myths you know. Try to find out whether it is a FACT or FICTION.


REFERENCES:

1.  Facts about your farts. Retrieved from http://www.onlineeducation.net/farts
2.  Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012
3.  Formic Acid. Acidpedia. Retrieved from: http://acidpedia.org/formic_acid/
4.  Hahne, J. (2011). "Does greasy food cause acne?" Retrieved from http://www.yalescientific.org/2011/11/does-greasy-food-cause-acne/
5.  Kidney stones. University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/kidney-stones#ixzz3gUQXUiCn
6.  Lockhart, G. (2000). "Ants and other great medicines." Retrieved from: http://www.arthurleej.com/Ants.pdf
7.  Mangubat, ML. (2001). "Myths and misconceptions about menstruation." Retrieved from: http://www.herword.com/healthdesk/main.php?id=ob_mens20010916


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