Published Feb 19, 2021
The old maxim ‘you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’ certainly applies to health. It’s a pretty precious resource but it’s all too easy to take your health for granted until illness unexpectedly arrives and suddenly, you’re not healthy anymore.
But how much do you really know about staying healthy? In this simple health quiz we bust a few popular myths. Learn what really makes a difference – and what doesn’t. Try your hand at the questions first and then read for the answers.
Are food allergies the same as food intolerances?
What is the best way to lose weight: diet or exercise?
How much water do you need to drink a day?
Will detox diets help you lose weight?
How do you keep your immune system in shape?
1/ No. Both involve reactions to foods and other substances but allergies and intolerance are two separate phenomena. Allergies are typically sudden and almost always involve the immune system – common symptoms like swelling, skin rashes and nausea are exaggerated versions of natural reactions to pathogens, generated by a confused immune system that has mistaken a harmless food for a dangerous invader. Allergies normally require medical intervention.
Food intolerance, by contrast, is an adverse reaction to food that does not involve the immune system. Symptoms like bloating, gas, indigestion and heartburn indicate that your body is struggling to digest something you’ve eaten – but it is not always obvious which because these reactions may not occur until some time afterwards.
2/ Diet. Exercise is an important element of health: our bodies evolved to move, and vigorous activity tones our muscles, keeps our joints limber and helps ward off serious illness like heart disease. But it’s not a good way to lose weight because the ratio of exercise minutes to calories burned is an unforgiving one. It would take 22 minutes of running to burn off a single chocolate bar. Few of us have the time or inclination for hours of running and gym workouts every single day. In the long term eating sensibly is a much more manageable and sustainable approach.
3/ Not as much as you may have heard; certainly not eight glasses a day. Just listen to your body and drink when you feel thirsty. Also bear in mind that other drinks – tea, coffee, fruit juice – will also top you up. Tea and coffee do have a mildly diuretic effect but this is not strong enough to cancel out the hydration they provide.
4/ Probably not. Detox diets sound like a good thing after indulging but in reality, our livers and kidneys usually don’t need the help. They work hard all year round to wash toxins from our bodies and they do a good job for the most part. An artificial restricted diet isn’t going to help much and might even cause problems like diarrhea and dehydration. Instead of faddish detox diets, help your liver and kidneys by just eating sensibly.
5/ There’s no great mystery to maintaining a healthy immune system: just eat healthily. Nutrition has a direct effect on your immune system, especially your susceptibility to colds and other infections. Plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit will keep your immune system ticking over nicely and a few well chosen supplements can be also very helpful.
So…how many questions did you get right?
If you are serious about staying on top of your health, why not try a DNA home testing kit? They are quick, straightforward and inexpensive. You will receive a full analysis of your genetic make-up, enabling you to explore your body’s individual responses to food and the world around you. Draw up a fully customised, personal health plan!
Written by Bev Walton
Food Writer and Nutritionist, dietician
A chef of over 35 years with experience in all types of cuisine, dietary plans, recipe development, health and nutrition. I have been writing for over 10 years for both magazines, websites and ghostwriting for ebooks, Kindle and fully published books. I have a degree in nutrition and dietetics and work with restaurants and organisations within the healthcare profession. I am also able to take high quality photographs of recipes created. No writing task is too great, and whilst I specialise in the above, I am able to write about any topic you throw at me. Member of the Guild of food writers.