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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Truth behind food myths you’ve probably believed all along

Every society has its share of myths, fables, legends, and superstitions, and Nigeria is not exempted. We grew up believing and conforming to some of the most ridiculous of them.

These beliefs reflect in every part of our lives – even in our feeding and food selection. We are either prohibited from eating certain foods because of some imaginary repercussions or dangers they might expose us to, or, at other times – compelled to eat more of certain foods because of some inherent good they are believed to possess.

Today, we look at five of the most ridiculous food myths and beliefs that were imposed on us while growing up and see whether there is any truth to them.

The malt and milk combo

We start this list with the malt and milk combo. This was so popular that even health practitioners, at some point, were endorsing the belief that this combo would help boost blood level.

Growing up in the trenches, people who have been diagnosed with anaemia or are just recovering from an ailment are encouraged to get malt and milk and mix them for the ‘perfect blood tonic’.

Yet, it has been proved that the milk and malt combo has nothing to do with increasing blood levels in the body, as neither of them is rich enough in iron, which is the needed nutrient for blood production.

They can, however, help the body in boosting bone health, as both of them contain calcium. Phosphorus B & D, and potassium are other nutrients the body gains from this combo.

Chicken rectum makes you a talkative

Fried chicken butt

Christmas time is always chicken time in Nigeria. Most Nigerian families buy and kill live chickens to celebrate Christmas and New Year holidays and during the cleaning process, the rectum gets cut away alongside the intestine and other undesirable parts.

The general belief is that eating chicken butt would make one talkative. People who talk too much are always believed to have eaten chicken butt.

However, on the contrary, eating chicken butt can do your body a whole lot of good as it comes loaded with so much goodness like protein, fat, vitamins B3 and B6, selenium, phosphorus, and so on – as explained by cooks.part.com. All these are some of the necessary nutrients needed by the body to stay healthy.

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Drinking coconut water makes you dull

Coconut water

It is a general belief in many parts of Nigeria that drinking coconut water makes children dull. Children are strictly forbidden from drinking coconut water as everyone wants their offspring to grow up to become the next Einstein or Michael Faraday.

Whenever a coconut is cracked, children are given their share of the flesh, while the water is reserved for elders or, sometimes, poured away. And then you wonder, as a kid, if coconut water actually does have the ability to make a brain dull, why does it affect kids alone?

Well, no one has the answer to that. Nowadays, however, kids don’t have to struggle with this belief as science has debunked this claim. In deed, coconut water has been found to be very helpful to the body.

Apart from the fact that it serves as a good source of hydration, its also boosts immunity and can also help eradicate kidney stones. Coconut water can also boost bone health as one cup of it contains about 600mg of calcium – according to Medicalnewstoday.com. If you’re suffering from heart problems, then coconut water might be very beneficial, as it is also believed to help improve heart health.

Eating chicken legs makes you a vagabond

Fried chicken feet

Whenever a child’s whereabouts are unknown in the Southwestern part of Nigeria, it is not uncommon to hear parents mutter “O ti je ese adiye”, meaning, he or she has eaten chicken legs.

The general belief is that since fowls naturally roam about all day, eating chicken legs would make you wander about.

This then begs the question, if eating chicken legs actually makes one a wanderer, why do Nigerian parents make it a habit to reserve that part of the chicken for children whenever live chickens are prepared for a meal?

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Meanwhile, according to Healthline.com, chicken legs are very high in protein, especially collagen. Collagen helps to give shape and strength to our muscles, skin, bones, and ligaments and this account for about 70% of chicken leg’s protein content.

Apart from this, chicken legs are also a great source of Vitamins A, B9, phosphorus, calcium, fats, and calories. So, they are actually not as bad as claimed.

Drinking garri after taking mango

Gari and mango

This has to be the scariest of them all. I mean, why wouldn’t it be? It carries grave consequences.

The general idea Is that drinking garri after taking mangoes or the other way round, would cause serious stomach upset that can be very severe. It could even make one drop dead like Biblical couple Ananias and Sapphira.

The fact that a lot of us have broken this rule countless times and are still alive today shows there is no truth to this erroneous belief. Science also never supports it in any way.


So, those are some of the most ridiculous myths I can remember. I know there must be many more, especially from other parts of this vast country or the continent at large.

If you feel there are some that we skipped that should have made the list, please drop them in the comment section.

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