Find out if there’s any truth in these old wives’ tales. By Deborah Lin
Grandma always advised you not to consume seafood or soy sauce post-op because the injury would flare up or the scarring would worsen. That, along with other food myths like not eating chicken when you are coughing. Are they true?
“Avoid seafood if you have a wound.”
Should you avoid eating seafood after your surgery? (Photo: adoproducciones / www.pixabay.com)
This might have some basis in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). According to Wong Wen Jun, a registered TCM physician at Eu Yan Sang TCM Wellness Clinics, some seafood can hamper wound healing. Those described as stimulating or “fa wu”, such as cured fish and shellfish, may cause inflammation, says Wen Jun.
Also, shellfish like clams, scallops and oysters are filter feeders so they tend to harbour more bacteria than other seafood, adds Jaclyn Reutens, a clinical dietitian at Aptima Nutrition & Sports Consultants.
However, protein-rich seafood is well documented in Western medicine to help prevent scars, so chances are, your surgeon won’t limit your seafood intake post-op.
To play it safe, consider eating those approved by our experts: Wen Jun suggests eating non-stimulating seafood, like fresh fish and sea cucumber, as they actually help the body recover after surgery. Jaclyn also recommends fresh fish as it is a high-quality, easily digested protein.
“Avoid soya sauce after surgery and when you have chicken pox or you’ll scar.”
Will soya sauce cause scabs to blacken? (Photo: PublicDomainPictures / www.pixabay.com)
This is how the theory goes: The pigments in the fermented dark soya sauce will cause scabs to turn black and leave long-lasting scars. With this myth, the official stand is a reassuring no.
According to the Health Promotion Board, scarring from chicken pox usually results from scratching that affects the healing process and increases the risk of bacterial infection. What’s more, TCM experts like Wen Jun confirm that soya sauce does not cause scabs to darken. If you want your skin to stay unblemished, keep your fingers away from the spots and soothe the itch with cooling baths or calamine lotion.
Verdict NO. Take note that those allergic to soya beans may experience itching, swelling and skin reactions like hives and eczema. If you’re reacting to soya sauce, you could also be sensitive to its other components like wheat and histamines. Get a skin prick test to pinpoint the allergy.