Instagram reels can be informative and entertaining, but they also spread health misinformation. Verify before you share.
By Tej Kumar
Food blogs garner some of the highest engagement on social media platforms. While they can be informative and entertaining, their scope for health misinformation is also huge. Here’s looking at two Instagram reels that share juice hacks to fix asthma and detox the lungs.
Reel 1: This viral Instagram reel, with 220k+ views, claims that a juice made of turmeric, orange, garlic, ginger and pineapple will provide quick relief from asthma.
Fact: One of the major chronic diseases that cause inflammation and block airways in the lungs, asthma affected an estimated 262 million people in 2019 and caused 4,55,000 deaths, as per the World Health Organization. It doesn’t have a cure yet. However, good management with inhaled medications can control the disease and enable people with asthma to enjoy a normal, active life.
We looked for research to support the above-mentioned claim, but couldn’t find any credible studies. We did find certain studies on the ingredients (individually) - turmeric, pineapple and garlic. However, they were mostly animal-based studies, or had very low participants (< 100) in human-based studies.
First Check reached out to Dr Aravind Sai Kalinga, a consultant pulmonologist based in Hyderabad, India. “People who are prone to allergies, such as dust allergy or allergies triggered by climatic changes, are more likely to be affected by asthma. While home remedies may seem like a good option, they often aggravate the condition. Unless we have conclusive scientific evidence to show that these remedies work, it’s not medically advisable to try them,” he says.
Reel 2: This viral Instagram reel, with 212k+ views, claims that a juice made of lemon, radish, orange, carrot and dill leaves will detox your lungs.
Fact: Lungs are self-cleaning organs that have the remarkable ability to naturally detox themselves. There is no scientific evidence to prove that juices – of any kind – can cleanse the lungs.
Dr Kalinga maintains that is no merit to the claim that you can detox your lungs by drinking a juice. “Lungs can repair on their own, if you have an inflammation like pneumonia or bronchitis. But it is very hard for the lungs to repair if it is related to structural damage due to smoking,” he explains.
While these juices may be rich in antioxidants, they can’t really help with lung detoxification. “Falling for such unverified remedies can cause more trouble since patients may wrongly believe that their lungs have detoxed, and they may restart smoking,” warns the pulmonologist.
Trust facts. Verify before you share.