Health myths … debunked!


Ended soon

Remember the ‘old wives’ tale’ about not eating
our bread crusts would mean we wouldn’t get curly hair?  Or, ‘step on a crack, break your back’?  Health myths have been around for centuries,
but is there any truth to any of them?   Read on:

Can carrots really improve sight?

If you’re taken in by
myths, carrots are excellent for an abundance of ailments. Throughout the
years, they have been associated with helping cure everything from snakebites
to STDs. However, one of the most popular comments is that carrots can help you
see in the dark.

Unfortunately, this
news was propaganda which stems back to the Second World War. It followed the
British Royal Air Force creating the fabricated tale that the vegetable was
attributed to fighter pilot Jon ‘Cats’ Eyes’ Cunningham’s great skills. This
led to it being mandated for people to eat their carrots, as it would help them
see better during the blackouts. Carrots are a nutritional vegetable and, while
it can’t improve your vision, the levels of vitamin A and lutein can actually
be beneficial for overall vision health. 
So, if you’re not already, why not try going organic and have a go at growing your own?

Onions, socks and flu…

Have you ever been
told to place onions in your socks if you have the flu? Although it sounds odd,
some swear that this is a great remedy. The concept is that, because onions are
slightly acidic, there can be antibacterial results when rubbed against things.
Unfortunately for the believers, onions in your socks hasn’t been found to aid
your recovery. As viruses require direct contact with a human being to spread,
this wouldn’t allow an onion to draw the virus in and absorb it. Therefore,
this myth appears to only work as a placebo effect.

Soap in bedsheets

As the myth goes, if
you place a bar of soap under your bed sheets, you’ll relieve muscle cramps,
especially in your lower legs. While those who perform this method stand by it,
there is no plausible or scientific explanation that has been given to suggest
that this actually does work.

However, if you suffer
from lower leg cramps, it’s probably wiser to try proven techniques. This
includes reducing your caffeine intake on a nighttime, stretching your calf
muscles before bed, and increasing your intake of essential electrolytes,
including potassium, calcium and magnesium.

Cracking knuckles

Although the preconception
is that cracking your knuckles can cause arthritis, research shows that more
than half of us actually do it. It’s also stated that men are also more likely
to do it. The popping noise and sensation is created by the spaces between the
joints increasing, which causes gases dissolved in the synovial fluid to form
microscopic bubbles. These bubbles then merge into larger bubbles and are
popped by additional fluid that has filled the enlarged space.

While it’s suggested
that cracking your knuckles could cause wear and tear in the same way that a
mechanical joint would get, there hasn’t been enough time spent researching
this fact. However, a study from 2010 claimed that there was no difference in
the prevalence of osteoarthritis between those who did or did not crack their
knuckles. In other words, crack on… for now! 
If you are worried though, it could be worth looking at a supplement
for joints

Starving a fever

This isn’t exactly a
myth in the true form as some of it is actually good advice. The folklore of
starving a fever has been around for hundreds of years, with some medical
historians linking it as far back at the 1500s. Back then, doctors believed
that a fever was caused because your metabolism was in overdrive.  However, you shouldn’t starve your fever,
modern-day experts have warned. Doing so means you’ll have a lower calorie
intake, which can then make it more difficult for your body to fight off the
flu virus.

According to research,
if you eat less during the early stages of bad infections, it will have a dangerous
effect on your body. This means that most experts will dismiss the
starve-a-fever comment as purely folklore.

Swallowing chewing gum

From a young age,
we’re told not to swallow our chewing gum. Some of us may have been scared off
swallowing our gum as it will stay in our system for seven years. While it’s
not particularly advisable to do so, you can relax — this is a decades-old bit
of folklore, according to pediatric gastroenterologist David Milov of the
Nemours Children’s Clinic in Orlando. He explained: “That would mean that every
single person who ever swallowed gum within the last seven years would have
evidence of the gum in the digestive tract. On occasion we’ll see a piece of
swallowed gum, but usually it’s not something that’s any more than a week old.”

Of course, there are a
whole host of myths than can be quashed easily. Without having the facts and
figures, don’t play with your health. If you want clarification of an ailment,
make sure you speak to your GP before believing old wives’ tales.