How Many Health and Wellness Myths Do You Live By?

A friend of mine confessed that she once warned her husband not to swallow his gum because it would stay in his stomach for seven years. She has since learned that her mom was only telling her this because she didn’t want her to eat it. After I closed my gaping jaw, and stopped giggling, I realized that many of us may live parts of our lives according to myths told to us in our past. The truth is that, while gum doesn’t fully digest in you, it will pass through in the same lump it was swallowed with.

Below is a list of some common myths you may have heard and even lived by for a short period of your lives, along with some extra information explaining the truth or myth behind it.

You can tell what the sex of a baby will be based on how the mother is carrying – This is completely false and comes from Old English Folklore. It was once believed that a woman was carrying a girl if she was carrying the baby up high and a boy if she was carrying the baby down low. It was believed that girls needed more protection so they carried higher than the boys. There is no scientific basis to back this up. It is, simply put, an old wives tale.

If you don’t eat your carrots when you are a child you will go blind as an adult – Yup, we all heard this one when mom wanted us to finish those carrots! While there is some basis in truth for this, it is very little. Those who have a healthy diet in both childhood and adulthood are not going to have their vision affected simply because they failed to eat carrots. Those who live in countries where they might not get enough Vitamin A are in danger of going night blind. However, if their diet is supplemented with foods rich in Vitamin A, such as carrots, their vision can be improved.

Feed a cold but starve a fever – This is another old wives tale that has no basis in reality. Anyone who has a cold and or fever needs a certain amount of nutrients and fluids to get better. Without them, the body has a more difficult time fighting off the cold and or fever.

When you shave, the hair grows back thicker and faster – A study that was done 80 years ago actually proved that this was not true, but many people still believe it today. Hair is dead. So shaving it is not going to make it grow faster. What make hair grow are the follicles beneath the surface of the skin, and what comes out is dead by the time it reaches the skin’s surface. It appears to be darker and thicker because it hasn’t been exposed to the sun or any chemicals for very long.

If you eat turkey, it’s going to make you sleepy – Well, we’ve all thought this around the holidays. But, in reality, the sleepiness we feel is from eating a large meal, not from eating the turkey itself. It used to be thought that the tryptophan in turkey is what made us sleepy, but it has recently been discovered that ground beef and even pork have more tryptophan than turkey.

Colds and flu are at their most contagious before any symptoms appear – This is untrue. Colds are at their most contagious when the symptoms are at their worst. This is the timeframe when you are most contagious. While you should wash your hands often and take other preventative measures throughout the life of a cold, you should be especially diligent when the symptoms are at their worst.

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