We have all heard the same myths about certain habits, foods or behaviors that can help or hurt our health.
When myths are repeated from generation to generation we begin to accept them as fact.
Here are the 10 most popular health myths that we are going bust!
Myth #1: “Starve a cold, feed a fever.”
Do you starve a cold and feed a fever when you're feeling under the weather? Or is it the other way around?
Starving is never the correct answer especially when you are sick.
When you eat a nutritional, well-balanced diet, many other factors fall in place that keep your body functioning optimally.
Foods that are rich in nutrients help fight infections and may help to prevent illness.
Nutrients in foods are essential for wellness.
Myth #2: “Reading in dim light damages your eyesight.”
Good news, according to researchers, reading in dim light doesn’t lead to permanent eye damage.
While it may cause eyestrain and temporary dryness; you can read a menu in a dimly lit restaurant without it causing any long-term impairment.
The common belief that sitting too close to the TV set will ruin your eyesight is yet another old wives’ tale.
Myth #3: "Can’t sleep? Drink warm milk.”
(I always do this one)
Today there's no scientific evidence that milk has the slightest impact on drowsiness.
Milk does contain the nap-inducing amino acid tryptophan, but only in trace amounts.
Eggs and cheese have more, but even an egg and cheese sandwich won't knock you out.
However, if a hot-milk nightcap seems to help you catch z's, drink up. A little placebo effect never hurt anyone.
Myth #4: “Cold weather will make you sick.”
Infectious illnesses are caused by germs, not cold weather.
To catch a cold you have to come in contact with rhinoviruses and you need to be infected with influenza viruses to contract the flu.
Rhinoviruses peak in spring and fall, and influenza viruses peak in the winter.
While there isn’t a connection between being chilled and getting sick, cold air may contribute to conditions that lead to illness.
Myth #5: “You can catch something sitting on a public toilet seat.”
Our fear of sitting on the public washroom toilet seat is overblown.
There's no question that germs can inhabit the seat, the bulk of the organisms found are basically fecal-borne bacteria.
These can include E. coli streptococcus (the bug behind strep throat), or S. aureus (linked to serious skin problems or pneumonia).
Germs on the seat doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll make you sick.
Your skin acts as a very effective barrier to keep germs out.
Organisms leading to STD’s such as the herpes virus, HIV, or other sexually transmitted diseases don't survive for long outside the human body, especially not on a cold, hard toilet seat.
To infect you, they need to enter either through an open cut or sore or via a mucous membrane (your mouth or rectum), which wouldn't normally come into contact with the seat.
The odds of infection from just sitting down on a toilet seat are tiny.
Myth #6: “Chocolate causes pimples.”
Chocolate will not make you break out, there is little evidence that chocolate or any specific fatty foods will cause acne.
But a high-sugar/high-fat diet can increase sebum production and promote inflammatory responses in the body which can lead to acne.
Although there is not a direct connection between acne and foods that are high in sugar and fat, overindulging in these kinds of food may displace other nutrients that are critical to the skin’s health.
Continue eating skin friendly foods like fruits and vegetables and indulging in chocolate once in a while.
Myth #7: “Chewing gum sits in your stomach for seven years.”
Swallowed gum passes through your digestive tract in a couple of days.
Chewing gum is made from gum base, sweeteners, coloring and flavoring.
It’s true that your body cannot digest gum given its mixture of elastomers, resins, fats, emulsifiers and waxes, some of which resist your stomach’s digestive juices.
It doesn’t remain stuck inside you, your gut just keeps them moving through your system until they come out the other end.
Myth #8: "Excessive hat wearing leads to baldness".
You can ignore this myth unless you wear hats that are way too tight, ripping hair away.
The X chromosome is the gene associated with causing baldness.
Some male bodies become sensitive to androgens (a male sex hormone) and hair loss becomes common.
Myth #9: “Don’t swim for 30 minutes after eating”.
Any strenuous exercise after a big meal is tricky and will cause stomach irritation.
If you’re set for a long dip in the pool, a healthy snack is a useful energy boost.
Myth #10: "Your urine should be almost clear".
Dark colored urine typically means you’re dehydrated and clear urine may mean you are over hydrated.
Urine that is a light yellow indicates a healthy urinary tract with healthy bacteria.
Share this info with anyone in your life who has imposed these “words of wisdom” on you.
They are busted!