Eat your vegetables. Sleep eight hours every day. Exercise.
There are several truisms about staying healthy that we sometimes don’t use due diligence in determining whether the advice given to us is true. Then there are the old wives’ tales, passed down from one generation to another, that frequently disregard the difference between fiction and fact. Below, you’ll find a list of 10 of the most frequent health clichés out there. None of them are true.
Weighing in at just over 1.4 kilograms (3 pounds), the human mind is home to almost 100 billion neurons. They transmit information to one another across gaps called synapses, where the mind has almost 1 quadrillion.
The mind is sectioned into three main parts-the cerebrum, the cerebellum, and the brain stem. The cerebrum composes roughly 85 percent of the organ and is responsible for a lot of the higher-level functioning we associate with being human. Seated below it, you will discover the cerebellum, which controls basic balance and coordination. And finally, you have the brain stem. Connected to your spinal cord, the brain stem controls most of your automatic functions, such as breathing and digestion.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if all this processing is only using 10 percent of their brain’s bandwidth?
Alas, this “fact” is completely wrong. We’re not certain in which the claim that we only use 10 percent of our brains came from, but it seemed to percolate out of the late Victorian age. In the late 1890s, Harvard psychologists William James and Boris Sidis used the latter’s wunderkind (his IQ was almost 300) as evidence that all humans must have the capability to be that smart. We just have to try harder.
Further research at the start of the 20th century discovered that rats with cerebral damage could be retaught certain tasks. This was used to reinforce the already weak case that our mind is full of untapped potential. Regrettably, this factoid is completely ridiculous with no basis in modern science. Just reading this paragraph uses more than 10 percent of your brain. Oh well.
It Takes Seven Years To Digest A Piece Of Gum:
After consuming a particularly large piece of bubblegum, many of you may remember being horrified to hear that your digestive tract would spend the next seven years trying to digest it. If your seven years isn’t up yet, you might be relieved to learn that this “fact” is complete nonsense.
Although the origins of this myth are elusive, it has borne out a comparative truth about chewing gum. (Translation: It’s not food.)
While it’s not a good idea to swallow your chewing gum, what happens to it isn’t all that exciting. Excess ingredients like sweeteners may be digested, but the bulk of the gum is an elastomer that gets moved through your digestive tract without being broken down. Then the gum comes out the other end through the excretory system and is normally unscathed.
Foreign, inedible objects have to be roughly larger than a United States quarter to get stuck in your digestive tract. Otherwise, they flow like crap down a stream, right out the other end.
As if puberty, high school, and those teenage years are not hard enough, lots of us grew up learning that our chocolate intake had a causal relationship with breakouts. Pretty awful that chocolate, the one thing that makes adolescence bearable, lights up your face with nasty zits.
Eating chocolate won’t allow you to break out. However, eating foods high in sugar and fat can increase the body’s natural sebum production, making your skin oilier. Furthermore, those unhealthy foods contribute to high levels of skin inflammation.
However, will chocolate-or any food for that matter-make your skin break out? Eating high levels of fatty foods will definitely trip up your blood glucose, which can indirectly impact breakout levels. However, no single food item is the golden ticket to preventing teenage pimples.
Carrots Improve Eyesight:
The myth that carrots will improve your eyesight is wrapped up in a twisted history of wartime propaganda. To be fair, carrots are great sources of beta-carotene, an inactive retinol that is converted into vitamin A during digestion. Vitamin A provides all sorts of benefits to the body, including the protection of eyesight.
But does it really enhance one’s nighttime vision?
No. The British Ministry of Information conducted a campaign during World War II that suggested pilots in the Royal Air Force were eating large amounts of carrots, describing their uncanny ability to shoot down German fighter pilots under the veil of darkness. Truth is, all the carrots in the world could not give you the gift of nocturnal sight.
It is unlikely that German intelligence bought into the notion that British pilots were fueled by high-octane carrots.
Yet, in the almost century since, the Western world’s general public has remained firm believers that if they eat enough of the orange stuff, their eyes will thank them. We hate to be the ones to break it to you, but you are not going to get night vision anytime soon.
We’ve Five Senses:
This one should be simple, right? The belief that we have five senses dates back to the time of Greek philosopher Aristotle, who was the first to discern the five discrete senses of the human body.
Yes, these are just five of your senses. But they are not the only ones.
Let us start with the fundamentals. What’s a “sense”? Well, it’s something with a detector that could perceive a given stimulus. Every sense is triggered by a special phenomenon.
In fact, the sense of touch is actually much more complex than just a single sensation. Many neurologists break down “touch” into divergent sensations, including perceptions of pressure, temperature, and pain.
Based on whom you ask, people have as many as 33 senses. These include some senses, such as blood pressure and balance that you knew you had but did not count as a “sense” So, next time someone says they have a sixth sense, you might respond by saying you have 33. They might not know what you mean by that, but you’ll know!
Many people can remember being taught, by a biology teacher no less, our ability to roll our tongues was straightforward genetic fate. If either of your parents could do it, so can you.
In fact, it is not that simple. Unlike a number of these body myths, we have a fantastic idea from where this one came. In 1940, American geneticist Alfred Sturtevant published a study that concluded that your tongue-rolling ability was a hereditary trait according to a dominant gene.
However, Sturtevant’s exuberance over his finding was short lived. People realized quickly that there were identical twins where one can roll his tongue and another could not. Because of this, Sturtevant’s findings were quickly debunked, with the man at the helm conceding defeat.
And yet, decades later in classrooms throughout the world, this falsehood is being spread anew. Now you know the truth, you can stop the madness from spreading the next time someone unveils this unique parlor trick.
Between the fantasy that we only use 10 percent of our brains and the prevailing belief that we lose the majority of our body heat through our heads, it feels like our craniums can’t catch a break. A prevailing hypothesis on the origin of the myth: Scientists conducted studies in the 1950s in which subjects were exposed to low temperatures and lost a solid chunk of their heat through their noggins.
The problem with this research is that the topics were bundled up in coats and only their heads were exposed to the elements. So yes, if each part of your body is insulated and your head isn’t, you’ll lose a disproportionate amount of body heat through your head.
However, more recent research finds that, all else being equal, an inordinate amount of heat doesn’t escape from your head. You lose roughly 7 percent of your body heat through your head, which makes sense because your head is roughly 7 percent of your body’s surface area. [
So, treat your mind like every other part of your body. When it is cold, bundle it up and everything will be OK.
Hair And Fingernails Keep Growing After Death:
This “reality” about the human body is kind of creepy, isn’t it? The idea that protein shards of keratin keep growing at our extremities in the days and weeks after we die is freaky. Well, we are here to let you know that it’s not really true.
Our bodies dehydrate rather quickly once we die. At these times, our skin starts wrinkling and pulls inward. To the contrary, the rest of the body is merely shrinking. For this reason, morticians will frequently snore corpses in lotion to keep them out of pruning up.
Arthritis isn’t a single condition but rather a catchall term for a group of pain disorders characterized by joint aches, swelling, and inflammation. Arthritis can be mild or debilitating. It may flare up or feel like a slow and steady burn.
Obviously, if you’re able to stay away from activities linked to arthritis, you need to. For many health-conscious people, this includes a seemingly simple request-don’t crack your knuckles. However, we are here to tell you that cracking your knuckles does not make the list in your fight to prevent arthritis.
That popping sound is associated with bubbles bursting on your synovial fluid (the stuff that greases your joints). As bad as that sounds, a cross-study analysis by physicians at Harvard Medical School found no evidence that cracking the knuckles has a causal link to arthritis.
That said, you still may want to give up the habit. Chronic knuckle cracking is connected to weaker grip strength. Furthermore, it’s just annoying to listen to.
Shave Your Beard, And It Will Grow Back Darker:
Who hasn’t heard this one? You can shave your beard-or for girls, the hair on your legs-but your efforts will be in vain. Not only will the hair grow back, we are told, but it’ll grow back faster and darker than before.
This is totally false. In actuality, we’ve known this isn’t true for quite some time. One of the first contemporary studies on the issue took place in 1928. The participating men all shaved in precisely the exact same manner with the identical brand of shaving cream. Then their subsequent new hairs have been analyzed for increased rates of expansion.
A lot of this myth comes down to understanding. As our hair grows back, we might be influenced by our preexisting biases. Additionally, when you wax or shave hair off, it is like chopping down a tree and leaving the stump.
Regrettably, any changes in growth speed could result from underlying hormonal changes. But otherwise, it’s all in your head!