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Busting Popular Health Myths

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By Melody Gluth

Everyone has an idea of what they should do in order to be healthy. Oftentimes, this idea comes from facts we have heard from other people or from something that we read online. But how much of what we have heard is really true? Here are some popular myths about health debunked:

 

  1. Vitamin C Prevents Colds 

What? But this is what we have always been told! Surprisingly, dozens of studies have found that, when comparing people who take vitamin C and people who do not, there is no difference in the number or duration of colds. Although vitamin C is important, it will not help in fighting a cold. So what would be the best way to prevent coming down with a cold? Wash your hands more often can help.

  1. Reading in Dim Light Damages Eyesight

Reading in dim light does not lead to permanent eye damage. It can cause eyestrain and lead to temporary dryness, but it will not permanently damage eyesight. This can also be applied to the belief that sitting to close to a glowing screen will damage vision. Once again, it can cause eyestrain, but no permanent damage.

  1. A Glass of Warm Milk Helps with Going to Sleep

Having trouble going to sleep? A glass of warm milk may not be the answer. There is no scientific evidence that warm milk aids drowsiness whatsoever. Although milk contains the amino acid tryptophan, which can cause sleepiness, it only has small amounts. Definitely not enough to aid in sleep. However, if you feel like a nice glass of warm milk helps you go to sleep, go ahead! There is no harm in having a comforting beverage before bedtime.

  1. Cold Weather Increases the Chance of Catching a Cold

Does a slight nip in the air cause worry that you might catch a cold? Cast that worry aside; the cold weather will not make you more susceptible to a cold. However, being in close proximity to others might. When the weather is cold, more people are driven to stay indoors. As more people come in to contact with others, the cold virus can spread more easily.

  1. Drink Eight Glasses of Water a Day

Staying hydrated throughout the day is important. However, it is not necessary to count how many glasses you have had. So how much water should we drink? There is no specific answer. Water needs depend on many factors, such as health, activity, and environment. Know how much fluid your body needs and try estimating how much water you should drink each day based on that.

  1. Chocolate Causes Acne

 Good news for the chocoholics out there: chocolate will not cause a breakout. Though chocolate can be high in sugar and fat content, there is little evidence that fatty foods cause acne. However, it may be better for your skin if you eat more fruits and vegetables, which have nutrients that support healthier skin. A little indulgence now and then does not hurt, but be careful not to overdo it.

  1. Chewing Gum Stays in the Stomach for Seven Years.

We have all heard this at some point in our lives. It is of course false, and gum actually passes through the digestive tract within a couple of days. It is true that our bodies cannot digest gum due to some ingredients that resist the stomach’s digestive juices, but gum does not stay stuck inside the digestive tract. It keeps moving through the system until it eventually comes out.

  1. Craving Certain Foods Means a Person is Deficient in One of the Nutrients They Provide

Craving something sweet and fatty? It is more likely that you are trying to satisfy an emotional need rather than a physical need. More often than not, we crave something because we cannot have it. On a strict diet? Thinking of those cookies in the cupboard? When something is forbidden, we tend to want it more.

 

So there it is, popular health myths busted! Hopefully we saved you some worry (and possibly some money on vitamin C tablets). Keep in mind that we still do not know everything there is to know about our health. Scientific studies will continue to help us as we learn more.

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