There are plenty of health tips that make sense and are backed by science.
However, some persistent health myths have stood the test of time and continue to spread from person to person. To avoid being misled, here are ten health myths busted:
1. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
You’ve probably been hearing about this since you were a child, and it remains a piece of famous health advice. And while it’s true that apples are a low-calorie source of vitamin C, fibre and antioxidants, eating one every day doesn’t mean you’ll never have to see a doctor or that you’ll never get sick.
2. You can get sick if you stay out in the cold.
Lower temperatures during winter aren’t enough to make you sick. However, you can feel uncomfortable if you’re not wearing the right amount of layers. What can actually make you sick (whatever the season) are harmful, disease-causing pathogens like viruses and bacteria.
3. You can make up for lost sleep during the weekends.
Thinking that it’s fine to lose sleep because you can catch up on your sleep debt during the weekend is a big fallacy. In fact, this is one of the more common health myths debunked by science.
You can’t ‘repay’ sleep debt, and taking naps or sleeping in on weekends won’t fix the problem. Instead of trying these things to recover from sleep debt, work on preventing it from happening again and always aim for 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
4. Natural sugar like honey is healthy.
Raw, wild honey contains amino acids, vitamins, minerals and enzymes, and is a delicious addition to juices and anything that needs a bit of sweetening. However, it’s sugar like any other and consuming too much of it is detrimental to health, so ingest natural sugars in moderation.
5. Take vitamin C to prevent colds.
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that provides several health benefits. For example, you need vitamin C to repair and regenerate tissue and iron absorption. However, it doesn’t have any special powers to prevent or reduce the duration of a common cold.
6. You can skip sunscreen if it’s cloudy or cold.
Putting on sunscreen is non-negotiable whatever the weather. However, it’s even more important to put some on during the winter months because the Earth’s surface is closer to the sun. In any case, always put some sunscreen on whether it’s sunny or cloudy as the sun’s UV rays are always there.
7. You can eat what you want as long as you burn it off with exercise.
Just because you exercise daily doesn’t mean you can throw caution to the wind when it comes to the food you eat. Exercise is crucial to keep fit, but you can still get sick if you eat unhealthy foods. Remember, you can keep exercising and still suffer from cardiovascular disease because of a poor diet.
To be healthy, you need to eat a nutritious, balanced diet, get enough sleep and exercise regularly.
8. Cracking your knuckles will lead you to develop arthritis.
As a kid, you may have been admonished several times about cracking your fingers or knuckles. Your elders might have pointed out that the bad habit will lead to arthritis when you grow older. However, certain factors cause arthritis. These include autoimmune disease, injury, and infection. Therefore, cracking your knuckles alone will not lead to arthritis.
9. Reading under poor lighting conditions can ruin your eyesight.
Reading in a dimly lit room or setting can cause dry eyes or eye strain. However, this habit won’t cause any permanent damage to your eyesight. For optimum comfort and to avoid straining your eyes, read with adequate lighting.
10. It’s better to be thin than fat.
Being overweight or obese is unhealthy. Carrying excess weight makes you susceptible to cardiovascular disease (CDV) and metabolic disorders. However, being underweight is no better. When underweight, you are also at a greater risk of developing CDV. It can also make a recovery from diseases like pneumonia slower.
Information for better health
When it comes to health advice, it’s crucial to know what’s factual from what’s not.
With these debunked examples of health myths, you know better and can help stop their spread.
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