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Right now you are sitting at the most valuable information source available today: your computer. You can instantly look up any fact, question or varying viewpoint. Yet people still rely on what they’ve just ‘always heard’ instead.
10 myths that people still believe.
1. Not wearing a coat or hat in the winter will make you catch a cold.
I think everyone’s mother or grandmother has said this to them. It’s a familial myth passed down generation after generation. How could mom be wrong?! Well, she is. A cold is 100% viral – caused by rhinovirus. You have to catch it from someone else carrying it or a contaminated surface. Period. So why are colds more prevalent during the winter? Because you’re inside more often and breathing the coughs and sneezes of those around you.
2. Microwaves heat from the inside out.
This is one of the most common myths I see going around. The fact is: it’s the complete opposite. Microwaves use non-ionizing radiation to heat the water molecules on the outer layers of your food. The heat migrates toward the middle. That’s why you often find your microwaved food to be cold in the middle if not heated long enough.
3. We only use 10% of our brain.
This might be true for some of the people I’ve met (just kidding…. kind of) – but on a whole it’s false. The wonderful thing about modern science is that we can now see exactly what pistons are firing inside the human brain. Many years of testing have been done on the brain’s functioning areas and it’s been proven that every area (of a healthy brain) actively does something (to put it plainly). So where did this 10% idea come from? Many believe it stems from self help gurus talking about how people only use 10% CAPACITY of their brain power; which is totally different. We’ve all met someone (or multiple someones) that obviously aren’t using their brain to capacity aka expanding their mind. Since people love to shorten concepts – over time it was turned into ‘10% of our brain’ and the “capacity” part was chucked in the waste basket.
4. Cats always land on their feet.
There’s no denying that cats are agile. They seem to float through the air like a ninja at times. But, if you are thinking of tossing your feline friend out a window for kicks – I’d advise against it. Cats knock things over, fall onto their side, break legs, sprain paws and more. What probably adds to this myth is the fact that cats are so quick to recover after they take a tumble. They shoot up and away so quickly it might be easy to assume they landed on their feet to begin with.
5. Cold liquids and foods are good for strep throat.
While things like cold juice and Popsicles make strep throat more bearable temporarily, you are actually prolonging the illness. When you have strep throat you’re taking antibiotics or some type of homeopathic remedy (and if you aren’t…are you nuts?!). These medications require easy blood flow to be transferred to the infected areas. When you drink or eat something cold you are constricting the blood vessels in your throat – causing the medicine to take longer to treat the area. If you drink a warm beverage like tea – you increase the blood flow to your throat and the medicine can work at it’s intended speed.
6. Fingernails and hair continue to grow after death.
If you’ve watched a horror movie about the dead coming out of their graves you might have noticed they all have long, scraggly hair and even the dudes have long fingernails. While this definitely ups the creepy level (no manicure? EEK!) it’s all Hollywood imagination. After a body shuffles off the mortal coil, skin and muscle shrink. When that happens it exposes more of the existing hair and nails – making them appear longer.
7. Goldfish only have a 3 second memory.
I love myths that deal with animals. Sometimes it’s subjective – sometimes it just takes owning one. If you’ve ever owned goldfish (or any fish, carp or otherwise) for an extended period of time, then you already know this is false. No, your fish wasn’t just a genius – they all have average memories. Goldfish have been trained to navigate mazes, can recognize their owners and more. The most evident way to test this is to hold the food canister over their tank or bowl. They aren’t running over thinking ‘Woah! what is THAT thing?” …they remember it means food.
8. Sugar causes hyperactivity in children.
I wish curing my two year old’s energy level was as easy as cutting off the fruit juice. I really do. Unfortunately this popular myth has been tested time and time again with double-blind experiments in fancy, schmancy laboratories all over the place. The results were that children who consumed sugar had no more frequent hyperactivity than children on a sugar free diet. Barbara Strupp, professor of nutritional sciences and psychology at Cornell University, even calls the concept of sugar induced hyperactivity a “non-issue from a scientific perspective.” [source] Scientists believe that this myth has become strong because parents already believe it before they see evidence of it. It can also result from the situation in which sugar is given to children. If you already limit sugar with your children – just allowing them to have it excites them. If you reserve sweets for special occasions such as birthday parties, family day out, amusement parks, etc – then chances are your child is already hyped up on the awesomeness of the activity before the sugar even reaches their mouth.
9. Turkey makes you sleepy.
This is one of the myths that started out true, but got muddled up like the world’s biggest game of telephone (does anyone else remember that game or am I just really, really old?). The truth: some important info has been left out of the statement. Yes, turkey contains tryptophan which is a sedative. But, beef and chicken both contain the same levels as turkey. So why don’t you get sleepy every time you eat meat? It’s most likely a coincidence. Turkey is associated with large holidays and family gatherings. That means a huge meal in the middle of the day which slows blood flow and makes you drowsy. Holidays also mean a long, exciting day with family so you’re body is ready for a nap.
10. And — just to be fair — a ‘myth’ I still believe.
Teething fevers. All moms are familiar with them. When your child is at that age you know a new tooth is coming because they get a mystery fever. Doctors are now saying that the teething fever is a myth and if your child has a fever it’s from something else. I disagree. Both of my children had fevers with each and every tooth. And each time the fever started with the tooth and ended with the breaking through of the tooth. No virus. No other symptoms. Granted, if your child gets a fever, runny nose and diarrhea at the same time – you may be dealing with more than teething. Sometimes teething lowers the immune system and makes them more available for all the yuckies flying around in the air. But I still hold to my belief that a fever, alone, can be a result of a new tooth. These same doctors also claim that teething doesn’t cause fussiness. Yeah……right.
Side note: With the exception of Ms. Strupp’s quote, there are no links. I know. I want you to get out there and research! Your computer does more than access Facebook…I promise.