Popular culture is loaded with myths and half-truths. We usually believe medical myths and follow them religiously for the fear of illness and anticipation of good health. Many myths have continued for generations but it’s high time to debunk the myths we have been following for years.
1- Human beings use only 10% of their brains
Motivational speakers and other self-help gurus have been promoting this one since as early as 1907, as a way to encourage people to tap into some latent capacity. Today, scientists can look at any brain scan, measuring activity at any given time, and have a big laugh at this myth. The fact is we use every part of our brain and it is mostly always active.
2- Drinking 8 glasses of water every day
This line of fictionalized wisdom has been bloating the bellies of perfectly hydrated folks for too long. Our bodies are remarkably efficient machines when it comes to letting us know when something’s off. Many of the foods we eat on a regular basis already contain water. The truth id that one has to basically consume 8 ounces or 2-2.5 liters of water every day through food and fluids.
3- Sitting close to TV or reading in the dark can ruin the eyesight
The researchers found no evidence that reading in dim light or sitting too close to TV causes permanent eye damage. It can cause eye strain and temporarily decreased acuity, which subsides after rest.
4- Shaved hair regrow back darker, coarser, thicker
Here’s a myth you can debunk yourself by paying attention to your own hair after shaving. When hair first comes in after being shaved, it grows with a blunt edge on top. Over time, the blunt edge gets worn so it may seem thicker than it actually is. However, scientifically saying, hair regrowth is not affected by any means of hair removal.
5- Supplements are always good for health
Vitamin supplements may be not only ineffectual but even dangerous. Though when taken in moderation, they’re good for health but their excessive consumption can result in toxic side effects including cancer.
6- Pregnancy cannot occur during periods
Although it’s unlikely that a woman will conceive during menstruation, it isn’t impossible. Sperm can live inside a woman’s body for up to a week, and ovulation can occur soon after (or even during) the “bleeding” phase of a woman’s menstrual cycle. That makes it possible for a woman to become pregnant if she has sex either during her period or shortly after it ends.
7- Chewing gum when ingested stays in the stomach for 7 whole years
Although it is true that many of the ingredients in gum are indigestible, that does not mean they hang out in your guts for seven years. Plenty of what you eat — such as fiber — is indigestible. But the digestive system is a robust piece of organic machinery, and anything it can’t absorb, it moves along. Despite the stickiness and strange consistency of gum, it passes right through your digestive tract and into the toilet.
8- Cold weather can cause one to fall sick
This myth is common around the world, but it is just not true. People dwelling in warmer surroundings are as much vulnerable to cold as people dwelling in colder weather conditions. The only thing is that germs spread faster in cold, dry conditions.
9- Spicy food cause ulcers
If you think your ulcers are acting up because of the curry you ate last night for dinner, think again. Although doctors once believed that ulcers were caused by stress, lifestyle choices, or spicy foods, they now know that most ulcers are actually caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. Ulcers can also be caused by certain medicines such as ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
10- We have different taste zones in our tongue
Though the tongue has approximately 8000 taste buds, each area of the tongue can perceive 5 different types of taste.
11- Fried food and chocolate are responsible for acne
Fried food and chocolate have often been blamed for many of the zits suffered by high school kids everywhere. But that’s not true. Actually, hormones, heredity, and stress could be responsible for acne and excess secretion of sebum from sebaceous glands.
12- Knuckle cracking will lead to arthritis
Cracking your knuckles may be super annoying but it’s not going to give you early-onset arthritis, as some might have you believe. While this practice does not cause arthritis, it does have some negative consequences as it has been found that it can lead to reduced grip strength and swelling in the hands.
13- Eating at night can add to your weight
Don’t feel guilty the next time you reach into the fridge for a midnight snack. Though eating late at night has been associated with obesity, this eating behavior doesn’t actually cause obesity. The simple truth is that people put on weight because they consume more calories than they burn.
14- Pregnancy lasts 9 months
Everyone knows that pregnancy lasts nine months. But everyone is wrong about this “fact.” Doctors typically measure a full-term pregnancy as lasting 40 weeks, counting from the first day of a woman’s last period. But women usually become fertile 10 to 16 days after their period starts. So by this method of counting, the first two weeks of most pregnancies actually take place before a woman has conceived. However, the gap between conceiving and delivery is of 38 weeks only.
15- Probiotics prevent cold
Sure, probiotics won’t make you sick, but they won’t keep you from catching a cold, either. Although preliminary research does suggest that probiotics could possibly help ward off colds, no high-quality trials support this claim.
16- Bed rest heals back pain
Complete bed rest doesn’t help in total recovery from back pain but mind indulgence in physical activities along with some bed rest helps in faster recovery.
17- Swimming after food can cause cramps
There is no special reason not to swim after eating. It’s true that any type of vigorous exercise can be uncomfortable (although not dangerous) after an overwhelming feast. But for most of us whose waterfront dining experience includes sand-dusted chips and soggy sandwiches, that is hardly a concern. And cramps can happen anytime, whether you’ve eaten or not.
18- Vaccines can cause flu and autism
Although the body can develop a low-grade fever in response to any vaccine, rumors that a flu shot can cause the flu are “an outright lie.” Vaccines contain dead viruses that cannot activate the flu and the autism study from which this myth gained momentum is flawed.
19- Nails and hair continue to grow after death
This myth is actually just a misperception. As the body’s skin is drying out, soft tissue, especially skin, is retracting. The nails appear much more prominent as the skin dries out. The same is true, but less obvious, with hair. As the skin is shrinking back, the hair looks more prominent or sticks up a bit.