Sleep eight hours a 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 even true. Then there are the old wives’ tales, passed down from one generation to the next, that often disregard the difference between fiction and fact. Below, you’ll get a list of 10 of the most common health clichés out there.
Weighing in at just over 1.4 kilograms (3 lb), the human brain is home to almost 100 billion neurons. They transmit information to each other across gaps called synapses, where the brain has almost one quadrillion.
The brain is sectioned into three primary 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 that the cerebellum, which controls basic coordination and balance. And finally, you have the brain stem.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if all of this processing is just making use of 10 percent of the brain’s bandwidth?
Alas, this “fact” is utterly wrong. We’re not sure where the claim that we only use 10 percent of our brains came out, but it seemed to percolate from 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 proof that all humans must have the capability to be smart. We just need to try harder.
Further research at the start of the 20th century found 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 over 10 percent of your brain. Oh well.
After swallowing a particularly large piece of bubblegum, a lot 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 crap.
Even though the origins of the myth are elusive, it’s borne out a relative truth about chewing gum. (Translation: It’s not food.)
While it’s not advisable to swallow your chewing gum, what happens to it is not all that exciting. Excess ingredients like sweeteners may be digested, but the bulk of the gum is an elastomer which gets moved through your digestive tract without being broken down. Then the gum comes out the other end through the excretory system and is usually unscathed.
Otherwise, they leak like junk down a stream, right out the other end.
As if puberty, high school, and those teenage years aren’t hard enough, many of us grew up learning that our chocolate ingestion had a causal connection with breakouts. Pretty awful that chocolate, the one thing that makes adolescence bearable, lights up your face with ugly zits.
Eating chocolate will not allow you to break out. However, eating foods high in fat and sugar can increase your body’s natural sebum production, making your skin oilier. Furthermore, those unhealthy foods lead to high levels of skin inflammation.
However, will chocolate-or any food for that matter-make your skin break out? The answer to that is a resounding no. Eating high levels of fatty foods will definitely trip up your blood sugar, which can indirectly affect breakout levels. However, no single food item is the golden ticket to avoiding teenage pimples.
The fantasy 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 transformed 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 huge amounts of carrots, explaining their uncanny ability to shoot down German fighter pilots under the veil of darkness. Truth is, all the carrots in the world couldn’t give you the gift of nocturnal sight.
British troops were warding off German bombers with novel technology in the time-airborne interception radar. It’s 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 overall public has stayed 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’re not likely to get night vision anytime soon.
We’ve Five Senses:
This one should be easy, 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 distinct senses of the human body.
Yes, these are five of your senses. But they aren’t the only ones.
Let’s start with the basics. What is a “sense”? Well, it is something with a detector that can perceive a given stimulus. Every sense is activated by a unique 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 stress, temperature, and pain.
Based on whom you ask, people have as many as 33 senses. These include some senses, like blood pressure and equilibrium that you knew you had but did not count as a “sense” So, next time someone says they have a sixth sense, you could respond by saying you’ve 33. They might not know exactly what you mean by that, but you’ll know!
A lot people can remember being taught, by a biology teacher no less, our ability to roll up our tongues was simple genetic fate. Nearly all people can roll their tongues, and societal wisdom held that tongue rolling was a dominant genetic trait. If either of your parents could do it, so could you.
In reality, it is not that easy. Unlike many of these human 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 characteristic based on a dominant gene.
However, Sturtevant’s exuberance over his finding was short-lived. People realized quickly that there were identical twins where one could roll his tongue and the other could not. Because of this, Sturtevant’s findings were swiftly 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 somebody 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 seems like our craniums can not catch a break. A prevailing hypothesis on the origin of this myth: Scientists conducted research in the 1950s in which subjects were exposed to low temperatures and lost a solid chunk of the heat through their noggins.
The problem with this study is that the subjects 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 mind is not, you’ll lose a disproportionate quantity of body heat through your head.
However, more recent study finds that, all else being equal, an inordinate amount of heat does not escape from your head. [
So, treat your head like every other part of the body. When it’s cold, package it up and everything will be fine.
This “reality” about the human body is sort of creepy, is not 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’re here to let you know that it’s not really correct.
Our bodies dehydrate rather rapidly once we die. At these times, our skin starts wrinkling and pulls inward. This gives the illusion that our hair and nails are still growing. To the contrary, the rest of the body is merely shrinking. Because of this, morticians will often lather corpses in moisturizer to keep them from pruning up.
Arthritis isn’t a single condition but instead a catchall term for a group of pain disorders characterized by joint aches, swelling, and inflammation. Arthritis can be mild or debilitating.
Obviously, if you’re able to stay away from activities linked to arthritis, you should. 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 substance that greases your joints). As bad as that sounds, a cross-study analysis by doctors at Harvard Medical School found no evidence that cracking one’s knuckles has a causal link to arthritis.
That said, you still may want to give up the habit. Chronic knuckle cracking is connected to poorer grip power.
Shave Your Beard, And It Will Grow Back Darker:
Who hasn’t heard this one? Not only will the hair grow back, we’re told, but it will grow back faster and darker than before.
This is absolutely false. In fact, we’ve known this is not true for quite some time. One of the first contemporary studies on the issue took place in 1928. The engaging men all shaved in the exact same manner with the identical brand of shaving cream. Then their subsequent new hairs have been examined for increased rates of growth.
A whole lot of this myth comes down to perception. As our hair grows back, we may be influenced by our preexisting biases. Additionally, when you wax or shave off hair, it is like chopping down a tree and leaving the stump.
Alas, any changes in growth speed could result from underlying hormonal changes. But otherwise, it is all in your head!