24 April 2013

5 strange health ‘myths’

We reveal some health ‘myths’ which are actually true.

 From old wives’ tales to folklore, there are a lot of bizarre myths out there, yet is it possible that some of these funny phrases and familiar sayings actually contain an element of truth? Let’s find out:    

Overweight people are jolly

Whilst most of us wouldn’t want to be overweight, it turns out that the so-called health myth that bigger people are jolly actually contains an element of truth.

Researchers at Lakehead University in Canada conducted a study and found that there was a link between a woman’s size and her mood. The psychologists measured the Body Mass Index of the all-female participants and then compared this number to the moods of each of the participants. The results were surprising and the study indicated that the larger the woman the better her mood. Those with low Body Mass Index numbers were more prone to displaying signs of depression and anxiety and also had a more negative mood overall.

The researchers at Lakehead University suggest that the bigger women enjoyed a more improved mood because they had higher oestrogen levels due to their increased levels of fatty tissues, which often contain strong levels of oestrogen.

Love makes you crazy

It would seem that Beyonce was on to something when she released her Crazy In Love hit song back in 2003, as studies reveal that we really do lose our minds a little when we fall head over heels in love with someone.

Several studies have found that when we fall in love our bodies are exposed to lots of mind-altering chemicals, which can make us behave very differently to how we typically do on a day-to-day basis. For example, a group of Italian scientists conducted a study in 1990 that found that people who had fallen in love showed symptoms of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Similarly it is thought that when we fall in love the part of our brain that regulates fear, the amygdala, decreases and therefore when we fall in love we are more likely to do dangerous things we would normally think twice about.

Carrots are good for your eyes

When we were little we were all told at one point or another that carrots can help us to see in the dark. Although this sadly isn’t true, carrots can help to contribute to good eye health. Firstly, this is because carrots contain vitamin A, which is an important vitamin that can aid sight. Therefore, eating carrots as part of a diet rich in vitamin A will help you to maintain good vision.

It is also thought that carrots can help prevent and reduce your risk of developing macular degeneration, a condition associated with old age that can lead to a loss of vision.  A study conducted by Age-Related Eye Disease Study found that consuming lots of vitamin A might help to prevent macular degeneration. However, findings are inconclusive and other studies have found alternative results.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away

We’re all familiar with this phrase, but again it seems like this age-old saying does contain some truth. It is thought that apples can help to prevent strokes and heart attacks, plus Cornell University researchers have found a link between apples and their ability to prevent breast cancer in primates. The findings from Cornell University could also be applied to humans and therefore apples could help us to protect ourselves against certain types of cancer.

There are other benefits to be had from tucking into apples. For example, apples can boost our metabolism and also keep our blood sugar levels steady, which in turn helps us to maintain a healthy weight and will help us to avoid those health problems associated with being obese. We think it might be time to swap our mid-afternoon snack to an apple. 

Garlic can relieve toothache

If you’ve ever had toothache you know that you would try anything to relieve the pain, but even when you’re suffering with the blinding agony of an abscess you might question garlic as a remedy to your symptoms.

However, no matter how odd it sounds, it is thought that garlic can help to reduce the pain of toothache because it can numb your tooth. Garlic is also known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which both derive from the allicin content in garlic.

Garlic should only really be used as a last resort though, so make sure you get checked out by a dentist, especially if the pain persists.

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