It is never wise to blindly believe everything you hear or see on TV and the internet. Especially when it comes to your health! How does one know whether it is a myth or a fact? Here are a few things I thought were myths, but a bit of fact-checking proved otherwise.
The myth about carrots
There are actually two carrot-related myths that proved to be more fact than myth. Firstly, do carrots improve eyesight? Well, it appears that our bodies use the beta-carotene in carrots in the production of Vitamin A. This vitamin is necessary when our eyes convert light into signals that travel to the brain. Therefore, eating carrots can improve eyesight in low light conditions.
The second myth says eating carrots can change your skin color. Yellowish skin discoloration is possible, typically noticeable on the foot soles and hand palms. That same beta-carotene that helps in the body’s production of Vitamin A can cause skin discoloration. However, you would have to eat about 10 carrots each day for several weeks. The beta-carotene content of one medium carrot is only about four milligrams. Discoloration requires between 20 and 50 milligrams.
Can exercise make you smarter, or is it a myth?
Would you be surprised to learn that this is not a myth? As recently as 2012, researchers discovered a protein called irisin. During exercise, the muscles secrete this isolated hormone. The benefits include the creation of new brain cells. The irisin also boosts thinking and memory.
Can spicy food cause weight loss or is it a myth?
When winter makes way for spring and summer, many people will try anything to lose weight. Especially after a winter of social distancing and lock downs. If you like spicy foods, you’re in luck. The capsaicin present in various types of peppers boosts metabolism. Essentially, it burns more calories and suppresses appetite. A win-win myth if you ask me!
Would you eat garlic to soothe a toothache?
When you chop or crush garlic, it produces a compound called allicin. This compound has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that fight infections and relieve pain. However, it should not replace a dentist appointment. For me, I would pass this painkiller by, as I mentioned before, I hate the smell of garlic. If you choose to eat garlic to soothe a toothache, I’m glad I won’t be the dentist.
Are you a late-night snacker?
Late night meals or even snacks can indeed cause nightmares. It is also a recipe for weight gain because your system will go into rest-mode and not burn calories. Furthermore, the food you consume late at night will confuse your brain by signaling it to become active. And it is this brain activity that could cause vivid nightmares.
Can you catch up on lost sleep?
Here, the myth says you can’t catch up with lost sleep. Not true. A Swedish study of 40,000 participants determined that sleeping in on Saturdays and Sundays restored their concentration and vigor. However, even getting one or two hours of extra sleep for several consecutive nights could also recharge those sleep batteries.