Folk wisdom by its nature is like gossip: it would seem that there is a grain of truth, but it is very difficult to get to the bottom of it. First, during the summer holidays with my grandmother, we learn about the magical properties of plantain, then my mother chastises us for reading with a flashlight under the covers and spoiling our eyes, and then we are not far from homeopathy. That there are myths - even some generally accepted "truths" sometimes do not stand the test. It is useful to refer to them from time to time in order to understand where the scientific fact is, and where is the folk wisdom. We picked ten popular ideas about health and treatment and figured out if there is even a grain of truth in them.
Vitamin C can save you from colds and flu
Vitamin C is involved in a huge number of metabolic processes in the body, including helping to cope with emotional and physical stress. It is known that ascorbic acid reduces cortisol levels and accelerates the body's recovery after heavy exertion, which is why athletes love it. But there was no scientific evidence that this vitamin helps fight colds and flu.
Experiments have shown that it helps prevent colds during periods of short and extreme physical activity at low temperatures, like marathon runners and skiers or soldiers in subarctic climates, but there is no detailed explanation for this phenomenon yet. In all other cases, it is better to regularly eat broccoli, tomatoes, lemons and other foods containing vitamin C for the normal functioning of the body. Ascorbic acid does not accumulate, so you should not gobble up oranges in kilograms: the daily dose for an adult is 75–90 mg.
Eyesight deteriorates when reading in the dark
The main cause of poor vision is genetics. If the parents had poor eyesight, then with a probability of 40%, the story will repeat itself in children. Another common problem is computer vision syndrome, which occurs when the distance to the screen is incorrect while working with electronic devices. So, at an appointment with an ophthalmologist, it will be more important whether your mother wears glasses and how your workplace is arranged, and whether you like to read without a table lamp.
Research published in 2007 in The BMJ refutes the myth that reading in the dark is harmful. At night it is really more difficult to focus, a person blinks less often, the surface of the eyeball dries up, which causes a feeling of discomfort. But such stress passes without harm to the eyes. Much of the current research and scientific debate revolves around how working with close objects and head position affects vision. For example, there is evidence that reading on the back is not as harmful as sitting and looking down at a book.
During illness, you need to eat hard to gain strength
During a cold or flu, it's important not to stop eating normally, but feeling unwell is not a reason to overeat. When the body is fighting an infection, it needs energy, which means it needs to supply calories and nutrients. This is especially important during a fever: elevated temperature is a mechanism of the immune system that triggers an accelerated metabolism. Each degree requires more and more energy, which means calories. At the same time, it is important not to burden the body with the digestion of heavy food: all forces should be thrown into the victory of the infection. So it is better to give up pork ribs and sandwiches in favor of low-fat chicken broth: it is liquid, and warm, and moderately high in calories.
With a cold, you need to sweat to get better soon
Sweat helps the body cool down and flushes out toxins and is released on the body when the fever subsides.A high temperature is needed in order to mobilize the immune system, so if it is below 38.5 degrees, it is better to give the body a chance to fight it itself. Sweat is more a signal that you are on the mend, rather than the cause of what is happening. However, there seems to be no large-scale scientific research on the relationship between sweating and the rate of recovery.
There is also a belief that with the initial symptoms of a cold, going to the bath will help. Austrian scientists tested this assumption and observed a group of 50 men for six months: half went to the sauna regularly, half did not. Among those who took a steam bath, there were indeed fewer cases of colds than in the control group, but, as the scientists note, it is too early to draw conclusions and further tests are needed.
Skin lesions heal better when exposed to air
Quite the opposite: the air dries out the epidermis and slows down the formation of new cells. In addition, an infection can easily be introduced into an unhealed open wound. For regeneration, it is better to cover the wound with a bandage or plaster, so that the environment will be moist and protected from bacteria. The wound should be rinsed regularly, and the bandage or plaster should be changed at least once a day.
Forget the plantain: an unwashed bush leaf from the roadside will do nothing but extra germs. But if you “blow on the wound”, the crust really forms faster - in about three hours instead of the usual days for this process, however, more tissues will die off. So, according to scientists, it is possible to blow on damage, but it is worth doing this only if the rapid formation of a crust helps to avoid infection - for example, with large burns.
Taking Calcium Together with Vitamin D Strengthens Our Bones
Human bones contain 99.5% of the calcium found in the body, and vitamin D helps us absorb it from food. Vitamin D is synthesized by exposure to the sun and is also ingested through food. It is believed that it is difficult to make up the daily allowance with food alone. For example, the US National Institutes of Health recommends taking about 15 mcg of vitamin D per day in supplements, and after age 65, increase the dose to 20 mcg, as the risk of osteoporosis increases with age. However, according to some reports, for women after menopause, increasing the dose does not lead to the desired effect and, on the contrary, provokes the formation of kidney stones. Be that as it may, at any age, before using dietary supplements and vitamins, it is better to consult a doctor.
Tea with honey and lemon will cure colds
Will cure - no, but may relieve symptoms. During acute respiratory infections, it is recommended to drink plenty of fluids: it removes toxins through sweating and urine, prevents dehydration and relieves the pain of an inflamed nasopharynx due to vasodilation. Another thing is that liquid can be any: water, juice, milk, including tea with honey and lemon. Black tea contains caffeine, which increases the overall tone of the body, so you will be energized for a while, which, however, does not mean victory over the virus.
There is no scientific evidence for the benefits of honey and lemon for colds. We have already figured out the real effect of vitamin C - as for honey, it helps to soften a cough. For a sore throat, however, it must be used with caution as it can increase irritation. It is worth remembering that at temperatures above 37 degrees, honey loses its beneficial properties, so it is better to eat a teaspoon just like that, than add it to the drink.
Blueberries help restore vision
Legend has it that during World War II, British Air Force pilots ate blueberry jam before every night flight to better see enemy targets. Blueberries really contain the pigment lutein, which is important for the normal functioning of the eye: it protects it from excess light and ultraviolet radiation. There was no evidence that lutein aids vision in the dark and restores visual acuity.It is not synthesized by the human body and mainly accumulates in the retina. There are no recommendations for the daily rate of lutein, as well as understanding in which form it is absorbed more efficiently - from food or from dietary supplements. On the other hand, research confirms that a diet rich in lutein reduces the risk of age-related diseases like cataracts and retinal degeneration. It is recommended to take it in combination with the pigment zeaxanthin and vitamins C and E.
Acne occurs from poor diet
Acne is a tricky thing. Typical inflammations can appear at any age, and it is impossible to isolate the only reason for their occurrence. Genetics, stress, hormones, nutrition, hygiene - there are many factors, and it is difficult to predict which one will fire and provoke disruption of the sebaceous glands. The appearance of acne can indicate all sorts of malfunctions in the body: even a few systematically popping up acne is a reason to see a doctor, at least to make sure that health is within normal limits.
With regard to food, scientists are not yet completely clear. Acne has been blamed on foods high in simple carbohydrates and certain fatty acids, as well as dairy products. Research shows that there is a statistical relationship between these foods and acne, but whether this is a causal relationship is still unknown. Either way, a healthy diet hasn't hurt anyone.
Crunching your fingers can cause arthritis
Popular rumor says that if you stretch sweetly until your joints crackle or knead your fingers, imitating the sound of cracking nuts, then arthritis will occur in old age. In fact, there is no medical evidence for this. But there are two possible causes of bone crunching. First: during stretching, the joint capsule stretches, the pressure in it drops, the joint fluid spreads, and gas bubbles form - they burst with a click. Second, the sound occurs when moving due to rapidly stretching ligaments and tendons. In any case, the worst thing that threatens a lover to crunch his joints is the irritated glances of others.
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