Health myths abound on the internet and even among many professionals. Once you learn the data behind the truth, it becomes easier to let go of your preconceived beliefs. I am outlining several common myths in this post for you to consider and even do some investigation on your own.
Myth 1 – Ulcers are caused by spicy food
If you think ulcers are caused by foods you eat, think again. Doctors once believed that ulcers were caused by stress, lifestyle choices or spicy foods, but they now know that most ulcers are actually caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori.
Ulcers, or sores that develop in the lining of the esophagus, stomach or the first part of the small intestine, can also be caused by certain medicines, aspirin and iron tablets.
Myth 2 – Most of your body heat is lost through your head
Don’t believe the sales pitches: You don’t lose most of your body heat through your head.
The head represents about 10% of the body’s total surface area. If the head lost 75% of the body’s heat, it would have to lose 40 times as much heat as the rest of your body. The real reason we might lose more heat through our head is if we’re outside in the cold, clothed, without a hat, much like you might lose more heat through your legs if you wear shorts. Body heat loss from the head is proportional to the amount of skin on the average human head.
Myth 3 – Cold weather makes you sick
Studies have shown we feel more cold symptoms when chilled, but temperature itself does not make us more susceptible to viruses. This has been known since at least 1968, when researchers exposed chilly people to the rhinovirus – one cause of the common cold. These study subjects shivering in a frigid room or in an icy bath were no more likely to get sick after sniffing cold germs than they were at more comfortable temperatures.
With that said, it’s unclear how colder conditions affect germs themselves. Research has shown that two common causes of colds — rhinoviruses and coronaviruses — may actually thrive at colder temperatures, and that the flu may spread most effectively under cold, dry conditions.
Some speculate that colds are more common in cooler months because people spend more time indoors and interact more closely, giving germs more opportunity to spread.
Myth 4 – Organic food is pesticide-free
Organic food isn’t free of pesticides and it isn’t necessarily better for you than non-organic. Farmers who grow organic produce are permitted to use chemicals that are naturally derived. In some cases, these are actually worse for the environment than their synthetic counterparts. However, pesticide levels on both organic and non-organic foods are considered so low that they aren’t of concern for consumption, according to the USDA.
With all of that said, there is not a lot of data about benefits of organic vs. conventional produce and the industry is not well regulated as there is still use of pesticides that have been banned from use in our foods!
Myth 5 – Vitamins make you healthy
Vitamins sound like a great idea, but before you invest in that multi-vitamin, keep in mind that research has not found any justification for their use. Vitamins have actually been associated with an increased risk of various cancers.
However, this is not always the case with targeted supplements that are of high quality and recommended for particular needs based on your unique biology which you could determine based on genetic testing.
Myth 6 – Yogurt helps gut issues
Yogurt is often touted as helping digestion and slimming because of probiotics. While bacteria are well-connected to our metabolism and obesity rates, among other things, the connection seems logical.
However, the reality is we don’t fully understand how the millions of bacteria in our bodies work together. This is not to say that yogurt is unhealthy, or that probiotics are not needed. The point is that yogurt’s benefits are oversold. Additionally, much yogurt is packed with sugar, which can contribute to many health issues, so if you enjoy the product, buy unsweetened greek yogurt to enjoy.
Myth 7 – Wine is healthy and a good sleep aid
Drinking alcohol might make you feel sleepy, but it’s not a good idea to use it for sleeping. Alcohol is a sedative, so it might will help you fall asleep faster, but that sleep is less likely to be restful and restorative.
A study published in 2015 in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research revealed that subjects who drank alcohol experienced an increase in deep sleep early in the night, but then experienced sleep disruption, greater numbers of awakenings and more time spent awake later on in the night.
And if you insist of drinking red wine for health benefits, you would have to drink more than 600 glasses nightly to reap any such rewards.
With all of that said, the takeaway is to get curious. Do your own research when things seem sketchy. Ask questions and reduce your reliance on influencers for health information.
What’s not a myth is that we will be offering a 6-week facilitated program – ‘Managing Menopause’ beginning in January 2024. This will be evidence-based information presented for you to put into immediate use.
We will cover Best movement practices, Meal ideas, Mindfulness techniques, Creating healthier habits, Managing mood swings, and more!
You will learn techniques to improve focus, enhance sleep, build self-awareness and self-compassion, foster community and stronger connections.
Expect group lessons, discussions and homework for you to build enhanced awareness and agency over your own life and health.You will gain access to a like-minded community, Useful tools, myths debunked, a safe space for discussion, and full access to the presenters.
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