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Common Old Wives Tales (and the truths)

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Common Old Wives Tales (and the truths)

Post by Cloud on Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:10 pm

Chicken Soup Is Good for You When You're Sick: Mostly True

When you're sick, nothing tastes better than a warm bowl of chicken soup. There are plenty of benefits that seem obvious—like keeping you hydrated and clearing of nasal congestion—but there might be more to it. In a study published in the journal Chest, Dr. Stephen I. Rennard found an additional quality of standard chicken soups: anti-inflammatory capabilities. Inflammation is one of your body's first responses to infection, and even though it's an important part of the immune system, it can lead to acute bronchitis or sinus infections if left untreated.

Another study, in the American Journal of Therapeutics, investigated chicken soup and chicken breast extracts and their ability to help manage Influenza. They found that carnosine and its derivative anserine, both available in chicken breasts, could contribute to treatment and prevention of viral infections like colds and the flu. Considering these benefits—and the fact that it's oh so yummy—it seems like grandma was right about this one.




starve a Fever, Feed a Cold: Mostly False

This saying goes back at least as far as the Middle Ages. Supposedly, you consume food to fuel your fight against a cold, and you don't consume food when you have a fever. It was believed that eating made you warmer, and if you already have a fever, the last thing you want to do is increase your body temperature. At least one Dutch study, published in the journal Clin Diagn Immunol, has found some minor evidence supporting the ancient claim, but the study size was very small. Even Gijs van den Brink, one of the lead scientists on the study, suggests people not change their behavior based on the results.

You require water and energy for your body to function properly, regardless of whether you're sick or not, so the NYU Langone Medical Center has a different take on the tale:

Current medical opinion puts the "feed a cold, starve a fever" maxim in the same category as other medical advice from the Middle Ages–false and maybe even dangerous! An infection–particularly one associated with fevers– is no time to deny your body the nutrients and fluids it needs. Like any bodily system, the immune system requires energy to function properly. To provide an extreme example, severe malnutrition is the major risk factor for life-threatening consequences of serious infections in less developed countries. And, drinking fluids helps counter the dehydration caused by sweating and mucus production.


The bottom line is the concept doesn't make very much sense. The saying should actually be "feed a cold, feed a fever." Your body needs energy no matter how you're feeling. On the Duke Medicine blog, nutrition scientist and clinical trials manager Denise Snyder lays it all out:

"I think it was always pretty much dismissed as folklore. If you break it out and really think about it, there is some immune response if you eat less during a fever. But as a nutritionist, I certainly wouldn't tell people to starve themselves."

So the next time you're not feeling well, follow these simple rules: drink lots of fluids, and—even though you probably don't feel hungry—eat whenever you can.



Being Cold Will Give You a Cold: Somewhat True

Being cold does not literally cause you to catch a cold, but being cold can make you more susceptible to getting sick. You generally spend more time indoors during the cold seasons, and that can translate to more time spreading each other's germs. There's evidence that supports some other factors at play, however.


Though most studies, like this one published in the journal Family Practice, and conducted by Ronald Eccles—the director of the Common Cold Centre—find very little relation between people being cold and developing cold symptoms, others have found indirect evidence to how the cold affects us. In this study published in the journal Pathogens, researchers Anice C. Lowen and Peter Palese found that air temperature and humidity levels can play a part in transmitting viruses. Keeping your room above 20 degrees C (68 degrees F) and at intermediate or high humidity can help keep the flu from spreading.

In another study from the Common Cold Centre, Ron Eccles suggests that lower body temperatures can cause blood vessels in your airways to constrict, possibly inhibiting your immune response while onsetting common cold symptoms. So, does the cold make you sick? No, but being cold may create the ideal conditions for infection.



]b]You Lose Most of Your Body Heat Through Your Head: Mostly False[/b]

This one comes from a few different places. Before central heating was available, homes would be pretty cold at night. To help keep warm, people would wear nightcaps, just like you see in old cartoons. It made sense, considering that your head is one of the only things sticking out of the covers. This eventually led people to believe that a great deal of heat would escape from your head without one.

A study conducted in the 50s may also have contributed to this belief. Anahad O'Connor from The New York Times spoke about the study with Dr. Daniel I. Sessler, an anesthesiologist and expert on hypothermia at the University of Louisville medical school:


In those studies, he said, researchers dressed subjects in Arctic survival suits and exposed them to frigid conditions. But the suits only covered the subjects from the neck down, he said, so naturally most of their body heat escaped through their heads. That isn't a fair comparison, Dr. Sessler said. If you did the same experiment with someone wearing a swimsuit, only about 10 percent of the heat loss would come from the head.
Dr. Sessler explains that the body areas of the face, head, and upper chest are simply more sensitive to temperature changes than other areas. It might feel like putting on a hat makes you warmer, but the reality is adding any additional clothing to another part of the body will reduce just as much heat loss.




Breakfast Is the Most Important Meal of the Day: Somewhat True


Everyone has heard this one at some point in their lives, either from parents or cereal commercials. Breakfast is what starts your day off right, right? Well, it depends on what's actually important to you.

There are health factors to consider with breakfast.  A study published in the American Heart Association Journals found that eating breakfast was associated with significantly lower risk of coronary heart disease. The study looked at men from 45 to 82 years old with 16 years of follow up. Another study—this time focused on women—from the Endocrine Society, suggested that skipping breakfast may make obese women insulin resistant, which could lead to diabetes. In regards to children, a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that omitting breakfast interferes with cognition and learning, especially in nutritionally at-risk children. Professor of Kinesiology and Health Education John L Ivy, PhD at the University of Texas at Austin, explains why he thinks it's the most important meal, regardless of sex or age:

Breakfast immediately raises the body's energy level and restores the blood glucose level to normal after an overnight fast. It also raises the muscle and liver glycogen stores. Carbohydrate is the preferred fuel for muscle and the nervous system. Low carbohydrate levels result in poor performance and rapid fatigue during training and other physical activities. ...breakfast has a significant effect on cognitive function during the day. If we fail to replenish our carbohydrate stores during the early morning hours, the resulting low blood glucose levels can adversely affect our ability to concentrate and perform mental tasks. Studies have shown that children who eat breakfast perform at a higher level in school and are more physically active than those who skip breakfast. Also, breakfast helps increase the ability to focus and reduces declines in attention and memory over the morning hours.

Your schedule, lifestyle, and job can all be factors for determining what's important, but it's clear that we need fuel. Breakfast is the first chance we have to fuel ourselves each day, and whether the benefits you receive are physical or mental, it's hard to completely deny it's importance. Especially when you consider what "breakfast" really means. The word literally refers to whatever the first meal you have that "breaks your fast" of the prior night. So whether you eat when you first wake up or wait until lunchtime, your first meal is going to be important.



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Re: Common Old Wives Tales (and the truths)

Post by Dragon on Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:04 pm

Fact: A spoonful of honey is good for coughs
Honey contains natural anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial substances. In fact, in one study, more than 100 children with upper respiratory tract infections were given either a honey flavored cough suppressant, nothing, or up to two teaspoons of pure honey before bed. The real honey not only reduced nighttime coughing and improved sleep, but it was just as effective as the over the counter medication.


Myth: Spicy foods cause ulcers
We now know that ulcers aren’t caused by worrying, or eating spicy foods that “burn holes” in your stomach. Eighty to 90% of ulcers are caused by H. pylori bacteria, and as a result are treated with antibiotics.

That said, if you’re currently being treated for an ulcer avoiding spicy foods is a good idea until it has healed. But in general, having chili peppers in your diet may offer a number of health benefits, including boosting metabolism, thinning the blood, which lowers the risk of stroke, reducing the risk of certain cancers, supporting immunity, and reducing inflammation, a known trigger of premature aging and chronic disease.


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