50 Common Health Myths Proved Wrong By Science

Much of what we have heard and taught about our health is often tales that has been passed on for generations. Somehow or the other, we all have been a victim of those little nuggets of wisdom which once our grandparents and parents said when we were young. However, such health myths have no proper basis and are rumored to a point where people begin to believe them blindly.

50 Misleading Health Myths Most People Still Believe

Despite huge advancements in the industry of health & wellness, these old misconceptions don’t seem to die. Behind every health myth, there is a clear kernel of reality, which science has already debunked. So which silly health myth are you still believing and spreading it to others? Check if they are in this list. It is time to put a full stop to all the beliefs, inaccuracies, and misconceptions.

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Myth 1: You Will Catch A Cold Or Fall Sick If You Step Out With Wet Hair

Fact: According to research, wintry winds dry the mucus lining in the nasal region. This makes it easier for cold-causing viruses to give a cold. It is the dry air that makes you vulnerable to colds and not the wet head or hair.

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Myth 2: You Can Tell A Baby’s Sex By The Way The Mother Is Carrying It

Fact: This phrase seems to have come from an Old English legend, which however is 100% false. Earlier, people believed that if a woman carried the baby high up, she would give birth to a girl and if she carried it a little low, she would deliver a boy. There isn’t any scientific proof to back up this statement. So, it’s just a tale.

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Myth 3: Shaving Makes Your Hair Grow Faster And Thicker

Fact: According to dailymail.co.uk, this myth was believed for more than 50 years. The growth of hair is controlled by the hair follicles that lie under the skin. The hair follicles are in no way affected after one shaves. Only the external hair is being but and there is no damage done to the follicles. People happened to believe it because after shaving, the hair seems to grow thicker or coarser although it is not.
The truth is that shaving does not alter the hair’s color, thickness, texture, or growth rate. After shaving, it just gives a blunt tip, which makes it feel stubbly or coarse for some time when it begins to grow out. At this stage, the hair appears to be thicker or darker; however, it is not.
The truth is that shaving does not alter the hair’s color, thickness, texture, or growth rate. After shaving, it just gives a blunt tip, which makes it feel stubbly or coarse for some time when it begins to grow out. At this stage, the hair appears to be thicker or darker; however, it is not.

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Myth 4: Reading In Dim Light Will Make You Blind

Fact: This is 100% false. If you consider the way our ancestors sew, read, and did the chores – it was all with the help of firelight. They never went blind. Yes, it is true that reading in low light strains your eyes but they go back to normal once the bright light is turned on. According to a doctor’s answer in WedMD, dim or low light makes it hard for the eyes to focus. Hence, prolonged reading might cause eye fatigue (on a short-term) but it doesn’t damage to an extent that it can lead to blindness.

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Myth 5: Do Not Crack Your Knuckles. You Will Get Arthritis Or Joint Pain

Fact: Popping knuckles or cracking joints are often a misunderstood phenomenon and this study clearly proves it. When you knuckle, the small gas bubbles burst the fluid that is gathered in the finger joints and that’s how you hear the “pop” sound right after you knuckle. So, you are grinding the bones or hurting to an extent that you will get arthritis. No. Cracking your knuckles is not harmful.

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Myth 6: You Should Poop At Least Once In A Day

Fact: No! Not really. It is not necessary that a healthy person has to poop once a day. According to medicaldaily, the amount and frequency a person poops depends on an individual’s dietary habits. Pooping is the body’s way of getting rid of the waste and there is no particular time or instances for this.

Every human is different. While some may poop 2 to 3 times a day while others may not poop for an entire day. It is a red sign only when you have trouble while pooping or there is bleeding or the number of times you poop becomes very less (2 - 3 times a week).

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Myth 7: Watching TV Too Close Will Damage The Vision

Fact: Sitting for longer hours before a computer or watching a TV too close can only give you headache and brow pain because your eyes have strained a lot but it definitely won’t damage your eyesight, says Anne Sumers (an ophthalmologist in New Jersey).
When you look at a screen, you tend to blink less, which also makes your eyes irritated and dry. But it has nothing to do with your vision. Usually, kids watch TV too close to get a clearer picture and this habit diminishes as they grow old. However, watching television very close is also a clear sign that he or she has a problem of nearsightedness. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, there are no scientific proofs that TV radiations lessen or hurt the eye vision.

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Myth 8: Chicken Soup Will Cure Your Bad Cold

Fact: It only helps but does not cures. Science has already proved that there is no cure for common cold. So, the next time someone tells you that chicken soup will cure the cold, then just clear them that it is just a myth. According to MayoClinic, any warm liquid like tea or chicken soup speeds the mucus movement through nose, which in turn relives congestion. That’s the reason you heal faster.

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Myth 9: You Should Drink 8 Glasses Of Water In A Day

Fact: This seems to be the most common cited water rule, which actually is false. The reality is that there are no scientific proofs backing up this statement. The amount of water a person should consume depends on factors like weight, age, altitude, activity, alcohol intake, and temperature. The case is completely different during pregnancy.

While some may be satisfied with eight glasses of water but some might need more. According to the New York Times, besides thirst, a clear sign that the body needs more fluids is the urine’s color. Is it pale yellow? Then, it is good but has it gotten dark yellow? Well, then you need to drink more water.

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Myth 10: Bottled Water Is A Lot Healthier Than The Tap Water

Fact: Just because the bottle comes packaged in a beautiful design, it doesn’t mean the water in it is super healthy or perhaps, much better than the tap water. Most people tend to believe that water companies provide water from those natural springs or glaciers but it is the same water that comes from your kitchen faucet. Only that, they purify it to a great extent.

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Myth 11: An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away

Fact: This is certainly one of the most used expressions around. However, apart from the fact that it rhymes so perfectly, does it actually hold any value? Can apple a day help you maintain a perfect health? Well, the truth is that an apple is fortified with fiber and vitamin C (which certainly is required for a long-term health) but these are not all that a body needs.
Moreover, if your body is affected from an infection, unfortunately apple does nothing to guard you. Ever seen people eating apples during a flu? We sip hot herbal drinks. According to an article published in Harvard Medical School, the phrase dates back to 1866, when a magazine published the quote saying - “Eat an apple on going to bed, and you will keep the doctor from earning his bread.” The rhyming of the words changed by the twentieth century. Yes, apples are a healthy choice and promote better health but they certainly don’t keep the doctor away.

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Myth 12: Dropped Food Can Be Eaten If You Pick It Within 5 Seconds

Fact: Who made this 5-second rule of dropping? A research has already been conducted on this and berkeleywellness has clearly explained it. Unless the floor is 100% germ-free, it is guaranteed that microorganisms will stick on the dropped food. It all comes to what you drop & where? Based on the documented reports, moist foods take extremely less seconds to be contaminated than the dry ones. So, the 5-second rule is just a myth. Once on the floor, it’s on the floor.

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Myth 13: Ice Cream Will Worsen Your Cold

Fact: If you have a cold and desire to comfort yourself with a yummy ice cream, please go ahead. Ice cream will not worsen it. In fact, according to a doctor at MayoClinic, frozen dairy products helps in soothing a sore throat.

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Myth 14: Once You Swallow A Chewing Gum, It Stays In The Stomach For 7 Years

Fact: Most kids tend to hear this even today. However, Dr. Rob Hicks says that, “It is true that our digestive tract cannot break down the chewing gum’s synthetic resin but it is highly efficient enough to pass all the waste via excretory.”

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Myth 15: Sweating Helps To Detoxify The Body

Fact: Sweating helps in regulating the body temperature while detoxification, on the other hand, is the process of eliminating unwanted toxins via the digestive system. According to Dr. Dee Anna Glaser, who is a professor of Dermatology, sweating does not release toxins. It is just water. After you drink a glass of water, the body automatically replaces the lost water. The removal of toxins is often the liver’s job.

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Myth 16: Wearing Someone’s Glasses Will Damage Your Eyesight.

Fact: Sweating helps in regulating the body temperature while detoxification, on the other hand, is the process of eliminating unwanted toxins via the digestive system. According to Dr. Dee Anna Glaser, who is a professor of Dermatology, sweating does not release toxins. It is just water. After you drink a glass of water, the body automatically replaces the lost water. The removal of toxins is often the liver’s job.

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Myth 17: Eating Excess Sugar Will Cause Diabetes

Fact: Type I diabetes occurs when the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin are damaged. This in no way has any connection with sugar consumption. Type II diabetes on the other hand, occurs when the body fails to react to insulin properly, which again doesn’t has direct association with how much sugar you eat but it can increase the risk.

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Myth 18: Children With Diabetes Should Never Have Sweets

Fact: This is half-true. Children with diabetes can have some proportion of sugary foods to balance their diet. What they should really pay attention to is the total intake of carbohydrates, which primarily includes sugary treats. Sweets have no nutritional value and just provide calories. Hence, they should be limited but not necessary that they have to be eliminated fully.

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Myth 19: Sit Straight Always. Slouching Is Not Good

Fact: This advice is something most teachers and parents tend to give but the fact is different. According to Dr. Danya Altoukhi, sitting straight all the time or for longer periods gives more strain to the spine. This in turn, can cause back pain and can turn severe if continued.

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Myth 20: Good Swimmers Do Not Drown

Fact: This is false. According to James Orlowski, a drowning researcher and a doctor, this is never the case. He says that excess drinking, taking drugs, rip currents, and overestimating the swimming abilities can easily pull a person underwater. These factors are dangerous for even the best swimmers.

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Myth 21: Eating At Nights Will Make You Fat

Fact: Eating at nighttime has been a biggest debate since decades. However, the researchers from Israel tested if eating more during nights caused weight gain. Well, the idea of eating after 6 PM or 7 PM is half-true. You can certainly eat at night but as long as it is healthy and not bigger in quantities, it is safe. So, what you eat and how much you eat matters the most. Also, are you burning the calories that you are taking in? If all these factors are considered, night-eating isn’t a big deal.

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Myth 22: Only Athletes Get Athlete’s Foot

Fact: Certainly not. Just because the term athlete’s foot has “athlete” in it, it doesn’t mean only athletes get this foot infection. The disease got its name because the fungus that causes the infection mostly resides on places where athletes hang out – like locker and shower rooms. So, any individual who is exposed to this fungus can be infected.

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Myth 23: Alcohol Puts You To Sleep

Fact: It is just the opposite. Though a nightcap might assist you to doze more quickly, excess undermines your sleep quality. In fact, you do not spend the required time for the REM cycles and end up waking up soon. If you are drinking a lot, a hangover will leave you extremely uncomfortable to sleep.

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Myth 24: Having A Miscarriage Means That You Are More Likely To Have Another

Fact: After a miscarriage, there are no greater chances of having another. The risk increases after two consecutive miscarriages. If a woman suffers recurrent marriages, it is best to have it checked with a good, fertility specialist.

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Myth 25: We Only Use Ten Percent Of Our Brains And Not All

Fact: The idea that we use only 10% of our brains is not actually true. According to researchers, every brain part has an important role to play. They are not idle or unused. They have already demonstrated this through brain scans and mapping.

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Myth 26: Exercises Are Not For Older People

Fact: Definitely not. In fact, not moving will speed the ageing process. Not exercising it a lot riskier. People, who are inactive, are more likely to develop cardiovascular problems. If you have not exercised for a long time, start with a few low-impact aerobics that helps in raising the heart rate. Swimming is a good example for this. The American Heart Association suggests thirty minutes of aerobics for five days a week and two days of strength training a week. Even a 10-minute brisk walk is a good way to start.

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Myth 27: Hay Fever Comes From Hay

Fact: First, hay fever is not a fever and second, it doesn’t comes from hay. So, do not let the term fool you. According to theguardian.com, hay fever is a type of allergic reaction that occurs in the nasal passages. They become inflamed when they encounter allergens like dander, grass, moulds, and pollens. Though the cause might vary, the symptoms are quite similar – itchy eyes, headaches, sleepless nights, runny nose, sneezing, and lack of proper concentration.

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Myth 28: Organic Is Always Healthy

Fact: The publicity about organic food being healthy may not be true and is just a myth. According to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, there are no proper evidences if organic foods are more nutritious. Fruits and veggies like strawberries, spinach, apples, and peaches might be the common produce to start with if you are going organic but when they are harvested conventionally, they carry the most pesticide residue when compared to others.
Learn: How to remove pesticides easily?

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Myth 29: Depression Is Not An Actual Illness

Fact: Absolutely false. In fact, depression is one of the serious medical issues and one of the primary causes of disabilities in adults. Often, it is confused with normal sadness. However, brain scans prove that depression cause unusual activity levels. In fact, even the important brain chemicals, which carry signals between various nerves, go unbalanced in depressed individuals.

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Myth 30: My Other Healthier Habits Will Easily Make Up For My Smoking

Fact: Most smokers out there justify their habits by saying that their healthy exercise routines and eating nutritional foods are enough to make up for their smoking. But that’s not true. According to Ann M. Malarcher, a senior advisor on Smoking & Health says that, exercising and healthy diets do not lessen the risks linked with smoking. She also says:
"Smoking affects every organ system in the body, and thinking that you are going to find the perfect lifestyle to counteract the effects of smoking is just not realistic."



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Myth 31: Snoring Is Harmless. They Are Normal And Happen To Everybody

Fact: If you have believed this myth until now, then it is time to change your mind. According to the poll done by National Sleep Foundation, an estimated 32% American adults snore at least 3 to 4 nights a week. This might sound harmless, normal and benign. But, if the snoring is chronic and loud, then it is a sign of a serious health condition called OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea).

It is characterized by pauses in breathing while one is asleep. This happens when the airways are blocked and when left untreated, OSA can lessen the blood oxygen levels, further, straining the heart & respiratory organs. Finally, it leads to hypertension, stroke or even a major heart attack.

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Myth 32: Itchy Palms Are A Sign That You Will Get A Lot Of Money

Fact: This is just an old superstition. If this was true, we all would have exposed ourselves to poison ivy. Itchy palms never bring you money. It is the hard work that you do.

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Myth 33: Eating Fat Will Only Make You Fat.

Fact: This completely depends on what type of fat you are eating. Look at the video and article created by Mark Hyman, MD, which clearly explains why fat does not makes you fat. If you are consuming foods that are fortified with monounsaturated fats and other essential fatty acids in recommended proportions, they are never going to make you fat. Instead, they will help you burn down fat.

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Myth 34: If You Are Sweating, It Means You Have Really Exercised Your Ass Off

Fact: This is not necessary. According to Tracy Hafen, an exercise physiologist – You sweat when the body’s core temperature rises. Sweating is the process where your body cools itself to sustain a steady temperature. Just because you are sweating a lot, it doesn’t mean you have worked really hard or burned more calories.

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Myth 35: Stretching Before Exercising Will Prevent Injuries

Fact: A lot of people perform stretches prior working out. This is mostly because someone must have told them to or it might be their inner feelings. The conventional knowledge is that stretching will elongate the muscles and help prevent injuries.

However, on the contrary, performing stretches before exercising weakens the muscles by thirty percent. Also, the lessened tension might increase the possibility of injuries. Instead of stretching, experts advice to warm up simply by walking before a cardio or lifting light weights prior an intense training. Stretching has to be done only after a workout.

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Myth 36: Eating Chocolates Will Cause Acne

Fact: For decades, caring moms have protected their kid’s complexions by saying that chocolates are evil. That’s because they give you acne right? Absolutely wrong! Chocolates seem to have paraded as one of the unhealthiest. The tale has even extended to chips, ice creams, and pizza. However, the good news is that these foods do not cause acne and this study proves it. The overactive oil glands, dead cells, clogged pores, and hormonal changes are the culprits.

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Myth 37: Deodorant Causes Breast Cancer

Fact: According to researchers and doctors, breast cancer is multifactorial, meaning there is no single reason solely responsible for the onset of this disease. If we consider this research, there are no conclusive evidences if using parabens or aluminum containing deodorants increase the risks of breast cancer. So, it is better to focus on eating a healthy diet and a better lifestyle.

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Myth 38: You Need At Least 8 Hours Of Sleep Every Night

Fact: The eight-hour sleep rule is just a myth. Every human’s sleep requirements are different. According to Joyce Walsleben, an associate professor at the NYU’s Sleep Disorders Center, you will easily know when you are not getting enough sleep. You will automatically doze off. So, there is no magic with the number “8.” Some are satisfied with 6-7 hours of good sleep while others need 9 – 10 hours to not be tired the next day.

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Myth 39: You Lose Most Of The Body Heat Through Head

Fact: This health myth is believed to have emerged from a wrong interpretation of a 1950’s scientific experiment performed by the United States military. During the studies, volunteers wore arctic survival suits and the only part that was exposed to bitter colds was their “heads”, which made them believe that humans lost most of the body heat through their heads.

However, the truth is that whichever body part is uncovered, it loses heat. In fact, according to a research published in British Medical Journal, we lost about 7 – 10% of the body heat via heads if they are uncovered during winters. Now, if you had to cover your heads and other body parts leaving legs behind, then your uncovered legs would do the job of losing body heat.

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Myth 40: A Child’s Immune System Cannot Handle Multiple Vaccines.

Fact: An infant’s immune system is much stronger and healthier than you could imagine. According to publichealth.org, based on the amount of antibodies in the blood, theoretically, a baby has the capability to react to about 10,000+ vaccines at a single time. So, say for instance, a baby was to have 14 – 15 vaccines at once; he or she would only use 0.1% of the immune’s capacity.

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Myth 41: Pull A Grey Hair And You Will Have Two More Growing In Its Place

Fact: This is probably one of the most common health myths we have been hearing. However, it is not true. According to Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips, a trichologist, there are no harms of plucking your hair. Neither it will make a few more hairs to grow on its place nor will the surrounding hairs turn grey. A follicle is capable of producing one hair and when you pluck the hair completely, there is 0% chance for the hair to grow back.

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Myth 42: Spicy Foods Cause Ulcers

Fact: For quite a long time now, people have been believing that spicy foods are the primary causes of ulcers. A few decades back, even the doctors believed this health myth and prescribed their patients to be on bland diets. However, recent research proved that the stomach bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori were the real culprits. Spicy foods only irritate the ulcer but they certainly are not the cause.

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Myth 43: Microwaving Kills All The Vital Nutrients From The Food

Fact: This is one of the most common health myths people get to hear often in their day-to-day lives. However, according to Harvard Health Publications, nutrients from food breakdown from any source of heat – it can be a stove, oven, or microwave. The more you heat, the more the nutrients evaporate. So, the myth that microwaving will destroy all the key nutrients from the food is not true. In fact, heating in microwave takes shorter time for the food to be cooked, helping the nutrients to preserve better than other forms of heating.

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Myth 44: Raw Carrots Are Much Better And Healthier Than Cooked

Fact: Yes, it is true that eating vegetables in their raw form is more nutritious than cooked but that’s not the case for all. There are certain veggies that turn to be a lot healthier in their cooked state and carrots happen to be one of them. Carrots are one of the rich sources of beta-carotene, which not only gives them the deep orange color but also converts into A-vitamin in the body. According to the Medical Food News, cooking the carrots increases the carotene content and helps the body to absorb better.

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Myth 45: Carrots Improve Your Vision

Fact: This is again one of the most common health myths believed by most people. The statement is not fully correct. Yes, carrots supplement you with vitamin A, a necessary nutrient required for healthy eyes but they only help in maintaining the vision and does not improves it. Most eye problems are either genetic or associated with other illnesses like diabetes. It is not that carrots aren’t good for the eyes but saying that they would magically give you a 20/20 vision or you will no longer need those glasses if you eat them, is just a saying.

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Myth 46: Counting Sheep Will Put You To Sleep

Fact: Whenever one has troubles of falling asleep, the two common things the world swears by before bedtime is either a glass of warm milk or counting the sheep. But the researchers at the Oxford University concluded after a test that counting endless number of sheep in imagination distracts the other thought patterns in the brain. This makes it harder for the person to relax and fall asleep. So, counting the sheep for faster sleep is just an old theory.

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Myth 47: Masturbation Causes Blindness And Can Drive You Mad.

Fact: This is probably one of the funniest health myths. In olden days, male masturbation was interpreted as one of the biggest sins in many religions. In fact, pleasuring oneself seemed to be the direct ticket to hell and insanity. However, the superstition started just to limit the masturbation.

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Myth 48: Swimming Is One Of The Best Exercises To Lose Weight

Fact: This is probably one of the most common health myths believed. However, the statement is not fully true. Yes, swimming helps burn the excess tension, tone the muscles, and increase your lung capacity but the truth is that to lose weight you should be swimming for hours in a day. This is because the water’s buoyancy is supporting your entire body and you aren’t working as hard as you should in order to promote weight loss.

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Myth 49: Head Lice Can Easily Fly And Jump

Fact: Yet another most commonly believed myth is about head lice. However, the fact is that head lice scurry and crawl on the scalp. They cannot fly faster or jump higher. They are spread only when there is a direct contact with the person who already has them.

In fact, head lice live for an extremely short period on objects like clothes, hairbrushes, combs, and hats. They need blood to survive; hence, their host is scalp. If they don’t get this, they die.

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Myth 50: Swinging A Ring Will Determine A Baby’s Sex

Fact: This is one of the most common pregnancy myths believed so far and continues. It is a test where you hang the wedding ring with the help of a string. If it swings back & forth, it is a boy and if it swings in circles, it is a girl. However, the reality is that swinging a ring is never going to tell you if the newborn will be a boy or a girl. You hang any ring over an object, it will swing. So, the ring test is just a superstition.

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4 Comments

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  1. The fact you wrote about chicken soup is wrong, it will cure a cold. It worked for me. So it’s not sure you said. But the bottled water you said. Can be agreed!

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