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5 Urban Health Legends You Should Disregard

5 Urban Health Legends You Should Disregard

Medical specialists spend years studying the human physiology, so it’s not surprising that the lay person is bound to have some misconceptions about what is and isn’t good for the body. In fact, thanks to the Internet, urban health legends now abound. But you’ll just want to walk away the next time you hear one of these five bogus health myths.

Diet Soda is Healthy For You

Zero calories means zero problems, right? Nope. “Fundamentally, we have no convincing evidence that diet soda or artificial sweeteners are actually helpful for people trying to lose weight,” said Dr. David Katz, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. In fact, a group of French scientists showed that the artificial sweeteners like aspartame, commonly used to “sweeten” diet soda, can cause a body’s insulin production and resistance to go haywire. Coupling that with a confused metabolism that craves the energy these false sweeteners imitate makes a person more likely to develop type II diabetes, the research showed.

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Vaccines Cause Autism

Former surgeon and medical research Andrew Wakefield published a report in The Lancet linking the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to the development of autism spectrum disorders in young children. The media later revealed Wakefield had ulterior motives that led the medical community to eventually discredit him and his entire study a few years later.

To date, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stress that no reliable studies have shown a connection between vaccines and autism. However, many parents continue to under-vaccinate their children out of fear — a harmful choice that has led to dire outbreaks in the past.

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Watching TV Leads to Poor Eyesight

Your parents have probably told you to not sit so close to the TV out of fear you’d go blind. Chances are their parents told them the same thing, and for good reason — many TVs sold up to the late 1960s emitted radiation levels 100,000 times greater than what the federal government considered safe.

However, doctors have since refuted the notion that watching TV at any distance will directly lead to eye damage and say there is no connection between TV and poor eyesight. That being said, a sedentary lifestyle that revolves around watching TV for hours on end is bad for you anyway and can lead to health problems with every part of your body.

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Step away from the boob tube once in a while and use your eyes to focus on more pleasant things like trees, people, kittens, and the rest of your proximal physical reality you’ve chosen to ignore for so long.

Cracking Bones Leads to Arthritis

A well-executed cracking of the joints might make everyone in your general vicinity squirm with discomfort, but that’s about the closest you’re going to get to a legitimate health problem. The sound of a joint cracking isn’t caused by a physical breaking of any kind. Rather, the space between joints is filled with fluids and nutrients that naturally release a small amount of gaseous byproduct.

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When you apply pressure in a certain way, you can create a vacuum bubble that bursts and creates that familiar cringe-worthy sound. Despite the perceived repulsion, doctors say there is no link to joint cracking and the development of arthritis. However, those same doctors warn that habitual knuckle-crackers have a higher risk of damaging ligaments or dislocating tendons, so make sure you crack sparingly.

You Should Suck Venom Out of a Snake Bite

An old hiking wives’ tale once told snake bite victims to cut open their bite wound and physically suck the venom out before it can spread through the body. Don’t do this. Bacteria from your mouth could only exacerbate the problem and more blood loss doesn’t help anyone here. Rather, stay calm, keep the wound below the heart, and seek immediate medical attention.

Our understanding of health and physiology changes every day. Always be sure to take advice passed down from decades past with a grain of salt. What other urban health legends have you heard? Do you tell others to disregard them? Let us know in the comments.

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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