Wed, Apr 26th, 2017

Top old-fashioned health pearls of wisdom – does granny really know best?

The myth of cheese causing nightmares is thought to stem from A Christmas Carol, when Scrooge blamed eating a “crumb of cheese” before bedtime for his woes

Carrots help you to see in the dark

Partly true: “There is some truth in this,” says Kelly Plahay, chairman of The Eyecare Trust. “Fresh vegetables are very good for the eyes because of the antioxidants they contain. And carrots are also a good source of vitamin A, so can help to preserve night vision.”

Frozen isn’t as nutritious as fresh

False: Fruit and veg have great nutritional value as long as they are fresh but they start to lose this goodness as they age in the fridge, fruit bowl or vegetable rack.

Over-cooking has the same effect unless you use the cooking water in your recipes, too. But because foods are frozen while still very fresh, they don’t lose nutrients in the same way.

Leading nutritionist Zoe Harcombe ­(zoeharcombe.com) says: “Research shows that frozen fruit and vegetables are as good, if not better, than fresh – and there’s little difference with meat and fish.”

Reading in dim light can damage your eyes

False: “If there’s enough light to read then, by definition, there’s enough light,” says Kelly Plahay.

“Reading in poor light may give you a headache as your eyes get tired but it won’t do any lasting damage to your eyes or the quality of your vision.

“However, as we get older we need more light to see clearly as the lens in the eye stiffens as part of the natural ageing process, making it increasingly difficult to focus on print.”

An apple a day keeps the doctor away

Partly true: “This has a lot of truth,” says Dr William Bird MBE, founder of health IT company Intelligent Health. “Apples are a powerful source of antioxidants and eating them on a regular basis as part of your five-a-day can help you avoid diseases. Apples also contain vitamin C, which is vital for the development of collagen in your bones, muscles, cartilage and blood vessels. The skin has pectin that can lower cholesterol, too.

“But you do also need to eat healthily, exercise and cut out bad habits such as smoking to keep the doctor away.”

You should never mix grape and grain

False: There’s no scientific evidence to back this up. Mixing drinks may make you feel more ill by upsetting your stomach but won’t make you more intoxicated. It’s more likely to be the sheer quantity of alcohol that causes problems the next day.

Cod liver oil EASES creaky joints

True: “Cod liver oil can help reduce pain in joints,” says Dr Bird. “According to researchers in Cardiff, 86% of patients who took 2,000mg of cod liver oil capsules every day had reduced levels of one of the enzymes that cause cartilage damage, compared to only 26% of those were given a dummy capsule in the study.”

Wearing glasses all the time will make your eyes deteriorate

False: “Your eyes will not grow weaker as a result of wearing spectacles or contacts,” says Kelly Plahay. “Your prescription may change in time due to ageing or an eye condition but it is not due to a current prescription.”

Eat chicken soup to cure a cold

Partly true: Research shows there may be some scientific fact behind this centuries-old advice.

Stephen Rennard, a pulmonary specialist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, found some ­ingredients in it can cut ­inflammation by blocking the movement of ­inflammatory white blood cells. And tinned soups seem to be just as ­efficient as home-made ones.

Eating cheese before bed causes nightmares

False: This myth is thought to stem from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, when Scrooge blamed his nightmares on eating a “crumb of cheese” before bedtime.

People may mistakenly attribute a troubled night’s sleep to the after-dinner cheeseboard if they have eaten a heavy, late meal – as that can cause indigestion. But a study of 200 people carried out by the British Cheese Board in 2005 found no correlation between cheese and nightmares.

Don’t go swimming after eating

Partly true: Many medics would dismiss this advice. But a Japanese study that looked at 536 autopsies found almost 80% of swimmers who died from accidental drowning still had food in their stomachs.

Researchers suggested in the journal ­Medicine, Science and the Law this may be because swimmers choke on regurgitated food or because blood is diverted to the intestine during ­digestion, possibly contributing to cramp. Dr Bird says: “On the whole, gentle exercise after eating is good. It helps reduce fat and sugar in the bloodstream. But vigorous exercise after a heavy meal is best avoided.”

Shaving causes hair to grow back faster

False: Even though lots of people believe shaving off hair makes it grow back darker, coarser or faster, studies show it’s not true. Shaving removes the dead portion of hair, not the living section below the skin’s surface, so it’s unlikely to affect growth.

source: www.mirror.co.uk

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