It’s no news that there`s a tremendously growing number of writers and “experts” on health matters nowadays, especially with the fascinating way which the internet brings the world together to be one small community—a global village. In all fairness, writers do well in educating the world, a great task in eradicating ignorance; however, some age-long fallacies find their ways into articles probably as a result of negligence to research, or the level of believability such claims have garnered over the centuries or decades as the case may be. Funnily, some of these claims—myths—have helped people live right, for the fear of illness and death, because such myths are only slight exaggerations of facts; and people, in many cases, don’t get to live up to the demands of the myths; they just fall somewhere around the normal requirements. This is where the 8-glass-of-water-per-day myth falls. Sadly, however, others are unhelpful outright. They cause harm. We will, in this article, take a look at some of such myths.
Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day
We’re yet to ascertain which is older: the craze for plentiful water consumption or Methuselah. Really, growing up, I got confused on the quantity of water to drink early in the morning, immediately after I woke up, before and after meals, before I slept, and what else were we told? Experts got on TV at different times with new stories. But is there really a need to count cups? Hydration is important, yes, but the idea of seven, eight, nine glasses may not be necessary because needs for water consumption vary among individuals. There’s no general answer to the simple question, “How much water should I drink each day?” Okay, maybe the general answer would be “As much as your body requires”, but definitely not a particular number of glasses. There are factors that determine how much water you need. Some of them are your age, sex, activity level, health status, and even the part of the world you live. Every day, we lose water through our perspiration, breath, bowel movements and urine. For proper body functioning, this water supply should be replenished. This can come through foods, beverages, and water itself.
Let’s go much deeper. Have you heard of hyponatremia? Maybe I should have asked this first: Did you know you can actually drink excess water? Yes, as vital as hydration is, it can be too much. When you drink water excessively, the water you don’t need dilutes the electrolytes in your blood; your sodium level then reduces, and this can lead to hyponatremia. Simply put, hyponatremia is insufficient sodium in the blood. So be careful, you can actually overdose on water.
All Fats Are Bad
The word “fats” has been registered in the minds of many as an enemy that should never exist in their diet. Not all fats are bad for you, so relax. There are good fats. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good for you. Good fats are unrefined animal fats such as those from fish and certain plants, for example, avocado, olive, and nuts. However, the fats you need to reduce are vegetable fats such as corn and peanuts that have been refined.
Good fats come mainly from omega-3 fatty acids. So, yes, fats aren’t as bad as you’ve been made to believe. Here are some advantages of fats:
- They’re a major source of energy
- They help you absorb some vitamins and minerals
- They’re needed in building cell membranes
- They’re essential for blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation.
Here’s a list of healthy foods which contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which are good for you:
- ground flaxseed
- sunflower seeds
We Use only 10% of Our Brains
You must have been in one of those halls with a large, somber audience fully concentrating on this energetic, motivational speaker who’s making everyone believe they’ve not begun life, and there’s so much to do than they’re doing, then he drops the bombshell: “The human brain is so untapped that the average human being uses only 10% of it.” How laughable this is! Funnily enough, a study in 2013 showed that 65% of Americans believe this myth. Sit and have some water, not necessarily 8 glasses, as you unlearn and stop believing this myth. I hope you do.
Think about it: if we used only 10% of our brains, then the majority of brain injuries should be nothing to worry about since the damage would many times affect “inactive” parts of the brain. This myth is often incorrectly attributed to William James, a 19th-century psychologist who proposed that a larger part of our potentials goes untapped, but never brought up the “10-90 brain use philosophy”. The percentage of the brain in use at any given time varies among individuals. It depends on activities one is engaged in. We virtually use every part of the brain, and most of it is active at all times. Researchers who through Magnetic Resonance Imaging have studied the brain found that there are no dormant parts of the brain. So which would you believe? Science or motivation to tap into the “dormant parts of your brain”?
Put a Spoon in the Mouth of Someone Having a Seizure
Another medical myth that is not only false but causes complications while trying to “solve” a problem. Putting objects in the mouth of a person who has a seizure is not needed. The claim that the tongue may be swallowed if this isn’t done is false. Because the tongue can’t be swallowed. A small tissue called the frenulum linguae which is the vertical fold of mucous membrane under the tongue, attaching it to the floor of the mouth holds the tongue firmly. Putting objects in a person’s mouth while they suffer a seizure could injure their gum and teeth. What you should do is roll the person on one side to drain fluids from their mouth and cushion their head to prevent cranial injuries.
Men Don’t Have Breast Cancer
The reason for this myth is quite obvious. Men don’t have breasts as women do, however, they have a small amount of breast tissue. A man’s breasts are similar to a girl’s before puberty. Unlike girls, the tissue doesn’t develop in men. Whether men have breasts or not, (they normally wouldn’t anyway) they have breast cancer too because they have the breast tissue. It’s somewhat worse with men because it’s diagnosed late due to the relatively low rate of awareness. The chances, however, increase with age; it’s more common between ages 60 and 70.
Frequent Trims Make Your Hair Grow Faster
Some years ago, I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in a while, close to nine months, and I noticed she had trimmed her really long and lovely hair. We exchanged pleasantries, and as we were about to part ways, I told her I missed seeing her hair. Her response got me shocked. She said she trimmed it so it could grow faster. That was the first time I heard that then I did a number of times afterward. It really never sounded logical to me. You’re trimming the end of the hair. How then does it affect the follicles in your scalp where growth takes place?
Now, this is actually what happens: getting rid of split ends reduces hair breakage and breakage makes the hair look thinner and shorter at the ends. When you cut them off, it appears fuller. That’s it. It’s only an appearance. It doesn’t grow faster. Why do you always feel it actually does grow faster? Well, you expect it does, so it appears so to you and others around you who believe so too.
Dialysis Is the only Treatment for Kidney Disease
Kidney disease is progressive, and dialysis is not needed in its early stages. The disease can be managed with diet, exercise, and medication. If well managed, the progression can be reduced and even stopped. Dialysis or a kidney transplant is needed when it gets so bad and progresses to kidney failure.
Now that You Know…
There are times we need to unlearn, times we need to learn, and even relearn sometimes. Now is the time to unlearn. Yes, your grandmother told you these, yes your doctor believes them too, but they remain myths. Tell a friend to tell a friend. Share these with as many people as you can. Let`s begin a myth-debunking campaign. Follow facts, not myths.