The Truth About 12 Health Myths
Learn which adages—about nutrition, home remedies, and more—need an update.
You Shouldn’t Cut Off the Bread’s Crust. It’s Full of Vitamins.
The truth is: In a 2002 German study, researchers found that the baking process produces a novel type of cancer-fighting antioxidant in bread that is eight times more abundant in the crust than in the crumb. That said, it’s more important to serve whole-wheat bread, with or without the crust, because it’s all around higher in nutrients, such as fiber, says New York City nutritionist Keri Glassman, author of The O2 Diet ($25, amazon.com). Make sure the ingredients list “100% whole-wheat flour.” Breads simply labeled “wheat” are usually made with a mixture of enriched white flour and whole-wheat flour and have less fiber.
If You Go Out With Wet Hair, You’ll Catch a Cold.
The truth is: You will feel cold but will be just fine healthwise, says Jim Sears, a board-certified pediatrician in San Clemente, California, and a cohost of the daytime-TV show The Doctors. He cites a study done at the Common Cold Research Unit, in Salisbury, England, in which a group of volunteers was inoculated with a cold virus up their noses. Half the group stayed in a warm room while the rest took a bath and stood dripping wet in a hallway for half an hour, then got dressed but wore wet socks for a few more hours. The wet group didn’t catch any more colds than the dry. Sears’s conclusion: “Feeling cold doesn’t affect your immune system.”
If You Cross Your Eyes, They’ll Stay That Way.
The truth is: “There’s no harm in voluntary eye crossing,” says W. Walker Motley, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. But if you notice your child doing this a lot (when he’s not mimicking a cartoon character), he might have other vision problems.
You Should Feed a Cold and Starve a Fever.
The truth is: In both cases, eat and drink, then drink some more. “Staying hydrated is the most impor-tant thing to do, because you lose a lot of fluids when you’re ill,” says Sears, who adds that there’s no need for special beverages containing electrolytes (like Gatorade) unless you’re severely dehydrated from vomiting or diarrhea.