12 Old Wives Tales That Have Been Proven To Be (somewhat) True
We’ve all heard the adage “That’s just an old wives tale” to dismiss superstitions, rumors, and home remedies.
But recently, scientific study has lent a bit of credence to some of the wisdom of those old wives.
Steeped in tradition and experience, we’ve compiled a list of twelve old wives tales that have now proven to be more than superstition. (sort of)
1. Chicken Soup
It’s long been believed that when you’re sick you should eat chicken soup. While the soup itself isn’t exactly a cure for the common cold, it can help you quite a bit in the relief of some of your symptoms.
Chicken soup, it turns out, has been scientifically proven to reduce inflammation by slowing down the white blood cell activity responsible. Plus, the salt in the soup is very soothing to a raw and scratchy throat.
So the next time you’re sick, by all means, stock up on chicken soup!
2. An Apple a Day…
…Keeps the doctor away. We’ve all heard that from the time we were children to encourage us to eat healthier.
Well as it turns out, this old wives tale is actually more fact than fiction. A 2013 study discovered that if everyone over 50-years-old in the United Kingdom ate just one apple per day, they could actually prevent or delay 8500 heart attacks and strokes per year!
3. Long, Difficult Labor Makes Baby Boys
Science has now proven that baby boys tend to give their mothers more difficulty during labor than girls.
A study conducted in 2003 found that women who are delivering boys are more likely to have complications during labor, resulting in an increased number of emergency cesarean sections.
The study suggested the reason for this is that boys tend to be larger and heavier at birth than girls, and their larger heads specifically can cause more issues for the mothers.
4. Chocolate for PMS
As it turns out, craving chocolate just before you get your period is more than just a dietary difficulty.
Those cravings actually happen for health and physiological reasons. Studies suggest that chocolate can have a calming effect and ease anxiety and moodiness.
It’s believed the reason for this is that chocolate is a source of nutrients and antioxidants such as anandamide.
The point is, no need to feel guilty about wanting to inhale chocolate around your time of the month, just show a bit of restraint.
5. Hot Baths Decrease Male Fertility
If you and your partner are trying for a baby, the man should avoid a hot bath beforehand.
Old wives have said this for ages, and now science has confirmed it. A 2007 study concluded that wet heat exposure, in a hot tub, bath, or Jacuzzi, is actually damaging to short-term male fertility.
We’re not saying don’t bathe before bed, guys, but keep it cool.
6. Heartburn During Pregnancy Signals a Hairy Baby
The old wives’ tale is that if you’re pregnant and regularly suffering from heartburn, chances are your baby is going to be hairy.
This notion may seem farfetched, but science now supports it. Johns Hopkins University discovered during a 2007 study that a sample of pregnant women who endured painful heartburn surprisingly did give birth to babies with more than the average amount of hair!
7. Full Moon
It turns out you’re not imagining it if Your kids or animals get a little nutty during a full moon. Old wives have been hinting at that notion for ages.
Researchers haven’t yet categorically proven that lunar patterns affect things like behavior, fertility, or birth rate, but one study found that it is more difficult to sleep properly around a full moon, which may impact behavior, particularly in children and pets.
8. Red Sky at Night, Sailor’s Delight… …Red sky in morning, sailors take warning
According to a study done by the Library of Congress there is scientific backing to this adage: “When there’s a red sky at night, this means that the setting sun is sending its light through a high concentration of dust particles, indicating high pressure and stable air coming in from the west.
Basically good weather will follow… A red sunrise can mean that a high pressure system has already passed, thus indicating that a storm system may be moving to the east.
A morning sky that is a deep, fiery red can indicate that there is high water content in the atmosphere. So, rain could be on its way.”
9. Hair of the Dog
If you drank a little too much and are suffering through a nasty hangover, the old wives would tell you to take a “Hair of the dog that bit you”, meaning have another drink to ease the hangover.
As it turns out, science agrees with the old wives in this notion. Research has shown that drinking small doses of alcohol can actually relieve withdrawal symptoms.
However, using alcohol to treat alcohol withdrawal can also increase the body’s
dependency on the drug leading to bigger problems than a headache and some dehydration.
The best recommendation to avoid a hangover is to drink a big glass of water before bed. Or better yet, don’t consume excessive amounts of alcohol.
10. Count Sheep to Fall Asleep
For centuries, those old wives have been telling children to close their eyes and count sheep if they’re having trouble getting to sleep.
As it turns out, those old wives were on to something, in a way at least.
While there hasn’t been any specific science to support the counting of actual sheep will work, the concept of visualization or mental imagery can help to distract you from thinking stressful or anxious thoughts that may be keeping you awake.
11. Bad Dreams from Cheese
If you’ve consumed a cheesy dinner and subsequently had unpleasant dreams, then you may have fallen victim to another old wives’ tale.
But science has now given this idea a bit of credibility. There are some scientific theories that hint that the bacterial and fungal elements in cheese contain psychoactive ingredients which have the potential to affect dreams.
On the upside, not all cheesy dreams are believed to be scary, so don’t be afraid the next time cheesy pizza is on your supper menu.
12. Fish is Brain Food
In most homes, most mothers have uttered the phrase “Eat your fish, it’s good for you”.
The old wives’ tale here is specifically that fish is good for the brain. Yet again, science has stepped in here to back up the old wives.
Recently, a Harvard study concluded that the more fish consumed by expectant mothers in the second trimester of pregnancy, the better babies tended to do on tests at six months of age.
Experts say not to just eat indiscriminate types of fish though, as some types such as swordfish have higher mercury levels and can be harmful to babies.
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