women

Is your health knowledge based on fact, fear or fiction? Here’s an update on the six health myths you should stop believing right now…

1. ‘You should drink eight glasses of water every day’

It’s a waste of water. The myth originated in 1945 – yep, that far back with a US claim that you need 2.5l of water a day to keep your body functioning properly. However, the researchers also said most of this fluid comes from your food a fact that’s been shrouded by the mists of time. A good diet with plenty of fruit and veg should provide most of the fluids you need.

Fact: Six cups of black tea drunk over a day is just as hydrating as 1 litre of water, says a study in the British says a study in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Six cups of black tea drunk over a day is just as hydrating as 1 litre of water

Six cups of black tea drunk over a day is just as hydrating as 1 litre of water

2. ‘You need a pill break before getting pregnant’

‘You can conceive as soon as you stop taking the Pill hence why you have to take it every day to avoid getting pregnant!’ says Dr Radha Modgil (drradhanmodgil.com). Before the days of scanning, a gap was advised so you could be sure of the date of your last period and work out when you’d conceived.

Fact: a vitamin D supplement could improve fertility in men and women and boost your chance of conceiving, say Austrian researchers.

3. ‘Feed a cold and starve a fever’

There’s no truth in the old wives’ tale that you should lay off the chicken soup if you’ve got full blown flu. The phrase has become mangled from its original meaning: feed a cold to stave, which means prevent, a fever. ‘The real message is to look after yourself to stop your cold from getting worse’, says Dr Rob Hicks. ‘If you have flu, drink plenty of fluids and eat what you can to keep your strength up’.

Fact: Zinc lozenges can shorten the length of a cold by two days, as they stop the virus multiplying, according to Canadian research.

4. ‘You lose most of your body heat through your head’

Did your mum tell you to wear a hat or risk ‘catching your death’? She was wrong. US researchers say the belief is likely to come from an army study where subjects in Arctic survival suits lost most of their body heat through their heads purely because their heads were bare! Any uncovered body part will lose heat, so wrap up warm all over when you’re out in a chill.

Fact: keep your feet warm and dry. The Common Cold Centre in Cardiff found getting your feet wet increases your risk of catching a cold.

keep your feet warm and dry

Keep your feet warm and dry

5. ‘Eating late makes you fat’

‘It’s not what time of day you eat that’s important, but what you’re eating throughout the day’, says Dr Modgil. ‘If you’re consuming more calories than you burn, you’ll put on weight whether you’re eating them at 6am or 6pm’.

Fact: keeping a food diary will help you lose weight. Experts from the University of Washington found food diarists lost 6lb more than those who didn’t keep a record of what they ate.

keeping a food diary will help you lose weight

Keeping a food diary will help you lose weight

6. ‘Being overweight means your metalbolism slow’

‘It’s a complete myth that large people have a slower metabolism than skinny people’, says Dr Modgil. ‘If you’re overweight, you’re burning more energy to keep your body going’. The basal metabolic rates will be roughly similar, but the bigger you are, the more calories you’ll burn, even lying down.

Fact: spicy chillies boost metabolism. Research by Purdue University found eating red cayenne pepper burns more calories after a meal and could also even reduce cravings for junk food.

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