Halloween is one of the most exciting times of the fall season! We get to enjoy funky costumes, pumpkin lanterns and scary bedtime stories about mythical creatures. However, urban legends and scary stories sometimes follow us to real life. Often, the myths that follow us around since childhood are the ones about health! For ages, we've heard old wives' tales on what we should and should not do to stay healthy, but those stories often have nothing to do with science. This Halloween, your bioniq team is here to debunk (or confirm) some of the most famous urban legends about health!
Urban Legend: Carrots give you night vision
While carrots have several health benefits, including improvements to your vision, they (sadly) won't give you any extra powers and turn you into Batman or Cat Woman. It is believed that this incredible myth got spread around during World War II. Ally forces spread the myth about carrots to prevent German troops from discovering the new radar technology that helped them shoot down enemies at night. In reality, even if you eat tons of carrots, nothing extraordinary will happen to your eyes – and most definitely, you won't see in the dark like your cat.
However, scientific evidence still proves that carrots may support your vision. Carrots contain carotene, which the body uses to produce vitamin A. This vitamin is considered essential for your eye health, as it enables the eye to convert light into a signal that goes to your brain – the phenomenon that improves your vision in reduced light settings. Multiple studies show that vitamin A is essential to support your eye health, and the deficiency can lead to problems with vision, including night blindness.
It's important to remember that Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, and to take advantage of its benefits fully, you need to consume it with foods containing fats for the best absorption.
Old Wisdom: Eating before bed causes nightmares
Perhaps, your parents or grandmother used to scare you by saying eating too late would make you suffer from nightmares. This old wisdom does make sense, as there is a scientific explanation behind it. When we sleep, all our body functions are at rest. When at rest, our digestion system is not optimised to work properly and transform nutrients into energy. If you eat just before bedtime, you may wake up tired and heavy, as instead of regenerating, your body struggles to digest all the food from the night. If you want a good night's sleep and to keep the night monsters away, it's best to get your dinner at least 3 hours before bed. If you are hungry late in the evening, go for a light meal, like a salad.
Old Wives' Tale: Feed a cold, starve a fever
This is another famous old wives' tale from when people didn't have access to research and used anecdotal evidence to relieve the symptoms. The logic behind the tale was that food would warm your body up if you have a cold, while not eating would cool you down if you had a fever. It's true that when you have a fever, you may not feel like eating, but your body burns more energy than before, so it needs to be restored. In reality, that's not really how your body works. In both cases, proper nutrition is essential to help your body recover from an illness and restore energy. Ensure to replenish lost fluids and electrolytes, as dehydration often occurs when you have a fever. Therefore, don't neglect proper nutrition and have a balanced meal to recover and feel better.
Urban Legend: Five-Second Rule
It's most likely you have heard about this fable forever. In reality, it's a bad idea – food scientists have actually tested it! It's been found that, in fact, bacteria attach themselves to food the moment it touches the ground. Now, the scary part – the longer it stays on the floor, the more bacteria get there! So, if you drop something on the floor, it's best not to eat it or wash it properly.