Eight things mom got wrong

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Fretful mothers may be nature’s way of ensuring species survival, but maybe moms need to do a little more research before dispensing health warnings.

A new study appearing on MedicareSupplement.com indicates 50 of the most commonly believed “medical” tips are more myth than fact.

See if these sound familiar:

1. We (don’t) only use 10 percent of our brains. The brain may have far more potential, but neurologists call this one “laughable.” Most of the brain is active much of the time, although nearly a third of 1,000 people surveyed believe otherwise.

2. You should (not) work out every day; muscle can (never) turn into fat. The body needs breaks to replenish energy and repair muscle fibers. Muscle and fat are different tissue types, and can’t turn into one another (but you can gain or lose each). Also, soreness can be a false indicator of workout quality.

3. Thanksgiving turkey is (not) a sleep-inducer. The alleged culprit tryptophan only works if consumed without other foods, so fat chance. It’s probably all the carbs making us sleepy. Did mom advise drinking warm milk to cure insomnia? Milk has tryptophan too, and may actually work without the pie and stuffing.

4. You (probably don’t) need eight glasses of water daily. Water needs vary by age, diet, weight, and health status. We get it in other foods and drinks, so too much fluid (e.g., with certain heart conditions) could actually hurt. Both overhydration and dehydration can harm health, so check with your physician.

5. Being too close to a TV (won’t) damage sight. We’ve probably all heard this one, yet there’s no evidence for it. No, you won’t go blind; however, eye strain (tired eyes, headache) does result from too much screen time. So in a way mom had a point.

6. Hair and fingernails (don’t) keep growing after death. Scientists say what appears to be growth is really a relative shift in appearance between pre-death lengths, and the surrounding skin and tissue which have shrunken with deterioration. Makes morbid sense.

7. Microwaves (don’t) reduce nutrition values. Ironically, they may actually enhance nutrition levels, because reduced cook times help preserve more vitamins.

8. Dark chocolate is (not) an aphrodisiac. Say it ain’t so! Much as we girls want to believe that, the Mayo Clinic denies supporting evidence. But it does have antioxidants, which are good for you. So at least in moderation, it’s defensible.

Wonder if fudge works the same way...

• • •

Sholeh Patrick is a chocoholic and columnist for the Hagadone News Network. Contact her at Sholeh@cdapress.com.

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