We only use 10% of our brains

You may have heard the myth that we only use 10% of our brains and simply don’t have access to the rest. This concept even inspired the film and TV series Limitless. This myth originated in the 1890s so we have come a long way since then in terms of science. While we do not consciously use every part of our brain simultaneously, a lot of our brain’s functions are subconscious. We know this myth to be false because there is no part of the brain that can endure damage without affecting our functioning.

Cracking knuckles causes arthritis

The sound of someone cracking their knuckles can be off-putting to some people so it’s not surprising that somebody came up with a myth to deter people from doing it. It was claimed that cracking your knuckles would cause arthritis due to the excessive joint movements and friction. Cracking one’s knuckles is actually relieving joint tension though, so it causes no damage.

Chewing gum takes seven years to digest

Chewing gum is not meant to be swallowed simply because it is designed to not break down while you chew. This lead to the myth that if you swallow chewing gum it will take seven years to digest and pass through your body. This is untrue, as chewing gum will pass through your digestive tract at the same speed as other food. It is unlikely to break down during this and may be excreted still as a glob of gum. This is why it is important not to swallow large amounts of gum, because this can affect your digestive tract through clogging it.

Cold weather causes colds

When you get all sneezy, it’s called a cold. This is why it’s not a shock that people think such a state is caused by cold weather. It doesn’t help that people catch colds more often when the weather turns and becomes colder. The real reason for people getting colds more in the winter is because people spend more time inside, allowing illness to pass on more easily, as well as the cold dry air weakening resistance.

Turkey makes you sleepy

This myth comes with a logical explanation: turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan which does actually help you relax. The notion of turkey making you sleepy was an attempt to explain the desire for the post Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner nap, but what actually makes it a myth if it’s founded in science? The thing about tryptophan is that it’s in a lot of foods, often in larger quantities than in turkey. Cheddar cheese would be one such example.

Feed a cold, starve a fever

The old saying of feed a cold, starve a fever says that you should eat plenty of wholesome foods to get over a cold, but that eating when you have a fever can make the situation worse. This can be traced back to the 1500s when medical care wasn’t the best, so it makes sense that this advice does not hold up. It was thought that because eating generates heat in the body, eating when you have a fever would overheat you further. Starving a fever can delay your recovery, though, so it’s not recommended today.

Most body heat is lost through your head

The idea that most body heat is lost through your head comes from misinterpreted information from a study in the 1950s. It comes from the fact that a large part of children’s body mass is in their head since they are not proportionate in size yet which leads them to lose more heat through their head because of this. The truth for adults is that we lose body heat pretty evenly across our skin surfaces. It’s still a good idea to put a hat on though!

If you have a concussion, stay awake

It is often thought that you should stay awake if you have a concussion, you should be kept awake at all costs. The idea behind this is that you might not wake up if you fall asleep. As research has furthered, it has been realised that sleep is one of the best things you can do to recover from a concussion. While the person with the concussion should be kept awake to monitor their behaviour and any changes for the first four to six hours, after this period it is vital that they sleep.

The whitest teeth are the healthiest

White teeth are a beauty standard that is heralded as being the best possibility for your mouth. It turns out that glaringly white teeth are actually not the healthiest at all. Trying to bleach your teeth whiter actually weakens them, and slightly yellow teeth tend to be much stronger than those that are white as white can be.

No pain, no gain

When working out, the phrase “no pain no gain” is often used to help you push through the discomfort you are experiencing. While some aches during exercise are not bad for you and do indeed mean you are pushing yourself to get stronger, this is not always the case. A lot of exercises that help you get stronger and healthier do not hurt you at all, and some pain during exercise should be taken seriously and indicate you should stop. Continuing exercise through pain can turn minor injuries into major ones.