common health myths

Five Common Health Myths Debunked

Health myths can be particularly difficult to stamp out. When you’re raised with a false bit of wisdom that came from a well-meaning authority figure, it can seem like gospel. 
You may have held that belief for many years, carefully followed the advice, and shared it with other people along the way. After all that, it can be hard to let go.
So try to keep an open mind as you read through this list of five common health myths.

Eating Carrots Will Improve Your Eyesight

This health myth has a grain of truth to it, as carrots are rich in beta carotene. That’s an antioxidant that your body converts into vitamin A—which is essential in maintaining your vision.

However, the chances are very high that you already get enough vitamin A in your diet. So eating more carrots won’t improve your vision.

It’s true that research has shown that beta carotene can help people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). But that research involved high-dose beta carotene formulas, not the lower amounts you’ll get from eating carrots.

Interestingly, this myth was popularized by the British Royal Air Force during World War II. In an effort to conceal their new radar technology, the RAF started a rumour to explain how its pilots were so successful at spotting enemy planes at night. The rumour was that British pilots ate lots of carrots.

Cracking Your Knuckles Causes Arthritis

When you crack a joint, what you’re really doing is slightly pulling the joint apart, which decreases the pressure in the fluid that lubricates the joint.

This pressure change allows bubbles to form and causes them to rapidly fluctuate. It’s this fluctuation that’s responsible for that satisfying cracking sound.

So, can these bubbles cause arthritis? There’s no reason to think so. A study from 2011 tried to find if there was any link between knuckle cracking and osteoarthritis and showed there was no connection.

You Can Catch a Cold From Being Cold

At some point, someone has probably told you to dress warmly or “bundle up” before heading out in cold weather, or else you’ll catch a cold. This piece of advice has been drilled into many of us so often that it could be easy to forget that the cause for the common cold is viruses, not chilly temperatures.

It’s true that some viruses spread more easily during the winter months, but the reasons for that might not be what you expect.

A common theory is that exposure to cold temperatures may temporarily weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to cold viruses. There is some research that supports this theory, but it is not yet conclusive.

But one way you’re more likely to catch a cold during the winter is spending more time indoors. By spending more time in close quarters with other people, you make it easier for viruses to spread.

In addition, your immune system can be weakened by lack of vitamin D due to reduced sun exposure. So getting outside in the cold might not be such a bad idea!

You Should Drink Eight Glasses of Water a Day

You’ve probably heard that you should be drinking eight glasses of water a day to stay healthy. This often-repeated tip has been the popular opinion for decades. Eight glasses of water equals about 2 litres, which matches up with the most current recommendations from health researchers.

However, this recommendation doesn’t take into account the water you already get from other sources. For instance, other drinks will help you reach your recommended water intake. And besides the water you get from drinks, about 20 percent of the average person’s water intake comes from foods.

So don’t fret if you’re not drinking eight glasses of water a day. Just drink when you’re feeling thirsty and make sure you properly hydrate if you are very active or in a hot environment.

Microwave Ovens Can Cause Cancer

Part of this myth stems from people’s misunderstanding of radiation. You may know that certain types of radiation (such as x-rays from an x-ray machine, gamma rays from a nuclear explosion, or UV radiation from the sun) can harm your DNA and increase your cancer risks.

However, the radiation used in a microwave oven is very different. Similar to radio waves, microwave radiation is so low energy that it can’t harm your DNA. Besides that, microwave ovens are designed so that the radiation can’t escape. 

Some people also mistakenly believe that microwave cooking can adversely affect the food, or even make it radioactive. But once you understand how microwave ovens work you’ll see that there’s nothing to worry about. 

Microwave ovens produce microwaves that cause the water molecules in food to vibrate. This vibration produces heat, which is what cooks the food. So microwave ovens do not make any changes to the food that isn’t made by any other cooking method that involves heat.

boost your immune system

Boost your immune system with these superfoods

There’s some wisdom in the old cliche that says “you are what you eat”. The foods you put into your body are what supplies it with the energy and vitamins it needs to work properly.

There are some foods that are so beneficial to your health that they become known as “superfoods”. If you’re not including them in your diet, you’re really missing out. 

These foods are packed with so many nutrients they can help you improve the way your body works, such as by boosting your immune system. 

Here is a list of great superfoods that do just that. And best of all, they are all foods that taste so good it will never feel like a chore to fit them into your diet!

Red bell peppers

When you think of sources for vitamin C, citrus fruits probably come to mind. But believe it or not, red bell peppers contain about twice as much vitamin C as citrus fruits.


Papaya offers a number of benefits including B vitamins, folate, potassium, and a digestive enzyme that has anti-inflammatory effects. And as if that weren’t enough, a single papaya contains more than double the daily recommended amount of vitamin C.


Garlic has a long history of being used for health purposes. Early civilizations including the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all understood that garlic has some special healing properties. Today, it is used in supplements for a variety of purposes including treating high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Some research suggests that the sulphur compounds found in garlic can boost the immune system.


Blueberries have a type of flavonoid called anthocyanin, which has antioxidant properties that can boost your immune system. 

Research has shown that flavonoids play a key role in the immune defence system of the respiratory tract, and that people who eat foods rich in flavonoids are less likely to catch a cold.

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate contains an antioxidant called theobromine that can help boost the immune system. Theobromine’s benefits come from its ability to protect your cells from free radicals.

Free radicals are molecules that your body produces when it breaks down food or comes into contact with pollutants. These molecules can damage the body’s cells and may contribute to disease.


Ginger has antibacterial properties and can help support your immune system, but its benefits don’t stop there. You may know that it’s an effective remedy for an upset stomach. It is also a natural blood thinner and contains an anti-inflammatory compound called gingerol that can help relax blood vessels.


Almonds contain vitamin E which is essential to a healthy immune system. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means in order for it to be properly absorbed into your body, it needs the presence of fat. Luckily, almonds also contain healthy fats!


Yogurt can benefit your immune system in several ways. Firstly, it contains vitamin D, which helps support and regulate the immune system. But it can also offer beneficial bacterial cultures that stimulate the immune system. When choosing your yogurt, look for ones that say “live and active cultures” on the label.

Get Some Help

If you’re looking for more guidance on healthy eating habits, consider getting help from a nutritionist or your local PharmacyGO pharmacist. They can help you create a diet plan that suits you. That includes finding choices that fit your lifestyle and preferences, as well as focusing on the diet changes that will provide you with the greatest benefits.