The truth behind health myths

There are a lot of bizarre myths out there, yet is it possible some of these familiar phrases and sayings contain an element of truth?

Overweight people are jolly

While most of us wouldn't want to be overweight, it turns out that the so-called health myth that bigger people are jolly actually contains an element of truth.

Researchers at Lakehead University in Canada conducted a study that found there was a link between a woman's size and her mood. The psychologists measured the body mass index (BMI) of the female participants and then compared this number with the participants' moods.

The results were surprising, and the study indicated that the larger the woman, the better her mood. Those with a low BMI were more prone to displaying signs of depression and anxiety, and also had a more negative mood overall.

The researchers at Lakehead University suggested that the bigger women enjoyed an improved mood as they had higher oestrogen levels because of the increased amount of fatty tissue in their bodies.

Love makes you crazy

It would seem Beyonce was on to something when she released her hit song Crazy In Love back in 2003, as studies reveal we really do lose our minds a little when we fall head over heels in love with someone.

Several studies have found that when we fall in love our bodies are exposed to lots of mind-altering chemicals, which can make us behave very differently to the way we typically do on a day-to-day basis.

A group of Italian scientists who conducted a study in 1990 found people who had fallen in love showed symptoms of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). Similarly, it is thought when we fall in love activity in the part of our brain that regulates fear, the amygdala, decreases and we are more likely to do dangerous things we would normally think twice about.

Carrots are good for your eyes

When we were little we were all told at one point or another that carrots can help us to see in the dark. Although this sadly isn't true, carrots can contribute to good eye health.

This is because carrots contain vitamin A, which is an important vitamin that can aid sight. Therefore, eating carrots as part of a diet rich in vitamin A will help you to maintain good vision.

It is also thought carrots can help prevent and reduce your risk of developing macular degeneration, a condition associated with old age that can lead to a loss of vision.

The Age-Related Eye Disease Study conducted by the National Eye Institute in the US found consuming lots of vitamin A might help prevent macular degeneration. However, findings are inconclusive and other studies found alternative results.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away

We're all familiar with this phrase, but again it seems this age-old saying does contain some truth. It is thought that apples can help to prevent strokes and heart attacks, and Cornell University researchers have found a link between apples and their ability to prevent breast cancer in primates.

The findings from Cornell University could also be applied to humans and apples could help us to protect ourselves against certain types of cancer.

There are other benefits to be had from tucking into apples. For example, apples can boost our metabolism and also keep our blood sugar levels steady, which in turn helps us to maintain a healthy weight and avoid the health problems associated with being obese. We think it might be time to swap our mid-afternoon snack to an apple!

Garlic can relieve toothache

If you've ever had toothache you know you would try anything to relieve the pain - but even when you're suffering the blinding agony of an abscess you might question garlic as a remedy for your symptoms.

However, it is thought garlic can help to reduce the pain of toothache by numbing the tooth. Garlic is also known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which both derive from the allicin present in garlic.

Garlic should only really be used as a last resort, though, so make sure you get checked out by a dentist - especially if the pain persists.

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- Hamilton News

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