Popular Old Wives’ Tales That Are Actually True

By Aaron Stone

Old wives’ tales are commonly dismissed due to their superstitions or unfounded folklore passed down through generations. However, many of these tales have stood the test of time for a reason – they do have some truth. From natural remedies to health advice, many old wives’ tales have been proven by scientific research.

Chicken Soup Helps Relieve Cold Symptoms

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While chicken soup isn’t a cure for the common cold, it can relieve the symptoms associated. The warm liquid and steam from the soup can help soothe a sore throat and loosen mucus. Not to mention, chicken soup contains nutrients like vitamins and minerals that support the immune system.

An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

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Apples are high in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants which support overall health. The fiber aids digestion and the antioxidants help protect cells from damage, however, apples alone cannot prevent all illnesses or replace the need for a doctor.

Fish is Brain Food

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The old wives’ tale “fish is brain food” has some scientific basis due to its richness in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for brain development and function. Studies have shown that a good intake of omega-3s may improve memory, learning, and overall cognitive function.

Cranberry Juice Can Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections

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Cranberries contain compounds called proanthocyanins that can help prevent bacteria from entering the urinary tract walls. Cranberry juice can help reduce the risk of developing a UTI by making it more difficult for bacteria to stick to the urinary tract walls.

Eating Carrots Improves Your Eyesight

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While this is true to some extent, carrots alone will not improve eyesight. Carrots are beneficial for eye health due to their high content of beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for healthy vision, especially in low-light conditions.

Gargling With Salt Water Can Help a Sore Throat

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Saltwater can provide temporary relief for a sore throat. When you gargle salt water, the salt draws moisture from the tissues in your throat through osmosis. This helps reduce swelling and discomfort. Not to mention, the warm water provides a soothing effect.

Honey Can Soothe a Cough

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This old wives’ tale has been proven by science. Honey coats the throat and provides a soothing effect on the mucous membranes, helping to reduce the frequency and severity of coughing. Honey can also stimulate saliva production, which helps lubricate the throat and reduce irritation.

Ginger Can Help With Nausea and Vomiting

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Ginger has a long history of medicinal use and contains active compounds such as gingerols and shogaols with anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that ginger can help soothe symptoms of nausea and vomiting associated with various conditions such as pregnancy, chemotherapy, and motion sickness.

Eating Spicy Foods Can Help Clear Sinuses

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Spicy foods, particularly those containing capsaicin, the compound responsible for the heat in chili peppers, can temporarily relieve nasal congestion and sinus drainage. Capsaicin stimulates the nerves in the mucous membranes of the nose and sinuses, causing a burning sensation. This triggers the production of mucus and increases blood flow to the area which helps thin and loosen mucus.

Oatmeal Can Lower Cholesterol Levels

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Oatmeal contains a soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which has been shown to have cholesterol-lowering properties. When eating, beta-glucan forms a substance in the digestive tract that binds bile acids made from cholesterol. The binding process prevents the bile acids from being reabsorbed into the bloodstream, making the liver use more cholesterol to produce new bile acids.

Drinking Warm Milk Can Help You Sleep Better

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Milk contains an amino acid called tryptophan that can be converted into serotonin and melatonin, two compounds that play a role in sleep. The warmth of milk also helps with preparing the body for sleep.

Eating Yogurt Can Help Prevent Yeast Infections

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Yogurt contains good bacteria called probiotics, which can help maintain a healthy balance of microorganisms in the body. Probiotics like L. acidophilus can help reduce yeast infections by producing lactic acid, which creates an acidic environment. This can help restore the natural balance of bacteria and yeast in the vagina.

Eating Bananas Can Help Relieve Muscle Cramps

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Although this isn’t completely true, it has some merit. Bananas are often seen as a cramp remedy due to their potassium content, as potassium is an electrolyte that plays a role in muscle function. However, cramps are mostly caused by dehydration and electrolyte imbalances to do with sodium and other minerals, rather than potassium. That being said, bananas are still beneficial for cramp relief due to their combination of potassium, magnesium, and carbohydrates.

Drinking Pineapple Juice Can Help Reduce Inflammation

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Pineapples contain an enzyme called bromelain, which has anti-inflammatory properties. It breaks down proteins and reduces inflammation in the body by inhibiting the production of inflammatory compounds such as prostaglandins and leukotrienes. Studies have shown that bromelain effectively reduces inflammation associated with conditions such as arthritis. While pineapple juice is a good enzyme source, the concentration may vary depending on factors like ripeness and the processing methods.

Putting a Slice of Bread in The Container Can Keep Cookies Soft

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There’s nothing worse than a cookie that has become hard and stale over time, and the moisture from the cookie evaporates. Placing a slice of bread in the container with the cookies regulates the moisture content through a process called moisture migration. The bread absorbs and releases moisture as needed.

Eating a Spoonful of Sugar Can Cure Hiccups

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Ingesting something sweet while dealing with hiccups can stimulate the vagus nerve differently, potentially interrupting the hiccup pattern. Additionally, swallowing a spoonful of sugar triggers the swallowing reflex, which can stop hiccups by resetting the rhythm of the diaphragm and associated patterns. However, it’s important to note that sugar is not the only thing that cures hiccups. Holding your breath, drinking water slowly, or even being startled can help.


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