10 Old Wives’ Tales That Are Really True
Old wives tales are those funny pieces of advice and “knowledge” your parents and grandparents used to give you when you were younger. According to grandma, money spiders actually grant you money, while if you pull a weird face when it’s windy, your face will actually stay like that FOREVER.
At first, you believed it all. After all, why wouldn’t a money spider bring you money? It’s all in the name!
Then, as you got a little bit older and a bit more rational, you realised that eating carrots doesn’t actually help you see in the dark because that’s just silly. You’re now an adult, and you believe in science; and science tells you that carrots promote healthy looking skin, while reducing the risk of cancer and premature ageing.
But, actually, some of these old wives tales are actually true. I know, right?!
Let’s take a look 10 old wives’ tales that grandma was actually right about.
An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away
This one makes me chuckle now that I think about it. My grandma used to love telling me to eat more apples, because an apple a day keeps the doctor away. The thing is, I never saw her eating any apples!
But it turns out that the old wives were actually right about this one. Although an apple a day isn’t going to keep the doctor away forever, it is going to delay his appearance. Apples can reduce your risk of cancer and stroke, and they are very good at unblocking your arteries.
Bananas Make Boys
“Oh, you want a boy, honey?” – an old wife once said to me in grizzled tones. “Then eat all the bananas!”
I was hoping she would give me some sort of magic pill, but no; she just told me to eat bananas.
She was actually right, though. Research has found that a high consumption of potassium increases your chances of giving birth to a boy, and bananas are rich in the stuff. Bananas can increase your chances of having a boy by 11%.
Chicken Soup Fights Colds
When I was a kid and I got a cold, I wanted all the medicines to help it go away. I felt fatigued, and I assumed that I needed a new throat; surely mine wasn’t going to be the same ever again!
Mom told me that all I needed was chicken soup, because chicken soup fights colds. Really?!
Actually, yes. Scientists haven’t told us why chicken soup cures colds so easily; they just know that it does. It could be that it slows down your white blood cells, in turn giving your immune system a much-needed boost.
Hair Of The Dog
This old wives tale goes back a long way. These days, it is used to suggest that if you’ve got a really bad hangover, you should return to the alcohol that caused your sore head in the first place. Apparently it’s the only way to alleviate your symptoms!
It’s a colloquial expression that goes back over a hundred years, and originally referred to the treatment of a dog bite. To cure oneself, you had to place the hair of the rabid dog that bit you on the bite wound!
It didn’t work then, but does it work now? Well, actually, it does! Returning to the drink that caused your physical and emotional misery can actually help you to feel better.
Use Newspapers To Clean Windows
When my grandma used old newspapers to clean her windows, I thought she was bonkers.
But this is not an old wives tale, and is actually a useful, very practical tip for cleaning your house. Newspapers have fibres that are denser than paper towels, which means they can not only absorb liquids more easily, but it also means that they won’t fall apart.
Count Sheep To Fall Asleep
No one actually counts sheep to fall asleep in 2015, do they?!
Well, it turns out that people probably do. This is because, according to scientists and old wives, the visualisation of such repetitive mental imagery lulls you into sleepy land. Moreover, it can also distract you from stressful thoughts that are stopping you from sleeping.
It sounds to me that it doesn’t matter whether you count sheep or elephants or lions or deer et cetera. Count whatever you want, let’s start a revolution!
Thumb Sucking Ruins Teeth
Babies are allowed to suck their thumbs, but a grown child can’t because they’ll damage their teeth. So the old wives tale went.
It turns out, though, that mom was right about this one. If you sucked your thumb as a kid, you could have damaged your teeth permanently. Issues such as poor tooth alignment and delayed development of the mouth are caused by thumb sucking in childhood.
Oily Fish Makes You Clever
The problem with this old wives tale was that my grandma told me that when I was 7. Back then, I wasn’t really interested in being clever, and I certainly wasn’t interested in oily fish!
As I grew older, the tale stuck with me: does oily fish actually make you a more intelligent person? The answer is – yes, it does.
Oily fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and it is these that enhance the conductivity between brain cells. Oily fish is therefore a neurone body-builder that really is brain food.
Eating Cheese Before Bed Gives You Nightmares
I have never in my life eaten cheese before bed, not since my mother told me that it gives you nightmares.
I’ve watched scores of horror movies before bed, of course, but never eaten cheese! I refuse!
Yup, like a sucker, I swallowed this old wives tale hook, line and sinker. But a recent study by the British Cheese Board has confirmed that this tale might actually be true.
In their study, they reported that almost all of their 200 surveyed volunteers recorded strange dreams after eating cheese before bedtime. Hmm.
Heartburn In Pregnancy Means You’ll Have A Hairy Baby
Nobody wants a hairy baby, but if you suffer heartburn in pregnancy you’re pretty much going to have one. Nothing you can do about it. Suck it up. Shall I get the scissors?
That’s what my grandmother would say to me. I haven’t believed her for years, but it turns out that it’s actually true.
A study at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore found a correlation between heartburn and hairiness, and suggested that it could be down to pregnancy hormones. Scary.