Fact: Chicken soups helps with a cold
This one has science on its side. A famous 2000 study from the University of Nebraska Medical Centre found that chicken soup has an anti-inflammatory effect, which may help ease pain or discomfort.
Chicken soup can also speed up the movement of mucus through the nose to relieve congestion. In addition, you tend to lose more fluid when you’re sick, from perspiration, or coughing, and the salt from soup can help keep you hydrated because it triggers water retention. If you don’t eat chicken, a veggie soup will do nicely, and either way adding veggies is a smart way to boost your nutrient intake and bolster immunity.
Myth: Alcohol helps you sleep
There have been more than 25 studies published about alcohol’s impact on sleep, and while it’s true that alcohol tends to reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, it also disrupts overall sleep, particularly important REM sleep, which is mentally restorative.
And the more you drink, the worse the impact.
If you have trouble sleeping be sure to cut off caffeine at least six hours before bed, keep your room cool, dark, and quiet, and instead of a glass of wine try even five minutes of meditation, deep breathing, or progressive relaxation (focusing on relaxing your body, starting with the tips of your toes, up to the top of your head), either before bed, or after you’ve tucked in.
Fact: A spoonful of honey is good for coughs
Honey contains natural anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial substances. In fact, in one study, more than 100 children with upper respiratory tract infections were given either a honey flavoured cough suppressant, nothing, or up to two teaspoons of pure honey before bed. The real honey not only reduced night-time coughing and improved sleep, but it was just as effective as the over the counter medication.
Next time your throat hurts, ease the discomfort by mixing a little honey with warm water and lemon, or simply swallow honey straight from the spoon.
Fact: Drinking water helps you lose weight
While it’s not true that you lose weight with every sip of water you drink there have been published studies to support the connection between water and weight management. One found that when adults downed two cups of water right before eating a meal they ate between 75 and 90 fewer calories. A second study, conducted by the same researchers, found that when two groups of people followed the same calorie-controlled plan for 12 weeks, those who drank two cups of water before meals lost about 15.5 pounds, compared to about 11 pounds in the non-water drinking group.
Plus, there is some research to show that water offers a slight metabolic boost. One German study found that drinking 16 ounces (2 cups) of water upped calorie burning by 30%. The effect was triggered within 10 minutes and sustained for over an hour. And while the impact was small, in terms of the total extra number of calories burned, day after day those little boosts can add up.
Fact: Fish Is Brain Food
The reason this old wives’ tale is true is because of fats - the healthy kind found in fish oils. Called omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs), they’re critical for the normal growth and development of the brain. We hear a lot about the importance of taking fish oil supplements as you get older. But humans of all ages benefit from EFAs. In an Oxford University study, 120 primary-school children with coordination difficulties were given a mix of omega-3 and omega-6 EFAs over three months. One of the notable outcomes? The research found that the kids demonstrated significant improvement in school performance.
Fact: An Apple a Day Will Keep the Doctor Away
Studies have shown that the phenols in apples protect against DNA damage (and cancer). They’re also heavy on fiber, which helps prevent heart disease and is useful when trying to maintain a healthy weight.
Myth: Feed a cold, starve a fever
Forget the old saying about “starving a fever” to make it go away. (Actually, the original saying was “feed a cold, stave a fever,” stave meaning “to prevent.”) Fasting will weaken you just as you should be preserving your strength. Even if you don’t feel like eating, you should consider trying bland foods, such as chicken soup, toast, or other soothing foods. The key is to feed your body healthy foods in order to strengthen your immune system so you can fight infections.