There are certain things that we know to be true.
Adding salt to water makes it boil faster. You need to wait 30 minutes after eating before you swim or risk cramps. We only use 10 percent of our brains. Shaving makes hair grow back thicker. The Great Wall of China is clearly visible from outer space.
The trouble is all of those “facts,” and many others we believe, simply aren’t true.
Myths and misconceptions are contagious. We hear them so often we believe them to be fact. Eventually we pass them along too.
Sometimes wisdom passed down over the generations is true. After all, it has stood the test of time. For example, regularly eating raw garlic really could help you avoid colds. Or fish, which is rich in omega-3s, truly is brain food.
But other health “facts” we know to be true are actually myths. And some of those health myths could end up harming us.
Stop believing these harmful health myths TODAY
Following are four common health myths you might believe.
Myth: Heart attacks are a male problem
Many folks believe heart disease is a male issue. When we think about heart attacks, we tend to picture what we’ve seen in movies. An overweight, mature man clutching his chest in pain and falling to the ground.
But the reality is heart disease is the number one killer of BOTH men and women.
It’s responsible for one in four deaths in women. And according to the CDC, it kills over 289,000 of us a year.
But we still don’t think of heart attacks as a women’s issue. And honestly, it’s not entirely our fault.
We focus on what one doctor referred to as “bikini health,” because that’s the messaging we hear most. We receive lots of advice about breast cancer and reproductive health issues. But we hear far less about heart concerns.
Even doctors often fail to talk with their female patients about heart health. Yet heart disease kills far more women than breast cancer does. In fact, more women die from cardiovascular disease than ALL cancers put together.
And to complicate things further, nearly two thirds of women who suddenly die from a heart complication had no prior symptoms. Making this one of those health myths that could kill you.
Ladies, heart attacks are a female problem too. And you need to get serious about your own heart health.
Regular exercise and a heart healthy, lower carb diet with plenty of healthy fats, whole grains and fresh organic fruits and veggies are the backbones of good heart health.
Myth: Antibiotics will help you get rid of a cold faster
If I had a dollar for every person who pestered their doctor for an antibiotic when they had a cold, I’d be a very rich woman.
But the fact is the common cold is a viral infection. And antibiotics do not affect viruses. So taking one will not shorten your cold, or even make you feel better
Unfortunately, studies have found that pestering works. Your doctor knows if you don’t have a bacterial infection, an antibiotic won’t help. But studies show to get you off his back he’s still likely to write you a prescription when you ask for one.
And that’s a problem. Antibiotic overuse and misuse causes antibiotic resistance, creating bugs that are stronger and deadlier than before. Which means when we… or someone else… truly needs them they may not work against the superbugs we have created.
In other words, with many health myths you’re only harming yourself. But believing in this one could harm others too.
Stop taking antibiotics for colds. And for minor infections, with your doctor’s blessing you may even want to consider trying herbal “antibiotics” such as oil of oregano or ginger.
Myth: Eating eggs will give you high cholesterol
Do you believe eggs are bad for you? Or that they will give you high cholesterol and raise your heart risk?
If so, you’re in good company. Many folks do. And for good reason.
For decades, eggs were vilified as a “high cholesterol” food. Even Federal guidelines—first developed by the American Heart Association—dinged them for raising our cholesterol levels.
But the trouble is they were wrong. Cholesterol in food just doesn’t work the way we were led to believe. And foods such as eggs don’t have a big impact on our own blood cholesterol levels.
Heck even the government backed off eventually. Its own Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has admitted we don’t need to focus on cholesterol in our diet.
But the bad reputation has stuck. And as a result, many folks are still avoiding eggs. Or maybe even worse, choking down bland, egg-white omelets.
And that’s a real shame because they are robbing themselves off the many health benefits of the nearly perfect egg. Packed with protein, vitamins and minerals eggs aren’t just “not bad for you,” there are plenty of reasons you should be eating MORE of them.
Regular egg eaters have a reduced risk of breast cancer, for example. Their belly-filling protein can help you feel full longer; making eggs great for folks trying to lose weight. And eggs provide plenty of eye-friendly lutein and zeaxanthin to help fight cataracts and macular degeneration.
Myth: The doctor is always right
We were raised to respect authority. And there are few folks we respect more than we do our doctors.
After all, they’ve gone through many years of intense training. And they’ve proven themselves smart and trustworthy.
Besides, let’s face it. We often put our lives into their hands so we need to respect them.
But that high level of respect can backfire on us sometimes. We may be afraid of being assertive in some situations where we should be.
The truth is doctors are human just like we are. They make mistakes. And they can suffer from the same sorts of biases anyone else can.
Some doctors don’t take women’s health concerns as seriously as they do men’s, for example. Others may see the gray hair on your head and start treating you like a child. And overweight folks can find their health complaints are dismissed as overreactions more often than their thinner peers are.
You should feel free to “doctor shop,” until you find the right physician for you. Don’t accept a doctor who you don’t feel takes your concerns seriously. And never be afraid of getting a second or even third opinion.
Medical wisdom is a moving target. What we “know” to be true today may become one of tomorrow’s health myths. So keep your mind open and stay informed.