Old wives’ tales sorted: which are fact and which are fiction? 5



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As kids it felt like we were always hearing old wives’ tales from our parents and grandparents, but just how true were they?

While, a few of these common tales have been proven to have some truth behind them, others definitely need to be thrown in the discard pile!

1. “Chicken Soup Will Cure Your Cold.”

Fight that cold with a big bowl of chicken soup.
Fight that cold with a big bowl of chicken soup.

When it comes to curing a cold there was one remedy that was whipped up in kitchens all over the country when they hit: chicken soup. It turns out these ‘wives’ were onto something though, with scientists proving that chicken soup does actually have healing properties. Doctors conducted a study with chicken soup containing chicken, onions, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, carrots, celery, parsley, salt and pepper and found that it really does have healing properties to help cure a common cold and help you get back to your healthy self faster.

2. “The Flu Shot Gives You the Flu.”

You're safe to get the jab.
You’re safe to get the jab.

For years now people have been saying that getting the flu shot will give you the flu. Luckily though, this just ain’t true! Sometimes the flu vaccine can cause you to develop flu-lie symptoms, but it is not actually the flu.

3. “Coffee Will Stunt Your Growth.”

It's ok to say yes to that second cup!
It’s ok to say yes to that second cup!

Remember hearing this one when you were a kid? Parents around the world discouraged their kids from drinking coffee based on the myth that it would stunt their growth. Thankfully this has been proven to be completely untrue and doctors now say that coffee actually has tonnes of benefits that help protect against Type 2 diabetes, ease Parkinson’s disease symptoms and promoting heart health.

4. “Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever.”

The old wives were half right when it came to this tale.
The old wives were half right when it came to this tale.

This tale dates all the way back to the 1500s when a man called John Withals claimed that fasting was a “great remedy” for a fever, because food was thought to generate heat in the body. Unfortunately, there is little evidence to back up his claim. As far as feeding the cold goes, a 2002 study found that eating healthy foods while you are sick actually does help to battle the cold and kick it to the curb.

5. “Don’t Crack Your Knuckles – You’ll Get Arthritis.”

As annoying as it is ... it's ok to keep cracking.
As annoying as it is … it’s ok to keep cracking.

Knuckle cracking is arguably one of the most annoying habits out there and mothers and fathers were constantly trying to deter their children by telling them they would end up with arthritis if they kept it up. However, there is no evidence to suggest that said knuckle crackers will actually end up with those achey joints as they grow older. In fact, a Nobel Prize-winning doctor even went so far as the crack his knuckles twice a day for 50 years just to prove his mother wrong.

What old wives’ tales do you remember hearing when you were a kid? What’s your favourite old wives’ tale?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. If you tell a lie a pimple will appear on your tongue!

    1 REPLY
    • When I was little and told my father I had a blister on my tongue, he would ask me if had been telling a fib.

  2. If you go out in the rain you will catch a cold! How mant silly films have reinforced this idiocy?

  3. An hour of sleep before midnight is worth two after midnight.

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