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'Tis the Season for the 6 Holiday Health Myths

Health & Wellness
Last Updated Jan 26, 2021

Keep your distance from those pretty poinsettias lest you die. This and other more sayings are once again making their way to table talks with the holidays soon upon us. Here, below, we list six of the most common health myths that are associated with Christmas and New Year's Eve.

Bananas Can Cure a Hangover

Binge drinking can only lead to one thing — an excruciating hangover. People who experience it sleep in, others take an aspirin, and some treat themselves to a banana. The myth goes that a banana can cure hangovers, which are caused by acetaldehyde. This chemical compound is produced when the liver breaks down alcohol consumed by the body. Unfortunately, this myth has long been disproved by medical professors.

While a shred of evidence shows that the amino acid L-cysteine in eggs can help reduce the symptoms of a hangover, bananas still have to undergo extensive research and tests.

Suicide Rates Increase During the Holidays

Physicians Rachel Vreeman and Aaron Carroll have examined different holiday health myths and published their findings in several articles, which disproved many of these, including more deaths by suicide occurring during the holidays. Vreeman says people get more emotional and social support during this time of year, hence the reason for fewer psychiatric consultations and suicide attempts.

Eating Turkey Makes You Sleepy

Turkey, along with chicken, beef, pork, fish, cheese, pumpkin, eggs and a host of other foods, is high in tryptophan. This type of amino acid induces relaxation and is present in practically everything edible, so turkey isn't to blame if you feel drowsy after Christmas dinner. Try consuming smaller servings of meat, carbs and your favourite alcoholic beverage so as not to feel sleepy, and to have more time to hang out with the family.

Sugar Makes Children Hyperactive

Sugar causes cavities and increases your risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and fatty liver. But, no sliver of evidence shows that it makes children hyperactive. So, it's absolutely fine to let the little ones have their candy canes and lollipops on Christmas Day. 

Poinsettias Are Poisonous

No matter how beautiful they are, poinsettias are deemed fatal by many people. That's why parents keep their little children away from the full leaves and petals of the plant, and so do pet owners, for fear of what may happen to them if they ingested a leaf or petal. However, their fears are baseless as health researchers see no evidence of death linked to the plant.

You Lose a Big Percentage of Body Heat Through Your Head

Another unfounded premise. You can lose heat through any uncovered part of your body, not necessarily your head. Even if you wear a beanie and a hood over before walking out in the cold, your body temperature will still drop below normal levels if you walk in your thongs or sandals. So bundle up from head to foot if it's cold outside

These six holiday health myths can surely make conversations during Christmas dinner and New Year's Eve more interesting if not humorous.

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Originally published on Dec 25, 2020

FAQs About Holiday Health Myths

Does sugar make you hyper?

No, sugar doesn't make you hyper. It's a myth that started in 1974, when a doctor wrote a letter to the American Academy of Pediatrics, stating that he had become aware that sugar was a leading cause of hyperactivity. The Academy published the letter despite no scientific evidence.

Do nuts make you fat?

No, eating nuts does not make you fat. One cup of almond nuts contains 3.4 grams of saturated fat, which is slightly higher than the FDA's standard of 2 grams or less. Nuts are packed with omega-3 fatty acids which help lower bad cholesterol.

Is red wine better for you than white wine?

Yes, red wine is better than white wine in terms of nutritional content as it contains less sugar. Studies show that consuming a small amount of alcohol each day lowers your risk of heart disease and increases your life expectancy. Too much of it can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and several types of cancer.

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