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.