Growing up, we’re taught that Mum is always right. She knows why the sky is blue (“because it is”) and that if we don’t eat our crusts, our hair won’t go curly.
Don’t we know that going to bed with wet hair is just asking to get for a cold? And got thrush? Just dip a tampon in yoghurt and stick it up there for an hour.
Hang on – that wasn’t Mum, that was Google. Close enough.
But do these golden nuggets of wisdom ACTUALLY work or are they just meaningless old wives’ tales passed down from generation to generation? We decided it was time to consult science to find out the truth once and for all.
A yoghurt covered tampon will cure thrush.
Thrush is uncomfortable, itchy and quite literally, a pain in the vagina. Yet many women choose to keep it to themselves and resort to the age old 'dip a tampon in yoghurt' solution. The thinking is that yoghurt's active ingredient, lactobacillus, helps fight the infection. Turns out this one is udder rubbish. GP Marie Pirotta has spent five years researching vaginal thrush and she says yoghurt is not the cure. Don't feel silly though – Pirotta does concede that while it won't cure it, many women find it has a cooling effect on the affected area. Just make sure it's natural yoghurt and not one with sugar in. Otherwise, uh oh!
Eating an apple a day will keep the doctor away.
Yes, eating an apple a day really can keep the doctor away. The 2010 CSIRO Apple Report found that eating an apple a day came with a host of health benefits, including reducing the risk of asthma, managing allergies and helping to keep weight under control. Apples are also low in calories (about 95 per apple) but high in soluble fibre, which helps to prevent gut conditions like constipation, piles and bowel cancer. Studies also show that women who eat an apple a day have a 28 per cent reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Leave the skin on though – it contains the highest level of antioxidants.
Going to bed with wet hair will give you a cold.
Or going out without a coat. Or just generally being cold. While it sounds legit (why else would a cold be called a cold if not because you were cold!?), the common cold is actually caused by viruses, not the cold weather. Professor Raina MacIntyre says that outbreaks of colds and the flu peaking in winter are more likely because we spend more time together indoors, in small and often stuffy, unventilated spaces.
The crust is the best bit for you.
Or that eating the crusts will make your hair go curly. Given that I have ridiculously curly hair (and always ate my crusts for fear of Mum's wrath), I was quite convinced for some time that this must be the case. Unfortunately, scientists have found no links between crust consumption and curls on your head. That doesn't mean you're off the hook though – research suggests that the best thing since sliced bread might actually be the bread crust itself. Researchers in Germany discovered that the crust, particularly in wheat bread, is a rich source of antioxidants and has stronger health benefits than any other part of the loaf.
Potato will help make your acne scars go away.
And here we were thinking that the only good thing potatoes were for was making chips. Turns out they also work wonders on clearing pimple marks and reducing acne scars, thanks to their bleaching properties. Simply grate a whole potato and rub the pulp on your face, wait a few a minutes and then rinse with warm water.
Crossing your legs will give you varicose veins.
I bet you just uncrossed them then. A tale that has haunted you as an adult, you can relax –it's not the case. While varicose veins are a painful and unfortunate part of ageing, sitting cross legged does not cause them. It also doesn't make them worse if you already have them. You can cross your legs back now.