Health Myth or Fact?

Some of these popular health myths are more obvious than others, but there were a few that genuinely shocked us in the Irish Life office so we thought we’d share them with you. Who knew blood wasn’t blue?!

Read time: 4 Minutes

Some of these popular health myths are more obvious than others, but there were a few that genuinely shocked us in the Irish Life office so we thought we’d share them with you.  Who knew blood wasn’t blue?!

  1. The five second rule – Myth

We’d like to believe that eating food we’ve dropped on the floor is safe if it hasn’t hit the magic 5 seconds of ground contact. Wishful thinking! Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that, bacteria can contaminate food within milliseconds.  Studies show moist foods attract more bacteria than dry foods, but that doesn’t bide your biscuit an extra 5 seconds. Really, the question is how clean is the ground? If you are at home, don’t have pets, and have just mopped chances are it will do you no harm.  If you are out and about don’t take the risk, just think of all the feet that have walked there and where those feet have been!


  1. Eat lots of carrots for the power of night vision – Myth

It’s true vitamin A, found in carrots is great for eye health but a diet of carrots won’t give you superpowers or we’d all be at it. This myth started during World War II, the British didn’t want the Nazi’s to know they had new technology to allow them to see the German planes at night so spun a propaganda campaign around carrots! The myth has been kept alive for decades by well-meaning parents and it certainly won’t do you any harm.

Source: Tech Insider

  1. Chewing gum stays in your system for 7 years if you swallow it – Myth

While it’s true your body struggles to digest chewing gum, the occasional piece swallowed won’t do you any damage.  It will simply pass through your intestines just like anything else your body can’t digest. Swallowed gum tends to only cause problems if accidentally swallowed along with something else you shouldn’t eat like lego bricks or coins.

Source: Scientific American

  1. Cure a hangover with the “hair of the dog”- Myth

Drinking more the next day may have a placebo effect, putting you in a better mood to cope with your hangover. The reality is that a pint the next day will only prolong your hangover, dehydrating you further. What you really need is to rehydrate yourself with water.

Source: Business Insider

  1. An apple a day keeps the doctor away – Myth


Apples are definitely good for you; we aren’t debating that or trying to discourage anyone.  If you are eating an apple a day you are providing your body with a daily source of vitamin C and fibre and we recommend you keep it up!  There are many other nutrients your body needs for overall health.  A daily apple can’t make you immune to everything going.  Even those with the of healthiest diets can’t avoid picking up viruses or suffering an illness.  Touching the wrong door handle can knock anyone for six.

Source: Business Insider

  1. Blood is blue before the air hits it – Myth

Blood is always red, when it’s deoxidated it is a darker red, not blue and when it’s oxygenated it’s a bright red.  So why do our veins look blue?  Veins look blue due to the tissue that veins are made off and how that tissue looks through the layers of skin.

Source: UCSB ScienceLine

  1. White spots on nails means you need more calcium – Fact & Myth

White spots on your nails can be associated with vitamin deficiencies like not getting enough calcium. However, for most people there is no connection.   These white spots are commonly a sign of damage to the nail bed which can often take weeks from the actual impact to show. Chances are you’ve forgotten clumsily banging you’re nail a few weeks ago. If you are concerned or have other signs of illness don’t neglect to visit your doctor, in extreme cases it can be a sign of more serious illnesses such as malaria.

Source : MD Health

  1. Wait an hour after eating before you swim or you could cramp and drown – Myth

Cramps are a common part of swimming but they aren’t linked to what you have or haven’t eaten beforehand.  Digesting food doesn’t take power away from or reduce the performance of your muscles.  For comfort, you may want to wait an hour or so after eating before swimming like you would for another exercise. At least you know if you do have a swim after eating you aren’t risking your life.

Source: Business Insider

  1. You lose 90% of your body heat through your head – Myth

If you are exposed you lose body heat, whether that’s from your head, your legs or your arms. the reason why we talk about losing heat from our heads is because they are less likely to be covered than the rest of us.  An adult’s head represents around 10% of their body’s surface area so losing 90% of your body heat through it is impossible.

Source: Web MD

  1. Cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis – Myth

Cracking your knuckles will annoy people around you and that is probably where this myth developed from! People who hate the sound of cracking knuckles are likely telling you it will cause arthritis to encourage you to stop but there’s nothing to prove they are right.

Source: JABFM

  1. Antibiotics counteract medications – Fact

Birth control, blood thinners and anti-fungal medications can all be impacted and reduced in effectiveness by antibiotics.  Make sure your doctor is aware of your existing medication before they prescribe you antibiotics.  If your birth control is affected use two methods of contraception during and immediately after your course of antibiotics to reduce your chances of becoming pregnant.

Source: NHS

  1. Sleeping on one side of your face causes wrinkles – Fact

Sorry side sleepers, but this one is true! Sleeping on one side of your face is a sure-fire way to crease up your face at night and over time result in lifelong wrinkles. Sleeping on your back is the best way to prevent wrinkles but may prove too challenging if you are used to sleeping on your side.  Switch cotton pillow cases to satin which don’t pull on your skin as much.


  1. Humans use just 10% of their brains – Myth

You might have heard people say we aren’t reaching our potential and need to unlock parts of our brains to push the limits of human capability. Brain imaging shows that there are in fact no areas of our brains that are void of activity.  We use it all!  We can learn to think differently, develop our creativity, learn memorization techniques, but we can’t turn on dormant areas of the brain as they don’t exist.

Source: BBC

  1. Eating fatty foods makes you fat – Myth

Eating too much of anything will make you fat. Weight gain is caused by putting in more calories than you burn off.  Yes, fat contains more calories but it is part of a healthy balanced diet. It is important for energizing the body and regulating the metabolism.  What’s most important for your health is the type of fat you consume.  Nuts for example are high in fat but keep you feeling fuller for longer, preventing you snacking more throughout the day.

Source: Real Simple

Irish Life is one of Ireland’s leading financial services companies with over 1 million customers. For over 75 years, we’ve been helping people in Ireland look after their life insurance, pension and investment needs.

Author: Irish Life

Irish Life is one of Ireland’s leading financial services companies with over 1 million customers. For over 75 years, we’ve been helping people in Ireland look after their life insurance, pension and investment needs.

One thought on “Health Myth or Fact?”

  1. Hey
    In this article you have provided good details on myths. Which is very informative and helpful.
    Your all myths are may not new to us but few of them is very enjoyable to read. Thanks for your article on health myths.


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