Can You Bust These Health Myths?

By: Monica Lee
Image: Jill Giardino/Blend Images/Getty Images

About This Quiz

There is so much conflicting research available, you may not be sure whether it's safer to follow your mom's advice or take the advice of health and fitness experts. For instance, have you been told that stretching before a workout is all that's needed to warm up? If so, that's a myth. Muscles should be warm before a stretch, or you'll increase the risk of injury. Today, fitness experts recommend beginning your workout with a brief warm-up, such as a brisk walk, to start the blood flowing to the muscles before stretching.

Yes, it's confusing. Just think of how many reports have come out on the evils and benefits of coffee in the last ten years alone. Research shows this dark liquid protects you against Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease while also irritating your stomach lining. However, everyone does agree that it's a myth that coffee can make you sober. Nothing but time can reduce the alcohol level in your blood stream. 

It's hard to sort through the truth or falsity of myths, but it's easy to take this quiz. We'll even give you a hint: what sounds like good advice probably isn't with today's latest research. Go on, see how you do. The truth is out there. 


You need to drink eight cups of water a day to be healthy. True or false?

You can put enough liquids in your body to keep hydrated by eating foods like soup, fruits, and vegetables and with drinks like juice, tea, and coffee, it doesn't HAVE to be water. So this myth of eight cups a day of water just goes up in smoke... er... steam.

Smiling is the secret to happiness. What's the verdict?

Smiling can boost your mood, but you have to use a genuine smile that reaches your eyes. A smile triggers a powerful chemical reaction in your brain that can lower stress and boost your immune system.

If you're a big egg eater, hold onto your heart, that kind of eating is bad for you. What's your take on this myth?

Don't be yellow about eating eggs. Even if you eat an egg or two a DAY, you are still being healthy. It only matters how much fat and cholesterol you ingest during the entire day. Besides, eggs have nutrients, like omega-3's, that may lower the risk of heart disease.

It's recent news, but is it true? Is there a link between antiperspirant and breast cancer?

According to the National Cancer Institute, you can still smell sweet, or at least not as stinky. The Institute reports there is no evidence connecting antiperspirants with breast cancer.

As you age, you chill out. True or false?

A study of over 132,000 people found that people become more agreeable (willing to cooperate with others) as they age and women become less emotionally sensitive as well. The study also noted that as people age they aren't as keen to try new experiences.

This one makes sense, but is it true? Being cold gives you a cold.

Never want to go out when the temperature goes down? Weirdly, that can make you sick! Germs are easily passed indoors, whereas several hours in temperatures just above freezing results in an increase in healthy, virus-fighting activity in immune systems.

Find someone like yourself to marry. True or false?

You'll have a longer, happier marriage if your partner is similar to you. An abundance of research shows that people who are similar typically agree on more things and share the same communication preferences, thus staying together longer.

You start the day with a multivitamin. Good for you! Or is it good for you?

Doctors have varying opinions on this, but if you're severely lacking nutrients, then take some. However, they ALL agree that the best way to get your nutrients is to eat a diet filled with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and healthy oils.

Excuse us for being gross, but is it true that green mucus means an infection?

Green or yellow mucus is SLIGHTLY more common in certain bacterial infections. But it’s not a sure sign that you have one or that you need antibiotics.

If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all. Scientifically, is this good advice?

Do you want to tell someone what you really think? Think again. Venting doesn't do anything for you, in fact instead of dissipating your anger, it reinforces your anger, causing you to become more angry for a longer period of time.

The birthday cake and ice cream have been devoured. You now have hyperactive kids, right?

According to the National Institutes of Health, there’s no link between sugar and hyperactivity. Plus, study after study has demonstrated that sugar rushes are a myth.

Eating chicken soup helps your cold or flu. Is that myth true or false?

A scientific study found that chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, the hot soup helps break up the congestion, and the salt in the soup can soothe a sore throat.

You may hate the sound when someone cracks their knuckles but is it bad for them? Will they get arthritis?

That popping or cracking sound is from a gas bubble that forms between the bones. The joints aren't rubbing together, so no joint pain = no arthritis.

Did your mom tell you that you need to start your day with a nutritious breakfast? Is she right?

Breakfast does not "jump start" your metabolism and skipping it does not automatically make you overeat and gain weight. Nutritious eating (and not overeating) is smart throughout the day.

Water conducts electricity. True or false?

Stay out of the pool in a lightning storm. Although pure water doesn't conduct electricity, you won't find pure water in a pool or elsewhere. There are always minerals and chemicals (ions) in the water. So stay safe and stay inside when there is lightening.

Most people undergo a midlife crisis, right?

Researchers estimate that approximately ten percent of the population suffers a midlife crisis. With the graying of America, it might seem like more people are experiencing it.

For women, heart attacks don't always come with chest pains. True or false?

According to the American Heart Association, women's heart attack symptoms might not have chest pains. Instead, it can be shortness of breath, heartburn, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, as well as neck, back, or arm pain.

Gum takes seven years to digest. True or false?

We can't digest gum so it passes right through us along with the other things we eat. And it passes at the same rate, not seven years.

Carrots improve your vision. What's your thoughts on this?

Carrots are delicious and nutritious. But it pretty much ends there. Carrots do not help your eyesight at all. Glasses or contact lenses are more helpful for bad eyesight.

Keep your wound covered to stop scar tissue from forming. What's your take on this?

Have you ever heard that letting your wounds breathe will help them heal faster? That's old news. The latest research shows it is important to keep your wound covered to lock in moisture, which prevents scabbing and scarring.

Wrinkly fingers means it's time to get out of the water, right?

When your fingers start to wrinkle in the water, it's not because it's time to get out. It's because they are adapting to the wet environment and improving your grasping ability.

Don't read in low light, it will hurt your eyesight. What do you think about that?

Although your eyes muscles might get strained or tired when you read in poor light, they'll bounce back. It will not permanently affect you.

High blood pressure is a "silent killer" because there are no symptoms.

Cardiologists will tell you that if you're looking for a list of symptoms and signs of high blood pressure, you won't find them. However, it can lead to obvious indications of health issues such as a stroke, heart failure, and kidney failure.

Swimming after eating causes cramps. What's the verdict?

Go on, dive in and do the backstroke, even after you eat. You won't get cramps. It's just an old wives' tale.

Lean your head back if you have a nose bleed. That's what you would do, right?

If you put your head back, you could choke on or swallow blood. Instead, the latest science advises standing or sitting while bending forward at the waist, and pinching the soft part of the nose for 10 minutes.

"Always take your antibiotics, all of it." Did you hear your mother's voice in that advice? Is she right?

If you're getting antibiotics, it's critical that you finish the full course of treatment. By stopping earlier, even if you feel better, you may get sick again as the infection can rebound and become resistant to a future round of antibiotics.

Kids lose most body heat through their head. What do you believe?

Although it doesn't matter as adults, as we lose 10 percent of our heat from whatever areas are exposed to the weather. But children's heads are usually larger in proportion to their body surface area, so children lose the most heat from their heads—probably about 30 percent.

Getting the flu shot will give you the flu. Does that sound right?

Some people might get mild flu symptoms due to the body's immune response to getting the vaccine, but the keyword is "mild." If you actually get the flu, the symptoms will be much worse.

You can be scared to death. Is that true?

First described in Japan, if you are given a bad fright, your heart temporarily enlarges and can sometimes, though rarely, be fatal. But it's true nonetheless.

It's important to keep a person with a concussion awake for the first four to six hours. What's your take on this?

In the first four to six hours after a concussion, it's important to watch the person, looking for any signs of mental status changes or deterioration, which isn't possible if they're asleep. However, after that initial "watch and report" period, sleep is recommended.

Whether you run on a treadmill or pavement makes no difference to the wear and tear of your knees. True or false?

The running surface is not that important. What affects the knee is the stress on joints from your body's weight, which is the true cause of the pounding,

Six-pack abs for women are the height of physical fitness. Agree or disagree?

For your six-pack to show, your body fat levels have to be very low. Nutrition experts feel that for some individuals, especially females, having too little body fat can be damaging. Very low body fat can lead to an increased risk of osteoporosis and impact reproductive health.

Working out for the first time and not feeling any pain? Your activity level is perfect. Right? Or... wrong?

Even if you don't feel pain while jumping into or returning to a new exercise routine, you may feel it later. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, this is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). So take it slow and easy when you start out.

You have to break a sweat to get a good workout. What's the bottom line on this one?

According to health and fitness expert, Palinski Wade, the effectiveness of your workout is not measured by the amount you sweat. From genetics to temperature, people sweat at varying levels that may have nothing to do with exercising.

Every few months you should do a detox to help clean out the toxins in your system. What's your stand on this?

The body is amazing in that it has its own built-in detox system with the kidneys, liver, and lungs, If you go on a 'detox diet' or take a detox supplement, you may deprive yourself of needed nutrients, and besides, it's not necessary.

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