REVIEW: Six Ol’ Wives’ Tales Proven True

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Your grandmother was right about many things, even though it’s taken science years to provide the proof. Granted, you don’t “loose a tooth for every baby,” but researchers have now verified that six old wives’ tales are worthy advice.

#1: Fish is Brain Food: Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and herring, are rich sources of the omega-3 fats, especially DHA, which improve thinking, reaction times, memory, and possibly even lower Alzheimer’s risk by up to 70%. You need at least two  servings weekly, or at least 220mg of DHA daily.  This fat is so important for brain health that even children should be supplementing if they don’t eat fatty fish regularly.

#2: An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away: The high levels of phenolics contained in apples work as potent antioxidants to reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. In addition, apples also may protect against Alzheimer’s disease, while a compound in apple peel, called ursolic acid, helps keep muscles strong as we age. Very likely these compounds lower inflammation, which then reduces the risk for many chronic diseases. More importantly, a diet packed with a variety of colorful produce is the best insurance against diseases and weight gain down the road.

#3: Carrots Improve Vision: Beta carotene in carrots is converted to vitamin A in the body. This vitamin is essential for vision, and a deficiency can lead to night blindness. Though this old wives’ tale focuses on carrots, better yet are spinach and other leafy greens, which are excellent sources of beta carotene, as well as other vision-boosting nutrients not found in carrots, such as lutein and zeaxanthin.

#4: Turkey and/or Warm Milk Help You Sleep Like a Baby: This is a half truth. Tryptophan – an amino acid found in turkey and milk – is the building block for serotonin, the nerve chemical that aids sleep. However, it is the turkey you ate yesterday that will help you sleep better tonight. Eat an all-carb snack before bedtime, such as air-popped popcorn, and the tryptophan floating around in your system from that turkey burger you ate the day before will be funneled into your brain and converted to serotonin. The reason why warm milk makes some people sleepy, is not because of its tryptophan, but because warm beverages at bedtime slightly raise body temperature, much like an internal warm bath, which relaxes and makes you sleepy.

#5: Chicken Soup Is Good for the Soul: Homemade chicken soup helps mitigate the inflammatory response associated with colds and other upper-respiratory infections. Both the vegetables and chicken in soup individually reduce inflammation and curb cold symptoms. Besides, there is nothing better for a woman’s soul than weight loss, and studies show that people who eat broth-based soups consume fewer calories, yet feel just as full, so have an easier time losing weight and maintaining the weight loss.

#6:  Tomatoes Are an Aphrodisiac: Italians didn’t get the reputation for being some of the world’s best lovers for nothing! Their tomato-rich diet is loaded with a compound called lycopene that has been proven to lower prostate cancer risk. However, tomatoes are not the only, or even the best, source of lycopene. Actually, cup for cup, watermelon has more lycopene than fresh tomatoes.

Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology 2016; January 16th/ Evidence Based Complementary Alternative Medicine 2015;2015:105256/Chest 2000/118:1150-1157.

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