The human body is an incredibly complex system, capable of incredible and mind-blowing things. Yet, despite all the time and effort that we put into studying and understanding it, our understanding of our own bodies still leaves much to be desired.
Over the years we have had various ‘facts’ and ‘information’ shared with us, often well-intentioned focused on trying to keep up happy, healthy and safe. However, many of these ‘facts’ are merely myths that we have come to accept as truth. In fact, many of these myths are so widely accepted, that more people hold onto the myth than realize the truth! Crazy, isn’t it? Imagine discovering that something you were told your whole life was never true, to begin with?
Here are 9 myths about the human body that nearly everyone believes to be true:
#1 – Don’t crack your knuckles or you’re going to give yourself arthritis.
This is a popular one that most, if not all, of us have heard at one time or another. However, scientists believe that this may be more about your parents looking for a little peace than any actual long-term risk. Looking at a series of studies, comparing the health of those that crack their knuckles versus those that make it a regular habit, the data confirms that there is no definitive increase in the rate of arthritis. However, they did note that regular knuckle cracking can negatively impact your grip, so you may want to rethink that habit after all!
#2 – A change in diet isn’t going to actually detoxify the body.
We’ve all seen the detox and cleanse diets flying around social media, each promising to remove toxins from the body leaving us feeling happier and healthier – but is there any truth to them? Surprisingly, experts say that the foods you eat can make a significant difference in your overall health. However, don’t go rushing to hop on the latest detox diet quite yet! The best option for detox is already present in your body – your liver! This incredibly powerful organ actually works to trap and expel toxins as they pass through your system, filtering the bad from the good. SO, rather than engaging in a detox diet, that may actually hinder the liver’s function, try refocusing your diet to promote better liver health with foods like grapefruit, cranberries, blueberries, broccoli, and brussels sprouts.
#3 – You are either right-brained or left-brained depending on where your strengths lie.
It’s a theory that has shaped the way we look at natural talents and skills in the human population for years, believing that those who are largely driven by the left side of their brain are logical and data-focused thinkers, while those who are driven by the right side of their brain are creative free-spirits. While this theory did have some solid roots, first brought to light by psychobiologist Roger W. Sperry in the 1960s, newer data has determined there is no actual proof that this theory is true. Specific personality traits or skills don’t directly translate into one side of the brain or the other, with both sides working together over a complex network of nerves. While there are certain areas that specialize, like the reward center of the brain, your personality traits are not distinguished by which side of the brain you use most.
#4 – Shaving your beard will help it grow in thicker, so avoid shaving your legs too much!
This is a myth that has long promoted more frequent grooming on the part of men everywhere while causing women to shy away from the razor. However, does shaving actually cause your hair to grow back in thicker and darker? Ladies don’t go tossing that razor out quite yet! This is nothing more than a myth perpetuated by a somewhat deceiving phenomenon. When you shave, your hair is left with a blunt tip form being cut back. Combine that with the fact that fresh hair growth is often more rigid, and it can appear to be darker and thicker. In time, as it continues to grow, the truth will reveal itself. Either way, shaving has never been a permanent situation, so if you’re looking for something to last you may want to explore your other options.
#5 – You’re going to destroy your eyesight if you sit too close to the television.
It’s a myth that has been going around for years, used to scare children into sitting back at a safe distance to avoid the risk of permanent eye damage. Experts say, however, that this is nothing more than a myth! This isn’t to say that you won’t experience some vision issues or pain in the eyes/head after sitting too close for too long. Getting up close and personal with your television for any length of time may cause eye strain, which can manifest as blurred vision, headaches, burning or itching eyes or increased sensitivity to light. So, while you won’t be causing any permanent damage, you may still want to keep your distance.
#6 – Your unique fingerprint is the one irrefutable piece of evidence that law-enforcement officials can rely on.
While it is certainly true that your fingerprint is unique, different from everyone else around you, it may not be wise to completely rely on fingerprint analysis as a guaranteed form of proof. Those unique little patterns on your fingertips may be more complex than you could ever imagine – in fact, studies show that the fine details like the ridges, creases and individual pores within your fingerprint may result in the same finger giving 2 slightly different fingerprints without any actual changes to the finger (we’re not talking about post-injury). This could cause an incorrect result in fingerprint analysis, allowing for a margin of error. Complicating the whole situation further, there are a number of skin diseases that may actually alter or impact your fingerprint, in turn influencing the accuracy of the analysis. While it is certainly more reliable than most other evidence available to us, it’s not the guaranteed answer we were led to believe.
#7 – Your fingers get all prune-like when they are in water too much due to water absorption.
It’s a fact that we all know to be true, right? Experts say that this isn’t quite as cut and dry as we like to think during our childhood. Looking at your pruney fingers after a long bath or a day out in the pool, you may be prone to agree with the myth – when your fingers absorb all that water the skin actually expands. There is only so much room on your fingertip, so the skin will start to fold and bend following your fingerprints, creating the wrinkly appearance. Scientists believe, however, that this is less a ‘random occurrence’ and more a product of evolution. Studies reveal that your wrinkly fingers may actually be designed to make it easier for you to grip wet or submerged items. This is an evolutionary advantage, making us more efficient in wet situations, however, researchers warn that it only happens in healthy fingers, with no sign of change in those that are experiencing nerve damage.
#8 – Baby teeth are just placeholders and aren’t all that important long-term.
The early years are arguably the hardest to maintain your little one’s teeth, but that’s okay because they are just placeholders until their permanent teeth come in, right? The American Dental Association published an article disproving this entirely. In fact, your child’s baby teeth serve an important function in their overall health and well-being and should be cared for with just as much effort as their adult teeth. Not only do your child’s baby teeth help them to eat properly at a young age (chewing is important as they move into solid foods) but they also play an important role in their ability to speak properly, which you don’t want to take lightly when they are first learning to talk! Furthermore, don’t downplay the placeholder role! If a child loses baby teeth too early it may allow for their teeth to shift, no longer allowing room for their permanent teeth to come through correctly.
#9 – Human beings only use 10% of their brain at any given time.
You’ve likely been told that you should live up to your full potential, but if we’re only using 10% of our brains, maybe that ‘full potential’ isn’t as impressive as we would like to believe? Some self-proclaimed experts even boast that they have the ability to unlock that ‘unused area’ of your brain, setting you apart from the rest of the world. How is it, then, that losing significantly less than 10% of your brain during a catastrophic injury can have serious and life-altering side effects moving forward? Scientists and researchers say that this over generalization is nothing more than a myth. In fact, just speaking a couple words when hooked up to a brain monitor will light up much more than 10% of the brain. Our brain is an incredibly complex system, with each part serving an important purpose in its overall function. While the idea gives us hope for some great discovery regarding our intelligence, you may want to go back to the books and expanding your knowledge the old-fashioned way – studying!
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