Some beliefs are handed down by word of mouth, some come down
the generations and soon, they become gospel truth. Sheila Kumar
busts the myths associated with them
You know the stories we are talking about. Glimpsing a black cat and
anticipating bad luck. Throwing salt over your shoulder every time
you spill some. Never lending a friend a safety pin. The most rational
 of people hold fast to some astoundingly vague superstitions and
beliefs, the origins of which have been shrouded by the mists of time,
 de-mystifies ten beliefs…
An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Really? No, I'm afraid not. An apple is packed with nutrients and,
like most fruit, is good for you. But a one-stop solution to all health
problems it is not. Neither will an apple a day keep ailments away.
So, bite into a Golden or a Delicious and relish it but do not expect
it to do magic.
You will catch a cold if you get wet. You do not catch a cold by being
out in wet or cold weather. Nine times out of ten, you catch a cold from
 an infected person in your vicinity. Of course, your general resistance
could well be lowered when you are wet or chilled. So, the next time you
get caught in a downpour, just relax and enjoy the moment, without
anticipating a cold or the flu.
Butter on burns makes them heal faster.
This one is an old wives' or granny's tale. In fact, doctors specify that
butter really should not be smeared on burns. It's vital to clean the area
(which obviously means no foreign substance like butter) and then,
apply cold water to reduce pain and inflammation. But yes, butter
on chapped lips works wonders!
Lack of sleep translates to bags under the eyes.
Okay, here is the truth: it's ageing that does it, not a dearth of sleep.
Other factors that cause bags under the eyes are heredity, allergies,
 exposure and dry skin. Lack of sleep will definitely show up in your
 general well-being, but not specifically as bags under the eyes.
Talking to plants make them thrive.
We are all for you singing a ditty or two to the potted palm in your
garden or the fuchsia on your balcony but this communicating-with-plants
 story originated from an old Egyptian fable that believed trees and plants
had souls that needed tending to. People who talk to their plants or sing
 to them are in all probability taking very good care of them. So naturally
 the plants will thrive!
Raw steak for a black eye, frozen peas on a swelling.
Right, they will calm the place down, soothe it even, because cold inhibits
swelling as it narrows the arteries and restricts the blood flow. But help it
heal faster? That they cannot do. So, you can safely save the meat for your
 dinner, the peas for paneer mattar.
Copper rings and bangles stave off arthritis.
No, they don't. There is absolutely no evidence that copper has any effect,
 beneficial or baneful, on any disease. It's the old placebo effect… people
believe it will help, so they feel good about wearing copper next to the skin,
 and in turn, are convinced they are feeling good because the copper has worked.
Reading in bad light causes permanent damage to the eyes.
We are sorry to act as a bicon-breaker but the truth is, while reading in good
light definitely eases strain on the eyes, poor lighting will not harm your eyes.
Yes that's right, your eyes adjust to the quantity of light they receive, and
soon you will read as well in poor light as you would in better lighting.
Fat people tend to be jolly fellows and gals.
Not at all, when you think of it. Overweight people are usually unhappy in
varying degrees, mostly about their weight accumulation. Some overweight
 people suffer from an underactive thyroid and that actually makes them
sluggish in gait and behaviour… not jolly at all, when you come to think of it.
Uni-brow, high forehead, big eyes = intelligence.
It isn't that glib. It's all about heredity, of course, the shape and height of
 the forehead, the brow, the eyes, the face. Studies have shown that man
today does have a longer brow and a larger head than his caveman ancestor
 but that has evolution as its reason. You could be a person of uncommon
 intelligence and yet have inherited your father's smallish eyes and
mother's narrow forehead.