Things Mom Told You Were Healthy That May Not Be

Your mom told you to drink your milk and scrub behind your ears. Did you know this might actually be bad advice? Mom meant well, but she may not have had all the information we have today. Let’s look at some other things Mom told you were healthy but may not be. Plus, we’ll look at the healthy alternatives.

Wash with Soap

You’ve been told to scrub all your life, but is this good advice? Some medical investigators don’t think so. Your skin is not a sterile surface. Like it or not, human skin is literally crawling with all kinds of bacteria and fungi. This creates a special ecosystem where skin cells interact naturally with microorganisms to maximize skin function.

According to Dr. Robynne Chutkan, founder of the Digestive Center for Women in Chevy Chase, Maryland, when you scrub with soap you strip away a natural protective skin layer. This might actually worsen conditions like acne and eczema.

What to do: You can still wash and shower, but you don’t have to use soap every time. Plus, scalding hot water is not good for your skin either. Reduce the amount of soap you use to once or twice a week. Also, try soaps with all-natural ingredients like coconut oil, palm oil and honey.

Drink Your Milk

Mom always told you to finish your milk. Still, some research shows that the milk you buy at the supermarket might not be the healthiest choice. Many people suffer from milk allergies and lactose intolerance. Milk allergy symptoms can include:

  • Hives
  • Wheezing
  • Vomiting
  • Loose stools, which may contain blood
  • Diarrhea and abdominal cramps
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • A runny nose or itchy eyes
  • Itchy skin rash, often around the mouth

Symptoms of lactose intolerance are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Bloating
  • Gas

What to do: You might try raw milk, which is unpasteurized. Many experts state that the pasteurization process kills helpful enzymes in milk. Compared to pasteurized milk, raw milk may reduce allergy symptoms, improve skin health and provide more nutrients. If you have a true intolerance to cow-based dairy products, try an alternative, such as goat milk, coconut milk, almond milk or kefir.

Carrots are Good for Your Eyes

Carrots are good for you — that’s for sure. During World War II, the British Royal Air Force created a story about ace fighter pilot John “Cats’ Eyes” Cunningham. The press said that Cunningham ate carrots to give him special night vision to see the enemy. Since then, carrots have always been associated with eye health. The truth is, they don’t improve night vision.

Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, a special pigment found in several fruits and vegetables. It’s true, carrots can be beneficial to eye health, but not any more than other foods with beta-carotene. Getting more beta-carotene won’t free you from needing glasses, either.

What to do: Keep eating carrots as they’re good for you. Other sources of beta-carotene are sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, cantaloupe and apricots. Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant and may also help prevent cancers and heart disease.

Butter or Ice Helps Heal Burns

Ever get burned and your mom whipped out the butter? Or maybe even a bag of ice? It turns out that butter could actually make things worse since it spreads or traps in the heat. Ice isn’t any better since it can cause cell damage due to cold.

What to do: If you get burned, immerse the burn in a cool (not ice) water. You can apply cool compresses afterward. If your skin forms blisters, don’t pop them. Blisters are nature’s bandages. Bandage the burn site loosely, and change the bandage once or twice a day. If the bandage sticks, use warm water to loosen it. You can apply a topical antibiotic cream or ointment like bacitracin to help protect the burn while it heals.

Going Out with Wet Hair Makes You Sick

Go outside with wet hair and you’ll catch a cold, right? Wrong. It might not be a good idea to go out into the cold when you’re wet, but viruses — not wet hair — cause colds and the flu. The rhinovirus causes the common cold, and it’s more active in the wintertime. That’s why colds are more common at that time of year.

What to do: Some people intentionally expose themselves to cold temperatures to promote health. There’s a whole school of thought claiming that cold showers boost mental activity, make your immune system stronger, improve skin health and increase productivity. Now, while some of this remains to be proven, wet hair still doesn’t make you sick.

Eat Your Meat

A big steak dinner might sound appetizing, but where does the meat come from? A lot of evidence is accumulating that grain-fed beef isn’t as healthy as grass-fed beef. Beef from grass-fed sources provides more omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid, vitamin A and vitamin E precursors and antioxidants. These nutritional benefits may help fight cancer, build muscle and maintain a healthy body weight.

Some grain-fed cows may actually eat a lot of junk, according to some sources. To fatten them up, they might even be fed stale candy left in the wrapper. Also, some animals are injected with hormones to increase the amount, but not the quality, of the meat. Finally, many cows are treated with antibiotics or fed grains contaminated with pesticides. All of this can reach you through that juicy steak you’re eyeing.

What to do: It’s more expensive, but you can usually find grass-fed beef sources at the supermarket. Make sure the label says “100 percent grass-fed.” Don’t be fooled by labels that use words like “pasture-fed” or “natural.” Also, choose products that are hormone- and antibiotic-free.

Drink Your Juice

What could possibly be wrong with fruit juice? Well, first of all, many fruit juices have added sugar, so check the label. Even 100 percent fruit juice is not a good as eating fresh fruit. When you drink just the juice, you completely lose the fiber benefit. Plus, the all-natural juice is full of sugar, which could be dangerous for people with diabetes or high blood sugar.

What to do: When you are thirsty, drink water instead. Eat plenty of fresh fruits. Orange juice with pulp does provide some dietary fiber but not nearly as much as the whole fruit. Plus, one ounce of juice has a lot more calories than an ounce of fresh fruit. Still, if you have to choose between a soft drink and 100 percent orange juice, go for the juice.

Egg Yolks are Bad for You

Maybe you were a bit older when Mom told you this, but this myth has been alive for decades. The truth is that eggs are not shown to elevate blood cholesterol at all. In fact, foods that contain cholesterol like egg yolks aren’t much of a problem. Your liver overproduces cholesterol in response to fat intake and eggs have little fat.

What to do: Feel free to eat up to one egg a day on average. Eggs are rich in protein and many vitamins and minerals. If you can, buy eggs from free-range chickens. These animals produce eggs with much more nutritional value. Plus, free-range eggs have a lower chance of carrying salmonella which causes food poisoning.

More Things Mom Didn’t Know About

  • Cracking your knuckles causes arthritis — Sorry Mom, this has never been proven
  • Cross your eyes and they’ll stay that way — Not true; never happens, although you might get a headache
  • Drink eight glasses of water a day — This is not bad advice, but it may not change your health; however, for those losing weight, this practice might help

Even though Mom didn’t know it all, give her a break. Even cigarettes were considered to be healthy at one time. Who knows what new things we’ll discover about health in the future? One thing’s for sure — a mom’s hug never hurt anyone.