Growing up, were you ever told that cracking your knuckles would give you arthritis? Or perhaps you were warned it would take your body seven years to digest a swallowed piece of gum? These and many other health & wellness myths have since been disproven thanks to medical advancements and further research. However, there are still several common misconceptions that have yet to be abandoned for good. Before you decide to adhere to a healthier lifestyle, be sure you can separate these “facts” from fiction.
Myth #1: If You’re Skinny, You’re Healthy
One of the most common wellness misconceptions is the relationship between your waistline and your overall health. Simply being on the slender side does not by default mean you are a healthy person, nor does having some extra weight doom you inevitable heart disease or diabetes.
Do not allow the number on the scale to skew your perception of what it means to have both a healthy body and healthy mind. Instead, place your priority on making sure you are properly nourished by a well-balanced diet, working out regularly, and are aware of any genetic predispositions, such as a family history of thyroid conditions, that could cause weight loss or gain.
Myth #2: Cloudy Day? Put the Sunscreen Away!
Is your sunscreen packed away with your beach bag until next summer? If so, you might want to reconsider. Contrary to popular belief, the SPF in sunscreen actually protects against invisible UV rays, which is separate from the bright, warm sunlight one might associate with sun damage. This means unprotected skin is still susceptible to burning, wrinkling and discoloration even on cloudy, rainy and snowy days. In fact, studies have suggested that human eyes are 2.5 times more likely to be damaged by UV rays in snow-covered areas compared to on the beach! Along with protection against sneaky UV rays, sunscreen also provides many anti-aging benefits that make it a valuable component of any skincare routine year-round.
Myth #3: If You Stop Exercising, Your Muscles Will Turn Into Fat
One of the most common health & wellness myths is the idea that muscles become fat if they are not worked out regularly. It’s common to feel a bit “softer” in the arms, legs and midsection after taking a few weeks off at the gym. However, this is not because your muscles are turning into fat.
Muscle tissue and adipose (fat) tissue are entirely different entities, and there is no process in the human body that transforms one into the other. The “softness” you might experience after taking a break from your workout routine is your body losing muscle mass while simultaneously gaining fat mass. Once you begin gaining muscle mass at a faster rate than you are accumulating fat mass, your arms, legs and midsection should begin to regain their firmness.
Myth #4: Your Daily Cup of Coffee is Unhealthy
Coffee lovers rejoice – your morning cup of joe won’t actually damage your digestive tract, stunt your growth or cause heart disease! There are a number of health & wellness myths surrounding America’s favorite caffeinated pick-me-up, but a daily cup of coffee is actually good for you. Coffee beans are a rich source of antioxidants that help fight off infections, improve moods, and even reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. While an artificially flavored, whipped cream topped cappuccino might not be the best choice for those watching their waistline, coffee itself actually does more good than harm when consumed in moderation daily.
Myth #5: Memory Loss is Inevitable With Age
Memory loss and “brain fog” are often associated with getting older, but they are not unavoidable components of the aging process. While diseases such as Alzheimer’s tend to be hereditary in nature, mild to moderate memory loss can often be tied to and reversed by lifestyle modifications. Adopt a mind-healthy diet and challenge yourself to brain games in order to keep naturally improve your memory at any age.
Health & Wellness Myths: Debunked
Now that we’ve dispelled the myths surrounding these common health misconceptions, the next step is to use this knowledge to create a personalized wellness plan of your own. If you’re curious where to start, consider scheduling a consultation with a functional medicine doctor. He or she will provide you with dietary suggestions and lifestyle modifications to help you function at your sharpest, healthiest and happiest for years to come.
Dr. Lorraine Maita is a recognized and award-winning holistic, functional, and anti-aging physician and author. She transforms people’s lives by getting to the root cause of illness using the best of science and nature. Her approach is personalized, precision medicine where you are treated as the unique individual you are. If you’re ready to start your journey to a healthier, happier life, schedule your visit today!