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March 5, 2020 | 5 Myths About Wellness: Busted

Defining wellness isn’t easy and living a healthier life tends to mean something different for everyone. With today’s easy access to “health” tips, it’s important to understand the truth from the myths. Below, Wellbox debunks a few of the biggest misunderstandings surrounding health and wellness and what can be done instead.

“Perfect vision means perfect eyes.”

Perfect vision does not necessarily mean someone has perfect eye health. Eye diseases are more common than people may think, and they can go unnoticed for a long time because of seemingly fine vision. In fact, some people may be completely unaware they even have vision problems or undiagnosed eye diseases.

Not only is maintaining regular eye care essential for the preservation of vision, but it’s also a good indicator to learn more about overall health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a comprehensive eye exam, which includes dilation because these types of eye exams can find diseases like cataracts, which is the leading cause of vision loss in America, or diabetic retinopathy, which is the leading cause of blindness in adults.

Since vision is not always a correct forecast of eye health, it’s important to receive regular eye exams just like any other regular checkup.

“If you don’t sunburn you don’t need sunscreen.”

People with olive or dark complexions may not sunburn or get skin cancer as often as people with pale skin do, but it doesn’t mean darker skin tones don’t need protection too.

When people with darker skin tones get diagnosed with skin cancer, it’s typically diagnosed at a more severe stage according to Gupta, et al., 2016. Performing monthly self-examinations of the skin is an effective way to take precautions. A few places to check are the soles of the feet, the palms, the toenail and fingernail beds for any new or changing moles or sores that do not heal. Getting a full-body exam with a dermatologist once a year, or any time you see something unusual is just as important as avoiding tanning booths and using sunscreen.

“A calorie is a calorie.”

When it comes to counting calories, people often believe that because two foods have the same amount of calories, they are equally as healthy but this isn’t true. Depending on the type of food, the body processes them differently.

For example, even though a pastry and a piece of fruit may have the same number of calories, they each have varying effects on weight gain and metabolism. There are many studies that show foods such as white bread or sugar-sweetened beverages can contribute to weight gain. On the other hand, foods such as vegetables, whole grains, and fruits help your body consume calories more effectively and make you feel fuller more quickly.

“Apples are good for the teeth.”

Even though the old saying claims an apple a day keeps the doctor away, this isn’t necessarily true. Research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that several types of apples now have up to 15% sugar content, which equals to be about four teaspoons of sugar per apple! They also contain acid and together, they can cause tooth decay and strip away tooth enamel.

This isn’t to say people should avoid apples. These fruits are high in fiber and can help stimulate the gums but eating them isn’t the same as brushing your teeth as many people believed. After enjoying the fruit, just rinse your mouth with water to wash away the acid and sugar.

Also, instead of relying on apples to clean your teeth, the American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day and cleaning between them daily with floss. If you’ve lost all your natural teeth and currently use dentures, it’s important to still brush your gums, tongue, and roof of your mouth as well as your dentures.

“Sweat out the toxins.”

This wellness myth is misleading, but it does have some truth to it.

Bodies sweat because they are trying to regulate the internal temperature in hot environments or in cases of extreme adrenaline. But most of the time, they are not sweating out toxins and if they are, it may not be the ones you’re expecting. For example, studies do show that sweat can help remove things like lead, mercury, and arsenic such as a study performed by Sears, Kerr, & Bray in 2012. But, toxins like alcohol and drugs can only be removed through the liver and kidneys.

To help your body get rid of waste and toxins, the most effective method is to drink plenty of water, eat a healthy diet, and increase exercise to keep your liver, kidneys, and intestines functioning properly.

Most wellness myths come from misguided tips or misinformed health facts that claim to quickly fix problems, but they can actually end up being dangerous to your health. When it comes to your wellness journey, it’s important to research any tips given and discuss these with your healthcare provider. Striving to live healthier isn’t always easy, but it is worth it!