10 Common Myths About the Human Body

By:    Published: September 26, 2012

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People say all kinds of things about the human body, and many times these common tidbits are downright false. Nobody knows where these age-old myths came from, but even with information so easily accessible, people are still privy to believing old wives’ tales rather than doing a little research. To set the record straight, we've listed 10 of the most common myths about the human body.

Knuckle Cracking Causes Arthritis

Many people crack their knuckles out of nervous habit, or to annoy those who tell them to stop because it will give them arthritis. However, there aren’t any studies that prove that knuckle-crackers are more likely to develop arthritis, so this myth is false. Doctors do not recommend this practice, however, because of the potential for minor injury if too much force is applied. Want to read more about this common myth? Check out Does Cracking Your Knuckles Cause Arthritis?

It Takes Seven Years For Swallowed Gum To Exit The Body

No, it doesn’t take nearly a decade for gum to pass through your digestive system. But that doesn’t mean you should start eating sticks of chewing gum to satisfy your hunger. Swallowing too much of the stuff can lead to constipation.

Eating Beans Makes You Gassy

Beans have long been called “the musical fruit” because “the more you eat, the more you toot.” But is this rhyme true or is it just a funny tune that makes children laugh? It turns out that eating beans can make you gassy, but the real culprits are the hard-to-digest complex carbohydrates that they contain. Although beans can cause gas, some studies show that they don’t particularly cause more gas than other legumes. But if you want to slim down your chances of having gas after eating beans, soak the beans in boiling water for two to three minutes, cover and leave overnight. This will eliminate 75-90 percent of the complex carbs from the beans.

You Only Have Five Senses

Did you know that you have more than 5 senses? And no, we’re not talking about the ability to communicate with the dead. As a child, you learned about the five senses: hearing, smell, touch, taste and sight. But these are just the basic senses. According to some researchers, we actually do have more than five senses. For instance, the vestibular apparatus, which is located in the inner ear, is in control of our sense of movement and position in space. Muscles and joints contain sensory endings that tell you where the parts of your body are and how they relate to one another, and of course, we all have a sense of time, not to mention the ability to stay balanced. Sense of equilibrium, anyone?

Carrots Help You See Better

Aside from boosting your vitamin A levels, which is important for having healthy eyes, loading up on carrots does not boost your vision the way you think they will. However, along with vitamin A, carrots do contain beta-carotene, which is also good for a healthy eye. Just don’t expect to achieve X-ray vision after stuffing your face with a bushel of carrots.

The Blood In Your Body Is Blue

This common myth purports that the blood flowing through your veins is blue because it hasn’t mixed with oxygen. Once it does, it turns red. This myth is definitely false, and the proof lies in blood that has been extracted intravenously, which is red. This myth is perpetuated for two reasons, the first being textbook illustrations that depict veins in a blue color. The second reason is the look of veins under the skin. Veins tend to look blue or green under the skin, but that’s only because red light is absorbed through the blood and blue light reflects off of the skin, making your veins look that color.

Chocolate Causes Acne

This is one little chestnut that people love to hear cracked. There is no scientific evidence that proves chocolate can be the cause of your acne woes. No food, for that matter has been fully proven to be the cause of acne because a study on this theory would be too difficult to perform. If you want to learn more about this myth, read 10 Acne Myths: What Does Or Doesn’t Cause Acne?

Hair And Fingernails Continue To Grow After Death

This creepy myth is definitely false. Tissues such as hair and nails cannot continue to grow without energy; therefore, they cannot grow after death. The reason this myth is perpetuated is because the dehydration that sets in after death can cause the skin around hair to nails to recede, giving the appearance of growth in these areas.

Each Part Of Your Tongue is Sensitive To A Different Taste

This is another one of the fine fables that you may have learned in childhood through the aid of the tongue map, an illustration of the tongue that shows what area is sensitive to what taste. However, this map has been debunked by modern research, which shows that no one region of the tongue is more sensitive to a particular taste than another.

Reading In The Dark Will Ruin Your Eyes

Boy does this common myth get busted the older you get. As a child, you were scolded for reading in the dark. But as you get older, think of all the times you are forced to read under poorly lit conditions: road signs at night, menus in low-lit restaurants, notes when the lights are out and the projector is on. No, reading in the dark won’t ruin your eyesight; it will just cause eyestrain, which is annoying, but not permanent.

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