Food & Nutrition

8 Old Wives’ Tales About Food That We’re Glad Are True(ish)

Old Wives’ Tale No. 4: Chocolate Helps Ease Pre-menstrual Cramps

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We’re taking some liberties here. While there’s no medical science behind this claim, we suspect the old wives with whom this tale originated understood our monthly issues. Besides, chocolate contains magnesium, a mood-boosting chemical. So if you feel good after eating a few creamy chunks-o-chocolate or a tasty slice of cake, give yourself a break. And next time you go shopping for your chocolate stash, consider the dark variety. With less sugar and fat than milk chocolate, dark chocolate is a healthier alternative. And that makes for a great excuse to indulge.

Old Wives’ Tale No. 5: Fish Is Brain Food

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Yes. Yes. Emphatically, yes. And the reason this old wives’ tale is true is because of fats—the healthy kind found in fish oils. Called omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs), they’re critical for the normal growth and development of the brain. We hear a lot about the importance of taking fish oil supplements as you get older. But humans of all ages benefit from EFAs. In an Oxford University study, 120 primary-school children with coordination difficulties were given a mix of omega-3 and omega-6 EFAs over three months. One of the notable outcomes? The research found that the kids demonstrated significant improvement in school performance.

Fish oils, proven to have anti-inflammatory properties that protect blood vessels and help reduce joint stiffness and tenderness, also help prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. According to U.S. News, the healthiest and most eco-friendly sources of omega 3- and omega-6 essential fatty acids are wild salmon from Alaska, arctic char, Atlantic mackerel, sardines and black cod. A more comprehensive listing of fish and their health benefits is available on the Michigan Medicine website.

Old Wives’ Tale No. 6: An Apple a Day Will Keep the Doctor Away

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We can’t promise that you’ll never find yourself sitting on the cold, paper-sheathed bed of a physician’s exam room. But studies have shown that the phenols in apples protect against DNA damage (and cancer). They’re also heavy on fiber, which helps prevent heart disease and is useful when trying to maintain a healthy weight. Eat them sliced, or indulge in a double whammy of benefits by serving them up in the form of this dark-chocolate dipped candy apple. Don’t miss the amazing health benefits of using apple cider vinegar.

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