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7 Old Wives' Tales That Actually Have Some Validity

I love reading old wives’ tales, because some of these beliefs are just bonkers when you think about them. How many of you have dutifully avoided stepping on cracks or swallowing gum for fear of terrible consequences? And this doesn’t even begin to call black cats, ladders, and broken mirrors into the equation. But for all the wackiness in some of this folk wisdom, there are some true old wives’ tales are actually backed up by scientific study.

Okay, so your cat probably will not suffocate your new baby, and swimming after eating won’t lead to spontaneous drowning. But savoring chicken soup when you’re sick or eating an apple every day may actually have great health benefits. Some of these beliefs aren’t just silly superstitions, so it looks like our forefathers (or in this case foremothers) were onto something.

So if your grandmother always made you eat the crust off your sandwich or gave you a spoonful of castor oil when you got sick, it turns out she was genuinely helping your health. Sometimes this homespun wisdom really is right, and some interesting studies have the research to back up these beliefs. Read on to find out if your favorite old wives’ tale has some basis in reality.

1. Eat Chicken Soup When You're Sick

When you're under the weather, almost everyone finds comfort in a bowl of warm chicken soup. Take it from a 2000 study in Chest Journal: chicken soup may actually help mitigate the inflammatory response that makes colds so miserable. Looks like your favorite sick food may have some research-based medicinal benefits.

2. An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away

A May 2015 study in JAMA Internal Medicine compared the health of daily apple eaters against those who don't chomp down a daily Gala. Although the daily apply eaters still see physicians regularly, they do appear to use fewer prescription medications. Maybe an apply a day keeps the pharmacist away?

3. Hot Tap Water Is Filled With Germs

I've long eschewed drinking any hot tap water for no real reason (other than my mom told me not to drink it.) But as it's noted in a piece from The New York Times, hot water may dissolve contaminants such as lead from the pipes, and these contaminants can leech into the water. So when it comes to drinking water, just keep it chill.

4. Crust Is Good For You

According to a study in the American Chemical Society, bread's crust may be healthier than the rest of the bread itself, thanks to the concentration of antioxidants. All the more reason to eat the end pieces.

5. Chocolate Helps Cramps

Craving chocolate on your period is a well-established stereotype, but there may be some health benefits to this trope. According to the Huffington Post, dark chocolate that is over 70 percent cocoa may help relax your muscles and provide some relief.  

6. Castor Oil Can Boost Your Health

According to Today, castor oil can indeed bolster your immune system thanks to an increased production of lymphocytes. It may even help slow the growth of viruses and bacteria.

7. Roses Love Old Coffee Grounds

Dumping your French press out in the garden may feel weird, but according to the New York Times, plants that thrive in acidic environments (such as roses and tomatoes) respond well to the grounds. It's an easy way to reuse your brew.

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