Don't listen to these 5 wellness myths

Let’s clear some things up. The wellness tips you’ve known to be true your whole life are not really… true. We’ll let you take a minute to digest that.

Many of these wellness tips and guidelines are your typical old wives’ tales, passed down from who knows how long until they are accepted as truth. For example, did you know you can’t get sick by going out in the cold with wet hair? We don’t recommend it, though, because that just sounds way too cold for us. That’s just one of many myths out there. Here are five more you can stop believing.

Carbs and fat make you gain weight

It’s no secret that we loooove carbs at PiperWai. We don’t believe in restricting yourself from everything because, let’s be honest, food is amazing. Please don’t take this as an endorsement for eating cookies, ice cream and doughnuts for lunch (been there), though. We like to keep it balanced between health and good ol’ enjoyment.

The truth is, carbs and fat aren’t necessarily bad. You’ve most likely heard of “good carbs” and “good fats,” but do you know what makes them good? Well, first, you need energy and that’s what carbs and fats provide. The “good” carbs turn into glucose, where that energy comes from. The “bad” carbs – usually the ones with lots of sugar and processed ingredients – can cause spikes in your blood sugar levels. This gives you that “crash” feeling shortly after and can make you even more hungry. The fats you want to avoid are trans fats, which can clog arteries if consumed too much. Good fats – unsaturated fats and monosaturated fats – provide the fatty acids our bodies need, as well as supports heart health and lower cholesterol.

So, where do you find the good fats? Go for flaxseed and walnuts for the super-healthy omega-3 fats. For a good source of monosaturated fats, go for foods like avocados, cashews, peanut oils, sesame and pumpkin seeds, olives.

You need at least eight glasses of water a day

Don’t get excited, though. You still need water every day. Not just a few times a week. Every. Single. Day. You just don’t need eight glasses. We’re not sure how “eight” became the magic number when hydration is much more complicated than that. One important thing to note is that hydration needs are not one size fits all. How much water you need a day depends on a couple factors – your size and gender being the driving force behind the magic hydration number.

For men, that number is around 15.5 cups a day, while women need 11.5 cups. It seems like a lot, but when you factor in food and other beverages with water in them, that number goes down by 20 percent. Like PiperWai, however, every body is different and your hydration needs may be different from someone else. Some bodies need less than eight glasses a day, some people need to drink water when they’re thirsty, while others feel best by reaching their daily hydration goals. You know your body best!  

Let’s be clear, though. These requirements are for an average day. If you plan on doing strenuous activity, pregnant, sick or if it’s especially hot outside then you need to drink, drink, drink!

Milk does a body good

Milk really had us convinced for a while. In the early ‘90s, the California Milk Processor Board hired agency Goodby, Silverstein and Partners to create an ad campaign for milk. They came up with the famous milk mustache/Got Milk? Campaign and encouraged people to drink a lot of milk so they can fight osteoporosis. (Fun fact: the first Got Milk commercial was directed by Michael Bay.) The campaign was a success and two years later, Got Milk? started incorporating dozens of celebrities into its campaign. Props to anyone who remembers Jennifer Love Hewitt’s legendary pancake ad.

People fell for it and milk consumption exponentially increased, but milk isn’t the miracle substance the ads insinuate. While there are beneficial nutrients in milk, dairy is one of the most common food allergies out there and has also been linked to eczema, headaches and joint pain, to name a few ailments. Additionally, dairy farms put their cows on hormones to increase milk production, and guess where those hormones go. Yep, right into your body. Luckily, there are non-dairy alternatives out there that pack the same amount of nutrients and are better for animals and the planet!

Starve a fever, feed a cold

It seems like everyone knows this phrase to be true. Except… it’s not. The origin can be traced back to the 1500s, you know, when modern medicine wasn’t as accurate as what we know today. In 1574, John Withals wrote "Fasting is a great remedie of feuer,” and the sentiment stuck for centuries. Like “starve a fever,” the idea to feed a cold is also a product of centuries-old medicinal advice – around the time we thought bloodletting was a good idea. 

Whether you have a fever or a cold, your body needs energy and nutrients. Your white blood cells can’t do all the work on their own, they need some help in the form of (good) food and water. Yep, we said good food. No cookies all day, sorry. This means go for nutrient-dense food: lots of vegetables, fruit and foods filled with vitamins, minerals and protein. The less nutrients your body gets during an illness, the less it’s able to perform, which means the longer the illness drags out.

Running causes arthritis and osteoporosis

With two marathon finishers on our team, we strongly object to this myth. Pounding the pavement can be rough on your body – at first. The magic of running, however, is that the more active a person is, the less likely for them to develop arthritis. Another thing to point out: running doesn’t cause arthritis, the condition itself is genetic. Granted, if you’re not practicing safe running form and checking in with your pain levels, intense exercise can enhance arthritis symptoms.

This may come as a surprise, but running is better for your knees than walking. When you’re walking, your feet are hitting the ground harder and more frequently. If you think about running, it’s quick and light, meaning the feet strike the ground less than walking. In a 2013 study, researchers found that runners are at less risk for osteoporosis than non-runners.

If you run or are looking into running, the best thing for your health and your goals is to start slow, use the correct form and invest in some quality running shoes. This will decrease the risk of injury and help you make solid progress over time. And if something doesn’t feel right, go to a doctor!