Common health myths you probably thought were true


11 Health Facts You May Believe but Aren't True
11 Health Facts You May Believe but Aren't True

From ancient old wives' tales to mysterious cures, the world of ailments is wide open to myth and hearsay. But what's true and what is not? We take a look at some of the most common health myths to discover whether they are truth or fiction.

The video above shows you some... And here are a few more!

Don't swim for an hour after eating
This particular piece of advice originated from the thinking that, with more blood flowing to the digestive system and away from muscles, strenuous exercise soon after eating would cause cramp, thereby increasing your risk of drowning. The truth is, it won't.

See also: Five common health myths about losing weight

See also: Ten medical health myths everyone believes

Dietician Catherine Collins told the Daily Mail: "It's fine to exercise immediately after eating, so long as it is not so intense that the muscles take so much oxygen that the stomach struggles - leading to cramps."

So while you may not be ready for a record-breaking length, you can certainly mess about in the water without struggling.

Eating fish makes you brainy
It's usually a way to get the kids to eat fish, right? Well, the good news is that research has shown that children do benefit from the omega-3 fatty acids in fish, particularly the oily variety.

In 2004 educational psychologist Madeleine Portwood selected a group of 120 children, between the ages of six and 11, all of whom had some form of learning difficulty such as problems with co-ordination, reading, handwriting and spelling. After three months on fish oil supplements, the children showed a two-year leap in learning ability, with one child's reading age improving by four years.

Cholesterol is bad
We hear so much about obesity, unhealthy diets and the dangers of junk food these days that it often seems as though fat of any kind is a heart attack waiting to happen. The truth is, not all cholesterol, the fatty substance made by the liver, is bad. Some blood cholesterol is essential for the body to build cells and make hormones.

Unsaturated fats, is found in nuts, seeds and oily fish, can raise levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) - this 'good cholesterol' carries the fatty substance away from cells and back to the liver where it is broken down.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), on the other hand, carries cholesterol to those cells that need it - but too much can build up in the walls of the arteries, leading to cardiovascular problems. So while your body needs a certain amount of cholesterol provided by fat, cutting back on the saturated variety (found in dairy products and fatty, red meat) might not be a bad idea.

Acne is caused by bad hygiene
According to the NHS, if you are going to get acne, you will, no matter how clean your skin. Evidence suggests that acne is in fact caused by changes in hormone levels, which explains why the problem is associated mostly with teenagers. It occurs when the sebaceous glands produce too much sebum, trapping dead skin cells within the pores and causing an infection.

As tempting as it may be, washing too often will only cause the body to over-compensate and produce more sebum thereby often exacerbating the problem.

Hot baths lower sperm count
A study at the University of San Francisco found that men who had previously enjoyed a long hot bath experienced a 491% increase in sperm counts after switching to showers over a period of three to six months. Time to get out of the tub boys.