Holiday medical myths BUSTED

The most heat escapes from your head… The holiday season has the most suicides… Poinsettias are toxic… Too much sugar makes the kids go crazy… Eating before you go to bed will make you fat… You can cure a hangover with ____…

These are all statements we’ve heard now and again as the holiday season approaches. But do they hold any truths?

Kids, no matter what your mom and dad tell you, sugar does not make you hyper. Drink as much coke, eat as much candy, and inhale as much Kool-Aid as you want- sugar does not make you hyperactive.

In 12 double-blinded controlled trials, scientists examined how the behavior of children may differ on sugar-filled diets and sugarless diets. They concluded that there were no differences. What’s even more amazing is that when the parents rated their children’s behavior, even when there was no sugar consumed,  the parents thought their kids were reacting to sugar, where in reality, they were behaving normally. It’s all in the parents’ mind that sugar makes their kids overly active.

With the stresses of family get-togethers, cold and dark winter days, loneliness, it’s no wonder why it was thought that the suicide rate is significantly higher around the Yule times. Though again, this holds no truth.

Studies done around the world show that there is no scientific evidence that there is a higher rate in suicide come the holiday season. More interestingly, suicide is actually more common during the warmer months- Go figure.

Are the common holiday bouquets, poinsettias toxic? There are 22,793 cases of poinsettia poisoning to date- not one revealed significant poisoning. No one died, no one was hospitalized… A study looking at poinsettia ingestion by rats also concluded that even in large amounts, equivalent to eating 500-600 of the flower’s leaves or 1.5 pounds of its sap, the flower has no toxicity.

Mother was semi-correct when she told you that you lose most of your body heat through your head. You do lose heat through your head, however you lose heat anywhere on your body that isn’t covered. So this one kind of justifies your mom dressing you in that bright, vomit colored, fruffy hat she knitted just for you. Aaawww…

At first glance, it seems to make sense that if you eat before bedtime, you’re more likely to store those calories through the night. But it just isn’t true.

It all comes down to one thing; if you eat more calories than you burn off, then yes, you will gain weight. However, eating proportionate meals throughout the day, even right before bed time, if it doesn’t exceed the calories burned, you have nothing to worry about. Save a midnight snack for me!

Ahh, the age old question- how to cure a hangover? Sorry to disappointment, but there’s no magical remedy that will take the edge off the morning after having too much fun. A hangover is caused by drinking too much- too much alcohol consumption. So if you don’t want to get a hangover, don’t drink so much. Simple as that.

Rid yourself of Holiday stress

A time for family, friends, turkey and spiked eggnog, though cozy as it may sound, is actually quite a stressful time of year.

You’re 5% more likely to have a heart attack due to holiday stress levels shooting off the charts. So how do we have a nice, calm and peaceful holiday? Follow these steps to a heart-healthy holiday.

1 second: Swear

Researchers at England’s University of East Anglia Norwich looked into leadership styles and found that using swear words can reduce stress and boost camaraderie among coworkers. Good luck, @#!$*%&*!

5 seconds: Pop fish oil

According to research from the University of Pittsburgh, people with the highest blood levels of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids are happier, less impulsive, and more agreeable. Try a daily supplement of 400 milligrams each of EPA and DHA fish oils.

10 seconds: Eat dark chocolate

A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that the flavonoids in cocoa relax your body’s blood vessels. Look for lowfat dark chocolate, which has more stress-busting flavonoids than milk chocolate.

30 seconds: Know your hoku

Acupressure is a quick tension releaser, according to researchers at Hong Kong Polytechnic University who found it can reduce stress by up to 39 percent. For fast relief, massage your hoku (the fleshy part between the thumb and index finger) for 20 to 30 seconds. “This is the universal pressure point for easing upper-body tension,” says Patrice Winter, a spokeswoman for the American Physical Therapy Association.

30 seconds: Sit back

Forget what you’ve been told about sitting up straight to relieve tension in your back. Researchers at the University of Alberta Hospital in Canada found that leaning back at a 135-degree angle is the best sitting position for alleviating back pain.

1 minute: Add garlic

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham believe they’ve figured out why garlic is good for heart health, and their finding implies it’s a powerful stress buster too. When you digest garlic’s main ingredient, organosulfur allicin, your body produces hydrogen sulfide, which relaxes blood vessels and increases blood flow.

3 minutes: Brew tea

In a study at University College in London, 75 men were given tea before completing two stressful tasks. Afterward, their cortisol levels dropped an average of 47 percent, compared with 27 percent for men who weren’t given tea.

5 minutes: Take a YouTube timeout

Just the anticipation of laughing decreases the stress hormones dopac, cortisol, and epinephrine by 38, 39, and 70 percent, respectively, according to researchers at Loma Linda University in California. And when researchers at the University of Maryland showed short movie clips to study participants, those who watched funny films experienced a 22 percent increase in blood flow to their hearts.

8 minutes: Budget wisely

“Money is the biggest source of stress for a man during the holidays,” says Bonnie Eaker Weil, Ph.D., author of Financial Infidelity (Hudson Street Press, 2008). And with good reason: Men who avoid making budgets spend an average of 36 percent more on holiday gifts than those who don’t, according to a 2002 survey. So go easy on your wallet and your heart. Sit down with your wife and quickly calculate how much you two want to spend on gifts this year.

10 minutes: Just do it

Kissing or hugging your husband/wife can reduce stress because it raises levels of oxytocin, the hormone associated with bonding and love, say researchers at the University of North Carolina. And a Scottish researcher found that having sex regularly lowers anxiety, stress, and blood pressure.

Provided by Best Life