Salt & Our Health


5 old-wives’ tales about our food

There are many myths that weasel their way into our everyday conversations, not least when it comes to our food and its perceived health benefits and dangers.

What muddies the water even more is that we very often receive conflicting advice on what’s good and what’s bad for us. One ‘expert’ will tell us one thing and then another will come along and tell us they’re wrong.

Whether from rumour or scientific study, let’s take a look at some old wives’ tales about our food.

Spinach makes you super strong

Popeye the Sailor Man

Courtesy of Flickr

The love of spinach by sailors was actually grossly misguided. It is told that a German chemist misplaced the decimal point in his measurement of iron in spinach.

It is 3.5mg, despite him penning 35mg of in every 100g of spinach. The myth was further popularised by Popeye the Sailor Man.

Carrots make you see in the dark

Did you know that it was in fact World War 2 propaganda we have to thank for the popular misconception that carrots make you see in the dark?

It is pretty well-known that the sun-coloured vegetable is loaded with Vitamin A, good for your eye health. But not that good.

With many of the German Luftwaffe attacks at night in the 1940s, and the government ordering blackouts so as to protect the people, the vitality of vitamins for night sight became well-engrained not just in Brits’ but Germans’ minds too.

Truth is that carrots can’t help you see better in the dark any more than eating blueberries will turn you blue.

Blueberries will turn you blue

Anthocyanins are what give blueberries their deep blue colour, but they won’t turn your skin blue.


Bread crusts give you curly hair

It is widely believed that the crust may be the healthiest part of your bread. The darkest parts are thought to produce more healthy antioxidants.

It is, however, all genetic (sorry, curly hair lovers). Whilst the origins of the myth about bread crusts giving your curly hair are largely unknown, it is thought to be traced back to 1700s-Europe, when survival and starvation were very real challenges and crusts were not to be scoffed at.

Too much salt is (not) bad for you

A multi-million pound government-backed campaign in 2004 spoke of damaging effects to our health if we had too much salt in our diets.

In fact scientific studies since refute this, and even suggest that too little salt is bad for your health. Read more on the 5 things you need to know about salt and your health here.

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