NEW YORK — If it feels like your stiff back, sore knees, or aching feet are a constant pain in the neck, you’re far, far from alone. A new survey of 2,000 Americans reveals that the average person feels “perfectly healthy” less than half the year!
As it turns out, the average adult enjoys just 12 days each month without suffering from any aches or pains. That equates to 144 days, or about 39% of the year.
With so many different ailments bothering them, researchers sought to find out which old wives’ tales respondents swear by when it comes to managing their health. The survey, sponsored by probiotics company Probiogen, found that slightly more than half of the respondents (51%) believe at least one of these age-old mantras.
For example, it’s likely among the first health-based suggestions many parents and grandparents preach to their children: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Despite it being so common, only 49% of adults actually follow this old wives’ tale. Experts say this is one that more of us should actually abide by, at least, in theory.
“[The saying] is most likely true,” says orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Anthony Kouri, on behalf of Probiogen, in a statement. “Not specifically an apple necessarily, but studies have statistically shown that people who eat fruits and vegetables every day are especially healthy. Fruits and vegetables contain several antioxidants and several vitamins and nutrients that fight free radicals in the body.”
On the other hand, 42% of adults don’t fall for the old wives’ tale claiming eating carrots will improve one’s vision. But Kouri says those people are mistaken.
“The main vitamin in carrots is Vitamin A and that is critical in the eye’s ability to translate light into something that it can understand,” he explains.
Among other food-centric old wives tales that folks still believe: 55% say milk builds strong bones; 47% agree that drinking orange juice or eating chicken noodle soup can cure a cold; 41% believe that chocolate causes acne; 40% warn eating turkey makes you tired; and 39% fear too much caffeine stunts growth.
Considering the number of old wives tales that exist, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that 64% of respondents have tried a home remedy for an ailment that’s nagged them.
And if it’s not a remedy, it may be a warning of some sort, such as swallowed gum takes seven years to digest (39% of respondents believe this), sleeping with wet hair causes a cold (45%), or cracking your knuckles will lead to arthritis (42%).
“In reality, cracking your knuckles is not doing any damage,” says Kouri. “The sound from the cracking is your synovial fluid bubbles in your joints just popping, which can cause some swelling in the hands or in joints, but likely does not lead to arthritis or long-term damage.”
With many old wives tales being debunked, probiotics are growing in popularity as a science-based means to a healthy lifestyle. Yet with so many products hitting the shelves of health food stores and pharmacies, 51% of adults have to try a probiotic supplement, the survey found.
“What this survey shows is that people are interested in natural remedies to support them during times of discomfort. It is encouraging to see people turning to products with naturally occurring nutrients to support their overall wellness,” says a spokesperson for Probiogen in a statement. “When we take a closer look at what the body naturally generates to support itself, vitamins and minerals take center stage, but we can find additional remedies – such as probiotics which naturally occur in the gut – that can also ease common discomforts.”
The survey was conducted by OnePoll.