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The truth about 4 popular health myths

July 29, 2015

Its important to stay up to date on current health news to ensure that youve mastered healthy aging. You may frequently see research in newspapers, magazines or on the television that shows certain foods or daily habits have good or bad effects on peoples health, only to find out later that a new discovery has proved the findings wrong. So how do you know what health facts are legitimate and which to ignore? Here is the truth about four of the most popular health myths.

1. Coffee is bad for you There have been studies that suggest frequent coffee drinkers may have a higher risk of developing heart disease. However, according to the American Heart Association, these studies didnt take into consideration other dietary factors and whether the participants had unhealthy lifestyle habits like smoking. 

The AHA also noted that coffee has been linked to certain health benefits, as the popular beverage contains antioxidants that may help lower peoples risk of conditions like Type 2 diabetes and stroke. Whether or not this is entirely accurate, the association confirmed that consuming one or two cups of coffee a day isnt likely to have any negative impacts on your health.

Unlike many people believe, enjoying a cup of coffee a day will not have negative effects on your health.
Unlike many people believe, enjoying a cup of coffee a day will not have negative effects on your health.

2. An apple a day keeps the doctor away The saying is one that goes way back to the early 1900s. Youve probably been told that eating fruits and vegetables every day is essential to establishing a healthy lifestyle for seniors. But how do apples compare to other fruits when it comes to keeping the body strong and healthy? CNN explained that if youre going to choose one fruit to help you steer clear of unnecessary doctors visits, blueberries are the way to go. They contain high amounts of fiber and antioxidants that contribute to a better immune system. Another advantage blueberries offer is that you can add them to breakfasts foods if you dont want to eat them on their own.

While blueberries can have multiple health benefits, you should balance them with other fruits and vegetables to experience the full effect of these benefits. While you can refer to food charts to see how much fruit and veggies you should consume, there isnt an exact number that applies to everyone. For a more accurate recommendation, use the online fruit and vegetable calculator provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You will have to enter factors like your age, sex and level of physical activity to get the best results. 

3. A glass of red wine reduces risks of multiple diseases While drinking a glass of red wine each day hasnt been found to be bad for you, the numerous health benefits associated with it may not be achieved from moderate consumption. The National Institutes of Health pointed out that resveratrol is the compound found in red wine thats responsible for impacting the activity of enzymes called sirtuins, which are known to play a role in controlling aging and age-related diseases. This is why red wine has been associated with delayed Alzheimers progression and reduced cholesterol levels, among other health benefits.

"The amount of sleep you need remains the same after adulthood."

However, while many studies have confirmed that resveratrol does have these positive effects, they also show that you would need very large doses of reservatrol supplements to see these benefits. Therefore, the NIH noted that although a glass of wine a day may not be bad for you, you shouldnt expect to see any noticeable health benefits from it. 

4. You need less sleep as you get older  The amount of sleep you need remains the same after adulthood. Sleep specialist, Stephanie Silberman, Ph.D., told PsychCentral that its not how much sleep you need that changes as you get older, but how well youre able to sleep. For example, because sleep patterns shift as people age, you may have a harder time falling asleep, wake up earlier than you used to, and may even notice that you dream less. Rapid eye movement sleep may be harder to achieve as well, which often results in a lighter, more fragmented nights rest. Many people take short naps during the day to ensure theyre getting the sleep they need - just be sure to keep them short so they dont interfere with your sleep at night.