Does soursop cure cancer and other health questions you’re always wanted to know

There are hundreds of websites and thousands of articles that perpetuate fake health news and old wives’ tales. During your daily scroll through social media, you might even see a few of your friends and relatives sharing these posts about some miracle cure for cancer or a detox programme that will definitely shed you some weight. In this article, we’ll be debunking some of the worst offenders of the truth and shedding light on some of our most asked health questions!

So go ahead, and piss your someone off with some of these facts!

Does soursop cure cancer/HIV/other diseases?

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Soursop (or Graviola) contains a substance called annonaceous acetogenins, a phytochemical that various articles on the Internet say helps to fight cancer. Articles of this nature often cite studies where Graviola extracts have been used to kill liver and breast cancer cells as proof of its efficacy.

However, the use of Graviola in the fight against cancer is limited, and the Graviola pills that these websites often pedal have not been examined or supported by any reputable scientific cancer organisation. You’d think that if these pills really did what they claimed, they’d let real scientists investigate a little, right?

Will eating chicken worsen cough?

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This is one Traditional Chinese Medicine that is absolute nonsense. We’re sure you’ve been told time and again that chicken is “heaty” and that eating it while you’re having a cough would make you cough more. But you know what contradicts it? Studies have shown that hot chicken soup actually helps to alleviate cold symptoms.

Remember: Chicken contains protein, which helps keep your immune system going, thereby strengthening the respiratory system. It might ruffle her feathers, but you can ignore your mum in this case. Just don’t eat fried chicken while you’re sick as fried food could increase the inflammation in your throat.

Should you avoid seafood after a surgery?

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There is this long-standing view that you should not eat seafood after surgery because it is “toxic”. The story goes that seafood is toxic comes from the thought that many clams and shellfish are actually bottom feeders, and therefore “dirty”. While this is completely untrue, there is some credence to this old wives’ tale.

Seafood like shellfish are filter feeders, so this might mean that they carry a little more bacteria than other seafood. However, since this old wives’ tale extends to prawns and lobsters, it’s clearly not built on sound logic.

The truth is that seafood is protein-rich, and actually helps prevent scarring. The next time someone tells you to lay off the seafood, ask them why bottom dwellers like sea cucumbers and scallops are used in soups for the ill, and why fish is discounted from this list of supposedly “toxic” animals. Then, lean back and enjoy that shrimp in your hand while you watch them fumble for an explanation.

Is coconut oil healthier than other forms of oils?

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Coconut oil is one of the many new-fangled “superfoods” that have been “discovered” in the past two years by health food enthusiasts. People have made all sorts of claims, including the fact that it could help you lose weight. However, coconut oil isn’t the ultimate superfood that people claim it to be.

Coconut is rich in saturated fat, so its consumption links it to lowered insulin resistance. Besides that, a study published by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology recommended avoiding coconut oil because of the cardiac risks associated with saturated fat consumption.

It also doesn’t do as well in the cooking department against sesame oil, soybean oil or canola oil when it comes to smoke points. In fact, when coconut oil is heated to smoke point, it starts to lose antioxidants which are good for the body. The best thing to do here is to use coconut oil for low heat cooking.

Should you avoid soy sauce when having chicken pox? 

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There is a long standing belief that taking soy sauce while having chicken pox would result in scarring. Many mothers have been warned about this fictitious issue, and are often told that the same colouring that makes soy sauce black would end up at the site of a chicken pox wound, turning it black.

Of course, modern-day science proves that no such thing can occur, primarily because all pigments from soy sauce would be destroyed during the digestion process. In fact, the only risk you have here is an allergic reaction to soy sauce. Other than that, scarring is a result of the scratching of the wounds during the recovery process.

Will sleeping with wet hair give you headaches?

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Once, I fell asleep while my hair was still damp from a shower. It had been a long day, and I was tired. I got woken up for a 30-minute long lecture about how sleeping with a head of wet hair would cause migraines. To prove my very unscientific family wrong, I went ahead and slept without drying my hair anyway. Guess what? No headaches.

Just to give you a heads up, the real science behind this is that the human head is a key area for body temperature control, giving off about 7 to 10% of body heat. That said, you have to be in really cold weather for anything remotely close to a headache to occur, so it’s simply not possible in our tropical climate.

Will pulling out grey hair cause more to grow in its place?

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Stress-induced grey hair is a common occurrence, even among the young. Other than the occasional hair dyeing session, some people simply pluck out the grey hair from their scalps and hope that there won’t be two more grey hairs growing it its place.

According to Medical Dr. Shaskank Kraleti, plucking a grey hair will not get you more grey hair as each hair follicle can only grow one one hair at any time. What will happen is that the follicle will replace that grey hair with another grey one. But don’t let that get to your head, because if you keep plucking grey hairs from the same follicles, you’ll damage said follicles and they won’t produce any more hair, leaving you bald!

Will sitting on a recently vacated warm seat give you haemorrhoids?

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On public transportation, I’ve seen so many people smack recently vacated chairs before they sit down to “dispel the heat” accumulated in the cushion. The logic behind this? The heat will cause the next person to get the much dreaded haemorrhoids. In the west, there’s corresponding myth stating that sitting on cold surfaces will give you the same problem.

Let’s get to the bottom of this right now: Whether hot of cold surface, medical doctors concur that they have nothing to do with this situation. They key causes of this common issue are mostly diet related. Haemorrhoids are caused mostly by low fiber diets and constipation. Sitting for long periods of time also cause this to occur, so the best way to prevent this issue is lot of vegetables, water and an active lifestyle.

Will sitting too close to the TV ruin your eyesight?

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Another old wives’ tale often told to us by our concerned parents. However, the American Opthamologists Association has come out to state that it does not damage the eyes. In fact, children’s eyes tend to focus better at close distances, which is why they love to bring things close to them. However, getting too close to the screen, or any other item like a book or other reading materials, will cause eye strain.

So, there you have it…

A lot of what people say is based on personal experience, or hearsay. We’re not saying that their experiences were not valid, but the result of their experiences don’t hold true across the broad brush strokes of humanity. Perhaps somewhere out there, someone DID respond well to a soursop anti-cancer treatment, but that’s one person out of millions of others who did not respond as well. If you’re trying to discern fact from fiction, always double check the sources! Trust us, you’ll be better for it!

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