Although her heart was in the right place, your Irish mammy was more likely to give wrong advice than right.
According to Science Foundation Ireland, most common adages dished out by our mothers — such as “Wear a hat out there, sure don’t you lose more heat from your head”— are in fact not true.
SFI runs the SFI Discover program, which backs public outreach and education about science, decided to test the things Irish mammies say to see if their advice stands up to scientific scrutiny, the Irish Times reports.
For example, wearing a hat to keep in heat is actually waste of time.
The idea that you lose more heat from your head came about in the 1950s after experiments by the US military, but according to the Foundation, while your head might feel colder than the other parts of your body, you won’t, in fact, lose heat faster through your head.
And according to research in the New England Journal of Medicine, being in cold weather will not increase your chances of getting a cold.
You also may have been told that eating carrots will help you to see better in the dark. Well, the Foundation says that while the beta-carotene in carrots will help the body make vitamin A, which does help to sustain the eye cells used to see in dim light, eating a bunch of carrots won’t improve your night vision once your body has the vitamin A it needs.
Like the advice about eating carrots, the suggestion to “take some vitamin C to help cure your cold” is sort of true in a way. Vitamin C helps your body make more white blood cells, the cells of your immune system which fight infection. However, there is no clear evidence that the vitamin C will actually work directly to cure the cold.
SFI is currently running a campaign called #ScienceRising that seeks to involve the public in all things scientific.
“The idea is to engage with people a little bit more, to make science more topical for general readers,” a spokeswoman said.
Every month, the #ScienceRising campaign picks a different theme to focus on.
This month’s theme was on health-related issues. Last month, the theme was technology and next month it will focus on women in science.
For more information, visit http://sciencerising.sfi.ie/.