Folklore is Good for your Health

A popular phrase in days gone-by was, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Of course, the saying inferred that if you eat (even moderately) healthily you will generally avoid being sick and therefore will avoid the doctor and hospital, too. Now, with the detrimental effects of high sugar intake becoming all too obvious, it can be seen that knowledge accumulated over centuries of omedical-563427_960_720bservation is dismissed as folklore at one’s peril.

Take the common cold as a case in point. Long before anyone knew of the existence of microscopic germs, it was widely known that allowing oneself to become “cold” for a prolonged time led to one falling ill. So true and consistent was this observation that the resultant complaints collectively took on a rather pertinent name – the cold.

The technological advances of the twentieth century initially put this particular piece of folklore under suspicion, as it was discovered that a group of viruses were the culprit for coming down with the cold. For a time it seemed that if a person were not exposed to such viruses, then getting the human body to low temperature, in itself, would cause no harm. Only as technology marched on, was it subsequently discovered that lowering one’s body temperature leads to a temporary weakening of the immune system. This makes a person susceptible to attack by… You’ve guessed it… The viruses responsible for the common cold, among others. So simply getting cold does significantly increase your chances of coming down with this common complaint.

Now, back to that daily apple and the old saying. It is noticeable that the seemingly trite advice being doled out does not include taking 10 or 20 apples daily. Why not? If one apple does you good surely more will make you even stronger. Luckily they had a saying and a piece of wisdom for every occasion in those pre-Internet days, and knew long before technology caught up that you can have too much of a good thing.

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