Was that advice your Irish mammy gave you right?

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Irish mammy advice

Our Irish mammies are renowned for guiding us through life on issues such as love, health, money and much more, but it turns out the advice they offer may be wrong more often than it is right.

That is according to Science Foundation Ireland, who decided to test some of the oldest and most famous pieces of advice dished out by Irish mammies.

Irish mammy advice

“Put your hat on, you lose all the heat out of your head” is a phrase that many people will recognise.

Well, unfortunately, this is not true at all. FSI found that although wearing a hat will keep your head dry from rain and make it feel warmer, your body will still be losing heat at the same rate as without it.

“Don’t sit on that cold wall, you’ll get a kidney infection,” is another popular Irish mammy saying that is also doesn’t stand up to the science.

In reality, kidney infections are caused by bacteria and have nothing to do with the body being cold.

On the other hand, there are some occasions when the advice from Irish mammies does have some scientific evidence to back it up, indirectly at least.

“Eat your carrots, and you’ll be able to see better in the dark.”

Millions of people have been told that as children, as a way of making them eat their vegetables.

And this time, Irish mammies might just be right. SFI explained that carrots contain orangy beta-carotene which helps the body make vitamin A. This vitamin A helps sustain the eye cells used to see in dim light.

So eating carrots can have an influence on your night vision abilities.

However, SFI did add that once your body has enough vitamin A to fulfil this function, eating more will not improve your eyesight any further.

So your Irish mammy was sort of right about the carrots.

Another dubious victory for the wisdom of Irish mammies is that you should eat oranges to help you get over a cold.

Similarly to the carrots, this is sort of true. Oranges contain high levels of vitamin C, which helps the body make more white blood cells, and these are the main cells of the immune system.

The study was conducted by SFI as part of their campaign #ScienceRising that aims to get more of the public interested and involved in science. Each month they will investigate a different theme, with health being put under the microscope this month.

Last they looked into technology and next month the theme will be women in science.


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