Should You Believe These Old Wives’ Tales?

We’ve all grown up hearing “old wives’ tales” of some sort or another. Maybe you heard ones having to do with bad luck (watch out for black cats, don’t break mirrors), and maybe you heard old wives tales that talked about home remedies. In our “modern” society, it can be tempting to discard these old tales as simply nothing more than nonsense, but are they?

Well, certainly some old wives’ tales have no basis in reality, but some, even the bad luck ones, have a measure of truth to them. After all, walking under a ladder is just welcoming an opportunity for something to be dropped on your head.

Still, other old wives’ tales show a good measure of wisdom. For example, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is not literally true. But, apples are very good for you, and Tammy Robinson also writes,

However, a study in 2013 did find that if people over the age of 50 ate just one apple every day, they could help prevent heart attack and stroke.

Just another reason to enjoy a tasty apple.

Another old wives’ tale tells of the dangers of eating green potatoes. This tale actually has truth to it, too. Robinson writes,

This is true; however, you would have to eat two very large potatoes. Of course, this all depends on body size and age, as well as the “dose.” Green potatoes contain the nerve toxin solanine. There are terrible tales of people who have eaten these green little tubers and died. Even just a few bites from a green potato is enough to make most people vomit, but you have to ask yourself: Why would anyone eat a green potato anyway?

What about tales about how to tell a gender of a baby before the birth? Most of those tales seem to lack any scientific validation at this point, however, one old wives’ tale about this may have some truth. Again, from Robinson:

Deliveries that are fairly quick appear to be, more often than not, girls. Long labor times, or hard labor, usually mean it’s a boy.

One study found that, while boys are not necessarily bigger or heavier than girls, their heads are generally larger, resulting in a longer and more difficult labor.

So, ladies, there may be some truth to your assertion that men have big heads.

So, what is the verdict of old wives’ tales? It’s hard to give validation to most of them (at least at this point) due to a lack of a scientific explanation, but that isn’t to say that you should completely ignore them. A few of them have a bit of truth to them. So, avoid eating green potatoes, and, when you hear an old wives tale, it may be worth considering before discarding it out of hand.