5 Old Wives' Tales About Health (Confirmed by Science)

#2. The Crust Is the Most Nutritious Part of the Bread


Kids seem to have a natural aversion to that gross brown part on the outside of bread, while moms have a natural aversion to the pain in the ass of having to trim sandwiches every day. So generations of mothers have told their children that the crust is the most nutritious part of the bread. It gets moms out of a pointless task and simultaneously teaches kids that little white lies are an effective means of getting out of unnecessary work.

"I'm ... uhhh ... on my period. Yeah. Totally perioding it up, sorry."

But Science Says ...

A group of German researchers led by Dr. Thomas Hofmann decided to get to the bottom of this by studying the chemical makeup of bread crust versus the rest of the loaf. And their research only proved that their mommies were right all along.

How is this possible, considering that both parts of the bread are made from the exact same stuff? It's because when it's baked, bread undergoes a process called the Maillard reaction, which is what gives it a crust (it's the same thing that gives meat and even beer that distinctive brown color). Besides giving the bread much of its flavor, studies have shown that this reaction produces antioxidant compounds that act as Batman to your body's Gotham City, stalking and then beating its degenerate citizens (cancer cells) into an acquiescent pulp.

Or a posse of vigilantes unleashed upon the horse-thieving cancers of your body.

When Hofmann and company scienced their bag lunches, they discovered that the bread contained a specific antioxidant called pronyl-lysine -- a compound that further study showed was the most important component in bread for leveling up your body's cancer prevention points (CPP). And here's the kicker: This compound was eight times more abundant in the crust than in the rest of the bread. And stuffing is even better, since it involves breaking the bread into smaller pieces, giving it more surface area to brown.

So consider this an official endorsement from Cracked to take a double serving of crusty bread and turkey stuffing next Thanksgiving. Or, at the very least, to cherish your kids' faces when they find nothing but bread crust in their sandwich box.

"So, legally, what can they actually do to us if we ... 'retaliate'?"

#1. Cold Weather Will Make You Catch a Cold


Despite the fact that we named it the common cold, we've known for a very long time that this illness is in fact caused by viruses and has precisely jack to do with the weather. But that hasn't stopped generations of mothers from telling their children that going out in the cold without bundling up is a surefire way to get sick, which is why they wind up forced to cosplay as the Michelin Man come December.

"No, you don't need your sled -- we're just going out to check the mail."

But Science Says ...

The role of weather in the spread of the common cold has been the subject of much debate in the scientific community. If there were nothing to the cold weather theory, then why would there be a "cold and flu season" that falls right smack dab in the middle of winter? You could say that it's just because winter forces people indoors, where proximity to other sick people spreads disease faster. But doesn't it affect people who live alone, too? That's what researchers at Cardiff University's Common Cold Center in Wales thought, and they set out to find out once and for all.

So they rounded up 20 people and blasted the fuck out of them with high-powered snow cannons.

They gathered up 180 volunteers in the midst of common cold season and somehow convinced half of them to sit with their feet immersed in ice water for 20 minutes. What they found was that over the next week, nearly a third of the frozen victims -- er, volunteers -- developed cold symptoms, versus only 9 percent of the unfrozen ones. Chalk up another point for motherly advice!

Professor Ron Eccles explained that, "If they become chilled this causes a pronounced constriction of the blood vessels in the nose and shuts off the warm blood that supplies the white cells that fight infection." So while a warm body might have been exposed to the virus yet show no symptoms, chilling that same body like a nice white wine sets up a perfect environment for the virus to take hold, and in turns allows cold symptoms to develop.

"I am so sorry, I had no idea I'd locked you outside for two days."

So take the reduced humidity of the cold winter months (which allows viruses to travel more easily), the reduced defenses of a cold body, and the human tendency to go inside and warm up that cold body in an enclosed space surrounded by a bunch of snot-noses, and it all adds up to a virus kegger in your nose. And if there's one lesson we truly took to heart as kids, it's that you should always listen to your mother when it comes to advice about what not to put in your nose.

Jason is a freelance editor for this fine website, Cracked.com. Your mom said you should like him on Facebook.

And for the complete opposite, check out Your Mom Lied: 5 Common Body Myths Debunked. Or learn about 8 Health Foods That Are Bad For Your Health.

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