Some say old wives tales are superstitions passed down from generation to generation in the form of sayings that are easy to remember.

At some point you’ve probably heard one of these old wives tales from an older friend or family member but are they really true?

We’ve done a little research and compiled our findings for you:

1. Feed a cold, starve a fever

Forget this tale. Even though you may not feel like eating you should stay hydrated and eat well to keep your energy levels up as best you can. Try some chicken soup… the bonus is it’s good for the soul!

2. If you go outside with wet hair you will catch a cold!

Whilst you may feel a bit chilly if you go outside with wet hair on a cold day you are unlikely to catch a cold. Colds are passed on with a virus, not by having wet hair. That’s of course not to say that if you do go out with wet hair and come into contact with someone who has a cold virus, that you won’t catch it!

3. Chicken soup will help your cold

Chicken soup is lovely and warming, we all know this (just refer to point 1!). While this may not be a cure it will certainly help. Scientists believe that a bowl of yummy chicken soup may reduce inflammation of the lungs by slowing down the activity of white blood cells. So pop a pot on the stove if you or a family member can feel a cold coming on – it could reduce the symptoms!

4. Foods with mayonnaise in them will spoil faster than those without mayonnaise

Don’t believe everything you’re told as it turns out this is an old wives’ tale. As commercial mayonnaise is slightly acidic, adding it to chicken will actually help prevent the chicken spoiling. Good to know!

5. Hair of the dog will cure a hangover.

Another false! Having another drink will only prolong your pain – that hangover is SURE to hit at some point.

6. Wash your hair until it’s squeaky clean

Guess what, this one is false! Over shampooing your hair so that it squeaks actually does the opposite and simply strips the hair shafts of the necessary oils. Less is more in this case.

7. Chocolate can help to relieve pre-menstrual cramps

Firstly, what do YOU say to this one? Do you believe it helps? Turns out there might be some truth in this one – chocolate contains chemicals that contribute to boosting your mood (yay!). TIP: Dark chocolate has less sugar – good to know if you’re prone to breakouts around this time.

8. Alcohol on your baby’s gums will relieve teething pain

Definitely false as even a small amount of alcohol can be incredibly dangerous for your baby. Best to file this one under NO WAY!

9. Eating fish is good for your brain

This one is most certainly true. The essential fatty acids in fish contribute to the growth and development of our brains. Fish oils are also said to have anti-inflammatory properties which protect blood vessels and are also thought to be helpful in reducing stiffness in joints. Make sure you add more to your weekly meal plan – it’s good for you!

10. You can predict the sex of your baby with a wedding ring test

False. An old wives tale that has been around for many moons is to put a thread through the wedding band of the pregnant woman and hold it over her palm. If the ring swings in a circle it’s said the baby is a girl and if it swings in a straight line the baby is a boy. It’s good fun, but certainly not an accurate measure.

11. Don’t cross your eyes as they could get stuck!

I’m sure you remember hearing this one when you were a child and would have worked out it’s most definitely not true.

12. Don’t swallow chewing gum as it’s harmful to the digestive system

You may have heard that it will stay in your stomach for seven years. This is not true. The gum does actually pass through the digestive however as the body is not able to break it down it usually exits the body looking similar to when it entered.

13. Cracking your knuckles causes arthritis

There is no evidence to show this is true, though the jury still isn’t out on this one!

14. Drinking a glass of warm milk will make you sleepy

This one is actually true as milk contains tryptophan which is a chemical that helps induce sleep. A nice warm glass before bed is a great way to help you drift off to sleep.

15. Don’t swim for at least an hour after eating

How many of you heard this one from your parents! Unless you are bloated and uncomfortable there is no need to wait – yes, they were lying all along.

We would love to hear of any other old wives tales you may have heard. Please SHARE them with us below.

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  • Dont swim for an hour after eating……oh lord….. Would be at the beach and out swimming and Mum would be calling for me to come in to have lunch. I so didnt want to because I knew she wouldnt let me back in the water for ages.


  • Yeah, that chewing gum one always annoyed me!


  • Boys used to be told play with yr privates and you’ll go blind!


  • Don’t pull silly faces or the wind might change and you’ll be stuck like it :D


  • Yep my mother used to say all of these. Some work some don’t-some are just laughable! Today’s generation would be horrified at some of them.


  • Haha! Haven’t we all heard or been told these. Pleased to see the truth!


  • Good to know a few of these were finally cleared up for me though I cant say I remember any off the top of my head tha ks for the read!


  • There are so many old wives tales I never really know what is true and what is false! This article was great to find a few out! There are so many different ones out there


  • Yes have heard all of these and more. At times it is hard to work out which ones are true or not especially when your parents or someone older is telling you.


  • So very true that these are wives tales and not necessarily true. Heard one on a gardening show the other day that cigarette butts helped the tomatoes grow better – haha.


  • I can’t say I agree with the chewing gum theory. I know of at least 3 cases of Appendicitis that surgeons have found chewing gum was the cause. One family there was 2 children who had to had to have their appendix removed within 2 weeks of each other – both had the same surgeon because they were away on a holiday. What was to be a short holiday became a long way because of the distance they had to travel over rough roads. Vibration can be very painful. Often the car seatbelt puts pressure on the tender area too. I personally experienced those travel issues after surgery. Mine was not caused by chewing gum though. It was a deformity which worsened over time.


  • Yes, these are truly tales ! Although I do agree that foods with mayonnaise will spoil faster then foods without mayonnaise. Only question is of course if you use REAL mayonnaise or COMMERCIAl / FAKE mayonnaise…..


  • I knew these already, although I’ve caught not a cold, but a chill from going out in the cold with wet hair….


  • I knew most of these were false, although I didn’t know that warm milk actually made you sleepy

    • Yep! My mum used to tell me that as a kid – guess they just figured out it worked!

      • Same here. Was surprised with the milk one too.


  • Heard so many of these growing up. Whether they are tales or superstitions I have told my kids the same things.
    My favourite would be don’t get to close to the screen otherwise your eyes will go rectangled.
    No. 15 about resting before swimming. Better waiting than having a belly ache! Lol


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