25 Old Wives’ Tales That Are Actually True

Posted by , Updated on December 5, 2023

Have you found any of those old wives’ tales your grandmother used to tell you to be true? Obviously, most old wives’ tales are just tales.

Some of those tales come from urban legends, so generally speaking, they should be taken with a grain of salt. Money spiders don’t bring money, eating yam won’t cause you to have twins, and itchy palms can hardly make you rich.

On the other hand, there are some old wives’ tales that are surprisingly true. To find out what old wives’ tales are not that far off the mark, check out these 25 Old Wives’ Tales That Are Actually True.


An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

green appleSource: dailymail.co.uk

According to a scientific study carried out by the University of Western Australia, eating just 100 g (3.5 oz) of apple each day can significantly improve your life expectancy. Apple skin, in particular, has high levels of plant compound flavonoids that help prevent cell damage, reduce cancer risk, and help people maintain a healthy weight.


Eating Bananas Gets You a Boy

bananasSource: boldsky.com

Okay, so it’s not guaranteed, but it does increase your chances. Bananas are known to have a high dosage of potassium, which is the key to conceiving a baby boy. It was found that women on the banana diet had a 56% chance of having a boy, compared to just 45% of those on other diets.


The Full Moon Makes for Some Weird Behavior

Full moonSource: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Yes, this can be true. Several studies have proved that the incidences of crimes, emergency room admission, surgical mistakes, and other unusual events is higher on nights under a full moon than on other nights.


Carrots Help Your Vision

CarrotsSource: bustle.com

Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, a red-colored pigment, which helps produce Vitamin A, a key ingredient in a healthy, functioning eye. Vitamin A is particularly useful for maintaining eye health, avoiding cataracts, and slightly improving night vision. No need to go overboard though; too much Vitamin A could produce negative side-effects. So eat a few carrots, not a few pounds of carrots.


The Sharper the Blast, the Sooner ‘Tis Past

thunderstormSource: artofmanliness.com

This old weather adage is usually true. When a storm builds rapidly, it’s stronger and faster than when a storm builds gradually. A strong thunderstorm has an average speed of about 50 km/h (30 mph), meaning it will only last for a short period of time. A gentle rain shower, though, can travel at a fraction of that speed and can last for days.


Chicken Soup Cures a Cold

Chicken soupSource: rd.com

Scientists believe that a bowl of chicken soup may actually reduce inflammation of the lungs. It is thought that chicken soup slows down the activity of white blood cells that can cause the inflammation.


Newspapers are Great Glass Cleaner

NewspapersSource: huffingtonpost.com

Newspapers are made of dense fibers that contain no solid, scratching materials. Compared to paper towels, newspaper fibers are more rigid and will not separate and cause lint. Moreover, most newspapers now use smear-free soy-based ink that makes the newspapers an even better glass cleaner.


Long Labor is the Sign of a Baby Boy

Newborn Baby Source: dailymail.co.uk

There are many old wives’ tales about pregnancy, and one of them says that a long and painful labor is the sign of a baby boy. This claim was confirmed by a study carried out by the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin which proved that boys are more trouble than girls from the start, causing more complications during childbirth. They produce longer labors that are more likely to end in a Cesarean section.


Heartburn in Pregnancy Indicates a Hairy Baby

hairy babySource: nytimes.com

This odd adage has been around for ages. It was actually proved to be true after researchers at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore conducted a study in 2007 to put the claim to rest. However, to their great surprise, they ended up confirming it.


Fish is Brain Food

fried fishSource: forbes.com

Researchers at the Rush Medical Center in Chicago have proved that eating fish is, indeed, good for the brain. A significantly lower occurrence of Alzheimer’s Disease was observed in those who ate fish regularly. Mercury content in some fish might have negative effects on our health, but the benefits of including fish in our diet easily outweighed the risks.


Chocolate Helps to Relieve Premenstrual Cramps

ChocolateSource: kidspot.com.au

Dark chocolate is known to contain nutrients and antioxidants such as anandamide, which are believed to have a calming effect, keeping anxiety and moods in balance. Therefore, eating chocolate before menstruation can really help.


Red Sky at Night, Sailor's Delight. Red Sky in Morning, Sailor's Warning

Red Heaven Sky SunsetSource: loc.gov

When we see a red sky at night, it means that the setting sun is sending its light through a high concentration of dust particles, which usually indicates high pressure and stable air coming in from the west, usually followed by good weather. A red sunrise can mean that a high pressure system (good weather) has already passed, thus indicating that a storm system (low pressure) may be coming.


Happy Wife, Happy Life

happy coupleSource: huffingtonpost.com

A recent study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that men who are unhappily married may still be happy with their lives, as long as their wives are satisfied with their marriages. In other words, a wife’s happiness in the marriage has the power to overtake a husband’s marital unhappiness to make his overall life quite pleasant.


Old People Can Predict Weather

old manSource: cracked.com

Old people sometimes say it’s going to rain because they “feel it in their bones.” This claim can be actually true. Stormy weather is preceded by a drop in air pressure, which causes pain in joints of those who suffer from the arthritis.


Honey Relieves a Scratchy Throat

Honey Source: womenshealthmag.com

Just a few teaspoons of honey put into hot tea or lemon water really helps to sooth a sore throat. However, as honey doesn’t have antibacterial effects, you can’t expect the sweet stuff to cure the infection.


A Wooden Spoon Prevents a Pot from Boiling Over

boiling potSource: food-hacks.wonderhowto.com

There are actually two reasons why this trick works. First, the spoon destabilizes the bubbles when they come into contact with its water-repelling surface, which makes the boiling water retreat. Second, the bubbles created from boiling water are filled with steam. If the bubble touches something below 100°C (212°F), the steam will condense and break the surface of the bubble.


Walnuts Remove Furniture Scratches

Walnuts Source: ranker.com

As bizarre as this old wives’ tale might sound, walnuts are really great for making your scratched furniture look new. The oils, texture, and color of the walnut allow it to fill in the scratch, leaving the piece good as new.


Hot Baths May Cut Male Fertility

bath tubSource: bbc.co.uk

A three-year scientific study proved this claim. Sperm counts in 5 of 11 men with fertility problems soared by a staggering 491% after they stopped having baths or using the hot tub for a few months. Heat from laptops and tight underwear can have the same detrimental effect on sperm count.


Gain a Child, Lose a Tooth

woman at dentistSource: nytimes.com

A popular old wives’ tale holds that for every baby a woman has, she is bound to lose a tooth, supposedly because the pregnancy interferes with calcium absorption and increases hormones that affect oral health. While the adage might be a bit overstated, a strong link between pregnancy and dental problems have really been found.


Actions Speak Louder Than Words

holding handsSource: lifestyle.allwomenstalk.com

This phrase might sound like a well-worn cliché, but the truth is that many people aren’t able to communicate well by speaking, so they do it through their actions. It is also estimated that about 80% (some sources even say 90%) of our communication is non-verbal.


Early to Bed and Early to Rise Makes a Man Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise

alarm clockSource: entrepreneur.com

Several scientific studies have proved that morning people are generally healthier, happier, more persistent, cooperative, agreeable, conscientious, and proactive. They procrastinate less and are better at dealing with negativity and stress.


Cheese Causes Bad Dreams

CheeseSource: eatthis.com

Cheese, like other dairy products, contains tryptophan, which serves as a precursor for the sleep-inducing hormone serotonin. However, study participants who consumed dairy products including cheese before bed were more likely to report unsavory dreams.


Count Your Blessings

grateful womanSource: bakadesuyo.com

The affect of a grateful outlook on psychological and physical well-being was examined, and it was discovered that being grateful for what you have is a great way to increase your happiness. So your grandma was right – count your blessings.


Clothes Make the Man

man in suitSource: psychologytoday.com

This old adage seems to be still spot on. Numerous experiments have confirmed that the way people perceive other people greatly depend on what clothes the observed subjects wear. A man dressed in a business suit, for example, gives the impression of authority and is much more attractive to women than a man who wears jeans and a T-shirt.


Onion Relieves Pain from a Bee Sting

OnionSource: thesun.co.uk

In fact, not only a bee sting but also wasp, bumble bee, and some other insects’ stings. Rubbing a piece of onion on the sting can help reduce swelling as the vegetable’s enzymes break down the toxins from the sting.

Photos: Feature image: shutterstock, text added, 25. Max Pixel (public domain), 24-23. pixabay (public domain), 22. nanao wagatsuma, Baby Carrots 2, CC BY 2.0, 21. Bidgee, Cloud to ground lightning strikes south-west of Wagga Wagga, CC BY-SA 3.0 AU, 20. Debs (ò‿ó)♪ from Bellevue, WA, USA, Chicken noodle soup, CC BY 2.0, 19. pixabay (public domain), 18. Max Pixel (public domain), 17-15. pixabay (public domain), 14. Max Pixel (public domain), 13-12. pixabay (public domain), 11-10. pexels (public domain), 9. Andrei Suslov, 4 walnut kernels, CC BY-SA 3.0, 8. pixabay (public domain), 7. Conor Lawless, Iniezione odontoiatrica, CC BY 2.0, 6. pexels (public domain), 5. pixabay (public domain), 4. Nick Youngson/nyphotographic.com via picserver.org, CC BY-SA 3.0, 3. Max Pixel (public domain), 2. pexels (public domain), 1. pixabay (public domain)