All posts by Nathan Ngo

Does eating garlic repel mosquitoes?

brown and black insect

Image from Syed Ali on Unsplash

Mosquitoes are typically considered a pest and a nuisance, particularly from early Spring until late Fall. Their natural tendency to feed off the blood of the innocent bystander has led people to all sorts of measures, including ingesting garlic to fend off these bothersome insects. But how effective is garlic as a mosquito repellant?

The idea that garlic can repel mosquitos most likely stems from its strong odor. The University of Connecticut Health Center compared people that ate a notable amount of garlic to a control group that did not eat garlic and found no significant difference between the number of bites received.

There are interventions supported by evidence, including wearing long-sleeved clothing, emptying standing water containers indoors and outdoors, and using insect repellant that can help deter mosquitoes and other minor menaces for a limited time. The repellant affects the insect’s senses, as they primarily use carbon dioxide output and body heat that they detect from humans to determine which individual to target. Next time you plan on going outside, it is best to consider putting on some bug spray rather than consuming the garlic in your kitchen.,acts%20by%20blinding%20their%20senses.&text=Eating%20garlic%20has%20not%20been,attract%20or%20ward%20off%20mosquitoes.

Is bottled water healthier than tap water?

Study: Bottled Water Contaminant Exposures and Potential Human Effects. Image Credit: yanik88/Shutterstock

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As you are having a nice dinner with your old friend, reminiscing about the glory days, something tickles the back of your throat. After noticing your discomfort, your friend excuses himself to get some water for you, and you hope that he brings back bottled water rather than a glass of water from the tap. But is one healthier than the other?  

Bottled water comes with its own “glass” and is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Also, there is no concern about old pipes (think Flint, Michigan), sewage leaks, pesticide runoff, and other factors. Tap water is regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act, avoids adding plastic to the environment, and is less costly.  

The benefits of cautiously and thoughtfully defaulting to tap water are worthy of consideration.  Bottled or tap can be useful depending on the context, but it’s difficult to argue that the decision can affect your health. 

Does eating carrots give you night vision?

As kids, it was commonplace for adults to preach about the importance of vegetables and how carrots could help you see better at night. But does eating carrots really improve your night vision?  

The idea first originated in the early 20th century during World War II, at a time when the British were subjected to nightly German bombings. Eventually, the British devised radar stations that were used to detect these German aircrafts passing overhead. However, in order to ensure that German intelligence would not catch on, the British spread propaganda that improved night vision from eating carrots was how they detected German bombers at night.  

And there is a grain of truth in the matter. Carrots contain vitamin A, which is a key building block of molecules responsible for both low-light and color vision.  It is the light-sensitive part of rhodopsin, a protein in rod cells in the retina of the eye that is particularly sensitive to light. People who are deficient in Vitamin A may not see as well at night.  But Vitamin A and carrots do not improve sight in individuals that have sufficient vitamin A.  The fact that health advice can be based on old war propaganda is one of the reasons we encourage you to always “Think Twice.”,this%20may%20cause%20night%20blindness.