You go to the gym? Check.
You try to eat healthy? Double check.
More than ever we are conscious of what we eat and we pursue a healthy lifestyle.
But some simple actions that we do every day actually cause us harm. Check out if you unconsciously do any of the 10 things below that set back your attempts to live healthy!
1. Having your morning coffee in a plastic cup
Do you usually take your morning coffee or tea in a plastic cup to go? You may want to change that habit after reading this.
How convenient it may be, it’s made of polycarbonate plastics, which contain a toxic industrial chemical called bisphenol-A or BPA in short. It can harm your body’s cell repair and growth, energy level, and reproduction. The level of BPA depends on the temperature: the hotter your beverage, the more chemicals are released in your body.
How to avoid this? Drink your warm beverages from glass, porcelain or clay mugs. For your coffee on the go, replace your plastic cup with one made of stainless steel.
2. Your skinny jeans are dangerous…
Ladies, are you also in love with your skinnies? Our legs not so much — apparently tight pants can cause nerve damage.
Doctors describe a case in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry of a woman who suffered from nerve damage after helping a friend move, while wearing skinny jeans. The squats she performed during the day caused compression of the area under the knee which contains a lot of nerves. The compression led to numbness in her lower legs that resulted in a hospital stay for several days.
This is quite an extreme case but still, you may want to opt for a looser pair of pants if you have a lot of sitting or squatting ahead of you.
3. …and so is your tie
Gentlemen, you’re not off the hook either. Turns out your tie is an elegant yet dangerous accessory.
A US study indicated that wearing your tie too tightly puts you at increased risk of blindness. It measured the pressure of the eyeball fluid in a group of men before and after they attached their tie. The doctors found a significant rise and warn that long-term pressure rises can lead to a condition called glaucoma, which is the most common cause of irreversible blindness in the world.
An excellent excuse to loosen up your tie during that long day at the office…
4. Sitting is the new smoking
“Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.”
These apocalyptic words come from Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative and inventor of the treadmill desk. He’s been researching the effects of our increasingly sedentary lifestyle for many years and this is his alarming conclusion.
Another study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people sitting more than 6 hours per day died earlier than their peers who sat only 3 hours a day or less.
How to avoid this disturbing perspective, especially when you have an office job? Get up and move every hour at least. Take the stairs to your desk instead of the elevator. Walk during a telephone call, to the coffee machine or printer every now and then. Or try to sneak in a workout during your lunch break.
5. Your salad is not as healthy as you think…
So your coffee is killing you, as well as your clothes and your office. And we’re only halfway.
Turns out that healthy salad you’re proudly having for lunch may not be so healthy after all — in some cases even more fatty than a burger, believe it or not!
Items like creamy potato salad and oily, marinated vegetables increase the fat content of your salad causing the total meal to be worse for you than a burger.
To give a stunning example: a Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad has 780 calories and 51 grams of fat, and a Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger has 680 calories and 36 grams of fat.
Keep this in mind next time you’re looking to grab a healthy lunch — check the caloric content of your salad and don’t pick items that contain mayonnaise or a lot of oil.
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6. …and neither is your desk
In a rush and grabbing your lunch behind your desk? Then you’re in the lovely company of thousands of bacteria.
Scientists who swabbed office desks found 21,000 germs per square inch, and 25,000 on a phone. In comparison, the toilet seats they swabbed only contained 49 germs per square inch.
You may want to opt for a more hygienic lunch spot next time, like the kitchen or canteen. If you can’t avoid it, make sure to wipe your desk thoroughly before eating. If you can spare the time, go out for a bite and have a walk, covering point 4 at the same time!
7. Artificial sweeteners can make you gain weight
Think again if you believe your Diet Coke or low-calorie sweetener help you to lose weight.
A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that such sweeteners did not appear to do so. Instead, people who regularly consumed them — for example by drinking one or more artificially-sweetened beverages a day — had a higher risk to suffer from health issues like weight gain, obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Although more research is still needed, some scientists speculate that the sweeteners interfere with our microbiome, a collection of gut bacteria that are responsible for the absorption of nutrients. Regularly eating or drinking sweet substitutes may also cause you to crave sugar more often. And the idea that you haven’t consumed many calories can lead to more eating during the day.
Even if the picture is not entirely clear on artificial sweeteners, better to be safe than sorry — scratch them from your diet and go for fruit to satisfy your sweet craving in a healthy way.
8. Don’t be polite and hold up your sneeze
We’re all doing it now and then. Holding up our sneeze when it’s all silent around.
This story will keep you from doing this ever again.
Recently a 34 year-old man was hospitalized for a week after he held his mouth and nose closed to stop a sneeze, which led to tearing a hole in his throat. Doctors say that while this is an extreme case, we should never hold in a sneeze. It can lead to a range of rare but serious conditions, including trapped air in the chest, eyes, or brain; perforated eardrums and hearing damage; blood vessel clots and ruptures; or broken ribs.
So let your sneeze fly — but keep your manners. Use a tissue preferably, or your sleeve of elbow if that’s all you got. Don’t cover it with your hands, as you could spread the germs from your nose when touching things.
9. Never sleep in your bra
Let’s get cracking on some bad habits in our bedroom.
If you think keeping your bra on during nighttime will prevent your breasts from moving down south, we can reassure you: gravity is taking care of it already. When lying down, a women’s breasts are pushed up towards the chest naturally, even without a bra.
Moreover, wearing a bra at night can harm your health: it can hamper the blood flow and lymphatic drainage and at worst lead to chronic inflammation. It can also mess up your sleep, as it lowers your melatonin levels due to the increased pressure on your skin.
So ladies, time to take of those bras and let gravity do its work — at least at night time.
10. Staying indoors is killing your libido
Feeling a bit less frisky lately? Your lack of Vitamin D — also known as the sunshine vitamin — can have something to do with it.
Low levels of this vitamin can cause low estrogen with women and low testosterone in men, leading to a low sex drive. The more time we spend indoors, the less sunlight and vitamin D our body can absorb.
So don’t reach out to expensive supplements if your sex life needs a boost — just get out and catch some sun! (Oh, don’t forget your sunscreen though — sunburn is less beneficial for your sex drive).
Any dangerous habits you want to add? Share any thoughts in the comments below!