7 seemingly healthy habits that can be bad for your wellbeing
Think you know what’s good for you? You may be surprised.
Take a look at these seven seemingly good habits that can actually be bad for
While we are probably all familiar with the advice to drink eight glasses of
water a day, more recent research has suggested that there is actually no
scientific evidence supporting this recommendation and that drinking excessive
amounts of water can actually be dangerous by lowering the concentration of
salt in your blood. Health-conscious water drinkers should also be wary of the
trend for drinking bottled water, as studies have suggested that the chemicals
(phthalates) from plastic bottles can leach into water and disrupt hormone
Talking over your problems
Talking through your problems can be a great way to gain some perspective
and get things off your chest. However, studies have suggested that, after a
certain point, rehashing and dwelling on problems can actually be bad for your
health. According to research, revisiting and analyzing the same problems with
friends (“co-rumination”) can lead to anxiety, stress disorders and depression.
Next time a problem arises, by all means talk it over with a friend, but try to
focus on problem-solving rather than simply dwelling on the issue.
Sipping on mocktails
You may think that by swapping cocktails for mocktails you are doing your
health a favour, but this may not actually be the case. While cutting down on
alcohol is beneficial for your wellbeing, mocktails are often high in refined
sugar which research suggests is just as damaging and addictive as alcohol. For
a safer swap and a shot of nutrients, make sure you stick to mocktails made from
pure fruit juices instead of those made from syrups.
Early morning workouts
While a daily workout is great for your health, studies suggest that getting
up for early morning exercise may not be as ideal as it seems. A study by a
researcher from Brunel University, Middlesex, found that heavy training
sessions early in the morning can compromise the immune system and put athletes
at increased risk of bacterial and viral infection. While a morning jog or
gentle exercise session is unlikely to put you at risk, it may be better to
save heavier workouts for later in the day.
Taking nutritional supplements
We all know that vitamins are good for us, but relying on nutritional
supplements can actually be bad for your health. Separate studies have shown
that high doses of vitamin supplements including iron, magnesium and vitamin B6
raise the death rate of older women, while taking vitamin E can increase men’s
risk of prostate cancer. While certain people may be required to take vitamins
(those with low levels of vitamin D, for example, or vegans who may be
deficient in vitamin B12), for most people a better approach is to opt for a
varied diet full of fruit and vegetables which will give you all the nutrients
Slathering on sunscreen
Official advice for many years has warned about the dangers of skin cancer,
causing many of us to take measures to cover up in the sun at all times.
However, while it is extremely important to protect your skin, experts have
more recently advised that little and frequent sun exposure is good for us,
preventing vitamin D deficiency, which can lead to rickets, osteomalacia and
depression. Official advice in the UK, where rickets has recently made a
comeback, is to spend 10 minutes in the midday sun without sunblock each day
before covering skin up.
Switching to low fat foods
When getting started in healthy eating, it is tempting to opt for low fat
foods in order to help keep off excess pounds. However, cutting out ‘good’ fats
such as omega-3 fatty acids could be detrimental to your health. Omega-3 fatty
acids, found in oily fish, walnuts and flaxseeds, not only help to keep skin
supple and wrinkle-free, they are also essential for good brain and heart
health and can help prevent arthritis.
Everyone has bad habits from overdoing it on the booze to
watching fantastically mindless, trashy TV. But although some things might seem
like a hard habit to break, there are often really good health reasons why we
should stop. So with that in mind, here’s our top 8 worst habits that really
need to go.
This is one of the classic New Year resolutions that so many people make and
yet so many fail to break. Research has consistently highlighted just why
smoking is bad for you. Cancer, heart disease and long-term respiratory
problems are just some of the health risks associated with the habit. It kills
over 100,000 in the UK annually and over 400,000 in the USA. And it’s anti-social.
So go on. Say no to nicotine.
When you wake up with a hangover, it’s a fairly common reaction to ponder
the point of over-indulging on the alcohol front. But as well as adding pounds
we don’t need in areas we don’t need them, too much alcohol can lead to a
stroke, cardiac arrest, liver problems and heart issues. Indeed a recent study
at University College London found that almost half of adults in the UK are
binge drinkers. Time to hit the wagon huh?
Too much caffeine
Nothing beats that first cup of tea or coffee in the morning to beat the
bleary eyes, but could you live without it? Although we might think of
the USA as the coffee capital of the world, Europeans consume more caffeine
than anyone, with the UK 15th in the world charts. Too much
caffeine accelerates the heart rate and leads to insomnia, headaches and
irritability. That said it can have a beneficial effect on fat-burning and
exercise, so why not think about limiting your intake instead.
Practically everyone has had the munchies after a night out and succumbed to
a kebab or a burger and chips. The trouble is, that kind of food is full of
empty calories. That means your body can’t effectively convert junk food into
anything other than fat. So eat before you go out and salmon makes for the
perfect pre-party evening meal. Not only is it an amazing source of protein,
but it also contains all sorts of other benefits such as omega-3 fatty acids,
which improve cardiovascular health and reduce inflammation throughout the
body. Protein also lessens the effects of alcohol, as it takes a long time for
your body to digest and minimises alcohol absorption.
Yes they taste good but no, they aren’t good for you. Apart from their
teeth-rotting potential, fizzy drinks are packed with sugar, calories and
caffeine. There are 139 calories in a can of Coca Cola, which is 14% of a
woman’s recommended daily allowance. So yes, have one as an occasional treat,
but come on, have a healthy fruit smoothie instead and radiate vitality and a
Too much technology
Research has shown recently that children’s thumbs are actually getting
bigger because of the amount of time they spend texting and on tablets/android
technology. We all do it, check our phones and tablets and play pointless
computer games when we could be outdoors getting some fresh air. So ditch the
technology. Angry Birds can wait. A gorgeous sunset can’t.
Vegging out in front of the TV
According to a Belgian study, people can consume up to 71% more food when
they watch TV. When you do the maths that means that if you watch more than 19
hours of TV a week (and it adds up very quickly), you suddenly have a whopping
97% chance of being overweight. As if that wasn’t bad enough, TV isn’t great
for engaging the brain either. Why? Because researchers at Case Western Reserve
University discovered that for every hour beyond 80 minutes you watch, your
risk of developing Alzheimer’s increases by 30%. Wow. Time to read a book and
do something active in the evenings.
Late night eating
Eating late at night is a sure fire way to pile
on the pounds. US researchers have discovered that our internal organs have a
body clock, which means they are more effective at certain times of the day
than others. So, if you eat late at night, when the liver and intestines are
not at their peak intensity, you could be asking for trouble and a bigger
We all get bad breath sometimes, but if yours is becoming a
chronic issue, you need to get to the root of the problem. For the most part,
halitosis -- the fancy medical term for stinky breath -- just means you need
better dental hygiene, but sometimes it signals a more serious medical
condition. Here are some potential causes to watch out for.
1. You're not taking care of your teeth.
Bad dental hygiene causes about 85% of halitosis, according to a 2012 study in
the International Journal of Oral Science. "Food that is not
properly cleared from the mouth serves as a platform for bacteria to latch
onto," says Marc Gibber, M.D. an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat
doctor) at Montefiore Medical Center. Since germs like wet, warm environments,
if you don't clean your mouth properly, it can become a cesspool and start to
smell -- bacteria produce the sulfur compounds that give off that infamous
rotten-egg stench. Brush and floss twice daily, and don't forget to scrape your
tongue, too. "These living-without-oxygen bacteria will collect in the
back part of the tongue," says dentist Richard H. Price, an American
Dental Association consumer adviser.
2. You're not drinking enough water.
Being dehydrated can make you produce too little saliva, which is a problem
because saliva washes away those smell-causing bacteria. "The saliva we
produce will keep the cells in the mouth alive," says Gibber. "When
we decrease the saliva, the cells will start to die off." Dead, rotting
cells stink. Drink water: Nutritionists recommend six to eight 8-ounce glasses
a day. Green tea helps hydrate, too -- and a 2012 Israeli study found the
antioxidants in it change some of the sulfur compounds in bad breath.
3. You're dehydrated because of allergies.
People with allergies who can't breathe through their noses end up breathing
through their mouth, which is also drying, says Dale Amanda Tylor, M.D., MPH,
general and pediatric otolaryngologist in Freemont, Calif. If you have
allergies, make sure to treat your congestion -- and also hydrate.
4. You're eating too much of the wrong stuff.
It's a no-brainer that garlic causes bad breath, and we bet you already know to
pack your (sugar-free) breath mints when heading out to the Italian restaurant.
But did you know that milk products can thicken nasal mucus and lead to a
sulfurous smell? "Many professional singers will tell you they try to
avoid dairy products so they have a clear voice and don't have that
mucus," says dentist Martha Ann Keels, division chief for pediatric
dentistry at Duke Children's Hospital. It can't hurt to go easy on the bread
and pasta either. "High-carbohydrate foods promote more bacteria because they're
high in sugar," says Baldeep Singh, M.D., clinical chief of internal
medicine at Stanford Hospital & Clinics. "Eating fibrous foods may
5. You have a sinus or tonsil infection.
"Infection can fester in the sinuses," says Singh, which leads to bad
smells. Go to a doctor who can prescribe you antibiotics. Clearing out your
sinuses with a Neti pot or Neilmed sinus rinse in a squirt bottle can often
help too, says James N. Palmer, M.D., an otolaryngologist and director of
rhinology at the University of Pennsylvania. Multiple tonsil infections or
cases of strep throat can result in tonsil stones, which are calcium stones
that feel like little pebbles in the back of the throat -- and emit a strong
odor, says Gibber. The best treatment is an old-fashioned salt-water gargle
because the high salt content kills bacteria, says Palmer. Add a tablespoon of
salt to six ounces of warm water and gargle with it every morning for two or
three days. After the salt rinse, eat yogurt with live active cultures -- good
6. You have acid reflux.
People with heartburn are "burping up stomach acid, and that's on their
breath," says Keels. It produces an acidic, vinegary smell. "A lot of
people just think of reflux as heartburn, indigestion," says Tylor.
"[But] it can even go as high as the sinuses or the ears." How to
prevent it? "Everything good is bad for reflux -- alcohol, citrusy things,
cinnamon, chocolate," says Tylor.
7. You have a more serious condition, like cancer.
In very rare cases, extremely bad breath can be one of the warning signs of
cancer in the nose, ear, neck, or throat. "It's what we call amongst
ourselves the cancer smell," says Gibber. "It's a kind of sour,
cheesy smell." People who have been exposed to radiation, such as those with
head and neck cancers, make less mucus -- which makes their breath smellier.
But remember that bad dental hygiene is a far, far more common cause of bad
breath, so don't panic.
The seemingly innocent habits that throw your body for a
loop By Esther Crain, Women's Health
Admit it: any time you feel off or out of whack and have no idea
why, you probably chalk it up to hormones, right? The crazy thing is, you're
probably right. These chemical messengers buzzing around inside you pretty much
rule your entire system, influencing your appetite, weight, sex drive, cycle,
and more. But hormonal weirdness isn't just a random occurrence over which you
have no control. Certain behaviors can cause them to surge or sink--and do a
number on your body in the process. Check out these nine habits that can screw
them up and alter your mental and physical health.
Your Candy Bar Addiction
Eating foods with too much added sugar is directly linked to weight gain--and
excess pounds can lead your body to become resistant to insulin, the hormone
that moves sugar into your bloodstream so your cells can get the energy they
need, says Holly Phillips, M.D., a women's health specialist in New York City
and medical correspondent for CBS News. The result: a precursor to diabetes
called metabolic syndrome or even full-blown type 2 diabetes.
Stressing Out Late at Night
Normally, levels of the stress hormone cortisol drop at nighttime, which helps
you wind down and sleep. But becoming anxious or tense in the p.m. means your
cortisol levels keep surging, so you're too wired to catch Zzz's, says
Regular Bouts of Insomnia
It's a vicious cycle: Lack of sleep raises cortisol levels, and cortisol cranks
up your blood sugar…which then plunges, making you stressed and craving junk
food, says Phillips. Start scoring more snooze time, and your cortisol levels
will even out.
Or Just One Night of Sleep Deprivation
When you sleep, levels of a hunger-related hormone called leptin surge,
signaling to your body that you don't need to eat. Toss and turn all night, and
your body won't produce the right amount of leptin--so you'll feel extra hungry
the next day and be more prone to weight gain.
Late-Afternoon Starbucks Runs
Cortisol is the culprit again here: Caffeine signals to your body to boost
production of cortisol, which can make you feel anxious and definitely not in a
sleep-well mindset. Limit yourself to no more than two regular-size cups of joe
a day, preferably before 3 or 4 p.m.
Your Spotty Attendance at the Gym
Without regular exercise, your body won't produce and release the optimal
amount of endorphins, says Phillips. You know endorphins: They're the feel-good
chemicals in the brain that make you feel positive and alert. They also keep
your immune system functioning well and increase levels of sex hormones so you
score a libido lift. The more you move (cardio, Pilates, hiking, any kind of
activity), the more endorphins your body will produce.
A plunge in body-fat levels due to either a super low-calorie weight-loss
regimen or intense exercise sessions lowers estrogen levels, halting your cycle
until your body fat returns to a healthy level, says Phillips. Scary stuff.
Skimping on Cardio
You know how a heart-pumping workout can make you temporarily forget about
where to go for dinner? It has to do with the way aerobic exercise prompts a
drop in levels of a hormone called ghrelin, which suppresses appetite, studies
Easing PMS With a Sweet Treat
Besides leaving you wired, sugar also does a number on brain chemicals that are
already thrown for a loop during your PMS week. If your premenstrual symptoms
leave you cranky and moody, sugar will just make you feel like more of a basket
case, says Phillips
There has been a trend to eliminate fats to lose weight and try to be
healthy. Eliminating dietary fats is not good for the body.
We need dietary fats. It is impossible to eliminate them totally as
fat is found in most foods; even green peas and carrots have small amounts of
fat in them.
Dietary fats help with many basic functions in the body:
Protects your organs
Helps keep your body
Fats help your body absorb
“fat-soluble” vitamins A, D, E and K and stores them in the liver and in
fatty tissues for future use.
Cholesterol which is created
by fat produces important hormones like estrogen and testosterone.
Yes, we need fat but usually not as much as we usually eat.
There are three main dietary fats. Each fat has different chemical
structures and physical properties.
(called the good fats) can improve blood cholesterol levels, ease
inflammation and stabilize heart rhythms. They are liquids at room
Two types of unsaturated fats:
Monosaturated Fats are
found in high concentrations in olive oil, peanut
oil, avocados, almonds,
hazelnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds and
are found in high concentrations in sunflower, corn, soybean, flaxseed oils,
seeds, and fish. Omega-3 fats are one important type of
polyunsaturated fat. The body can’t make these, so they must come from
Most of us don’t get enough of these healthy unsaturated fats. The
traditional Greek diet gets up to 30 percent of its calories from
monounsaturated fats, mostly from olive oil.
Trans Fats raises bad
cholesterol and increases the risk of heart disease. Even worse they lower
good cholesterol! The American Heart Association advises to limit
trans fat daily consumption to less than 1%.
Scientists have now established that trans fats found in many fast
foods, bakery products, and margarines—increase the risk of cardiovascular
disease through inflammatory processes.
according to old research raises blood cholesterol levels. High blood
cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. Foods containing saturated
fat include: Lard, pork, regular ground beef, bologna, hot dogs, sausage,
bacon, full-fat cheese, ice cream, whole milk, sour cream, butter, palm
oil, coconut oil,
chicken and turkey skin.
The Cholesterol Myth
Cholesterol is a natural part of our body; we have between 1,000 and 2,000
milligrams of cholesterol in our body at any time depending on our body size.
Three quarters of it is produced our body’s liver and a one quarter comes from
our diet and much of that is unable to be absorbed by our body. We have a
sophisticated control system that controls the amount of cholesterol in the
blood by controlling internal production. When there is not enough
cholesterol coming in – your body makes more. When there is too much
coming in our body makes less.
Saturated fats like butter and coconut oil have a bad public image.
Research studies in both animals and humans more than half a century ago has
said it raises blood cholesterol and causes heart disease. Coconut oil research used hydrogenated coconut oil which is
a trans fat. Also, these studies were for only a few weeks, not long
term. There are recent studies of a higher quality that does not support
Data from 21 studies with nearly 348,000 adults found
no difference in the risks of heart disease and stroke between people with
the lowest and highest intakes of saturated fat.
Unsaturated Oil is Not as Good as We Thought!
Unsaturated oils in cooked foods become rancid within a few hours, even in
the refrigerator. Once fresh unsaturated fats are inside the body, they oxidize
(turn rancid). Coconut oil does not go rancid even after one year at room
temperature. Even ghee, made from butter, will last for 3 to 6 months at room
temperature. Most of the saturated fat in coconut oil is easy to digest and
converts into quick energy so people are less likely to become obese, as the
fat is not stored.
To quote Dr. Mary Enig: “The research over four decades concerning coconut
oil in the diet and heart disease is quite clear: coconut oil has been shown to
be beneficial.” Coconut oil has been used as cooking oil for thousands of
Stay Away From Trans Fats!
Remember when they told us to eat margarine instead of butter? It turns out that most
margarine is filled with trans fats and butter is fine when used in moderation.
The real problem-fats in our diets are the trans fats also known as
hydrogenated oils; they are found in most processed food, including margarine,
potato chips, baked goods etc. They are toxic, blocking absorption of essential
fatty acids and raising blood cholesterol.
Fat Have Calories!
Also, whether it is olive oil, ghee, butter or coconut oil … they are all
100 percent fat! No matter how good the oil sounds…..remember that it
is still a fat, with 120 calories per tablespoon. Consuming a high fat diet may
lead to becoming overweight and that is not healthy!