If you’re like most people, you want to be healthy – inside and out. You follow your doctor’s advice, get plenty of sleep and exercise, and try your best to eat well-balanced meals. But what if some of the healthy choices you’ve been making aren’t that healthy for you?
Here are four things many people do regularly that can cause everything from vitamin deficiencies to damaged teeth. It’s just a reminder that healthy choices aren’t always that healthy for you.
Sunscreen is good for protecting you from sunburn, a leading cause of skin cancer. However, it tends to block the absorption of vitamin D, and vitamin D is important for the absorption of calcium and promotion of bone growth. Low vitamin D can lead to a variety of cancers, heart disease, and depression, among other maladies. This doesn’t mean you should stop using sunblock; just make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D.
In addition to getting vitamin D from the sun, you can eat your way to improved vitamin D levels by including plenty of salmon, sardines, egg yolks, and fortified milk, yogurt, and orange juice in your diet. Those under the age of 70 need about 600 IUs per day. Over the age of 70, your daily needs increase to 800 IUs.
Consuming Citrus Fruits and Juices
Sure eating a grapefruit or drinking a glass of orange juice might be a great way to get your daily dose of vitamin C, but it can damage your teeth. Specifically, repeated exposure to acidic foods such as citrus fruits and juices can erode tooth enamel and expose you to tooth decay.
It’s not necessary to give up your favorite fruit, however. Just limit your intake and be sure to wash your mouth out with plain water afterwards. Then use a mouth rinse with alkaline pH and fluoride to rebalance your mouth. You also can chew sugar-free gum in order to produce more saliva and help neutralize the acid.
Two things to keep in mind: first, lemons are the most harmful citrus, so eat them sparingly. Second, don’t brush your teeth immediately after eating or drinking because acid softens tooth enamel and can cause additional harm.
Eating “Diet” Food Items
When you consume food items called “diet” or “lo-cal,” it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re eating healthier. It all depends on how much and what you actually eat.
First, processed foods are often high in Trans fats and saturated fats. Fat helps food taste better. Unfortunately, these specific fats raise your bad cholesterol, lower your good cholesterol, and put you at risk for stroke and heart disease. Instead, look for polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
Next, food items that are low in fat usually contain more sugar or sodium. Again, it’s about making the food taste better. Unfortunately, sugar offers empty calories and has no redeeming health qualities. Experts have linked it to such diseases as diabetes type II and cancer. Large quantities of sodium (salt), on the other hand, can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
Finally, according to experts, people who eat food items labeled “sugar-free” or “diet” often consume more of them believing there’s no harm. However, too many diet drinks can lead to health issues including kidney problems and obesity.
The best thing to do is to read labels carefully and to limit your intake of processed food. If you have questions or concerns, talk with your doctor.
Taking a Daily Shower
While it’s imperative to wash your hands thoroughly after using the restroom, washing the rest of your body too frequently can lead to issues. Primarily, over-washing can lead to dryness and irritation. This is particularly an issue as people age. Additionally, you risk infection by washing away good bacteria.
By not bathing as often (say, two times weekly), you preserve your body’s natural oils. Using warm, not hot, water and taking shorter showers can help as well. Finally, don’t forget to moisturize afterwards.
It’s not tough to make small adjustments to ensure the things you do really are healthy. It’s all about finding the right balance.