We all know smoking, drinking heavily and excess weight isn’t healthy, but there’s many other things we do that are just as bad. From eating the wrong things to not getting enough sleep, there’s a long list of bad habits to break, according to experts. Dr. Mike Hoaglin, Medical Director for DrHouse tells Eat This, Not That! Health the five things you should stop doing right now and why. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
Dr. Hoaglin says, “Not optimizing your sleep quality in the limited hours we get to sleep is like leaving money on the table. Insomnia is an epidemic in this country and it’s due, in part, to our exposure to light late in the day. Exposure to blue light,specifically, prevents melatonin from being released. Melatonin is an important hormone that controls our body’s internal clock. Limit any screen exposure—from TV to smartphone—90 minutes before bed. If it’s absolutely critical you answer that last email, use a blue light filter on your phone. Make sure your bedroom is pitch dark all night. If it’s not possible, wear an eye mask. And Even if there’s a small amount of road noise outside, wear earplugs.”
According to Dr. Hoaglin,”White flour does a number on metabolism and the digestive system, increasing inflammation and making it hard to lose weight. White flour is in all of the stuff we crave: carbs like pastas, breads, cookies and pizza. It can be as addictive as cocaine. It becomes a paste that feeds microbes in the gut that are associated with inflammation and insulin resistance. It also raises bad cholesterol faster than eating cholesterol itself. Limit white flour like you would dessert.”
“If you’re not getting enough fat, you might notice poor skin, a weakened immune system, poor absorption of some vitamins and even an unhealthy brain,” says Dr. Hoaglin. “Fats used to be demonized in decades past. We now know that certain types of fats are critical in sending important chemical messages to keep down inflammation and keep healthy cells. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to improve mild memory loss and depression symptoms as well. Of course make sure your overall calorie intake does not go above what you’re burning. Adding healthy fats should replace something else such as carbohydrates.”
Dr. Hoaglin explains, “Low sodium diets are linked to a number of negative health effects such as insulin resistance, high cholesterol and even death in certain populations. We need sodium in nearly every body process as a critical electrolyte. It’s also critical in staying hydrated. While high amounts of salt can increase blood pressure, low salt diets are linked to increased rates of death even for people with heart disease and heart failure.”
Dr. Hoaglin shares, “A low fiber diet does more than make bowel movements more difficult. Adequate Fiber intake can control release of insulin in a way that minimizes inflammation and can even make it easier to lose weight. Certain types of fiber also feed the gut microbiome where it’s converted to fats that protect the gut wall and help control blood sugar. You should get at least 25g of fiber daily, along with plenty of water. Good sources of fiber are fruits, vegetables and/or a fiber supplement.” And to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more