Seven 'healthy' habits that are actually bad for your health

If you want to live a long and happy life, taking care of your health is very important. The problem is that sometimes it's hard to know what's good for you and what's not. bestlife.

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Research results are often conflicting, and different doctors often give different advice. Some of the habits you incorporate into your daily life are actually not as good for you as you thought.

Exercise every day

Let's get one thing clear: no one questions the importance of regular exercise. According to the Mayo Clinic, moving your body can improve your heart health, help you maintain a healthy weight, improve your mood, and give you more energy—just to name a few of the benefits that exercise offers. But if you're training hard every day, experts say it's important to give yourself a break.

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“Exercise is absolutely good for your body, but there is such a thing as too much goodness,” says certified family physician Laura Purdy, MD. – Injuries caused by overexertion and overtraining are very common. Things like tendonitis, muscle strains, stress fractures, and even just plain tiredness and exhaustion can happen when we demand more from our body than it wants. Therefore, it is very important that we exercise in moderation and only when we have received permission from our doctor and know that it is safe for us to exercise.”

Sleep on weekends

The Sleep Foundation states that most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night for optimal health. But if you are missing this amount, you may not be able to make up for it on weekends. In fact, a 2017 study found that women who slept two or more extra hours on weekends to "catch up" were more likely to have poor heart health than those who didn't get enough sleep on weekends.

“It’s actually better and healthier for our body to have a consistent schedule,” Purdy explains. It is important that we try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Our brains, our bodies, our systems, and our hormones function best when we give them a very predictable cycle of proper nutrition and the amount of time we wake up and sleep. If you're having a particularly tiring week, are sick, or are traveling, it may be necessary to sleep from time to time. But the habit of having an irregular sleep schedule can actually do more harm than good when it comes to sleep hygiene and getting needed rest at night.”

Have a cup of herbal tea before bed

Sipping on a warm mug of herbal tea may seem like just a way to get your mind and body ready for sleep every night, but this soothing drink may not have exactly the effect you're hoping for. First, you need to make sure you are actually drinking decaffeinated tea. Ashley Haywood, founder and CEO of tea company Embbrew, points out that just because a tea is marketed as "herbal" doesn't mean it will help you sleep.

“There is a misconception that all herbal teas are caffeine-free,” she says. “But if a tea is sold as an herbal tea, that just means it's not from the Camellia sinensis plant.” Herbs like ginseng, ginkgo, and guarana are actually energizing. "It's best to avoid them if you want to go to bed soon," she says.

Relaxation with a glass of red wine

Drinking a glass of red wine, another popular way to relax, may not be as heart-healthy as you think. A study published in November 2022 in JAMA Network Open found that drinking any amount of alcohol is bad for your health.

“Alcohol is bad for health starting at very low doses,” said Tim Naimi, MD and MPH.

Marissa Esser, Ph.D., lead author of the study, said that even if you follow federal guidelines for safe drinking, "even at these levels, there are risks, especially for certain cancers and some forms of cardiovascular disease."

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Get a tan

While we are probably all well aware of the link between sun exposure and skin cancer, some of us still harbor a strong belief that getting a little sunbathing is good for our health. Purdy, however, strongly disputes this view.

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“Definitely don’t sunbathe! Always, always put sunscreen on any exposed skin, and if you need to tan, use sunless tanning products, Purdy says. Sun exposure does increase your vitamin D levels, as well as ageing your skin and increasing your risk of skin cancer. I don't know if there is any healthy, good or desirable amount of UVA and UVB exposure that I can recommend. You can also get vitamin D from food or supplements if that's what you need more of in your life and diet. But I would never recommend using sun exposure or a tanning bed as a means to tan your skin."

Avoiding sugar

Loads of evidence shows just how bad sugar is for us, especially refined sugar, which you find in many processed foods, baked goods, and other treats. “Refined sugar consumption has been linked to conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease,” says Healthline.

But moderation is the key to everything, including the use of sugar. A study published in the May 2014 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that added sugar consumption was not associated with an increased risk of death after following more than 350 adults for more than 000 years. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends "limiting added sugar to no more than 10 percent of calories per day," adding that for most women in the US, "that's no more than 6 calories per day, or about 100 teaspoons. For men, that's 6 calories a day, or about 150 teaspoons."

Interesting note: The AHA doesn't differentiate between types of sugar, so while you might think that so-called "natural" sugars are better, it may not make much of a difference. “Your body has no idea if the sugar in your diet was dietary sugar, honey, or agave nectar. He just sees the monosaccharide molecules,” said Amy Goodson, MD.

drink soda

While it's not necessary to cut out sugar entirely, it's still a good idea to control your intake, but sometimes it's harder than you think. These days, many people drink carbonated drinks in an attempt to improve their gut health. But a fizzy drink can add unnecessary and empty calories to your daily diet.

"Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), or sugary drinks, are the top sources of added sugar in the American diet," warns the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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"Frequent consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages has been linked to weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, non-alcoholic liver disease, tooth decay, and gout, a form of arthritis."

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