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Could your daily routine be doing you more harm than good?
So many of us have learnt habits we swear are beneficial to us. Whether it’s brushing our teeth straight after eating or catching up on lost sleep at the weekend, there’s a whole host of everyday things we do, which we think are helping us lead a healthier, happier life. However, the experts have spoken and suddenly, these habits aren’t as great as we thought. In fact, they could be detrimental to our health…
Here are 7 health habits you’re getting wrong
1 Brushing your teeth straight after eating
This isn’t wise if you’ve consumed acidic foods and drinks, as dental surgeon Guy Barwell explains: “The acid softens the tooth surface and then the abrasive action of tooth brushing removes the enamel – it’s best to wait around 30 minutes.” Guy also recommends we stop brushing so hard. “You could be damaging your teeth and gums – it’s far more beneficial to use a medium-bristle brush and massage your teeth.”
2 Rinsing your mouth with water after brushing
A diehard habit for most of us, and one we’d generally think nothing of. But Guy advises against it: “In actual fact, our mouths and teeth would be far healthier if we just spat the toothpaste out without rinsing with water. The toothpaste works topically as an antibacterial, and the fluoride helps strengthen our teeth.”
3 Cutting fat out of your diet
You may think you’re doing the right thing choosing low-fat treats, but they could be damaging you more than you think. “There are fats that are really good for you, and that’s what people tend to misunderstand,” says health coach Elaine Luck. “People still think all fats are bad, but low-fat options most likely have extra sugars or sweeteners in them.”
High-fat foods to eat
- Walnuts: A fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids that can help lower cholesterol and improve blood-vessel function.
- Olives: High in ‘healthy’ monounsaturated fats that can help unclog your arteries.
- Dark chocolate: Around half the fats are healthy, and it also contains numerous other nutrients, such as vitamins A, B and E.
4 Drinking bottled water
“You’d be better off drinking tap water, which, in some areas, is fluoridated and endorsed by the World Health Organization,” advises Guy. “It’s proven to reduce tooth decay.” Plus, less plastic is wasted, so it’s better for the environment, too.
5 Going flat-out in the gym
Working out is important, of course, but we have to listen to our bodies. “We are all different, built differently, have different likes and dislikes, and how we ask our bodies to move should reflect that,” explains Elaine. If doing a super-tough hour-long workout is your thing, fine, but don’t force it on your body: “That does way more damage than good!” And then where are you left? Unable to exercise at all, that’s where.
6 Catching up on lost sleep
Did you go to bed late in the week and sleep later at the weekend in an attempt to make up for hours missed? It doesn’t work, according to sleep expert Dr Nerina Ramlakhan. “This belief that you can catch up could be seriously damaging your sleep pattern,” she warns. “While you can catch up to some extent, you can’t fully recover. Get into a good, regular routine if you want to really reap the healing benefits of sleep.”
7 Cleaning the house to excess
Too much of a good thing, for sure. “We’re often using products that have so many chemicals in them, compared with the vinegar and lemon our grannies used to clean everything with, that we’re causing more illness,” says Elaine. “Our bodies are losing the ability to fight off illnesses as they haven’t built up the resistance. The chemicals in our cleaning products can also have real detrimental effects on our bodies – our skin, lungs – causing and increasing allergies.”
Words Emily Jefferies