8 Health-Damaging Habits You Probably Do Every Day

8 minute read

Habits can be good, and they can be bad. The problem is that, once you develop them, they can be difficult to change.

Even worse is the fact that some of our habits may be bad for us, despite us thinking they are good. It is not that we necessarily think they are beneficial, but they have become so ingrained into our lives that we really do not think about them at all.  

And that is the problem: acting without thinking.  

So, what are the habits we need to pay closer attention to? There are eight that top the list. Chances are you are guilty of at least a few of them.

The good news is that now you know their potential dangers, you can consciously make efforts to try new behaviors and develop healthier habits.

Older woman brushing her teeth

1. Brushing after eating

Both your mom and your dentist have been telling you for years to brush after each meal, but this is often taken too literally. It is advised to wait at least thirty minutes before brushing because acids and bacteria can be pushed further into your gums when not given adequate time to leave your mouth cavity.  

Once damage occurs below the gum line and enamel has been eroded, you are at serious risk for gum disease and rotting teeth. If you do feel the need to brush after you eat, just wait an hour to be sure you don’t do more harm than good.

2. Holding in a sneeze

Even though sneezes can come at inappropriate times, they occur for a very good reason. They are designed to push out irritants or pollutants from your airway to protect your lungs.  

Some people will try to pinch their nose or close their mouths to avoid sneezing, but this is very dangerous. Sneezes involve a great deal of force, and without release, this inter-cranial pressure builds significantly.  

This alters your blood flow, and your blood vessels and nervous tissue are compressed. When it comes to sneezing, remember that out is always better than in.

Vegetables in plastic topperware

3. Using plastic containers

There is not a kitchen in America that does not have an assortment of plastic storage containers. Many of these contain artificial chemical substances, like bisphenol and phthalate, which provide flexibility to the containers.  

Storing food for long periods of time in plastic containers allows the chemicals to seep into your food, and they can adversely affect your endocrine system and hormone production. You are better off choosing containers made of stainless steel, glass, or ceramic. And always check labels and warning information provided.

4. Wearing perfume

We all like to smell nice, but you need to consider if it is worth it when the ingredients of your perfume are as harmful as they are aromatic.  

Some perfumes are made with toxic chemical substances, which last longer than the scents provided by essential oils. These chemicals can cause dizziness, drowsiness, and nausea as well as skin, eye and throat irritation.

Use essential oils rather than perfumes, and if there is a scent you just need to have, then spray it in a well-aired room to help mitigate the potentially harmful effects of the chemical ingredients.

Middle aged man on his smart phone in bed

5. Using your smartphone before bed

You have a smartphone and likely a tablet too; they are pretty much the must-have accessory these days. We are so addicted to the convenience of accessing the internet and social media that we spend large portions of our day staring at a screen.  

Our need to stay in constant contact with the world forces us to be overly exposed to the artificial light emitted from the screens. This light suppresses your body’s production of melatonin, which is the hormone that regulates your sleep.

Low levels of melatonin and a lack of restful sleep can lead to depression, heart disease, obesity, cancer and can weaken your immune system. Stay healthy and put your phone away at least an hour before bedtime.

6. Wearing tight jeans/clothes

Just because the runway models are sporting tight jeans doesn’t mean that is the way forward.  The trend for tight jeans is so popular today that they even make leggings that look like jeans.  

Regardless of the popularity, tight-fitting jeans apply constant pressure to your skin and nerve endings, which can be uncomfortable and cause nerve damage. You don’t have to wear baggy pants, but you should certainly be aware of the potential dangers of tight jeans and maybe limit the length of time you wear them.  

Save them for that special party rather than wear them for your eight-hour workday.

Men washing his hands

7. Over-reliance on antibacterials

Everywhere you look these days, there are antibacterial soaps, sprays, and hand sanitizers. As great as they are for removing harmful bacteria, it needs to be remembered that they get rid of friendly bacteria too.  

Your body has trillions of microbes that help support digestion and boost your immune system and once these are depleted, you are at increased risk of contracting serious diseases.  

You don’t want to eradicate all the bacteria on your skin and in your body, so you need to use these antibacterial items sparingly.  

8. Freshly squeezed juice

The juice is a popular choice at breakfast, and who doesn’t enjoy a glass of the freshly squeezed stuff? As great as it tastes, freshly squeezed juice is only beneficial in small doses and when it comes to certain diseases, it can actually be very harmful.

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Grape juice, for example, is not a good idea for individuals with obesity or diabetes. Juices are naturally strong allergens so small doses are advised, especially when giving to children. You should always check with your doctor about recommended doses of freshly squeezed juices, so you can get the right start to your day.

If you do drink juice, keeping the pulp can improve its health benefits, as fiber is in the pulp, not the juice.

The Bottom Line

Making yourself more aware of the various ways in which your preconceived notions can actually be damaging to your health is an essential step in living a healthier lifestyle. Identifying ways in which you might be doing something unhealthy is even more important when you think it might be doing something beneficial.

Take a moment to think about what unhealthy habits you might have. Now make a little plan to try something a bit healthier.

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