Nowadays, we are constantly exposed to various things which can harm our health to a great extent, especially in food. We are often told that certain chemicals are safe while they are actually dangerous for us, and negatively affect our health over time.
Moreover, everyday devices, like electronics and even office chairs, have a detrimental effect in the long run.
These offending items are numerous, but this article will list 10 of them we use every day and their avoidance is a must in order to prevent numerous health issues.
1. Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose (Splenda) increase the risk of diabetes as they trick the body into storing fat, so you should eliminate them in order to improve your health.
Moreover, foods and beverages that contain artificial sweeteners, like diet soda, lead to weight gain and worsen the insulin sensitivity, while at the same time, lead to numerous health problems, such as stroke, heart attacks, and Alzheimer’s.
Namely, artificial sweeteners disrupt the intestinal microflora and thus cause diseases and obesity. They change the metabolic pathways linked to metabolic function.
For instance, disrupted function has been found in pathways related to the transport of sugar in your body. Moreover, these artificial sweeteners have been shown to lead to glucose intolerance and gut dysbiosis in healthy people.
2. Plastic Food Containers and Bottles
You should avoid plastic bottles and plastic food containers in order to lower the exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals like phthalates, bisphenol-A (BPA), and bisphenol-S (BPS).
Namely, the endocrine system regulates your tissue function, mood, metabolism, growth and development, as well as reproductive processes and sexual function, so these endocrine-disrupting chemicals have been associated to numerous harmful side-effects, such as:
- Thyroid, prostate, breast cancer
- Lower IQ in children
- Hypertension: A randomized, controlled trial showed that BPA from cans or plastic bottles increases the blood pressure in a couple of hours after ingestion
- Reproductive health problems
- Learning difficulties, hyperactivity, increased aggressiveness
Moreover, the number of chemicals leaching from these containers is increased by heat, a wear, and tear through multiple washings. Therefore, the use of the old container is also dangerous.
Also, it has been shown that “BPA-free” plastics can leach endocrine-disrupting chemicals which have the same effects as BPA. Therefore, you should avoid the use of plastic containers altogether, and use glass ones. If your children are small, use glass baby bottles as well.
3. Non-Stick Cookware
You should also substitute your non-stick pots and pans with ceramic or glass cookware as they are made with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a chemical which has been labeled as a “likely” carcinogen, by an independent scientific review panel that gives advice to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
This complex chemical is based on fluoride for its non-stick features. Thus, as soon as the pot or pan is heated, the vapors of the fluoride go into the air and harm you and even kill small birds. Therefore, in order to avoid emitting toxic fluoride, replace this cookware with ceramic or glass one.
4. Antibacterial Soaps and Detergents
In the long run, the frequent disinfection of your body and surroundings may lead to more negative, than positive consequences, as it will support the development of drug-resistant bacteria.
Moreover, common antibacterial compounds like triclosan have been found to cause numerous health problems, particularly in young children.
Research has shown that triclosan may change the regulation of hormones and may even interfere with fetal development in the case of pregnancy. It has also been associated with other health issues, such as:
- Endocrine disruption
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Inflammatory responses
- Weight gain
Hence, all you need in order to get rid of microbes which lead to diseases is some warm water and mild soap. Even the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has suggested that “there is currently no evidence that antibacterial soaps are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water.”
Despite antibacterial products and hand soaps, triclosan is included in numerous personal care items, acne creams, toys, cutting boards, and Colgate Total toothpaste.
Furthermore, you can start using one all-purpose disinfectant, which can be used in the bathroom, for kitchen counters, cutting boards, and various other places- vinegar and 3% hydrogen peroxide.
All you need to do is to pour this solution into a spray bottle and spray it on the areas. According to the tests conducted by the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, this spray is even more efficient than any other lethal bacteria killers, and even chlorine bleach, as it effectively destroys virtually all Shigella, Salmonella, and E. coli bacteria on extremely contaminated food and surfaces.
5. Commercial Cleaning Products
Avoid commercial cleaning products in order to prevent the negative effects of the use of harmful chemicals inside them, and use other basic ingredients instead.
or instance, the combination of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide is a remarkable sanitizer and disinfectant. The lemon juice is a natural whitener, some water, and vinegar will perfectly clean your windows, and baking soda is excellent for scrubbing your bath and kitchen.
6. Air Fresheners
Common air fresheners often include 2, 5-dichlorophenol (2, 5-DCP), which is a metabolite of1,4-dichlorobenzene, and has been related to precocious puberty and various health issues, even cancer.
These air fresheners and room deodorizers often include endocrine-disrupting phthalates.
Therefore, instead of using chemicals sprays, try some other natural solutions to improve the smell of your home, like high-quality pure essential oils, and open your doors and windows to enhance the general quality of the air inside.
7. Electronic Devices
If you cannot toss your computer or smartphone, you can consider the way you use this kind of devices, as the long use of these gadgets can lead to numerous health issues.
A report issued on May 31, 2011, by the World Health Organization (WHO)/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) confirmed that cell phones can indeed lead to cancer and classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”.
This report followed a research which showed that wireless phones raise the risk of brain cancer. Therefore, you should limit the time you carry the phone with you.
It is of high importance to become aware of the fact that cell phones emit radiation intermittently, even if you are not talking on the phone. Hence, even if you wear in on the hip for 15 hours daily, the area will be subjected to continuous radiation. According to Time Magazine:
“Mounting research indicates that information overload—what happens when you use smart devices constantly—is linked to depression and anxiety.
Recent studies suggest that this is particularly true for people who are overly attached to their smartphones and tablets, and for those who use multiple devices at once (which experts call media multitasking). Power down and stow your devices in a drawer at least a few times per week to give your brain a break‚ ideally on a set schedule (for example, weekdays after 9 p.m. or weekend mornings before noon).”
8. Sedentary lifestyle
The chair you are using may be one of the harmful influences as prolonged sitting has been found to represent an independent risk factor for early demise and chronic disease, even in the case you are fit or exercise regularly. Namely, exercise cannot neutralize the negative effect of the long hours of sitting.
Sitting, along with obesity, is one of the worst habits and risk factors as it raises the chances of lung cancer by over 50 percent. It has been even found to be more detrimental than second-hand smoke.
Sitting has been shown to raise the risk of death from all kinds of health issues, like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all-cause mortality. Moreover, note that the less you exercise, the worse the effect of the sedentary lifestyle will be.
Therefore, try to stand up as much as possible, and replace your chair with a standing desk. Note than an hour sitting is too much, so try to be active more of the time.
You should make 7,000 to 10,000 steps daily, and aim at doing much more over time. Yet, the first step is to stand out of the chair and find a motivation to be more active and exercise every day.
9. Personal Care Products
Our skin easily absorbs chemicals, so the regular use of different personal care products, as well as makeup, can be a source of harmful chemicals and heavy metals.
The report Heavy Metal Hazard: The Health Risks of Hidden Heavy Metals in Face Makeup, stated that Environmental Defense tested 49 different makeup items, including powders, blushes, foundations, concealers, eye liners, lipsticks, mascaras, eye shadows, and lip glosses, and found that all of these products were contaminated with heavy metals, as follows:
- 96 percent included lead
- 90 percent included beryllium
- 61 percent included thallium
- 51 percent included cadmium
- 20 percent included arsenic
Moreover, the regular use of conventional makeup may lead to an absorption of 5 pounds of chemicals into the body annually, without considering the use of conditioners, deodorants, body lotions, shampoo, and other personal care products!
Hence, it is highly advisable that you start using organic brands of toiletries and cosmetics, or even better, start making them on your own. For instance, a jar of coconut oil with some essential oil can replace your potion, lotion, and hair mask and treatment.
10. Stale Spices
Cooking spices and herbs include numerous vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and increase the nutrient density of the meal. On a per gram fresh weight basis, herbs are ranked even higher than vegetables and fruits regarding their antioxidant. The powerful medicinal properties of some spices have been confirmed by many studies. The following 4 spices are extremely powerful in fighting inflammation:
Moreover, note that their freshness is of great importance, so refresh your stock from time to time and thus avoid the ones which have gone stale and lost their potential benefits.
Undoubtedly, the world we are living in is extremely toxic, so try to change your diet, and avoid all kinds of products which are rich in chemicals.
Namely, the skin functions as an efficient delivery system, directly into your blood stream, bypassing numerous filtering systems in the body. Therefore, avoiding products that may harm your health and reduce the toxic burden they impose to your body will definitely improve your wellbeing.
It is a fact that environmental pollution is a huge issue, but you should start by addressing the immediate environment around you, your home, office, and devices you use every day. Therefore, try to change some harmful habits in order to optimize the health and lower the risk of chronic disease.