These bad habits could seriously impact your health

Checking your work email at home, drinking hot tea and coffee, sitting crossed legged and having a lie-in on a weekend all sound pretty normal things to do. That’s were you are wrong as these could also have serious impacts on your health.

If you knew that things you do on a daily basis were affecting your health, then surely you’d want to stop? That’s where these top tips come in as reported by Belfast Live.

These 10 bad habits are not things you would expect, but should be aware of and consider changing.

1. Checking emails at night

Loads of us do it, but constantly monitoring office messages while at home is bad for your wellbeing.

Checking your phone before bed is a bad habit

Researchers at Lehigh and Colorado State universities in the US found that those who checked work emails while off-duty experienced the greatest stress and reported the lowest scores for ­wellbeing.

Worse still, the impact spilled over to others at home, making their partners more stressed too.

■ Fix it: Set a 6pm cut-off time for looking at emails. If your job really requires it, set up rotas to ensure each member of staff gets some evenings off.

2. Not washing salad

Few of us bother to wash bagged salad leaves before we tuck in, but even if the packet says “prewashed” we could be risking E. coli or salmonella.

Make sure you wash your salad!

Bacteria in tiny soil traces found on imported rocket leaves caused 153 cases of E.coli in 2016 – including two deaths.

A study by Imperial College London showed harmful bacteria, often from contaminated manure, can grip salad leaves with microscopic hooks, making them hard to shift without a very ­thorough hand wash, reports the Mirror .

■ Fix it: Wash all salad leaves – and other veg – carefully in a bowl of still water with a few drops of white wine or cider vinegar to act as a natural disinfectant.

3. Sitting down cross-legged

Crossing your legs at the knees while sitting is a comfy position for many. But it can temporarily raise your blood pressure by 10 per cent, says a study in journal Blood Pressure Monitoring.

Crossed legs can also put stress on your hip joints and “can cause pooling of blood in the legs when the veins are compressed, which could increase your risk of a blood clot,” says cardiologist and author of The Great Cholesterol Myth, Dr Stephen Sinatra.

■ Fix it: Train yourself to cross your legs at your ankles which won’t compress veins.

4. Squeezing spots

It might be tempting to squeeze a spot, but dermatologists say it could result in a scar and, if you’re really unlucky, a life-threatening infection.

Pimple popping could be dangerous

This is because popping a pimple opens the skin and bacteria from your fingers can enter the bloodstream.

US dermatologist Dr Jeremy Brauer says this is concerning if it’s in the area known as “the danger triangle” – the skin from the corners of your mouth to the bridge of your nose. Blood vessels here drain to the base of your brain, where infection can spark paralysis, blindness or death.

■ Fix it: Don’t squeeze. But if you really can’t resist, wash your face and hands thoroughly, then wrap tissue around each forefinger to protect the skin as you apply pressure. Then disinfect the area with a drop of TCP.

5. Toasting bread on high setting

When starchy foods such as bread are cooked for too long at high temperatures, it produces acrylamide.

Burnt toast

This chemical compound is cancer-causing, says the World Health Organization, and the UK’s Food Standards Agency believes we eat too much of it.

■ Fix it: Until more research is completed, the FSA suggests limiting the amount of acrylamide you consume, which means cutting down on fried and baked foods such as biscuits, crisps and chips – and toasting bread only to “the lightest colour acceptable”.


6. Wearing sunblock everyday

We’ve been told for years that wearing sunscreen is vital and many of us apply it daily to our faces.

But now it seems a total block could rob your body of vitamin D, which could put you at higher risk of osteoporosis and heart disease. This is because vitamin D is created by the action of sunlight on bare skin.

■ Fix it: Allow around 30 minutes of suncream-free exposure daily, while the sun is not too hot, to stimulate Vitamin D production. The Government also recommends taking a Vitamin D supplement over the winter months. Try: Better You DLux3000 (£7.99, hollandandbarrett.com)

7. Drinking hot tea and coffee

Cuppa?
Cuppa?

People who drink very hot liquid may increase their risk of oesophageal cancer, according to a probe by the World Health Organization.

It’s thought scalding temperatures can damage the skin cells lining the oesophagus.

■ Fix it: Let your hot drinks cool.

8. Using hand dryers

A study found some hand dryers in public toilets can suck up faecal germs from the bathroom air and blow it back on to your clean hands.

■ Fix it: Grab a paper towel or loo roll to dry your hands. Better still, carry hand sanitiser gel – such as Cuticura Moisture Hand Gel (£1.55, Boots) – to use instead when out and about.

Surely having a lie-in can’t be bad?

9. Saturday lie-ins

Snoozing at the weekend as a strategy to catch up on lost shut-eye seems to make sense. But it can make you struggle to sleep that night, causing exhaustion and overeating.

This is because lie-ins disrupt your normal circadian rhythm – the 24-hour body clock that governs basic functions, from when we wake up and sleep, to when we feel hungry.

The body can crave unhealthy foods as it tries to ­compensate for depleted reserves.

■ Fix it: Wake up and go to sleep at roughly the same time every day.

10. Brushing teeth too hard

Twice a day for two minutes is vital for healthy teeth, but brushing too vigorously can cause harm. Not only can it damage tooth enamel, making teeth more susceptible to decay, it can also wear your gums away.

This can leave the roots of your teeth exposed, causing sensitivity and increasing the risk of gum disease.

■ Fix it: Pick a brush with medium bristles – too firm can wear the gums, but too soft and it won’t remove all the plaque and food debris properly.

Are you concerned about your bad habits? Comment below.

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