9 Healthy Habits You May Not Realize You’re Overdoing
What could be unhealthy about popping vitamins, brushing your teeth, or eating more fiber? But these good-for-you habits could take a toll on your health if you’re not careful.
Drinking wine for a healthy heart
Vino’s heart-health perks are a good justification to imbibe, but it’s still important to stick to one glass a day (about 4 ounces). A study in the American Journal of Cardiology found that people who think of wine as heart-healthy drink 47 percent more if it, on average, than those who don’t. Drinking too much can lead to high blood pressure, weight gain from the extra calories, and increased risk of stroke, according to Dr. Oz The Good Life magazine, so stretch that bottle of Malbec to last for a few days. Without overdoing it, start these 30 healthy habits from every type of doctor.
Snacking on fitness bars
You’ve got a pantry full of them because they’re easy to eat on the go and packed with nutrients to help you refuel after a workout, but a study in the Journal of Marketing and Research shows fitness bar fans may be derailing their weight-loss efforts. As Prevention magazine reported, people who chose a “fitness” snack over one labeled “trail mix” ate more and exercised less. “The mere association with fitness seems to make folks subconsciously think they’ve done something healthy,” according to the magazine. Don’t miss these other 13 “healthy” diet tricks that are actually bad for you.
Having more sex to boost intimacy
If sex is the secret to a happy relationship, doing the deed more often must be even better, right? Not according to research published in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science, which examined data on more than 25,000 Americans. The researchers found that more sex correlated with more happiness, but that happiness levels maxed out at having sex about once a week. Separate research from Carnegie Mellon University found that couples who were instructed to double how often they had sex were less into it (they desired it less and enjoyed it less) than those who stuck to their usual routine.
“Facial scrubbing can help antioxidants and skin-improving ingredients penetrate more deeply into skin plus it’s a proven technique to rid the skin of dead cells, oil, and gunk,” according to Joshua L. Fox MD, dermatologist and director of Advanced Dermatology in New York City, in WebMD magazine. “However, too much scrubbing can make skin dry and irritated.” Dr. Fox says those with oily skin could exfoliate anywhere from twice a week to every day. Dry skin types should stick to once a week or less often to avoid irritation. Learn which other 11 little habits doctors want you to quit ASAP.
Popping high-dose vitamins
The vitamin controversy continues: While nutrition experts debate whether daily multivitamins and more targeted supplements are really necessary, more science seems to demonstrate that high-dose vitamins can backfire when it comes to your health. “Trials using four or more times the levels found in a healthy diet, meaning four times the ‘daily value,’ have tended to show excess cancers,” Tim Byers, MD, associate dean for Public Health Practice at the Colorado School of Public Health, told Weight Watchers magazine. Dr. Byers says that normal cellular growth may be “knocked off track” when people take megadoses of certain nutrients every day for years. If you take vitamins, stick to a brand that doesn’t exceed 100 percent of the daily value for any nutrient unless your doctor specifically recommends otherwise.
Being a vigorous tooth brusher can wear down the enamel on your teeth and push back your gums. “Receding gums can also lead to other dental problems such as periodontal disease and cavities on the roots of the teeth and may lead to the need for treatments such as fillings, root canals, and tooth extraction,” according to an article on Delta Dental’s website. Between 10 and 20 percent of adults may have damaged their teeth as a result of overbrushing, according to estimates from dentists and toothbrush makers in the Wall Street Journal. Use a brush with softer bristles and tweak your technique: Use short strokes and gently scrub each spot several times before moving on to the next; don’t just saw back and forth, Delta Dental advises. You should put enough pressure to feel the bristles against your gums. If the bristles are getting squished, you’re brushing too hard.
Ramping up your fiber intake
Eating more fiber is an admirable nutrition goal, considering that only 5 percent of Americans meet the recommended guidelines of 25 grams a day for women and 38 grams a day for men, according to a recent article in Today’s Dietitian. (Don’t miss these these silent signs you need to eat more fiber.) But drastically increasing your fiber consumption can make your belly feel bloated and gassy, especially if you increase fiber by eating more fiber-fortified packaged foods (look for inulin and chicory root extract on nutrition labels) as opposed to fruits and veggies. Add one or two servings a day to your regular diet for a week, advises everydayhealth.com. Switch from white to whole-wheat bread for your sandwich, for example, or snack on an apple instead of potato chips. Let your body adjust, then add another serving per day the next week. Find out which other 15 “healthy” habits are working against you.
Working out not only keeps your weight in check, but also boosts your mood, protects your heart, and even wards off memory loss. Most of us don’t get enough physical activity, but a small minority of people go overboard. For one thing, your body needs some recovery time to repair from a tough workout, so never giving yourself a break from long, high-intensity gym sessions could prevent you from seeing any gains and even lead to injury. If a workout is taking a toll on your body, give yourself a rest. One study in the BMJ journal Heart found that adults with coronary artery disease who did moderate exercise like brisk walking five days a week reduced their risk of irregular heartbeat, while those who exercised intensely for more than an hour five days a week were actually more likely to have the condition. Schedule a day or two for recovery, and mix your workouts up so you’re not always working the same muscles. Don’t miss these other signs you’re working out too much.
The idea of getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep every night might sound like a dream, but sleeping in too much can have consequences, too. For one thing, sleeping in on the weekends to make up for a week’s worth of sleepless nights can actually backfire. Your body starts to get used to its later wakeup time, so it’s harder to get to sleep on time Sunday night, and you feel drained when your alarm clock rings Monday morning. Consistently sleeping more than the recommended time can also be too much of a good thing. One study found that those who slept more than nine hours a night were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as those who got less shuteye. Next, try these 51 brilliant health tricks that are always a good idea.