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6 Things That May Be Putting Your Health On the Line

America, where “everything is good in moderation,” seems to have fluctuating rules with good intentions, but most of the research responsibility falls on us. With a plethora of health studies showing us everything is trying to kill us, here are 6 things that potentially might do us in. 

Salt_Health
Photo | Emmy Smith

Salty

Ok, we all know some food needs salt, period. But studies show adding salt to your meal is the cause of a lower life span. According to The American Heart Association, adults should consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of salt per day but also says the ideal limit is 1,500 milligrams per day. Too much salt can raise blood pressure which can, in turn, cause heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. 

Thoughts: The average person is not measuring their salt intake down to the milligram, and they’re probably not reading nutrition labels. As consumers, we are busy in other parts of life, making it challenging to keep up with everything health related. How do we make this easier?

Alternative: there are salt substitutes, but it’s going to be a matter of trying them out to see if any of them tickle your taste buds the way salt does.

 

HotDog_Health
Photo | Ball Park

Hot Dogs

Welp, there’s nothing like a burnt hot dog off the grill, but are you willing to risk minutes of your life to enjoy it? According to CNN, researchers at the University of Michigan found eating a single hot dog could take 36 minutes off your life. This study is based on an index that calculates the net beneficial or detrimental health burden, from which they could determine the time expectancy. 

Thoughts: Well, dang. We might need those 36 minutes in the end. 

Alternative: just say no to hot dogs. Health is wealth. 

 

Sleep_Health
Photo | Susan Wilkinson

Lack of Sleep

Sleep is awesome, and as an advocate counter of hours, I try to ensure I’m getting my seven to eight. According to CNN, lack of sleep can make you selfish. Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, conducted three studies in the United States looking at this “selfish” effect, analyzing changes in neural activity and behavior benefiting others, and found it was prevalent even after a small loss of sleep. Now let’s think abstract here: lack of sleep leads to being selfish, and your selfish ways could get you killed therefore, it makes the list. 

Thoughts: Some of y’all need to take naps. Being selfish is not a soft skill you want to have. 

Alternative: Go to sleep! Try to get the recommended 7-8 hours. Consider seeking professional help if sleeping is difficult to get these days.

 

Stress_Health
Photo | Gift Habeshaw

Stress

Stress seems like a permanent pillar when it comes to life, but there are those that it affects chronically. It turns out, though, that stress kills–it kills brain cells! Verywell said that a study at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science discovered a single socially-stress event could kill new neurons in the brain’s hippocampus. The hippocampus is one of the regions of the brain heavily associated with memory, emotion, and learning.” 

Stress can increase mental illness, kill brain cells, change the brain’s structure, shrink the brain, and hurt your memory.   

Thoughts: Wow, that’s major when you think about the number of people dealing with mental illness and what could be causing it. Unfortunately, mental illness sometimes has deadly outcomes, and it is not talked about enough. The cause and effect of stress on the mind is wild. We definitely should focus on more stress-free-conscious environments.  

Alternative: Go for a walk or choose some form of activity. If it is a person(s) stressing you out, consider enforcing your boundaries. Assert yourself, get enough sleep, and connect with others. These methods and others are not guaranteed to reduce stress, but it’s a hope that people will try to see what works best for their health.

 

Processed_Health
Photo | Kyle Brinker

Ultra-Processed Foods

These guys found in probably a majority of households. Processed foods include pre-prepared dishes in grocery store freezers, packaged baked goods, dehydrated soups, ice cream, sugary cereals, and fizzy beverages. These may cause an earlier death due to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. CNN states that these Ultra Processed foods already make up more than half of the total dietary energy consumed in high-income countries such as the USA, Canada, and the UK. 

Thoughts: The FDA is playing games with our lives, and should regulate the process better. Let’s encourage more health-conscious procedures. 

Alternative: Eat nothing (just kidding). Consider switching out certain drinks for water or fresh juice. Cook more and use fresh ingredients. If you read the label on the back of the packaging and can’t understand the words, it’s probably not clean eating.

 

FriedFood_Health
Photo | Lucas Andrade

Fried foods 

You know, fried foods had to be on this list. It’s too good not to be. Too much of this, though, may affect your health. GoodRx Health says fried foods are high in saturated fat and trans fat, so they promote plaque buildup in arteries that can put you at risk for coronary artery disease, heart failure, heart attack, and stroke. Basically, fried foods increase your chance of blockage in your heart pipes, aka arteries. Which sometimes is fatal. 

Thoughts: Yes, fried foods are good, but as a person who lives with someone who has had a quadruple bypass, it’s a scary reality that you don’t want to see someone go through.

Alternative: Consider choosing healthier options like grilled, broiled, roasted, air fried. If you must fry, here’s a fun fact I got from GoodRx Health; add carbonated liquid or baking soda to your batter (this will decrease oil absorption). 

The reality is, sometimes everything is not ok in moderation. That’s just a pacifier. As you can see, there are quite a few things that are debilitating to our health. We jokingly say everything is trying to kill us, but truthfully, it holds a lot of weight. We must find that balance between “enjoying the good things in life” and putting health first. 

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