Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Few "Healthy Habits" That Are Actually Doing You No Good At All

Using a standing desk

A recent long-term study looking at data on nearly 4,000 US adults found no benefit in terms of overall risk of dying from standing as opposed to sitting.
In the short-term, however, standing does burn more calories per minute; so if losing weight is all you're worried about, stand on!

1A Few "Healthy Habits"
                                  That Are Actually Doing You No Good At

Using toilet seat liners
Viruses like HIV and herpes are fragile, meaning they don't survive very well outside of a nice, warm human body. By the time you sit down on a public toilet seat — even if it was recently shared by someone else — most harmful pathogens likely wouldn't be able to infect you.
Plus, your skin is an effective block against any microbes. (Unless, of course, you have a cut or open wound there, which could allow the bacteria to get in.)

2A Few "Healthy
                                  Habits" That Are Actually Doing
                                  You No Good At All

Avoiding gluten
Unless you're one of the 1% of Americans who suffer from celiac disease, gluten probably won't have a negative effect on you. In fact, studies show that most people suffer from slight bloating and gas when they eat, whether they consume wheat or not. So go ahead and eat that bagel.

3A Few "Healthy
                                  Habits" That Are Actually Doing
                                  You No Good At All

Swapping dairy for almond milk
Alternatives to dairy milk have been surging in popularity in the last few years, chief among them almond milk. Yet almond milk is practically devoid of nutrients.
By themselves, almonds are protein powerhouses. But a typical glass of almond milk, by volume, is just about 2% almonds and contains almost no protein. And all the vitamins inside are added. So if you're looking for a truly healthy alternative, opt for soy, skim, or low-fat milk.

4A Few "Healthy
                                  Habits" That Are Actually Doing
                                  You No Good At All

When you juice fresh fruits and veggies, you remove all of their fiber, the key ingredient that keeps you feeling full and satisfied until your next meal.
What you keep is the sugar. In the short term, a high-sugar, low-protein diet means constant hunger pangs, mood swings, and low energy. In the long term, you can lose muscle mass since muscles rely on protein.

5A Few "Healthy
                                  Habits" That Are Actually Doing
                                  You No Good At All

Taking tons of Vitamin C to ward off a cold
While a little extra vitamin C can boost an underperforming immune system, taking too much will make you sick.
The upper limit for an adult is 2,000 milligrams a day. Any more than that will likely cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, headaches, and other side effects.

6A Few "Healthy
                                  Habits" That Are Actually Doing
                                  You No Good At All

Eating egg whites instead of whole eggs
Lots of people began avoiding egg yolks when nutrition experts came out with a recommendation that eating cholesterol was bad for you because it raised your cholesterol.
But there's good news: A growing body of research shows that for the vast majority of people, dietary cholesterol (from foods you eat) doesn't really have much of an effect on your blood cholesterol. So unless you have high cholesterol, ditch those nasty egg-white-only alternatives. Good morning, eggs Benedict!

7A Few "Healthy
                                  Habits" That Are Actually Doing
                                  You No Good At All

Ear candling
The practice of ear candling — yes, ear candling — involves putting a lit, cone-shaped candle inside your ear. People who do it say it's helpful for relieving earwax and treating some infections. According to the Mayo Clinic, not so much.
"Research shows," they write, "that ear candling is ineffective at removing earwax and is also not an effective treatment for any other conditions." Plus, the practice can end up pushing earwax deeper into your ear. Even worse, you can burn your face, hair, scalp, or ear. So don't.

8A Few "Healthy
                                  Habits" That Are Actually Doing
                                  You No Good At All

Slathering on hand sanitizer
If you wash your hands regularly throughout the day, hand sanitizer is almost entirely unnecessary. Plus, it can't kill all the germs that plain old soap and water can.
Norovirus and C. difficile, for example, are immune to sanitizing gels.

9A Few "Healthy
                                  Habits" That Are Actually Doing
                                  You No Good At All

Taking multivitamins
Close to half of American adults take vitamins every day. Yet decades' worth of research hasn't found any justification for our pill-popping habit.
That isn't to say we don't need small amounts of vitamins to survive — without vitamins like A, C, and E, for example, we have a hard time turning food into energy and can develop conditions like rickets or scurvy. Here's the thing: Research shows we get more than enough of these substances from what we eat, so no need for a pill!

10A Few "Healthy
                                  Habits" That Are Actually Doing
                                  You No Good At All

Avoiding MSG
Monosodium glutamate is an ingredient added to many foods to enhance their flavor. It's completely safe to ingest.
MSG is often associated with a series of symptoms, from numbness at the base of the neck to a general sense of fatigue, that are commonly lumped together and called "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome." Eating too much is the more likely culprit here, not eating MSG.

11A Few "Healthy
                                  Habits" That Are Actually Doing
                                  You No Good At All

Holding your breath after someone sneezes or coughs
When someone sneezes or coughs without covering their mouth or nose, their bacteria shoots out into the air at speeds approaching 50 to 200 mph. 
If you're nearby, holding
g your breath won't do much good in preventing them from landing on your mouth, nose, or eyes. It'll stop you from pulling in any bacteria hanging directly in front of your face, but that's about it.

12A Few "Healthy
                                  Habits" That Are Actually Doing
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Not cracking your knuckles
Until recently, it was common knowledge that knuckle cracking was not only annoying but also terrible for your joints. Several new studies have upended that idea, however. Some suggest it might serve as a good indicator that a joint is well lubricated.
Commenting on a recent study in PLOS One, Greg Kawchuk, lead researcher and professor of rehabilitation medicine at the University of Alberta, said, "Although speculative, we wonder if being able to crack ones joints is a sign that the joint is actually healthy and that the inability to do so could be a sign of joint problems to come."

13A Few "Healthy
                                  Habits" That Are Actually Doing
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Going on a "detox" diet
No one needs to detox. Unless you've been poisoned, you already have a superefficient system for filtering out most of the harmful substances you eat. It's made up of two toxin-bashing organs: the liver and the kidneys. 
While our kidneys filter our blood and remove any waste from our diet, our livers process medications and detoxify any chemicals we ingest. Paired together, these organs make our bodies natural cleansing powerhouses.

14A Few "Healthy
                                  Habits" That Are Actually Doing
                                  You No Good At All

Eating only low-fat foods
According to recommendations from the USDA in the '90s, millions of Americans seeking to lose weight opted for a low-fat, high-starch diet. They chose margarine over butter, "fat-free" instead of "regular," and curbed their indulgence on rich, creamy foods. But it didn't work. 
An eight-year trial involving almost 50,000 women, roughly half of whom went on a low-fat diet, found that those on the low-fat plan didn't lower their risk of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, or heart disease. Plus, they didn't lose much weight, if any. New recommendations show that healthy fats, like those from nuts, fish, and avocados, are actually good for you in moderation! So add them back into your diet if you haven't already.

15A Few "Healthy
                                  Habits" That Are Actually Doing
                                  You No Good At All

Using a recumbent bike instead of a regular one
You've seen these at the gym — stationary bikes that've been revamped to position your body so that it's leaning slightly backward with your legs outstretched.
Unless you have a specific injury, though, like a shoulder, knee, or hip injury, these types of bikes are wholly unnecessary.

16A Few "Healthy
                                  Habits" That Are Actually Doing
                                  You No Good At All

Avoiding the microwave
We've all heard the rumors about how "nuking" foods robs them of their nutrients. Fortunately for most of us, this is entirely false. Microwave ovens cook food using energy waves. The waves cause the molecules in food to vibrate quickly, building up their energy as heat. 
Of course, some nutrients begin to disintegrate when heated, whether it's from a microwave, a stove, or something else. But since microwave-cooking times are typically much shorter than oven-cooking times, microwaving something often does a better job of keeping its vitamins intact than other cooking methods. 

17A Few "Healthy
                                  Habits" That Are Actually Doing
                                  You No Good At All

The Land of a Thousand Hills

Over the last 15 years I have visited Rwanda over 20 times. I always travel to Rwanda over work related business, not pleasure! However, every time I am in Rwanda, the rate at which the country is developing never ceases to amaze me.

Last week, I travelled by road through Katuna border post because of the equipment I was carrying with me.  At the Uganda side of the border, we were cleared by immigration within 5 minutes! However at the Rwanda side, it took me over 3 hours! First of all I had to get a visa, one pays the visa fees of $100 through the bank. The bank is open 24 hours! That was no big issue.

The challenge was trying to clear my equipment. I was tossed between the customs and security offices. None of them had ever seen the equipment and they wanted to know what it does, rightly so, since Rwanda is very security conscious.  Customs wished to impose duties on it but they could not categorize it! Finally after threatening to leave the equipment with them to deliver to me in Kigali at their cost and peril, they let me go.

As I was being tossed up and down, I witnessed real order at the Rwandan side. All plastic bags were confiscated; even loaves of bread were undressed of their plastics. Some sharp small traders had set up shop selling paper bags for redressing the bread and other things which had previously been packaged in plastic. By the way, I wonder why almost half the travellers had bread with them!

Smokers were not allowed to do it in public; they were forced to go to the peripheries of the border post away from people to do their thing.

Then also all luggage was inspected by both security and customs, and it was done so efficiently!

I proceeded with my journey to Kigali. It takes just an hour and a half on a nice smooth road.  I had organized to stay in Gisozi, an upscale residential area. The roads within the estate were all well paved with a sidewalk for pedestrians. Most roads had street lighting too. If one is dropped in one of these residential places, one might assume he was dropped in a high end European village because of the neatness evident everywhere in Kigali.

Along the way I picked the days daily newspaper in which many other Rwandan government achievements were mentioned; the headlines screamed at me that Rwanda was the best place to be a woman in Africa! According to the Global Gender Gap Report of 2015, Rwanda comes after Nordic countries.

Other articles did not disappoint.  One article was talking implementation of speed governors in public transport vehicles to curb road accidents whose deadline was fast approaching. Another was over plans by government to create an agency to spearhead the implementation of Smart Rwanda Master Plan; A 5-year ICT master plan for digitizing the economy and positioning ICT as one of the key exports of the country. Another article was on how The Rwanda Tourism Board was recognized as the best national tourism agency in the region at Kampala’s Pearl of Africa Tourism expo recently. Most news was about development and how the peasant lot has improved livelihoods and the country progressing, a far cry from Uganda’s gutter press full of rumors, politics, conflict, corruption, theft etc.  

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