We come in contact with numerous items on a daily basis, most of which come with certain level of risks that may accumulate on the long run. To stay on the safe side, try to minimize their use or avoid them at all cost, if possible. According to a recent article in Time Magazine, these are the items you should dispose of for better health:
10 Everyday Items You’re Better Off Without
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Artificial sweeteners like sucralose or aspartame have been found to trick the body into storing fat and increase the risk of diabetes.
The same applies to food or beverages that contain artificial sweeteners, such as diet soda. Apart from aggravating insulin sensitivity and supporting weight gain, artificial sweeteners are also linked to health issues like stroke, heart attacks, and Alzheimer`s disease. They are also known to induce glucose intolerance and dysbiosis in healthy individuals.
2. Plastic Food Containers and Bottles
If you are to reduce your exposure to phthalates, bisphenol-A, and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals, throwing plastic food containers and plastic bottles is the basic step.
The endocrine system works to regulate mood, development, growth, metabolism, sexual function, tissue function, and reproductive processes. The exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals has been associated with many side effects, including reproductive health problems, hypertension, reduced IQ in children, impaired learning, hyperactivity increased aggressiveness, and cancer of the thyroid, prostate, and breast.
The best would be to avoid plastic containers altogether, meaning both BPA and BPA-free, and replace them with glass containers and bottles.
3. Non-Stick Cookware
It is recommended to replace non-stick cookware with ceramic or glass pots and pans, as non-stick coating contains carcinogens, such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which has been labeled as such by an independent scientific review.
Once you heat the cookware, the fluoride in PFOA vaporizes and it may kill small birds and harms you and your family members. To avoid the release of toxic fluoride, swap non-stick cookware for glass or ceramic. Simple as that!
Most air-fresheners contain 2, 5-dichlorophenol (2, 5-DCP), a metabolite of 1,4-dichlorobenzene, which has been associated with precocious puberty and other more serious health problems, such as cancer. Room deodorizers are also found to contain endocrine-disrupting phthalates.
To avoid these chemicals and still improve the air quality in your home, opt for essential oils, which are actually beneficial for you, or simply open the windows and doors once in a while.
5. Antibacterial Soaps and Detergents
Did you know that disinfecting your body may even cause more harm than good? Apart from supporting the development of drug-resistant bacteria, antibacterial compounds like triclosan have been also associated with many detrimental effects, particularly in young children.
For instance, it has been scientifically shown that triclosan may affect hormone regulation and interfere with fetal development in pregnant women. It has been linked to endocrine disruption, thyroid dysfunction, inflammatory responses, allergies, and weight gain.
As stated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “there is currently no evidence that [antibacterial soaps] are any more effective at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water.” So, all you need is some warm water and mild soap!
As for cleaning and disinfecting your surroundings, 3% hydrogen peroxide and vinegar will do the trick.
6. Commercial Cleaning Products
You can avoid may dangerous chemicals by throwing commercial cleaning products away. Here is a list of the basic ingredients you need to make your own cleaning products:
- Liquid Castile Soap
- Spray Bottles
- Microfiber Cloths
- Mixing Bowls
- Baking Soda
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- White Vinegar
- Organic essential oils
- Lemon Juice
For instance, baking soda is good for scrubbing the bath and kitchen, the combination of lemon juice, vinegar, and water works as window cleaner, and hydrogen mixed with vinegar works as both sanitizer and disinfectant.
7. Personal Care Products
Chemicals are best absorbed through the skin, so removing personal care products from your home is a good way to reduce your exposure to toxins.
The report Heavy Metal Hazard: The Health Risks of Hidden Heavy Metals in Face Makeup,14Environmental Defense tested 49 makeup items, including eye liners, mascaras, blushes, eye shadows, lip glosses, lipsticks, powders, concealers, and foundations. It has been found that all of them contained heavy metals:
- 96 % contained lead
- 90 % contained beryllium
- 61 % contained thallium
- 51 % contained cadmium
- 20 % contained arsenic
So, look for products that are free of dangerous chemicals, or make your own products instead. For instance, many hair treatments, potions, and lotions can be eliminated with coconut oil and essential oils of choice.
8. Stale Spices
Herbs and spices are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients. As a matter of fact, on a per gram fresh weight basis, herbs rank higher in antioxidant content than fruits and veggies. Some of them also exhibit medicinal properties. Cloves, ginger, thyme, and rosemary are particularly effective in reducing inflammation.
However, freshness is very important, too. Stale spices are flavorless and completely useless, so if your pantry is filed with old spices, swap them for new ones as soon as possible.
9. Electronic Devices
On May 31, 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO)/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued a report admitting cell phones might icause cancer, classifying radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”. To minimize exposure, avoid carrying your smartphone on your body all the time. Did you know that the cell phone emits radiation, long as it`s on, even when you are not actually using it?
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).”
10. Your Chair
Sitting for an extended period of time has been shown to increase the risk of chronic disease and early death, even if you are fit and exercise on a regular basis. Just like exercise cannot undo the damage caused by smoking, it cannot undo the damage caused by prolonged sitting, too.
Sitting is more dangerous than second-hand smoke and it has been also found to raise the risk of lung cancer by up to 50%. It basically increases the risk for all health problems, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
- A standing desk
- Avoid sitting for over 50 minutes out of every hour
- A fitness tracker (aim for 7,000 to 10,000 steps daily)