There's so much contradictory health advice out there, it gets confusing. One year, butter is said to be bad for you, and margarine is better. The following year, it's the other way around. One article says running causes strain on your joints; another says it's good for you because it increases bone strength.
It's hard enough to stay healthy without myths about what's healthy and what's unhealthy, making things more difficult. So here are a few common beliefs that current scientific advice says are wrong.
For many years, doctors and dietitians have warned that you should avoid foods high in fat as they believed fat to be a primary cause of heart disease. So, many people gave up butter, cheese and bacon and followed a low-fat, high carb diet, believing it to be healthier.
But doctors now recommend that you stop worrying about how much fat you're eating. Fats can be good for you: oily fish and avocados are high in fat but are very healthy foods. Instead, avoid highly processed foods and manufactured "low fat" versions of popular snacks as they may contain unhealthy additives.
Protein bars are often labelled as "natural" and "healthy" foods, but this is deceptive. They're convenient to snack on when you're on the go, but if you look at the ingredients, they can be full of sugar, additives and preservatives. Snack on fresh fruit or plain popcorn instead.
While washing your hands often is one of the best ways to avoid catching whatever nasty bugs are about, using antibacterial soap is no longer recommended. This is because it's no better at stopping you from catching illnesses than standard soap. And scientists are now investigating whether antibacterial soap is increasing resistance to antibiotics in certain bacteria.
Hand sanitiser is also under suspicion as there are concerns that it is not as effective against bacteria and viruses as soap and warm water.
Sunburn is damaging for both health and aesthetic reasons. Too much sunbathing not only ages your skin prematurely but also increases the risk of skin cancers. But for people living in non-tropic zones, getting too little sunlight is an even greater health risk.
Our bodies need exposure to sunlight to synthesise Vitamin D. Low levels of this essential vitamin are thought to cause a wide range of health issues, from cancer to insomnia and low mood. So don't forget the sunscreen, but get out in the sunshine whenever you can.
In the past few years, we've been inundated with marketing telling us that smoothies and juices are a healthy way to consume your fruit and veggies. But nutritionists aren't convinced! Fruit juice contains just as much sugar as many standard sugary drinks. Your body makes no distinction between the sugar obtained from fruit and vegetable juices and the sugar in cola.
It's far better to choose fruit and veggies in their natural state rather than juiced. For example, if you eat an orange or apple instead of a glass of juice, you get fewer calories and more nutrients and fibre. And it leaves you feeling more satisfied. If you're still thirsty, drink more water.
Moderation is essential, but there's no reason to feel guilty if you have a glass of wine or a beer every now and then. Beer is rich in Vitamin B6, which helps to prevent the build-up of homocysteine, a substance linked to heart disease.
A glass of wine may also protect against some cancers and promote a healthy heart. So naturally, if you don't drink alcohol, there's no point in starting because it might improve your health. But if you enjoy drinking occasionally, there's no need to give it up entirely.
If you're concerned about the amount you're drinking and would like to cut back, Bach Flower Mix 62 can help you to resist the social pressure to drink and find peace without alcohol.
When you're trying to improve your fitness and lose weight, you might think that weighing yourself every day is the best way to succeed. But the problem is that muscle is more dense than fat, and the scales can't tell the difference between a kilo of muscle and a kilo of fat.
If you're building fitness by exercising more, your muscles will be strengthened, and you may even see a small weight gain. But this isn't always a bad thing. So instead of being obsessed with the number on your scales, monitor your progress by how you look, how you feel and how your clothes fit.
To support you in losing weight, Bach Flower Mix 51 can help you change your eating habits, improve your self-discipline and help you to persevere when you don't get instant results.
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