Habits that can harm or help our health

By Marion Ali, Assistant Editor

Some physical habits, such as cracking the knuckles and biting the fingernails are so routine and inconsequential that they seem more annoying than unhealthy; but there are some habits that can be serious and even deadly if they are abused. On the other hand, some habits, like flossing regularly is not only good oral hygiene and helps prevent bad breath, but it also promotes better overall health. This segment looks at both kinds of habits that can either promote a healthy life, if they are practiced, and others, if they are not.

Cracking the knuckles isn’t just annoying to people around us, but it is not very good for us either, because cracking the knuckles is really popping tiny bubbles in the synovial fluid which keeps our joints supple. Constant cracking of the knuckles is likely to also cause swollen hands and a weaker grip over time.

Likewise, biting the fingernails is a habit that some people grow up doing, but as simple as it appears, it can damage the teeth and the skin around the nail bed, which can then lead to infection. Aside from this, putting the fingers in the mouth frequently can cause us to catch colds and other illnesses, since the fingers often carry germs, and can pass these into the mouth.

Frequent flossing can mean less gum disease which leads to heart disease, stroke and diabetes

Frequent flossing can mean less gum disease which leads to heart disease, stroke and diabetes

One good habit that can promote better health if we practice it often is flossing our teeth. This is because brushing alone does not effectively clean between the teeth, where the sticky bacteria-filled film called plaque builds up. This film causes cavities and bad breath and can lead to gum disease, which is a serious condition linked to other health issues like stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.

Spending too much time alone is also likely to lead to high blood pressure, depression, Alzheimer’s disease and inflammation. WebMD advises people who feel alone to take part in more social activities, reconnect with family or friends, or engaging in some type of sporting activity.

Spending too much time alone can lead to blood pressure, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease

Spending too much time alone can lead to blood pressure, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease

Losing night rest does not only make us sleepy and dysfunctional at the workplace the following day, but it also lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and depression. Also, it can make it harder for us to learn and remember things. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night is the prescribed amount of night rest to be fully functional.

Listening to sound that is above 75 decibels (about as loud as a vacuum cleaner) for more than a couple hours at a time can cause us to more likely lose our hearing capability, sometimes before the age of 75. Losing our hearing can also lead to thinking problems and loss of brain tissue.

Abusing alcohol can cause kidney disease, liver disease, heart problems, digestive issues, bone damage, and even cancer. Studies have shown that having a drink a day for women and two a day for men could possibly lower their chances of certain heart conditions. Men who have more than 14 alcoholic drinks per week, and women who have more than seven per week, are more likely to develop one or more of these illnesses listed.

Overeating even healthy food is likely to cause us to gain weight, which can then lead to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and raise our chances of certain kinds of cancer. Adhering to portion sizes before meals and measuring snacks before sitting in front of the TV can prevent these problems.

Eating food too fast can also cause us to overeat during the day. Slowing down, taking smaller bites and chewing food properly means better digestion and feeling fuller with less, since the body realizes that it has had food.

A lot of people spend too much time sitting down. Some jobs are such that we may be required to hunker over our computer, at a cash register, surveillance monitor or behind a driving wheel for hours at a time. This slows down our metabolism, which means we could gain weight. It is also linked to health problems, including heart disease. Ways to avoid these health issues include getting up and moving around every few hours.

Comments are closed.