Top Bad Health Habits That Increase Risk of Disease

Bad Habits and Your Health

While it’s okay to indulge in a sweet treat every now and then, or to skip the gym for a day, getting into a health rut can have a detrimental impact on your overall health. Not to mention, it can also increase your risk of cancer or heart disease. Participating in the following five unhealthy habits can keep you from living your best healthy life.

1. Lack of Vegetables in Your Diet

Not incorporating vegetables in your diet can lead to digestive issues and other health problems. Changing your unhealthy diet habits can get your health back on track — and adding more vegetables is just one way to do that!

Improve your overall health with these crisp, nutrient-packed natural snacks:

  • Asparagus and bell peppers are rich in Vitamin B6 and folate, which is known to lower homocysteine, an amino acid linked to heart disease.
  • Carrots and tomatoes are filled with carotenoids — an antioxidant that helps ward off free radicals associated with heart disease. Antioxidants are also a cancer-fighting property too.
  • Onions contain phytochemicals that can reduce cholesterol levels. Keeping your cholesterol under control can help you prevent heart disease.
  • Potatoes are high in potassium. Since potassium helps regulate blood pressure, you can reduce your risk of congestive heart failure.

2. Eating On-The-Go

In today’s world, a busy schedule is not uncommon for many of us. From toting kids off to school and long hours at work, it’s so easy to fall into the fast-food trap. While stopping at the drive-through and ordering a burger every now and then is ok, making it a routine stop can be detrimental to your health. Fast food is loaded with a host of unhealthy ingredients like sugar, trans fats, and sodium. Eating fast food regularly can have the following damaging effects on your health:

  • Increased risk of cancer
  • Increase the risk of heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Increase inflammation
  • Increased risk of infections
  • Increased risk of allergies
  • Lowers the immune system

Instead of relying on fast food for hectic days, getting in the habit of meal planning for yourself and your family can be a great way to keep the whole family healthy. Cooking and freezing healthy meals not only saves you time, but you’ll know that you are providing the entire family with the right nutrients they need to get them through the day. Packing lunches with snacks that consist of raw vegetables, whole grains, yogurt, and other low-fat, nutritious foods is one way to stick to a healthy habit.

Cooking in a crockpot is also a great way to give everyone a quick healthy meal. It’s easy to set-it-and-forget-it before work or school. By the time you get home, you’ll have a healthy family dinner!

3. Living a Sedentary Lifestyle

Lack of exercise is a surefire way to put good health on hold — especially if you have a sedentary job and sit at a desk most of your day. Not only will a sedentary lifestyle weaken muscles it can also increase your risk of the following:

  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Stroke

It’s not easy to start an exercise routine and stick with it. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Recruit a friend to exercise with you
  • Start small with a daily 15 to 30-minute walk
  • Try short interval workouts for 10 to 15 minutes
  • Participate in low impact exercises such as yoga or swimming

Exercising is also a way to focus on better bone-health. Since your bones protect your brain and other organs from injuries, taking care of them through exercise can make a positive difference to your body overall.

4. Forgoing Doctor Recommended Cancer Screenings

Early detection of cancer is key to increasing your chances of survival. Depending on your family history and personal risk factors, your doctor may recommend certain cancer screenings. Cancer screenings can help doctors find and treat cancer as soon as possible. Screening tests are typically recommended for the following types of Cancer:

  • Breast Cancer - mammograms are the best way to detect breast cancer early.
  • Cervical Cancer - annual Pap screenings can detect abnormal cells within the cervix. The HPV test is used to determine if the human papillomavirus is present, which can increase the chance of developing cervical cancer.
  • Colorectal Cancer - a colonoscopy is a standard screening procedure used to look for precancerous polyps in the colon or rectum. If precancerous polyps are found, they can be removed before turning into cancer.
  • Lung Cancer - screening for lung cancer is done by a low-dose computed tomography — also known as a CT scan. Typically doctors recommend this test for adults who have no symptoms but are at high risks, such as someone who is a smoker.
  • Prostate Cancer - the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test is a blood test that detects PSA levels in the blood. PSA is a prostate produced substance, and typically high levels of PSA can indicate that prostate cancer may be present.

5. Not Getting Enough Sleep

There are many reasons why people don’t get enough sleep. Whether you are stressed or work long hours, lack of sleep can lead to the following serious heart-related conditions:

  • Heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke

Lack of sleep can also weaken immunity, cause weight gain, and increase the risk of diabetes.

To ensure you get enough sleep try these techniques:

  • Don’t drink caffeinated beverages late in the day
  • Avoid napping during the day
  • Go to bed at the same time every evening
  • Refrain from drinking alcohol (alcohol can interrupt natural melatonin production)
  • Keep your bedroom set at a comfortable temperature

How Parrish HealthCare Can Help You Lead a Healthier Lifestyle

Wanting to get healthy is the first step in decreasing your risk of disease. Second, following the above tips — eating a well-balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and sticking to your cancer screening schedule — can all give you a lifetime of health benefits. For more information about nutrition, exercise and cancer prevention, contact Parrish Healthcare at 321-268-6111 today. We offer a variety of services to meet all your health and wellness needs!

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