Smoking has gotten a bad rap in our society, and rightly so. Smoking exposes your body to literally thousands of toxic chemicals and can cause a myriad of cancers and diseases. Each year, nearly 480,000 Americans die because of smoking-related causes. That accounts for about 18 percent of all the annual deaths in America!
There is good news though, smoking rates have reached a historic low in recent years and continue to decline. It seems as though America has finally established that smoking is bad. However, what many Americans may not realize is that a handful of common lifestyle choices may also be wreaking havoc on your body’s health that are just as dangerous as lighting up. Take care of your body and health by stopping these five habits immediately.
1. Drinking soda
You may think it sounds crazy, but every time you pop open a can of soda, you may as well be puffing a cigarette. Mounting evidence backed by scientific studies highlights the dangers of fizzy drinks. Drinking soda daily can increase your risk of type-2 diabetes by 26 percent according to Harvard School of Public Health. A 20-year-long study by The Nurses’ Health Study, found that women who consumed sugary soda had a 40 percent greater chance of heart attack or death from heart disease. What’s more, there is now growing concern that the food coloring used to dye sodas brown could be linked to cancer. Next time you need a refreshing drink, water is always the best choice.
2. Living a sedentary life
Scary news for couch potatoes, studies have shown that spending too many hours sitting can shorten your life expectancy. Women who sit more than six hours a day have a 40 percent higher risk of dying from any cause as compared to those who sat for less than three. Sitting for too long every day damages your metabolism and makes you more prone to heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
3. Eating a high protein diet
You may think that consuming large amounts of protein is healthy for you, right? Wrong. Extensive research has shown a link between cancer and diets that are high in protein. A study published in the journal Cell Metabolism found that people who ate foods high in animal protein (milk, cheese and meat) were 75 percent more likely to die from any type of cancer than those who ate a low-protein diet. However, the same results were not true for people who ate most of their protein from plant-based sources. Moral of the story, put down the hamburger and choose a vegetable instead.
4. Getting sunburned
We all enjoy a little fun in the sun, but it’s a well-known fact that overexposure can put you at risk for developing skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, if you’ve only had five or more sunburns in your life, your risk of developing melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, doubles! Incidence of skin cancer is on the rise, each year five million Americans are treated for skin cancer, and 90 percent of skin cancer cases are associated with exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Wearing sunscreen daily on exposed skin areas should become part of every woman’s morning routine to keep your skin protected—plus it will reduce signs of premature aging and wrinkles!