Before you give yourself a pat on the back for all your so-called ‘healthy’ habits, you might want to read this.
Not so healthy habit: Avoiding all sunlight
We've have really taken the ‘Slip Slop Slap’ message to heart in recent years, with research showing that a third of adults think to prevent skin cancer you need to avoid all sun exposure, even in winter. The trouble is that it’s leading to dangerously low levels of vitamin D, which is essential for strong bones, muscles and overall health.
“Thinking you need to avoid all sun exposure is a common misconception,” says SunSmart Manager Sue Heward, who works to promote the SunSmart message. “In fact, there are times when it’s actually important to leave your hat and sunscreen off. Over-exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer but UV is also the best natural source of vitamin D. That’s why some sun is important for our health but it’s essential to get the balance right.”
The (NIWA) website shows when UV is forecast to be 3 or above and on these days, aim for a few minutes of sun exposure mid-morning or mid-afternoon. If UV is below 3, aim for 20 minutes outside.
Not so healthy habit: Avoiding saturated fats
“For the last three decades, we've have been told that the cure for heart disease, diabetes and even cancer is to eat less saturated fat, less salt and lose weight by exercising. And we’ve listened… [but] the statistics keep getting worse,” writes David Gillespie, author of Big Fat Lies.
Studies show obesity has more than doubled in the past 30 years, type 2 diabetes has more than doubled between 1990 and 2005, and rates of prostate cancer and breast cancer are also on the rise.
The reason? “There’s only one possible explanation for why things have gotten worse in a period when we’re doing exactly what we’re told – the advice is wrong,” Gillespie says.
US scientists would agree, after a 2010 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found no link between saturated fat consumption and the risk of heart disease.
Evidence now points to processed carbs – cakes, soft drinks and snack foods – as the real culprits. Gillespie says it’s becoming increasingly clear that the things used to replace dietary animal fat (usually sugar and seed oils) are likely to be the real cause of not just heart disease, but also type 2 diabetes, cancer and obesity.
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