With so many harmful things in life, it is hard to keep track of all of them. Smoking, drinking and even driving statistically shorten your lifespan significantly. One of the things that is often overlooked and something that everyone does is eating. The following are five foods that can shorten your lifespan. Try to avoid them!
Deep fried food
It is well known that deep frying is bad for you and yet, so many people consume this type of food on a regular basis. The short term effect of eating deep fried food is weight gain and belly fat. Long term effects include clogged veins and arteries, causing heart attacks and strokes. On top of that, some types of food like bread and fried chicken tend to soak up the oil. This means that eating the fried chicken and a pan pizza is like drinking oil straight from the vat.
Saturated and trans fat
The word "fat" has a very negative image to it. However, it is not to be completely avoided. The human body needs it, but saturated and trans fats are of the kind that you'd better steer clear of. Saturated fats are found in animal products like meat and dairy, as well as in plant-based food such as coconuts and palm. These kinds of fat are known to raise the cholesterol levels, which in their turn may cause heart disease. But you do need some saturated fats. Trans fats, on the other hand, are known to cause coronary heart disease and are responsible for 30.000 deaths per year in the United States only. They are found in fast food, margarine and many snacks. Avoid these like the plague.
**UPDATE 2012** Trans fats are slowly being removed from fast food restaurants as well as many products on the market. Hopefully they will be completely gone soon.
Refined food is all foods that are made by processing a natural ingredient such as a grain to the point that many of its nutrients are lost. Flours, rice, a cookie, cereals, noodles and pastries are all great examples of foods that have been refined and processed into becoming what they are. The refining process turns a perfectly healthy and nutritiously rich ingredient into harmful additions to the daily diet. Why are these types of foods so harmful to the health? The answer is simple, they are extremely starchy. All starches are handled with difficulty by our digestive system. When a certain food is processed, the starchy nature increases, making it more difficult for the body to digest.
Refined foods are also always eaten in poor food combination like sandwiches or sweetened pastries. Furthermore, they are also acidic by nature and lacking in natural fiber. Finally, all refined and processed foods must be cooked or yet again processed before eating, losing more of its nutrition.
Although salt seems to be a harmless ingredient, in high concentration it can pose a serious health threat. Eating too much salt, and therefore exposing your body to a high concentration of sodium, can damage many parts of the body. The heart is especially sensitive to high salt intake and can easily suffer a cardiac arrest and heart failure. The high amount of salt increases the blood volume, which demands more work from the heart. The kidneys also suffer quite a beating in a case of high salt intake. The filtration system gets affected and the formation of crystals is likely.
Studies by the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston show that eating red meat can cause diabetes, heart disease and cancer. It is the iron and saturated fat in the meat that makes it bad for your health. If you still feel like eating red meat, reduce it to two or three times a week.
Public health would improve greatly if all five of these factors would be taken into consideration. Eating is something we do every day, so make sure you eat the right type of food. Even though we do not realize it, it can seriously affect your lifespan.
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