As we welcome 2018 with open arms and leave 2017 in the dust, most of us are making resolutions for the new year and vowing to do things like lose weight, make more money, learn a new language, etc. You know, the whole “new year, new me” thing.
In order to make room for the new and improved you, though, you need to kick some of your toxic habits to the curb, and start making better, healthier lifestyle choices.
And so, compiled by the folks at Market Watch, here are 8 bad habits to avoid in 2018, so that you can look good, feel even better, and have the best year ever.
1. Stop smoking
Research from the American Cancer Society found that smoking is attributable to 24 percent of all cancer cases, including cancers of the lungs, esophagus, larynx, throat, kidney, and liver, among many others.
Getting into specifics, smoking accounts for 84 percent of lung cancers, 75 percent of larynx cancers, and 52 percent of esophagus cancers, and a separate study revealed that your risk of developing adenocarcinoma, which is the most common type of lung cancer, drops 52 percent within five years of quitting smoking, and reaches 80 percent within 10 years.
So, put out that cigarette. Do what you need to do to quit, because it's not worth it. Plus, smoking makes your teeth yellow and makes you smell like an ashtray, which isn't cute.
2. Don't drink quite so much
I’m not going to tell you to stop drinking, because that would just be unrealistic and not fun at all. Drinking is one of the world’s greatest and favorite pastimes, but regardless of how fun it is, it’s best when enjoyed in moderation.
While researchers are conflicted on whether alcohol actually has serious health risks, recent research revealed that even light alcohol use might increase your risk of developing breast, colon, esophagus, and head and neck cancer. Yikes.
With that said, it might be a wise choice to limit how many drinks you consume and deeply contemplate the health risks before you start drinking, because you're not going to care once the alcohol hits you and you start feeling toasty.
3. Stop eating out so much
Chemically processed, packaged foods are horrible for you. Plain and simple. Even though they taste amazing, they’re usually full of enough artificial crap and preservatives to mummify a small animal, and they're really high in refined carbohydrates, which lead to spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. This means you get a fun rush of energy for a short while, but then you crash and burn and crave carbs again. It's a vicious cycle, really.
And speaking of food, the NPD revealed that 1.9 billion people ordered in from online or phone delivery services this past year, which is an 18 percent increase from last year. From that, we can conclude we’re collectively getting lazier and lazier, and just ordering pad thai or something instead of cooking. Tsk tsk.
And when you order in instead of making your lunch or dinner your own damn self, you basically have no idea what goes into the food you’re eating, which isn’t exactly the best thing in the world, because apparently, one meal from a restaurant has about 75 percent of the daily recommended amount of sodium, and 200+ extra calories than a home-cooked meal.
In addition to restaurant food being kinda sorta super unhealthy, it's also waaay more expensive than cooking at home, so you might want to consider eating at home more often in 2018. You know, to save money and be a little healthier.
4. Eat less salt
While sodium is absolutely essential for your body and you will literally die if you didn’t consume it, extra sodium is also equally bad for you, and can cause a whole bunch of unpleasant and potentially deadly health problems.
“Excess sodium can increase your blood pressure and your risk for a heart disease and stroke,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains. “Together, heart disease and stroke kill more Americans each year than any other cause.”
And as I mentioned before, eating out at a typical restaurant gives you about 75 percent of your daily sodium, meaning cooking for yourself is the healthiest option.
The CDC’s guidelines recommend consuming less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day for people under 51, and 1,500 milligrams for people older than 51.
5. Stop drinking soda
Fact: Refined sugar is bad for you. And so is soda, which contains so. much. sugar.
The world’s most obvious study declared that drinking too much soda is associated with obesity, but more interestingly, research suggests that diet soda is just as bad, and may condition the body to expect calories.
Moreover, the American Heart Association’s peer-reviewed journal, Stroke, revealed that diet sodas and artificially sweetened beverages are linked to an increased risk of stroke and dementia, and yet another study found that people who drink two or more diet sodas per day are 30 percent more likely to suffer a cardiac event.
That said, don’t drink soda. Diet or not, it's doing you more harm than good. Stick with water or tea, or something. Maybe beer if you want something fizzy.
6. Eat more slowly
Let’s face it – most of us inhale food like a vacuum and don’t really take the time to chew it slowly and fully. I, for one, am one of those people.
But did you know it’s a lot better for you if you eat slowly? “Eating more slowly may be a crucial lifestyle change to help prevent metabolic syndrome,” says Takayuki Yamaji, a cardiologist at Hiroshima University in Japan.
“When people eat fast they tend not to feel full and are more likely to overeat. Eating fast causes bigger glucose fluctuation, which can lead to insulin resistance.”
And insulin resistance, my friends, is a very bad thing. It's believed that 70 percent of people with prediabetic insulin resistance go on to develop type 2 diabetes, but obviously, this doesn't mean that chewing fast is automatically going to give you type 2 diabetes, but it's still important to know that eating slowly is overall a lot healthier than shoving food down your throat as fast as you can.
7. Have more sex
Having sex is good fun and all, but it’s also super healthy for you, which is why you should strive to get it on more often in the new year.
When you don’t cum regularly, the fluid in your prostate becomes stagnant and full of viruses and bacteria, which can lead to serious prostate issues, including cancer. Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that men in their 20s who ejaculated at least 21 times a month were 19 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer, and for men in their 40s, that number jumped to 22 percent, which suggests sex gets healthier and healthier as you get older.
Furthermore, having sex raises your immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels, which keeps away the cold and flu, and it results in brain cell growth in the hippocampus, which helps keep emotions and stress levels in check, and helps you sleep better.
With those things in mind, who wouldn't want to have more sex? It's for your health, after all.
8. Get more sleep
Countless studies have confirmed we're all assholes when we're tired, but aside from that blindingly obvious fact, research also proves that not sleeping enough is seriously bad for your health.
A recent study found that people who sleep less than six hours a night are 12 percent more likely to die early, and another study found that when participants didn't didn’t sleep enough, they were totally miserable in their relationships
What's more is that a third study revealed that people who sleep fewer than 4.5 hours a night are more likely to have a really high BMI, which means inadequate sleep can make you fat.
Clearly, none of the findings in any of those studies are good, which should be some sort of indication that you should try your best to get at least 8 hours of quality shut-eye each night. And since that's easier said than done, check out this handy list of 15 actually useful things that will definitely help you sleep better.
Happy new year!
H/T: Market Watch