7 Health Myths that Are Hurting Your Body

1. Eating cholesterol is bad for you

Now here’s a myth that just refuses to die. Somewhere along the line, people started equating eating high-cholesterol foods with increased cholesterol in the blood, but that has now been disproved through numerous studies. Cholesterol is contained within every single cell of your body and is critical for many bodily functions. Fortunately, if you don’t consume enough cholesterol through your diet, your liver just manufactures the rest that your body needs. So as you can see, avoiding high-cholesterol foods is completely pointless! Think about that next time you’re about to throw away those delicious, nutritious egg yolks.

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2. Sun exposure without sunscreen is bad for you

At some point in the last few decades, the sun started getting a bad rep. Many people refuse to go outside without being slathered head to foot in sunscreen. But human beings were living in harmony with the sun for millennia before sunscreen was invented. And yes, we were naked. Unblocked time in the sun is so incredibly good for you that I don’t have space here to list all the different ways that it helps your body thrive. Of course getting a sunburn is not good for you, but you can avoid one by covering up or heading indoors once your skin feels hot to the touch. Start using your intuition about how to interact wisely with the sun so your body can receive her life-giving rays.

3. I can eat this because I’m going to the gym later!

You can eat whatever you want as long as you exercise it off later right? Sadly, no. All calories are not created equal and they don’t all have the same effect on the body. For example, if you consume all your calories as carbohydrate the effect on your body’s hormones is very different than if you consume all your calories as fat, and hormones determine what gets burned and what gets stored as body fat. Secondly, food quality absolutely matters regardless of calories. No amount of exercise can undo the inflammatory effects of gluten on your gut or the brain-destroying qualities of trans fats. While exercise is incredibly good for you, it won’t undo the effects of a bad diet.

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4. As long as I exercise, I can be sedentary the rest of the day

If you’re exercising daily, that is amazing and keep it up. Keep in mind however, that your body thrives on movement. Lots of it. At regular intervals. If you spend 1 hour a day at the gym, and the rest of it sitting at a desk, on a couch, or in the car, you are doing yourself a huge disservice. Try to incorporate as much non-exercise movement into your day as possible. More is always better. Walking, stretching, cleaning, cooking, any kind of physical play, standing up from your desk every 20 minutes. Keep coming up with creative ways to keep that body moving!

5. A drink in the evening helps you sleep better

Many people use a glass of wine in the evenings to help them “unwind” and nod off to sleep more easily. But while alcohol may help you to feel more sleepy, it actually impedes the quality of your sleep. This is because alcohol suppresses melatonin, which is the hormone that regulates sleep. And the closer it is to bedtime, the greater the negative effect. However, there are many natural sleep aids that make you feel sleepy and improve your sleep quality, so next time you’re looking for a little help, try turning to the chamomile tea or the lavender oil instead.

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6. Play is only for children

The only thing reserved for children is time outs and that's only because I don't want them for myself. Play is so important because it can help relieve stress, simulate the mind and body, improve your connection with others, release endorphins, and get those creative juices going. Why is that reserved for children? Are only children allowed to experience joy? Well, not anymore. Stay tuned for our mega list of ways to inject play into your day. For now, just make a funny face at your coworker or put googly eyes on various items throughout the office - that always entertained me!

7. If it says or implies that it's healthy on the packet, it's healthy

Oh friends, I have to tell you that this was my Achilles heel. You have no idea how many Vitamin Waters I drank and Odwalla bars I ate while thinking to myself - good job, you healthy thing you. Unlike "natural" food labels, which have no regulation and mean nothing, "healthy" does have some regulation. Unfortunately, the government's definition of "healthy" is terrible. Just terrible. For example, a food can be labeled healthy if it contains at least 10% per serving of the recommended amount of potassium or vitamin D you should eat in a day. I feel like there may be some things missing there, just one or two. Don't be fooled, friends. You must understand for yourself what is good for you because the advertisers are trying to sell food not health. 

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Kelly Fox