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20 Toxic Things You Probably Use Every Day

20 Toxic Things You Probably Use Every Day

Scientists are now realizing the chemicals found in a wide array of household goods are more toxic than previously thought. Since health and wellness is not simply about diet and exercise, but also about limiting exposure to toxic things, it’s a good idea to become aware of these items and take action steps to remove them wherever possible.

1. Perfumes

Perfume bottles

    A study by the Environmental Protection Agency found that potentially hazardous chemicals can commonly be found in fragrances. Toxic chemicals like benzaldehyde, camphor, ethyl acetate, benzyl acetate, linalool, acetone and methylene chloride can, when inhaled, cause dizziness, nausea, drowsiness, irritation to throat, eyes, skin, and lungs, kidney damage and headaches. For more information on perfume toxins and some natural alternatives, read: Are chemicals in perfume and cologne harmful?

    2. Mattresses

    mattress

      Many mattresses have high levels of a potentially harmful compound called PBDEs. The health problems associated with PBDE exposure include brain and reproductive damage, decreased sperm quality and thyroid problems, and this is particularly worrying since we spend a third of our lives in bed. PBDEs have been banned in Canada and several US states, so it’s a good idea check your mattress. If it has high levels of this toxic substance it would be prudent to invest in a new one.

      3. Cleaning products

      cleaning product toxins

        You are probably aware that many of the cleaning products you use every day have harmful chemicals in them, but you likely don’t think there is much alternative. However, natural products like baking soda, soap powder or lemon and hot water often work just as well without covering your home in toxic chemicals. Next time you are shopping for cleaning products check for chemical ingredients such as phthalates and chemical surfactants, and then consider a more natural alternative.

        4. Air fresheners

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        air freshener

          ­Like cleaning products, air fresheners help keep our homes nice, but a study by the University of California at Berkeley found that when used excessively or in unventilated area they release toxic levels of pollutants. Having air fresheners around your home shouldn’t make you sick, but you must ensure the area is ventilated to stop the toxic chemicals, such as ethylene-based glycol ethers and paradichlorobenzene, from circulating through the air and adversely impacting your health.

          5. Plastic food containers

          air freshener

            Many plastic containers are made from chemicals such as phthalates, which can interfere with the body’s endocrine system to produce adverse developmental, reproductive and neurological effects in humans (see http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/endocrine) and since the plastic breaks down over time it can cause the release of these dangerous chemicals into your food. Switch to glass containers wherever possible.

            6. Plastic drink bottles

            plastic bottles toxins chemicals

              We’re all aware by now that plastic bottles aren’t great for the environment, but the they can also leak toxic chemicals into your drink. Most bottles are now BPA-free, which is a step in the right direction. However that isn’t the only harmful chemical so it’s always safer to use a glass if you can.

              7. Cosmetics

               cosmetics  toxins chemicals

                The average person applies between six and 12 cosmetic items per day and most of these will include toxic chemicals that are potentially harmful to you. It’s always a good idea to look for cosmetics that are free of synthetic fragrances, are mineral-based or are made from natural oils. Buying organic products will greatly reduce your exposure to toxins.

                8. Antiperspirants

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                antiperspirant

                  Most people wear antiperspirant to avoid odor but one of the “sweat-blocking ingredients” found in many antiperspirants is aluminum. In recent years questions have been raised about whether the aluminum in antiperspirants can contribute to the development of breast cancer. While the studies are inconclusive the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does require a warning label on all antiperspirants.

                  9. Fabric softeners

                  softener

                    Softeners work by coating your clothes with a thin layer of potentially toxic chemicals, such as quantenary ammonium salts. These can cause skin irritation, respiratory problems and headaches.

                    10. Non-stick Cookware

                    non stick cookware

                      While non-stick cookware can save you some cleaning time, it comes at a cost. At high temperatures the polytetrafluoroethylene that makes Teflon non-sticky gives off a toxic gas that has been linked to reproductive problems and other health issues. It’s always best to opt for stainless steel or iron skillets!

                      11. Baby care products

                      harmful baby care products

                        Surprisingly the flame-retardants used in some baby care products, like high chairs, cribs and strollers, can leak toxic chemicals. The chemicals from flame-retardants include bromine and chlorine which have been linked to a number of sexual and neurological disorders.

                        12. Shower curtains

                        shower curtain

                          Phthalates are sometimes used to soften the plastic that goes in shower curtains. Phthalates has been associated with causing harmful effects in children and impacting brain functions, like learning and memory.

                          13. Bug sprays

                          toxic bug spray with chemicals

                            Bug killers should be avoided inside (and ideally outside) of your house, as researchers have linked the insecticides to neurological damage in children. Wherever possible combat an indoor bug problem by cleaning up crumbs and sealing food in containers.

                            14. Canned food

                            canned food

                              Bisphenol A (BPA), found in most canned food containers, is a hormone-disrupting chemical linked to male infertility, heart disease and diabetes. Although some manufacturers are phasing the chemical out of their cans, it’s not clear that the replacements are totally safe either. If possible, opt for fresh or frozen foods.

                              15. Corn and soybeans

                              corn

                                Roundup affects defensive enzymes our bodies use to keep us healthy and Roundup Ready Crops (RR Crops) are genetically engineered crops that have their DNA altered to allow them to withstand the herbicide–therefore they should be avoided. These crops include items such as corn and soybeans; it’s always better to buy organic.

                                16. Dry-cleaned clothes

                                toxic dry cleaning

                                  While it may be more convenient to drop your clothing off with a dry cleaner, the cleaning chemical they use is usually perchloroethylene (known as PCE). It is classified as a probable carcinogen and has been linked to liver, kidney, and central nervous system damage. Many states and cities are phasing out PCE, but it is still widely used in others.

                                  17. TV and games consoles

                                  games controller

                                    Phthalates are found in the power cords of devices and controller cables of game consoles, and flame retardants (BFRs) that have been linked to impaired brain development can be found in circuit boards and casings.

                                    18. Desktop computers and laptops

                                    laptop

                                      The presence of the same toxic substances can be found in well-known brand laptops, but many people are also concerned about the potentially dangerous electromagnetic field (EMF) generated by your screen and machine, which could be seriously damaging your health. While it’s important to note that there has been no conclusive scientific evidence linking laptops and desktops to these diseases, it’s also prudent to have a digital detox every so often and walk away from your screen!

                                      19. Cell phones

                                      cellphone

                                        There has been a surge in radiofrequency (RF) exposure from wireless devices over the last decade, which has led to a huge increase in reports of hypersensitivity and diseases related to electromagnetic field and RF exposure. RF exposure has been linked with a wide variety of diseases such as cancer, immune dysfunction, neurological disease and reproductive disorders. While the World Health Organization has found there is no conclusive scientific evidence linking smartphones to these diseases, your phone still contains lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium, which are all potentially harmful in large doses, so please be sure to dispose of your old phone in the proper manner.

                                        20. Words

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                                        toxic words

                                          Ok, so this last one is probably not what you were expecting, but I have little doubt you are using toxic words every day. Try to cut down your use of and exposure to toxic words (and toxic people) and I bet if you do so–in addition to reducing exposure to the other items listed above–then your health, happiness and well-being will quickly improve!

                                          Featured photo credit: Still Thinking via flickr.com

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                                          Last Updated on October 5, 2020

                                          Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss (The Ultimate Weight Loss Hack)

                                          Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss (The Ultimate Weight Loss Hack)

                                          Intermittent fasting weight loss is a type of diet that’s rapidly growing in popularity and becoming the way to lose weight. Scientists and nutrition experts like it, too. New books and articles on the topic are being published daily. Intermittent fasting is also popular with followers of the Paleo diet since our ancestors appear to have eaten this way for thousands of years.

                                          I’ve been following this type of diet myself for 2 years. Doing so helped me lose and keep off 70 pounds without ever having to count calories, limit carbohydrates, or eat 6 to 7 meals a day.

                                          This article teaches you all about intermittent fasting weight loss and details why it is one of the best weight loss diet hacks around. Once you finish, you will be able to implement into your diet and experience the benefits it offers almost immediately.

                                          What Is Intermittent Fasting?

                                          As you may have figured from its name, intermittent fasting weight loss is a diet plan where you set fasting periods during the day. This is usually between 16-20 consecutive hours, but it can be as little as 12 hours or as much as 24 hours (or even 36 hours).

                                          While fasting you can eat and drink low calorie or calorie-free foods. Think coffee, tea, water, and vegetables.

                                          The more time you spend fasting every day, the better your results. You can do these fasts as often as you like. Again, the more often you do so, the better[1].

                                          Getting Started With Intermittent Fasting

                                          Following this diet plan is super simple. All you have to do is choose a period of time during the day that you will fast. This should be between 16-20 hours.

                                          The longer you fast each day, the better. Don’t worry about calorie restriction or measuring carbohydrates. Just focus on going about your day until it’s time to eat.

                                          It’s best to choose a set period of time to conduct your fast. I like to fast from 8 PM to 4 PM the following afternoon. I’ll then have my first meal of the day and a snack or two a few hours later. Once 8 o’clock rolls around, it’s back to fasting.

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                                          My experience with intermittent fasting is that it’s best to start with a 16 hour fast (i.e. 8PM one evening to 12PM the next day) for the first 1-2 weeks. Once you are comfortable with this schedule, you can increase the amount of time you spend fasting. Do this by adding 30 minutes to each fast until you get to where you are fasting for 20 hours at a time.

                                          You don’t have to fast every day in the beginning either. You may be more comfortable breaking in slowly with 2 or 3 days per week, or trying alternate day fasting. Add additional days of intermittent fasting as you become more comfortable with this style of eating.

                                          Tips To Make Intermittent Fasting Easier

                                          1. Drink Plenty of Water

                                          Squeeze a little lemon or lime juice into your water to help get rid of any cravings you experience. You can also drink coffee, tea, or other calorie-free beverages. After a few weeks, you will find that intermittent fasting keeps you from craving sugar entirely.

                                          2. Take in Caffeine in the Morning and Early Afternoon

                                          The caffeine in coffee and tea may actually make intermittent fasting weight loss a little easier since it’s good for curbing your appetite. Be careful not to overindulge as this may lead to you feeling a little too wired. I also recommend these natural energy boosting tips to keep you going during the day.

                                          3. Avoid Artificially Flavored Drinks

                                          One type of calorie-free drink that should be avoided are diet sodas and other beverages that use artificial sweeteners like Splenda and Sweet & Low. Studies show that the can actually stimulate your appetite[2] like a drink that contains sugar and cause you to overeat.

                                          4. Don’t Gorge at Your First Meal

                                          The first meal after your fast should be the amount of food you typically eat. Binging will only make you feel awful and diminish the benefits you get from the fast.

                                          To avoid this, try creating meal plans, at least for the first few weeks. This will help you get into the rhythm of eating regularly portioned meals during your eating window.

                                          5. Minimize Processed Carbohydrates and Sugars

                                          While intermittent fasting does make it possible to eat a little looser than normal, you should still eat as little bread, pasta, rice, etc. as possible.

                                          Focus instead on eating protein from beef, fish, or pork, carbohydrates from vegetables, fruit, and sweet potatoes, and healthy fats from foods like almonds, avocados, fish, and olive oil.

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                                          You can find some carb sources that will aid your weight loss journey here.

                                          How Intermittent Fasting Helps You Lose Weight

                                          Eating this way has many benefits with regard to weight loss. The first is that when you’re fasting, your body will be forced to use its stored body fat for energy. Burning calories this way, instead of from the food you’re eating throughout the day, will help you experience significant weight loss, but specifically lose weight from any excess body fat you’re carrying.

                                          This means that you won’t just be thinner, but you will also look better and be much healthier than if you lose weight the old-fashioned way[3].

                                          Intermittent fasting can help optimize the release of the key fat-burning hormones in your body. This is especially true for the two most important hormones: human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin.

                                          Human growth hormone plays a key role in turning on your body’s fat-burning furnace so that it gets the calories you need to work and play from stored body fat. Studies show that fasting can significantly increase the production of HGH[4].

                                          The influence intermittent fasting weight loss has on insulin is just as impressive and possibly more important. Keeping your insulin levels low and steady is key to losing excess fat and keeping it off.

                                          Diets that are rich in processed carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice) and simple sugars (candy, cookies, and soda) have the opposite effect. They cause your insulin levels to rapidly spike and then crash every time you eat one of these foods. The net result of this phenomenon is that your body will store more of what you eat as excess body fat instead of burning it off as energy.

                                          Chronically elevating your insulin levels like this can also lead to the development of type II diabetes, obesity, and other chronic health problems. Intermittent fasting easily solves this problem.

                                          One study found that men who participated in intermittent fasting had “dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly improved insulin sensitivity”[5].

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                                          This happens because you’re not giving your body food, so it will not produce insulin, allowing insulin levels to balance out until you eat again. This helps your body stay in a calorie and fa-burning state. You’ll also find that it gives you more energy throughout the day.

                                          Another great weight loss benefit of intermittent fasting is that hunger pangs and cravings that may normally plague you throughout the day will be reduced, if not altogether eliminated. This is probably due to its ability to balance your insulin and blood sugar levels and, in turn, help correct other hormonal imbalances.

                                          Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss FAQs

                                          Now that you know what intermittent fasting is and how to get started, it’s time to answer your other questions.

                                          Below are answers to the questions frequently asked about intermittent fasting. These answers should help you and make getting started a lot easier.

                                          How Much Weight Will I Lose?

                                          The amount of weight you lose with fasting is determined by how often and long your fasts are, what you eat afterward, and other factors. Fasting for 16-20 hours a day can help you safely lose 2-3 pounds of fat every week.

                                          While losing this much weight every week is great, it’s how it makes it happen that’s really cool. Losing weight with intermittent fasting means that you will never have to count calories or plan and prepare several meals a day.

                                          Can I Work out While Fasting?

                                          Yes, you can. In fact, doing the right type of workout while fasting will help you lose weight faster and even build muscle.

                                          The best workouts to do while fasting for weight loss are 3-4 intense strength training workouts weekly. This means anything from standard strength training to kettlebell or body weight workouts.

                                          Focus on doing 3-4 total body exercises per workout with as little rest as possible between sets. Doing this will help you burn more calories during and after your workout. You’ll also build muscle, which will help you look and feel better as the weight comes off.

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                                          Won’t I Lose Muscle When I Fast?

                                          First of all, you aren’t fasting long enough for your body to start breaking down muscle for energy. You have, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of calories from your stored body fat to use before that will begin to happen. Studies actually show that even after fasting for 3 days, no muscle is lost.

                                          Is Fasting Safe?

                                          As long as you are healthy, not pregnant, and aren’t taking medications, fasting is safe. Like all diets, you should discuss it with your doctor before beginning an intermittent fasting style of dieting.

                                          I also feel that it may not be smart to follow this type of diet when you’re especially stressed. Since this diet can be a little stress-inducing at first, doing so when your ability to be relatively stress-free and rested probably isn’t a good idea.

                                          Are There Any Supplements I Can Take to Make Fasting Easier?

                                          As with any other weight loss plan, it’s a good idea to take a few nutritional supplements to ensure that your daily requirements are met. This includes a once or twice daily multi-vitamin, fish oil, and vitamin D.

                                          I’ve also found taking 10 grams of branch chain amino acids before and after my workouts really helps, too. They’re great for giving you more energy during your workout and decreasing post-workout muscle soreness.

                                          For supplements to specifically help with digestion, check out this article.

                                          Conclusion

                                          Now you know what intermittent fasting is and how it can help you lose weight quickly, safely, and pretty much effortlessly.

                                          If you want to give it a try, find a fasting schedule that fits with you lifestyle and give it a go.

                                          More About Intermittent Fasting

                                          Featured photo credit: Toa Heftiba via unsplash.com

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