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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 15, 2018

                                          How to Stop Feeling Tired All the Time (And the Real Causes Explained)

                                          How to Stop Feeling Tired All the Time (And the Real Causes Explained)

                                          It seems that more and more of us are facing tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis. In fact, a lot of people assume that being tired all the time is just part of being a busy person living and working in the 21st century.

                                          Sometimes, the cause is clear – perhaps you’ve been putting in too many hours at the office, or maybe you have just moved to a new home. However, the reason isn’t always so obvious. If you often catch yourself thinking, “Why am I so tired all the time?” this is the article for you.

                                          I’m going to outline some of the most common causes of tiredness, and tell you how to boost your energy levels.

                                          Why are you so tired all the time?

                                          There’re different reasons why you maybe feeling tired all the time, it could be related to your daily habits or even some health issues.

                                          Lack of sleep

                                          We all know that a lack of sleep causes tiredness, but did you know that many people don’t even realize that they aren’t getting enough rest every night?

                                          The average adult aged between 18 and 60 needs at least 7 hours of sleep every night if they want to enjoy optimal health.[1] Unfortunately, 1 in 3 of us aren’t meeting this target.

                                          A lack of sleep doesn’t just result in fatigue – it also places you at elevated risk of a range of diseases, including diabetes.[2]

                                          Unhealthy diet

                                          Your diet has a huge impact on the way you feel. A poor diet lacking in nutrients will leave you drained and fatigued, as will too many processed foods and added sugar.

                                          Your body requires a variety of vitamins and minerals in order to synthesise the neurotransmitters that regulate sleep, so be sure to eat plenty of vegetables and fruit.[3]

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                                          Eating candy and other junk food can give you a brief energy hit, but you will soon become tired again when your blood sugar levels crash.[4] It’s best to eat healthy meals and snacks at regular intervals throughout the day as this promotes steady energy levels.

                                          Alcohol and caffeine are best avoided or enjoyed in small quantities because both disrupt your natural sleep patterns.[5] Do not drink them in the evening shortly before going to bed.

                                          Finally, if you don’t drink enough water, you may become dehydrated. This quickly results in fatigue and a diminished attention span.

                                          Sitting too much and not moving

                                          You might think that sitting down would conserve energy but you’d be wrong. Movement is a great way to beat fatigue.

                                          You don’t have to work out for hours either. Research has shown that just a single 20-minute bout of moderate exercise has an energy-boosting effect.[6] People who spend more time sitting around during the day tend to report getting less sleep at night.[7]

                                          Regular exercise promotes high-quality sleep because it increases the time we spend in the “deep sleep” part of the sleep cycle, which is known for its restorative properties. Aim to get at least 150 minutes of exercise per week.

                                          Ideally, you should exercise every day. Avoid exercising in the late evening as this can stimulate your body and make it harder to drift off when you go to bed.

                                          Stressful life

                                          We all come up against stressful situations from time to time. You might be under a lot of pressure at work, be facing relationship issues, or be worrying about your finances.

                                          Stress can wreck havoc with your sleep patterns and not only because your worries can keep you up at night.More than 40% of adults reporting that they only experience “fair” or poor sleep during periods of stress.[8]

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                                          Our bodies produce adrenalin, cortisol, and other “fight or flight” chemicals when under stress.[9] This process is an excellent way of preparing the body for an emergency but it makes getting a good night’s sleep difficult.

                                          Medical conditions

                                          What if you have tried to make positive daily life changes yet still feel exhausted? You may have an undiagnosed medical condition.

                                          The following illnesses can cause ongoing fatigue. Make an appointment with your doctor if you suspect you might have an underlying health problem:

                                          • Anemia: Anemic patients have a low red blood cell count which impairs the normal circulation of oxygen throughout the body, resulting in tiredness, weakness, and other symptoms including chest pain.[10]
                                          • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS): CFS, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, is characterized by extreme fatigue that lasts at least 4 months. Sufferers often report other symptoms such as joint pain, aching muscles, and gastrointestinal difficulties.[11]
                                          • Depression: A lack of energy and decrease in general motivation are among the most common symptoms of depression, along with difficulty concentrating and a pervasive feeling of emptiness or sadness.[12]
                                          • Diabetes: A person with diabetes will frequently feel tired during the day because their body is unable to utilize glucose, one of the body’s primary sources of energy. Aside from tiredness, the symptoms include excessive thirst, blurred vision, and weight loss.
                                          • Sleep apnea: This condition causes the airway to narrow during sleep, which interrupts a person’s breathing and oxygen supply. The classic sign of sleep apnea is disrupted sleep that causes tiredness the next day. Snoring is a common indicator of this condition.
                                          • Thyroid disease: Low levels of thyroid hormone (“hypothyroidism”) result in fatigue, weakness, weight gain, a low body temperature and constipation. This is because the thyroid hormone is responsible for regulating the body’s metabolism. An imbalance triggers a cascade of physical and psychological symptoms.

                                          How to stop feeling constantly tired and feel energetic

                                          Here are 7 proven ways to tackle the cause of your tiredness and help you sleep better and wake up more energectic every day.

                                          1. Unwind & de-stress

                                          Everyone deals with stress in their lives but it’s how you react to it that matters. If you find that you’re getting stressed consistently, it’s time to make the effort to do something about it.

                                          There are many ways you can do this but if stress is consistent, your de-stressing habits must be consistent too.

                                          • Change your perspective. Sometimes stress is all about your mindset. Try to view a stressful situation in a different way by finding an alternative positive slant. If your commute to work is full of cancellations or roadworks, decide to see this as a perfect time to read a book or listen to uplifting music. It’s all about shifting your focus to the positive.
                                          • Buy a plant. Researchers have found that simply being around plants can induce your relax response. One Washington State University study found that a group of stressed out people who entered a room full of plants had a four-point drop in their blood pressure. Being around nature in general has a calming and therapeutic effect on our brain. So even just taking a break to sit in a park or by a tree can decrease your stress levels.
                                          • Go for a short walk. A walk will help to clear your head and boost endorphins, helping to reduce stress hormones.[13] If you’re at work, walk up and down the stairs a couple of times or walk around the block. Try to get a longer walk in every now and then to really get a boost. You can be mindful of what you see around you, or download an audiobook to help pass the time. Again, shifting your focus away from stressful thoughts.
                                          • Laugh. Go on, you’ll feel better instantly. Laughter activates your body’s stress response, then quickly cools it down, leaving you feeling relaxed. Take time out to watch a funny video clip, dig out your favourite comedy or ring up that friend who always makes you laugh. Laughter really is the best medicine!

                                          2. Eat healthier

                                          The foods that we eat (and don’t eat) have a huge influence on our health. When it comes to our sleep patterns, food influences our circadian rhythm, the 24-hour cycle that our body follows each day. So it’s important to watch what we put into our body.

                                          You can easily sleep better by making a few changes to your diet:

                                          • Eat peanuts. If you have difficulty falling asleep, eat more peanuts or natural peanut butter. A rich source of niacin, peanuts help to increase the release of serotonin (which makes us sleepy).
                                          • Eat cherries. Cherries are one of the few natural foods to contain melatonin (which controls our body clock). One study found that drinking tart cherry juice resulted in improved sleep quality and duration.
                                          • Try dark chocolate. Dark chocolate helps to relax your body and mind. Make sure you stick to dark chocolate as milk chocolate contains tyrosine which converts into dopamine and acts as a stimulant.
                                          • Avoid alcohol. Any kind of alcohol is bad for your sleep. One study found that mixing a single glass of vodka with caffeine-free soda at bedtime increased the amount of time women spent awake during the night by 15 minutes.

                                          3. Avoid caffeine

                                          Sure, caffeine can give you a bit of a boost in the short term, but you could drink over eight cups and still feel sluggish.

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                                          And the side effects of caffeine consumption? Headaches, irritability and dehydration. When you’re already feeling drained and crappy, the last thing you want is to feel worse! Here are some surprising ways caffeine is slowly harming your health.

                                          Instead, try drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Your brain will feel alert and energised naturally rather than relying on a stimulant like coffee. Also consume energy-boosting foods, like almonds, oranges, salmon, spinach, or blueberries.

                                          4. Get some sun

                                          Just fifteen minutes in the sun increases your vitamin D levels, which, along with vitamin B is responsible for fighting fatigue. A common symptom of vitamin D deficiency is feeling tired, moody, achey and stressed. Get outside in the sunshine!

                                          5. Work out

                                          Too much time spent sedentary drains your fuel tank.

                                          I know, I know—when you’re feeling tired, the last thing you want to do is be active and move about. But you’ll be amazed at how better exercises makes you feel.

                                          According to a recent study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, women who get 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week report less fatigue and more energy that those who don’t.

                                          On the flip side, you can have too much of a good thing. Excessive physical activity can leave you pushing your body, resulting in feelings of tiredness.

                                          Try to find the balance between activity and rest.

                                          If you’re wondering when is the best time to exercise, check out this article: Which Is Better: Morning Workout Or Evening Workout?

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                                          6. Have a power nap

                                          There are numerous benefits of napping, including improved alertness, learning, memory and performance.

                                          The benefits of a quick power-nap at work have proved to be so good that companies such as Google and The Huffington Post have installed designated sleeping zones in their offices!

                                          However, author of Take a Nap! Change your Life says that napping for more than 20 minutes will make you feel even worse. Make sure you set your alarm!

                                          Check out this article if you want to maximize the effect of a nap: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                                          7. Switch off

                                          Eight out of ten of us keep our mobile phones turned on overnight. According to Ofcom, around half the population use their phones as an alarm clock too.

                                          Experts are concerned that using phones and other electronics before bed cause problems with our sleep. Research has shown that the bright light emitted from electronics and smartphones seriously mess with our sleep behaviors.

                                          Their advice is to cut back on TV, computer and mobile phone time after 8 p.m. It’s better to read a book or just listen to some relaxing music before you go to sleep.

                                          Summing it up

                                          If you find stress is influencing your quality of life on a consistent basis, it is definitely time to rethink your habits. Be aware of how you react to stressors and create habits that change your negative perspectives and physically banishes stress in your body.

                                          Exercising, switching off, and being more mindful of what you eat creates more energy and counteracts your stress mechanisms.

                                          Decide to make changes today and give yourself the best support you can to improve your wellbeing and stop feeling tired all the time.

                                          Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

                                          Reference

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