Hello friends, and welcome to this month’s Joyinmovement newsletter.
I often use the term “common sense” and follow it up by saying, “which is not all too common”. I have also said that many times people do things in the name of good health and good fitness that aren’t GOOD for them.
I recently read an article that came from Johns Hopkins University that backed me up. Let’s see what they said and what practices might seem healthy but could actually be doing more harm than good.
1. Are you taking supplements? Fifty percent of adults in the U.S. take supplements. The issue with supplements is that they are often promoted as cure-alls. Most supplements aren’t dangerous, but don’t overdo it. At high doses vitamins can be harmful. Remember that supplements are meant to SUPPLEMENT, not take the place of, healthy lifestyle habits. NOTHING takes the place of a healthy balanced diet and staying active. Over the years these are what reduce the risk of disease. Maybe we wish it were otherwise, but that’s the way it is.
2. So much SOY and so much confusion. Depending on what you read, soy can be either a miracle food or a hazard. One year soy is the miracle food and then the backlash comes along. However, here’s the latest on soy. First, we must separate out soy FOODS from soy supplements. Soy from tofu, soy milk, and miso soup are unlikely to be a risk. Soy supplements can be dangerous, though. A lot of them are highly processed. Research on soy and its benefits, or lack thereof, is still going strong. I suggest doing your own research. And if you do decide to eat soy products, don’t overdo it. Keep it simple by using whole soy foods.
3. Did you know that estimates show that more than 70% of the American population is overweight or obese and that heart disease accounts for 35% of deaths in the U.S.? We all know that some diet plans are way off the scale in terms of crazy, but some dietary approaches that seem to make sense may be harmful too. The biggest mistake is to go LOW calorie and/or LOW fat. Going to any extreme is not good. Starving yourself will not work long term. And, for example, you need some fat every day to keep your gallbladder healthy. Losing fat should not create health problems for you! So take any body composition changes you’re making one day at a time with no extreme diets.
4. Milk is another food on the healthy vs. harmful list. Do you know who said, “Cow’s milk is the perfect food for baby calves”? It’s attributed to Frank Oski, the former chairman of pediatrics at the School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins. In his 1983 book, Don’t Drink The Milk, he claimed that milk caused intestinal discomfort, triggered allergies, and contributed to heart disease.
Cow’s milk still remains a hot topic. Benjamin Spock also felt it contributed to a variety of health problems. Other experts claim the benefits of the calcium content in milk. One of the facts I find interesting is that if you take in too much milk and dairy and not enough iron rich foods, you’ll develop anemia. The irritation in the intestines that many people have from using milk products causes hemoglobin to be lost in your digestive tract and causes iron deficiency.
If you use cow’s milk products, use them in moderation. And eat iron rich foods like green vegetables, meat, and fish.
5. Do you use antibacterial soap? Is it the germ killer we think it is? One of the simplest ways to stay healthy is to practice good hand hygiene. That’s a fancy way to say, “Wash your hands!” OK, now I sound like your mother, right? It seems simple enough advice, but it’s actually the most important thing to do to prevent infections from spreading.
Yet studies show that the antibacterial soaps are not necessarily better than plain soap. Around your house, most of the common infections are viral infections and viruses are not killed by antibacterial soaps. In situations where soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitizers. They contain alcohol, which makes them effective against bacteria. So do what I do. Use soap around your house and keep an alcohol based hand sanitizer with you when you’re not at home.
6. While we often talk about the myriad of benefits exercise creates for us, there’s one type of exercise that needs a caution sign in front of it. For example, doing one particular exercise, like push-ups for an hour or 1000 sit-ups, in other words, trying hard to push yourself past your limits, can be dangerous. Most people have trouble getting enough exercise so overdoing it usually isn’t the problem. But I want you to know about exercise-induced rhabdomyolysis, because it can happen to anyone. It can lead to kidney, muscle, and heart problems.
It’s basically continuing to do exercise past the point when sensible people would stop. I know this won’t happen to you, but just in case you hear anyone say, “I’ve been doing push-ups for an hour and a half,” you’ll be able to warn them!
OK, there you have it. No April fools around here because we covered six topics to consider when you want to do things in the name of good health and good fitness that are actually good for you!
Until next month,