washing handsIf you thumb your nose at health and live for the minute (and the double cheeseburger), that's one thing. But when you try your damndest to do the right things for your health, and that makes you sick, well that just doesn't seem fair. 

Fair or not, however, it happens. As fast as one study comes out touting the power of this nutrition powerhouse or that way to ward off colds, another comes out contradicting it. It's frustrating enough when we find out something isn't as effective as we once thought, but even worse when what we're trying to do for our own good turns out to be bad for us.

Here are five supposedly healthy things we do that could be making us sick and aren't worth obsessing over.

1. Using Hands-Free Faucets They seem like germ-reducing genius -- no need to touch the grimy faucets when you wash your hands, so no germs. A recent study, however, found that the automatic faucets actually harbor more bacteria than traditional ones. No matter, since you don't touch them anyway, right? Wrong, it's actually the water itself that they found contained the most bacteria. 

Don't fret too much though, researchers say occasional exposure in a public restroom isn't likely to be harmful, though those who wash their hands frequently with automatic faucets -- like health care workers -- are more likely to be affected.

2. Eating Vegetables Yes, they contain all sorts of healthy nutrients and vitamins, but many are also sources of pesticides and E. coli. From lettuce to strawberries, the foods that should be the healthiest can harm us the most. Buying organic and local can help minimize your risk though. (Note: If you're going to be obsessed with any of these, vegetables are a good choice.)

3. Going to the Gym From picking up a staph infection on the elliptical machine to straining muscles, the gym is ripe with risks. Of course, not exercising is ripe with more risks, so don't use this as an excuse. 

4. Avoiding the Sun Skin cancer has scared us all (except for the cast of Jersey Shore) into an SPF coma. We cover, coat, and cower to avoid any exposure. But we need the sun and the vitamin D it provides. Too little brings on a host of heart, bone, and other health problems. Experts don't want anyone to ditch the SPF, but say 10-15 minutes of exposure a day is probably wise.

5. Trusting Hand Sanitizers They seem like salvation in a bottle, claiming to kill every germ known to man. So we slather ourselves and bathe our children in them. But a new warning from the FDA warns consumers that they could be providing a false sense of security. The agency issued a statement that hand sanitizers are NOT approved to protect from the following: MRSA, E. coli, salmonella, flu, or other bacteria or viruses. Your best line of defense is to wash your hands ... though perhaps not at an automatic faucet.

What so-called healthy habits do you have that may harm your health?


Image via aka Kath/Flickr