5 'Healthy' Habits Not Worth Obsessing Over

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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

eating healthy, general health

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Kimberly Virga

Hand sanitizers- DO NOT use them.

Madel... MadelynMc

Ummm eating vegetables isn't a "so-called" healthy habit, it IS a healthy habit that's vital to your health. I would never advise avoiding vegetables, how silly. I WOULD advise washing your vegetables before you eat them and buying local. I think I agree with the rest, except avoiding going to the gym becauseof bacteria. Really? Isn't that what the disinfectant spray they have positioned at every corner is for?

PonyC... PonyChaser

The healthy habit I have that people would shudder over? NOT OBSESSING over every little germ. Exposure to germs actually HELPS your immune system! Get a teeny bit of E-coli from those veggies, and you're far more likely to be able to withstand a larger attack, because your body recognizes it. Does that mean I go out and pull a carrot out of a manure-strewn field and eat it out of the dirt? No, but it does mean that I don't obsess over washing every leaf of spinach, or scrubbing every tomato that comes out of my garden.


I refuse to use hand sanitizer gel, and only use the wipes that I keep in my car if our hands are exceptionally dirty - like if it's time for lunch and we've been fishing and digging for worms. We believe in being clean, not sterile. Our general motto is, "God made dirt, and dirt don't hurt." It's served us well.

Pbutt... Pbuttercup0625

Thank you PonyChaser! I couldn't have said it better myself! Being "germ free" had never done any one any favors (unless of course you have an auto immune deficiency).  The healthiest people and kids that I have ever come across (including my own family) have all been non-obsessive about germs.

Ghea Ghea

You need to use everything with coution. Too much is almost always as bad as too little. Of cource this doesn't aply to tons of things. Hand sanitazers are good when properly used. There are lots of deseases like norovirus, rotavirus, swine flu, tb etc. that you don't want to get. There are colleration between allergies, asthma and bad immune system but it's not cut and dry. Using hand sanitazer after doctor visits, WC and probaply after wisiting places with lots of people and little cleaning or people with more than mild illnessess. Soap and water is enough most of the time, in your hands and in your home.

Beths... Bethsunshine

I agree with Ponychaser!! I'm convinced that kids have so  many allergies and funky illnesses now because they aren't allowed to get dirty! No hand sanitizer here!

Commi... Commie_Mommie

2. Eating Vegetables........From lettuce to strawberries,


Derp???

jagam... jagamama0710

I completely agree with Ponychaser. We don't use hand sanitizer. I've never cleaned my kids toys with bleach. I don't freak out if they get dirt in their mouth. I don't wipe every doorknob before we touch it. I also don't freak if they pick something up off our floor that they dropped and eat it. My kids have no allergies and are totally healthy. My almost 4 year old has been sick twice in her life, 1 short mild cold and a tummy bug. My 1 year old has only had 1 mild cold. 


commie_mommie - LOL! I didn't catch that. 


As for the eating vegetables and gym thing...that is ridiculous. People do not need an excuse to avoid vegetables any more than they do. And they have wipes at the gym for a reason. 

nonmember avatar George

Eating Vegetables???!!!!

You have a dangerously overblown ego to advise against vegetables in today's world. WASH your vegetables!

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