10 Household Items to Throw Away for Better Health
From artificial sweeteners to antibacterial soaps, here’s a list of 10 everyday items you should kick to the curb for better health
1. Artificial sweeteners
If you’re trying to lose weight using artificial sweeteners, you’re doing it wrong.
A recent study found that saccharin and aspartame can cause greater weight gain than sugar, unrelated to calorie intake. Low or no-calorie sweeteners can stimulate your appetite, increase cravings for carbohydrates and stimulate fat storage.
While real sugar allows your body to accurately determine it has received enough calories, with sweeteners your appetite is activated by the sweet taste but leaves you searching for more when no calories are delivered.
Some researchers also believe artificial sweeteners can disrupt intestinal microflora and even alter metabolic function. In short – ditch them. You’re better off having a real sugar in your coffee.
2. Old plastic food containers and bottles
Heat, along with wear and tear through multiple washings can increase the amount of chemicals being leached from containers and bottles. The jury’s out on possible side-effects but some believe the chemicals old plastic emits can be harmful to the body’s endocrine system, so holding on to old containers is not a good idea.
BPA-free containers are a good start, but opt for glass where possible.
3. Non-stick cookware
This is a bit of a contentious one but some believe the coating on non-stick cookware, which relies on a fluoride-like chemical for its non-stick properties, emits toxins when heated. Switching to ceramic or glass cookware can avoid this if you’re concerned.
4. Air fresheners
Room deodorisers are a chemical cocktail of synthetic fragrances, phthalates and other nasty substances. In the bin they go!
If you’re having issues with unpleasant smells, it’s best to address the root problem rather than masking them. Opening your doors and windows from time to time can help, and if you want a scent, opt for high-quality pure essential oil sprays which actually support your health and wellbeing.
5. Antibacterial soaps and detergents
Routinely disinfecting your body and surroundings may actually cause far more harm than good, as it can promote the development of drug-resistant bacteria. Warm water and mild soap is really all you need to eliminate most harmful microbes, but for a more rigorous clean for walls, benchtops and floors, add a few capfuls of eucalyptus oil. You can also also use eucalyptus spray in the office or at home – it’s a natural antibacterial proven to kill 99.99% harmful germs like E.coli and Salmonella.
6. Commercial cleaning products
You can avoid quite a few hazardous chemicals simply by tossing these in the bin.
With a short list of basic ingredients, including baking soda, white vinegar, liquid castile soap, lemon juice and pure essential oils you can make just about any cleaning product for your home. Shannon Lush has some great recipes, you can find some of them here: http://www.wellbeing.com.au/article/Greenliving/Features/14-homemade-cleaning-products_1461
7. Personal care products
No-one wants to smell like a stinky hippie or look terrible, but reducing the items in your bathroom cupboard can go a long way towards reducing your toxic load.
Makeup can be a hidden source of heavy metals, including lead and even arsenic – especially in foundations, concealers, lipsticks and blushes. Try switching to an organic brand, or try making your own lotions and potions! Bosisto’s have some great pampering recipes on our blog, here, and there are also a million ways you can use coconut oil for your hair and skin.
8. Stale spices
Herbs and cooking spices contain a wide variety of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. Freshness matters, though, so expired, stale spices are not doing you much good (they won’t have any flavour, either). So do a cull of that spice rack and throw out any that are past their use-by date, lost colour or don’t have any aroma.
9. Soft drinks
If there is one food that healthcare practitioners, dieticians and other medical professionals all around the world would like to permanently resign to the rubbish bin, it’s sugary fizzy drinks.
Just one 375mL can of soft drink can contain up to 10 teaspoons of sugar. This amount of sugar skyrockets blood sugar levels and causes a severe insulin response in the body – studies have repeatedly linked soft drink consumption with obesity (even in children). Over time, it can even contribute to developing diabetes. Plaque, cavities and gum disease are another significant issue linked to soft drink consumption. Soft drink contains chemicals that block the absorption of calcium, while containing zero helpful nutrients itself. Is “diet” soft drink any better? Unfortunately no – it’s probably worse (see no.1).
10. Your chair
Throw out your chair? It might not be such a crazy idea. Prolonged sitting has repeatedly been shown to be an independent risk factor for chronic disease, even if you exercise regularly. That’s right, exercise cannot undo the damage caused by hours of daily sitting, just like it cannot undo the harm done by smoking.
In fact some medical experts are calling inactivity ‘the new smoking’. Sitting has been found to increase your risk of death from virtually all health problems, from diabetes and cardiovascular disease to cancer.
What’s the solution? Stand up as much as possible. A standing desk is one option, or at least stand up at regular intervals during work hours. As a general rule, if you’ve been sitting for one hour, you’ve sat too long. At a bare minimum, avoid sitting for more than 50 minutes out of every hour, over and above any exercise regime you may have. Simply getting and staying out of your chair could be the most powerful thing you’ll do for your health all day.