(AscendHealthy.com) – The path to good health isn’t always easy. Roadblocks can stand in the way of our efforts, even when we think we’re on the right track. We can have the best of intentions, but unless we’re aware of the hidden hazards all around us, we could be undermining ourselves at every turn.
Our lifestyle choices lay the foundation for the rest of our physical and emotional well-being. Even if we cut out smoking, excessive drinking and bad fitness habits, there’s still one practice that could be quietly wearing away at our health. It’s so important, addressing this one choice could reduce a person’s risk of dying before their time by half. Able to guess what it is? Read on to find out!
The Lifestyle Choice That Can Kill Us
Some threats are more apparent than others. One of the most dangerous could be staring many of us in the face daily, crashing our diets despite our good intentions. We might think we’ve optimized our eating habits, but unless we’re preparing the majority of our meals at home, we could be doing more harm than we realize.
Restaurant food might be convenient and packed with flavor, but most of it is anything but good for us. Recently published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a new study has exposed the hidden dangers that could be adding to our risks. Researchers compared the outcomes of 35,084 adults over 15 years; they recorded 2,781 deaths, associating 511 with cardiovascular disease and 638 with cancer. Risks for all of the above were nearly doubled in participants who frequently ate out.
Another study performed by Cambridge University broke down comparisons between the effects of fast food and full-service restaurant foods, and the results aren’t good. They found the majority of restaurant foods, regardless of where they come from, contain unhealthy amounts of fat, sugar and sodium. As a result, people who regularly eat out also tend to take in more calories and fewer nutrients, creating a perfect storm for diet-related health problems.
Reducing the Risk
The thought of cutting out restaurant-prepared meals might instill panic in some people, but there are options. Inexperienced cooks, or those with little time for the kitchen, might consider getting help via meal prep kits. These services do most of the work, sending the right measured amounts of each ingredient for each meal, so there’s minimal prep work involved and less waste.
People who have some cooking basics can branch out and get creative with recipes and meal prep. Try these healthy breakfast ideas or helpful tips for optimizing food budgets. Just a few small changes could have life-saving impacts — and they might even spare the wallet in the process.
When eating in isn’t an option, consider ways to make dining out as healthy as possible. Healthline has several recommendations:
- Check a restaurant’s menu online ahead of time to make sure it has health-conscious entrees.
- Start with a soup or salad, and ask for dressing on the side.
- Choose grilled, sauteed or poached options over breaded and/or fried.
- Opt for grilled veggies or a salad instead of fries for the side.
- Eat mindfully, taking the time to savor and appreciate each bite.
- Chew thoroughly before swallowing to slow eating, which can help curb the volume of food intake.
- Skip the buffets — and the bread baskets.
- Choose coffee instead of dessert.
Regardless of where we’re eating, we can do our best to make smart choices. Just remember that dining out may sometimes require a little extra prep work to keep that healthy lifestyle on track.
An act as simple as reducing our restaurant use could improve our overall health and significantly reduce our chances of developing heart disease and cancer. When we prepare our own meals, we’re better able to track every element we put into our bodies, which gives us more control over our risk factors. Consider limiting dining out (or ordering in) to once per week to keep negative effects to a minimum.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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