My best advice to my patients always begins with this: The path to a long life starts with a healthy diet.
Fruits and veggies are important, but there are other staples of healthy eating like good fats and fiber-rich grains and seeds.
But there are certain foods we should be avoiding. In fact, I think these five foods can shorten your life – and they may come as a surprise:
Rhubarb stems come full of fiber and vitamin K, and they’re delicious. Who doesn’t love strawberry rhubarb pie?
But rhubarb leaves are a completely different story. They contain oxalic acid, which is also found in bleach, and can be fatal if consumed. The acid stays in the leaves even after you cook them, so there really is no safe way to eat them.
While some may say you have to eat a lot of the leaves to experience the dangers, it’s my opinion that you should just stay away. Why risk it?
This warning is a double-edged sword. You definitely want to eat the fruit, but you may be in trouble if you don’t promptly toss the pits. If you’re consuming the fruit pits, that’s about the furthest from healthy eating you can get.
I remember reading a report by the New York Times that consuming pits like the ones found in cherries, peaches and apricots can contain enough of a cyanide-like compound to cause harm, especially for children. And the math done by Bon Appetit magazine found that even a couple of crushed cherry pits have enough of the chemical to be considered deadly. In any case, with this in mind, it’s best to throw the pits away as soon as you eat the fruit.
The amount of alcohol you can safely consume is a point of continued debate. To confuse you even more, there is evidence that consuming some alcohol could help you live longer.
For example, a 2010 Stanford study showed people who drink moderately (one to three drinks daily) live longer than abstainers. That’s far too much in my opinion, so don’t set up that keg just yet!
Research released in 2012 found that those who are alcohol-dependent are cutting their life expectancy, perhaps even more than smokers, and the effects are worse for women than men. The debate will continue, but the best advice is the easiest: When it comes to booze, moderation truly is key.
If it isn’t enough that sugary soda pops are tied to health problems like diabetes and obesity, new research from the American Journal of Public Health found soda speeds up your body’s aging process.
In fact, 20 ounces of pop a day could age you by 4.6 years, researchers said. However, they were at a loss as to what caused the aging in soda drinkers. Healthy eating may not be enough to make up for too much soda, so t’s best to avoid it, sugar-free, zero-calorie and all types. Opt for water with fruit or cucumber slices to add flavor and nutrients. Try switching out soda for water for just a week, and you’ll feel the difference!
In the theme of moderation, there is room in our diets for treats on occasion. But processed meats just aren’t healthy eating. The World Health Organization (WHO) is on board, saying the consumption of processed meat like hot dogs and deli meat is simply bad for you.
Most are loaded with additional salt, chemicals, additives and who knows what else – they really are bad news. A study of more than 120,000 people, published in Archives of Internal Medicine, found that eating too much red meat could raise the risk of death, along with cancer and heart disease. Those numbers were even higher with processed meats.
So, do yourself and your body a favor. That corndog isn’t something that needs to be a part of your diet!