Some­times choices that seem smart are ac­tu­ally mis­takes in dis­guise. Here are six to watch for— and how to fix them.

Chattanooga Times Free Press - Parade - - HEALTHY - By Stacey Colino Visit Pa­ for six ways to stay young and healthy.

1. Brush­ing your teeth right af­ter a meal.

If you’ve had any­thing to eat or drink that’s acidic (such as seltzer, soda, cit­rus or toma­toes), brush­ing within 30 min­utes can scratch the acid right into the enamel on your teeth, erod­ing it and leav­ing them sus­cep­ti­ble to dam­age, says Gigi Mei­necke, a spokesper­son for the Academy of Gen­eral Den­tistry and a den­tist in Po­tomac, Md.

In­stead: Rinse your mouth with wa­ter just af­ter eat­ing and wait 30 min­utes to brush.

2. Avoid­ing fat.

Play­ing the how-low-can-you-go game with fat in your diet can cause dry skin and hair, con­sti­pa­tion, in­suf­fi­cient ab­sorp­tion of fat-sol­u­ble vi­ta­mins (like A,D, E and K), low lev­els of re­pro­duc­tive hor­mones and ex­ces­sive hunger, says Les­lie Bonci, RD, owner of Ac­tive Eat­ing Ad­vice in Pitts­burgh. “Fat takes longer [than other macronu­tri­ents] to leave the stom­ach so it helps you feel fuller for a longer pe­riod of time, and it stim­u­lates pro­duc­tion of neu­ro­trans­mit­ters that help with sati­ety.”

In­stead: “Be se­lec­tive about fats,” Bonci says. “If you pre­fer the taste of skim milk, go with it.” But don’t shirk healthy fats in nuts, seeds, nut but­ters, av­o­cado, olive oil or canola oil—your body needs them.

3. Putting on a happy face—when you’re not.

When you get an­gry or ir­ri­tated, it may be wise to hold your tongue in the mo­ment. But it’s a mis­take to bury your anger. Re­search has found it can in­crease a woman’s risk of de­vel­op­ing de­pres­sion; for men and women, it can lead to in­creased pain sen­si­tiv­ity and higher blood pres­sure.

In­stead: Lis­ten to what your anger is telling you, says Den­ver psy­chol­o­gist Su­san Heitler, Ph.D., au­thor of

Pre­scrip­tions Without Pills. Then ex­press your­self us­ing non-ac­cusatory state­ments that de­scribe your feel­ings and what you’d like to change, e.g., “I felt sad when you were check­ing your phone at din­ner while I was telling you some­thing im­por­tant. I’d like to des­ig­nate some phone­free times and places.”

4. Reusing gro­cery bags.

Shop­pers rarely, if ever, wash their re­us­able bags, ac­cord­ing to a 2010 study. When re­searchers swabbed the in­side of the bags, they found large num­bers of bac­te­ria that can make you sick, in­clud­ing E. coli. One of the big­gest risks: If meat or chicken juices drip into the bag and they’re stored in the trunk of your car, “the bac­te­ria will in­cu­bate and mul­ti­ply,” says Ryan Sin­clair, Ph.D., an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of en­vi­ron­men­tal mi­cro­bi­ol­ogy at Loma Linda Uni­ver­sity.

In­stead: Wash your can­vas, cot­ton or ny­lon bags reg­u­larly at a high tem­per­a­ture with a de­ter­gent con­tain­ing dis­in­fec­tant, then put them in the dryer. This can re­duce the bac­te­ria by more than 99 per­cent.

5. Do­ing the same work­out all the time.

Stuck on the same run­ning route or spin class? “You’re ex­pos­ing your mus­cles and joints to the same stress day af­ter day, which could in­crease your risk of an overuse in­jury,” warns Cedric Bryant, Ph.D., chief science of­fi­cer for the Amer­i­can Coun­cil on Ex­er­cise. In­stead: Vary your car­dio reg­i­men and add yoga or Pi­lates. The bal­ance and flex­i­bil­ity train­ing will help pro­tect your mus­cles and joints.

6. Stretch­ing be­fore ex­er­cise.

Stretch­ing a cold mus­cle could strain or tear it, says Bryant. A 2015 study from Ger­many found that when ath­letes held stretches be­fore play­ing soc­cer, their knee joints be­came more lax, which could in­crease in­jury risk.

In­stead: Warm up by do­ing gen­tle, lower-in­ten­sity ver­sions of the move­ment pat­terns you’re likely to do in your work­out, such as climb­ing on your bike and cy­cling slowly. But def­i­nitely stretch your mus­cles dur­ing your cool down.

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