We use so many products in our daily lives that we have been told are healthy, but are they really? From your kitchen sponge to your household cleaning products, many things you use regularly can likely cause many adverse health effects, and you may not even know it. Big companies would just love it if we continued to buy their convenient (but often harmful) products in the name of making more money, but as consumers, we have a right to know how these products will affect our health in the long-term. We have a duty to ourselves to research these products heavily before we use them, and possibly find alternatives to them if we need to.
Today, we’ll go over 7 products that people commonly think are healthy, but are actually harmful.
7 Things You May Think Are Healthy (But Actually Aren’t)
1. Antibacterial Soap & Hand Sanitizer
While using hand sanitizer and antibacterial soaps can kill some bacteria and germs, using too much of them will wear down your immune system and create resistance against the very bacteria you want to kill in the first place.
Furthermore, a systematic review published in 2007 in the Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases found that the common ingredient in antibacterial soaps, triclosan, did not protect against germs any better than non-antibacterial soap. This chemical remains controversial, as some studies have shown that it causes endocrine disruption and resistance to bacteria.
Not to mention, these products cause many other ill effects, from drying out your skin to disrupting hormone production due to added chemicals, to increasing the skin’s absorption, meaning you will be more susceptible to disease. If you’d like to read more about this, refer to our related article here.
Deodorant might make us smell nice and prevent sweating, but at what cost? Obviously, we sweat for a reason, so stopping a very natural process can only result in harm to our bodies. Although natural deodorants exist, many have have sworn off antiperspirants entirely. Sweat helps the body get rid of toxins, so by blocking our pores with deodorant, the toxins stay trapped within our bodies. Also, generic deodorants contain harmful ingredients including aluminum, parabens, propylene glycol, and countless others.
Out of the ingredients we listed above, we’ll go into more detail about aluminum, perhaps the most harmful of the three. A study conducted in 2001 found that blood samples collected 15 days after the application of aluminum still contained this toxin. As aluminum gets absorbed directly by the skin and enters the bloodstream, it can easily travel to the brain. Studies have also found strong evidence to indicate that aluminum can very well cause Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other health problems.
You know those fluffy little things you use to clean your body with in the shower? Although they might seem convenient and come in all sorts of funky shapes and colors, they don’t do a body good. Since you use a loofah in a hot, moist environment, this makes the perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Furthermore, if you have an open wound and use a sponge with mold or bacteria on it, then your cut stands a strong chance of becoming infected.
If you still want to use your loofah, be sure to wring it out fully after each use, and try to find one made with natural products, as these have a better chance at warding off bacteria and mold. Or, as another alternative, consider using washcloths that you can simply throw in the washer after each use.
Blenders have the ability to make many healthy, delicious foods in a short amount of time. However, if you don’t clean your awesome kitchen gadget properly, you might have a blender full of bacteria and germs without even knowing it. You probably wash out your blender with soap and water after each use, but if you don’t wash the blender gasket (the rubber ring under the blade that helps hold it in place), then you’re forgetting a very important part. In fact, research showed that it commonly harbored salmonella, E. coli, yeast, and mold, and was the third “germiest” item in the kitchen, behind the refrigerator vegetable and meat compartments.
You can still keep using your blender, of course, just make sure to wash it thoroughly after each use, meaning take it apart completely and wash the blender gasket to avoid bacteria and germ growth.
5. Fruit Juice
Many people have been mislead about this product for years, as large companies spend millions on advertising to try to tell us that fruit juice contains many vitamins and minerals, and that we should include it as part of a healthy breakfast.
Although the fruit juices contain some nutrients, they have more sugar than anything else, sometimes even more than soda! Also, most store-bought juices have to go through pasteurization, which means the juice gets heated to a very high temperature, killing many of the nutrients and enzymes necessary to break down the sugar in the juice. Therefore, fruit juice, unless made at home with your own juicer or bought cold-pressed without added sugars, is one of the most unhealthy choices you could make at the grocery store.
Don’t get us wrong, fruit is very healthy for you if consumed whole or cold-pressed in a high-quality juicer, but other than that, steer clear of products like these that claim to improve your health while having a laundry list of ingredients on the label.
6. Dairy Milk
Countless studies have now surfaced to show how dairy can harm the body in numerous ways, and why we as humans should not consume it. Here are several of these studies:
- In a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, Harvard pediatrician David Ludwig explains that countries that consume little dairy have lower bone fracture rates than countries that consume high amounts of dairy.
- Studies have also shown that calcium does not protect the bones as much as we previously may have thought. In fact, Vitamin D shows much more effectiveness at protecting against osteoporosis and other bone-related disease. This study actually found that adequate vitamin D intake can lower the risk of osteoporotic hip fractures in postmenopausal women.
- Other studies have also shown that dairy products may increase prostate cancer risk in males by 30-50%.
There are countless other reasons to stop drinking dairy milk and consuming dairy products altogether. For one, we stop needing milk after infancy, as all animals do. Yet, humans drink milk beyond the time necessary, and also, from another species entirely.
If you’d like to read more about that, consult our article here. Also, consider drinking alternative milks, such as from coconuts, almonds, rice, cashews, hemp and other plant sources. While you can easily buy these at the store, consider making them on your own, as store-bought plant milks can contain lots of added sugars and other additives. However, plant milks can contain more calcium that even cow’s milk, wish is one added bonus of buying the plant milks available at the store, if you must.
7. Cleaning Products
Unfortunately, many name-brand cleaning products contain a laundry list of dangerous chemicals that may people don’t even think twice about. Some of the most common toxic ingredients in household cleaners are: ammonia, methoxychlor, phosphorous, sodium hydroxide, sulfuric acid, potassium hydroxide, formaldehyde, benzene, and chloroform, to name just a few. In many countries, agencies don’t regulate these chemicals, which means that if you buy name-brand products, you have been cleaning your living space with them.
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However, in today’s world where people have become more aware of these dangers, companies have now started making more natural alternatives for these products. Honestly, you can also make many of these products yourself, if you just have a few key ingredients on hand such as vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, and some of your favorite essential oils. You can also save money by making these products at home yourself.