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Ugly Everyday Habits Proven to Take Years Off Your Life, Says Science

Want to live forever? Start by removing these everyday mistakes from your routine.

Did you know that avoiding certain dental hygiene habits can affect your longevity? Or that the overconsumption of sodium, specifically, can have lethal consequences in the long run? Or that energy bars are name-checked by major studies as playing a role in your lifespan, as well? For those—and other unhealthy everyday habits linked to a shorter life—read on. And for more ways to be healthier starting right now, make sure you're aware of the Popular Drinks Proven to Cause Lasting Damage to Your Body, According to Science.


One-Third of Your Diet Is Comprised of Processed Foods

hamburger or cheeseburger, deep-fried squid rings, french fries, drink and ketchup on wooden table

According to a massive study of 45,000 adults over the age of 50, which was published last year in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, people who consumed a third of their total calories from processed foods—which include foodstuffs such as chicken nuggets, breakfast cereals, instant noodles and soups, energy bars and drinks, packaged snacks, and "any foods made using industrial processing"—had a 14% higher chance of early death.

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You're Consuming Too Many Salty Foods

French fries with ketchup on dark background, top view

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found roughly 45% of all mortalities caused by heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and stroke were attributed to people either over-consuming or under-consuming ten specific foods and nutrients: "fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, whole grains, unprocessed red meats, processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, polyunsaturated fats, seafood omega-3 fats, and sodium." In the case of the latter, the scientists noted that over-eating salty foods was the single worst offender overall, and was associated with nearly 10 percent of all of the diet-related deaths from the aforementioned conditions. For some surefire ways to cut down on salty foods, make sure to avoid the 100 Worst Foods on the Planet.


You Suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder

Woman wine

According to research published in the journal Acta Psychiatra Scandinavica, if you're drinking so much that you've been hospitalized for alcohol use disorder, you could be cutting your life short by as much as 28 years. The leading health experts at the Mayo Clinic say symptoms of alcohol use disorder include strong cravings, high anxiety, sweating, trembling, nausea, giving up things you love to drink, and developing a high tolerance.

Another study, published in the journal The Lancet, regularly consuming alcohol was linked to a greater risk of heart failure, stroke, aneurysms, and death—regardless of the gender of the person drinking. According to their calculations: Adults who drink seven to 14 drinks per week may be shortening their lives by six months, adults who drink 14 to 15 drinks per week may be shortening their lives by one to two years, and heavier drinkers who consume in excess of 25 drinks every week may be shortening their lifespans by four to five years.


Not Flossing

Young Man Cleaning His Teeth In Front Of Mirror

According to the health experts at the Mayo Clinic, poor oral health is linked to endocarditis (an infection of"the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves, which typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth spread through your bloodstream"), cardiovascular disease, and pneumonia—and one of the best ways to protect your oral health, and by default your body health, is to floss daily.

Elsewhere, studies have linked your dental hygiene with your longevity. A study of 57,000 older women published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, for instance, found that those who suffer from gum disease and tooth loss are at greater risk of early death. As Satjit Bhusri, MD, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, explained to CNN, the study "suggests [that] gum disease and tooth loss is a marker for overall lack of health and, as a result, death."


Not Exercising at All

couple watching tv snacking

A study published in JAMA Network Open revealed something truly alarming for people who are leading overly sedentary lifestyles: Your risk of early death from not exercising at all is even more profound than if you suffer from heart disease and diabetes—or if you smoke. If you're feeling inspired to exercise—and you don't have a lot of time on your hands—know that This Super-Quick Workout Is Scientifically Proven to Work, Says Mayo Clinic.

William Mayle
William Mayle is a UK-based writer who specializes in science, health, fitness, and other lifestyle topics. Read more about William