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These are Some of the Most Surprising Unhealthiest Habits on the Planet

7 gross habits experts warn to stop doing now. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

We all know bad habits like smoking, excessive drinking and lack of exercise aren't so great for us, but there's so many other unhealthy things we do that most probably don't  realize how dangerous it can be. We talked to experts who revealed what the unhealthiest habits are and if you're freaked out by germs, you could be after reading below.  Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Holding Onto Old Newspapers and Magazines


Gabby Martin, supervisor at Bio Recovery says, "Breathing in mold, especially for those who have issues like asthma, can exasperate health complications. In humid areas or properties that have issues or had issues with flooding, it's best to discard any old papers or newspapers that may have gotten wet. They are mold magnets. In hoarding homes, this is especially a common culprit to bio, as newspapers are one of the many items hoarders hoard en masse."


Rotting or Expired Food

young woman eating cereal in kitchen
Shutterstock / Josep Suria

It's easy to forget about food in your fridge or forget to throw out old food before you travel, but Martin says that's incredibly harmful. "Rotting and expired food is another magnet to attract dangerous pathogens, or agents that draw harmful bacteria and illness. The longer food is left to rot, the more widespread the situation is. Hoarder homes are also common places for these types of items, which draws serious health issues and potential illness."


Microwaving Your Food


Dr. William Li, physician, scientist, president and medical director of the Angiogenesis Foundation, and author of Eat To Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your Body Can Heal Itself reveals, "When you nuke your food in the microwave, the ultra-high temperature can change the chemical structure of the food. When the food is made of carbohydrates, the high temperatures can change their structure, so they become polymers, more like plastic than food. The food may taste the same, but those fragments can be hard for your body to metabolize and eliminate. Although there's no hard data showing this shortens lifespan, the toaster oven or a pan on the stove is a safer way to reheat food."


Standing Downwind When You Fill Up Your Gas Tank


Dr. Li states, "If you can smell the gasoline fumes, you are standing downwind of the pump. Those fumes are from solvents that can damage your DNA. Although there is no hard clinical data showing this shortens your life, breathing in gasoline fumes is harmful to your lungs, and potentially causes DNA damage."


Touching Light Switches

popcorn textured ceiling with LED bulb light fixture and glass cover.

"Light switches are dirty!  Dr. Mike Green, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Winona stated. "Research from the University of Houston shows these are a breeding ground for bacteria — sometimes gathering detectable amounts of fecal matter, e. Coli and staph. Don't overlook these potential germ epicenters when cleaning. Really, people should keep sanitizing wipes in every room just like they would a box of tissues. Because of the frequency that they are touched, light switches should be cleaned every few days." 


Wearing Shoes Indoors

Senior Hispanic Man Suffering With Dementia Trying To Dress

Karin Ashley, an Integrative Women's Health Nurse Practitioner shares, "Many cultures have known about this one for ages! You will rarely ever find outdoor shoes being worn inside Asian and South Asian homes. Why? There are the obvious things your shoes pick up outside like visible dirt, but more concerning are microscopic – bacteria from animal excrement, bacteria lawn chemicals, and road pavement residue. Certain jobs increase exposures, like resistant bacteria and pharmaceuticals in hospitals, chemicals in factories and warehouses, and organisms from animal care or butchering. The introduction of microbes and chemicals into our home environment increases the amount of time we are exposed, which increases the likelihood of detriment to our health. The best solution? Leave your shoes at the door, and ask guests to do the same. If you like to wear shoes indoors, keep a pair of house shoes like sandals or slippers at the door to change into." 


Being Too Connected to Gadgets All Day

Woman sitting on bed looking at phone bored and in a bad mood

Sam Nabil, CEO and Lead Therapist of Naya Clinics says, "You wake up, you check your mobile phone. You go to work, you use your work desktop. You take a break, you scroll through your phone again. You get home, you get your nightly dose of Netflix, and finally, fall asleep using your phone in bed. Spending all day every day consuming media found on the internet or social network platforms could make you aware of everything that's happening all at once, but this comes at the price of emotionally overwhelming you. It causes you to breed negative thoughts, be more distracted and forgetful than anything else, and have diminished self-esteem. Not to mention, the blue light emitted by your gadgets could destroy your vision and interfere with your sleep-wake cycle."

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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