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7 Ways You're Destroying Your Body, Say Doctors

Follow these simple measures and get back on track.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

You've heard the expression "Your body is a temple" but have you thought about what that actually means? You'd never desecrate a temple. In fact, you'd be on your best behavior. So be better to yourself. No one's a saint, but there are things that destroy your body faster than others, and if you can avoid them, you're making a good start. Read on to see what 7 of the most essential are—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.


You're Eating Way Too Many Added Sugars—and Not Enough Fiber


You already know sugar is bad for you, but what about the sugars you aren't aware of—the sneaky ones hiding in your bread and tomato sauce, the added sugars? Reduce them, and add fiber instead. "When you reduce your added sugar intake, while slowing its impact on your body, a number of amazing things will happen, with shocking rapidity," says David Zinczenko, Eat This, Not That! Founder and author of the Zero Sugar Diet. "1) You'll start burning fat, immediately. Reducing your intake of calorie-dense sugar carbs automatically reduces the amount of calories you're consuming on a daily basis, which forces your body to burn fat stored around your midsection for energy, rather than the sugars it takes from carbohydrates. 2) Your belly will get flatter. One of the first things you notice when you replace simple carbs with high-fiber foods is that your belly flattens out—literally within days. The reason: Most Americans only take in 15 of the recommended 25 to 38 grams per day, according to the Institute of Medicine. As a result, the healthy gut microbes that keep us lean have less to munch on, and the unhealthy microbes—which feast on sugar—take over. Those are the little buggers that cause bloating, and make your belly look bigger than it actually is."

RELATED: The #1 Cause of Obesity, According to Science


You're Not Wearing Sunscreen Every. Single. Day.

happy woman relaxing in the garden smiling as she applies sunscreen or skin cream

You need to wear "sunscreen 365," says Ava Shamban, MD, a Board Certified Dermatologist based in Los Angeles and is the founder of Ava MD Dermatology, SkinFive Medical Spas and The Box by Dr Ava. "Anywhere above or below the towel needs to be covered daily even when working from home. Outside and in more intensive sun, double down on sunscreen every 90 minutes with 30 SPF and add a hat or sun protective clothing."


You're Stuck in a Rut, Post-Pandemic

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

Move. Off the couch, we mean. If you're vaccinated, experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, say it's safe to resume your usual pre-pandemic activities (but wear a mask when traveling). Take this advice as far as you feel comfortable. It's OK to take baby steps. Our point is, take some steps—be it on an outdoor walk, or through a park, or socializing with an old (and vaccinated) friend, go anywhere but in front of that fifth episode of Sweet Tooth.

RELATED: 9 Everyday Habits That Might Lead to Dementia, Say Experts


You're Not Moving Your Body This Much Every Week

group of women doing stretching exercises before intensive workout in spacious fitness studio

You knew this list would have exercise on it! And here's how much is beneficial: "Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity," says the Mayo Clinic. "The guidelines suggest that you spread out this exercise during the course of a week. Greater amounts of exercise will provide even greater health benefit."


Get Some Sun—but Not in Your Eyes

Woman covering face by hand of bright sun light.

Sun is an important source of Vitamin D, which boosts your immune system. However: "Regardless of where we live or the time of year, sun overexposure is an ever-present danger to our eye health," says Trevor Elmquist, DO, a board-certified ophthalmologist and founder of Elmquist Eye Group in Florida. "We all know about the importance of sunscreen, but many don't consider the harmful effects of UV rays on our eyes." "Make an effort to wear wide-brimmed hats, UV-blocking contact lenses and close-fitting, UV-blocking sunglasses to protect your eyes and prevent long-term damage," says Elmquist. When shopping for sunglasses, check the label, and only buy shades that block 99 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation.

RELATED: First Signs You Have a Serious Illness, Say Experts


You're Not Drinking This Elixir

green tea being poured into cup

EGCG—a super potent nutrient found almost exclusively in green tea—has been shown to help break down fat and discourage new fat cells. A tea-diet revolution is the next big thing, author Kelly Choi explains in the book The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse, in which test panelists lost up to 10 pounds in a week. She recommends you drink it for breakfast: Your body absorbs the nutrients in green tea most effectively when you drink it at least four hours after your last meal, making it a perfect way to start your morning.


You Think It's Too Late to Change Your Habits

Woman holding a slice of cucumber

It's never too late to change "….or tweak or improve the way you eat, and that goes for everyone," says Dr. Jennifer Ashton, the Board-certified Ob-Gyn, author and TV medical correspondent. "When I was getting my Masters, we had to analyze our own eating and do a three-day food diary. I went into it thinking, 'No way can I eat better!' And then I found I was 30% deficient in micronutrients. It's not like I was eating fast food drive-through every day; I just wasn't getting a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. My point is, everyone can improve something—and it's never too late." So brew a cup and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Still Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek
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