1. Eating Junk Food
We are all guilty of indulging in comfort food now and again, but what happens when those sugary snacks start to replace all the other essential nutrients we are supposed to eat on a daily basis? If your diet consists of junk, junk and more junk, it might be time to start spring cleaning out your cupboards.
Whilst the UK government recommends we eat a minimum of 5 portions of fruit and veg a day, this is actually woefully low compared with other countries- the Japanese are advised to eat 13 portions of veg and 4 portions of fruit! A diet rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre will improve your physical and mental health, and reduce your chances of becoming overweight.
And with many overweight people going on to develop conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and respiratory problems, we Brits need to stop piling on the pounds, fast.
2. Binge Drinking
You aren’t alone in enjoying the odd glass of wine or pint of beer on an evening, but exceeding the recommended daily allowance of alcohol does disastrous things to our insides. Not only does binge drinking increase your likelihood of ending up in hospital with liver damage, but it also significantly raises your chances of developing certain types of cancer, such as breast and bowel.
Even though the gap between the sexes is narrowing, men are still guiltier of binge drinking than women. According to official statistics from the NHS, two thirds of the drunks who ended up in hospital in 2007 were men, and men are also more likely to die from an alcohol-related condition.
If you feel like your drinking is getting out of hand, speak to your GP for advice on how to cut down- it will improve your mind and your body.
3. Not Washing your Hands
No one will ever admit it, but the British population are terrible at washing their hands after going to the toilet! The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine recently found that one in three men are guilty of this crime, and women aren’t much better.
Not washing your hands is just inviting sickness and diarrhoea bugs into your body and passing them onto other people. And with winter and the flu season fast approaching, now is the time to get into the habit of washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water every time you go to the loo.
Why not invest in some hand gel as well for public places? This is particularly important if you are in a hospital environment to avoid catching or spreading nasty superbugs to those with the weakest immune systems.
4. Being Lazy
Being inactive causes as many deaths as smoking. Yes you read that right! Official data from the World Health Organisation shows that not exercising is one of the biggest crimes we can take against our bodies. In the UK, a massive 63.3 per cent of the population fails to meet recommended levels of physical activity.
But fitting exercise into your routine does not have to be difficult, and it can make the world of difference to your health. Just 30 minutes of moderate activity five days a week, such as a brisk walk at lunchtime, will mean you are no longer considered an ‘inactive’ person. With inactivity causing cancer and heart disease worldwide, now is as good a time as any to kick start a new routine.
5. Playing the NHS Postcode Lottery
Unfortunately, you can take as much care with your health as you like but you cannot always avoid becoming ill or having an accident. Whilst the NHS is a fantastic constitution, care often varies depending on where you live. Having a health insurance policy can offer comfort about your healthcare, because it allows you to be treated in a private hospital of your choosing with the same consultant throughout your stay.