4 Healthy Living Myths…Busted

Healthy living myths abound on the internet, and it’s not surprising given the speed at which scientific studies are published. One week protein is the healthiest food group, the next week it’s reported to cause cancer. In our fast-paced world, it can be hard to keep up with what’s a fact, and what’s fiction.

So we did some research into a few commonly held beliefs and the science behind them. The reality may just surprise you, and might even change your perceptions about healthy living…

Myth: You can offset the negative effects of smoking with exercise

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Reality: We all know that smoking is bad for us. However many people think that they can ‘offset’ the negative health effects of smoking with regular exercise. it’s simply not true…

According to Ann Malarcher of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health: “Research shows that eating a healthy diet and exercising don’t reduce the health risks associated with smoking. Smoking affects every organ system in the body, and thinking that you’re going to find the perfect lifestyle to counteract the effects of smoking is just not realistic.”

So whilst exercise can motivate you to stop smoking, the only thing that will offset the effects is to quit.

Myth: All fried foods are bad for the heart

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Reality: According to a large study published in the British Medical Journal, there’s no link between eating fried foods and an increased risk of heart disease. However, the type of oil you use is crucial…

The study authors concluded: “In a Mediterranean country where olive and sunflower oils are the most commonly used fats for frying, and where large amounts of fried foods are consumed both at and away from home, no association was observed between fried food consumption and the risk of coronary heart disease or death.”

The study was conducted in Spain, where foods are predominantly fried in sunflower or olive oil. So switching up your butter, lard, or shortening for these Mediterranean oils could be the key to enjoying fried foods more healthily.

Myth: Elevated heart rate is a symptom of high blood pressure

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Reality: High blood pressure actually has no warning signs or symptoms, so many people don’t know they have it. According to the CDC, about 1 in 3 American adults (approx. 70 million people) have high blood pressure, yet only half (52%) have it under control.

However, whilst a high heart rate doesn’t necessarily indicate high blood pressure, your resting heart rate is one of the most important indicators of overall heart health. The lower your resting heart rate is, the better shape your heart is in, since it doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain your basic bodily functions.

The American Heart Association recommends checking your blood pressure regularly, either with a healthcare professional or using a home monitor. MOCAheart can help you get a sense of your resting heart rate, as well as your blood oxygen level and Pulse Wave Velocity (which is correlated to blood pressure).

Myth: Pollution primarily affects your lungs

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Reality: In addition to damaging your lungs, air pollution also contributes to cardiovascular disease. According to a study recently published in The Lancet, long-term exposure to air pollution is linked with coronary artery calcification (CAC). This is a strong risk marker for heart problems, as it often leads to coronary artery disease. The American Heart Association recommends minimising your risk by avoiding jobs with high exposures to pollutants, and remaining indoors during severe pollution.

So we’ve set the record straight on smoking and exercise, fried foods, invisible blood pressure symptoms, and air pollution…  But of course, there are plenty more health myths still to be exposed! Know of any other interesting health misconceptions? Share them with us in the comments below…