There may be products in our closets and cupboards right now that can shave years off our lives. They can penetrate our lungs, cause asthma and allergies, poison our liver, damage our hearts, and irritate our eyes and skin. Before Dr. Oz stages an intervention, grab a trashcan and recycle bin and go from room to room to eliminate these 10 age stealers. In many cases there are healthier alternatives you can use instead.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a type of sugar that has been processed and combined with corn syrup to produce a cheap, easily dissolvable sweetener. But this sugar is quickly absorbed by the liver where it is converted into fat. Since your brain doesn't recognize HFCS as regular food, it never shuts off the appetite center -- so you keep eating. Blood sugar levels rise, massive amounts of insulin is recruited to metabolize it and then you crash and feel hungry again. It is found in soft drinks, fruit juices, salad dressings and baked goods. Read the food labels of products in your pantry and refrigerator and throw out all products that contain HFCS.
- Chlorine Bleach
Household bleach contains the chemical sodium hypochlorite and is used to whiten clothes and kill germs like mold, bacteria and virtues. It's not good for the environment and not good for you; it is that it evaporates quickly to irritate your nose, eyes, throat, skin and lungs. Good non-toxic alternatives are baking soda, white vinegar or alcohol- and peroxide-based products.
Mosquitoes can be annoying and carry diseases. But keeping them at bay doesn't mean you need to drench you and your property in carcinogenic pesticides. Instead use a natural repellant that contains essential oils such as lemon eucalyptus and lavender. Burning citronella candles outdoors, staying indoors at high biting times, and removing still water where mosquitoes lay eggs is a healthier strategy.
- Hard Alcohol
Not all alcoholic beverages are alike. Beer, wine, and spirits, sometimes referred to as hard alcohol, can be damaging when drunk in excess; they can damage the liver (cirrhosis), cause esophageal cancer, internal bleeding, heart failure, pancreatitis and gastritis. And some breast cancers can be fueled by alcohol. Although one glass of red wine a day can offer health benefits, spirits have a higher alcohol content and contain more synthetic chemicals and sugars.
- Moth Balls
For generations it has been customary to sprinkle a few mothballs made of naphthalene in a box of sweaters to prevent moths from feasting on the fibers. Today, a better choice would be natural alternatives such as cedar chips and lavender sachets. Remember to clean clothes first then zip them up at the end of the season.
- Air Fresheners and Fragrance Candles
Everyone likes their home to smell clean and fresh but synthetic fragrances that waif through the air can negatively affect the quality of indoor air, damage lung tissue and airways and irritate the eyes. Keep it real. If your house is clean it shouldn't smell.
- Trans Fats
Trans fat is a type of unsaturated fat that is made saturated during a manufacturing process that adds a molecule of hydrogen. These hydrogentated oils raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol and cause a host of cardiovascular diseases. They are slowly being removed from commercial recipes but products in your home may still contain them. Look in your cupboard and dump anything with hydrogenated oil on the label.
Toluene, a solvent found in nail polish, paints and when petroleum-based paraffin candles are burned can cause nervous system damage. Naturally scented beeswax, soy or vegetable candles and natural alternatives to nail products are a better choice.
- Detergents with NPE
Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE) are chemicals that help liquid substances such as oil and water mix. They are found in laundry detergents, shampoos, and cleaners. These chemicals can mimic the hormone estrogen to cause early menstruation, low sperm counts and poor reproductive health. Use natural cleansers and consider alternative cleaning tools such as the microfiber mops or steam cleaner that can reduce or eliminate the use of harsh chemicals.
- Cigarette, pipe, and cigar products
All tobacco products produce harmful chemicals even after you have eliminated the smoker from the house. When you have stopped smoking give your house a clean makeover, washing all fabric curtains and upholstery and think about putting on a fresh coat of paint. Ban smoking in and near your home forever after.