Quit Brushing Your Teeth (and 4 Other Backwards Health Tips You Need to Know)
We all know you’re supposed to brush your teeth three times a day, after meals, every single time, if we want don’t want mouths full of pearly yellows. Right? It seems like a common sense decision to make for the health of your mouth, but it’s actually all wrong. Of course, regular brushing is important to maintaining the happiness of the teeth and gums (and, of course, the people who share a tight space with you on a daily basis), but there is actually more harm done to the teeth if they are brushed immediately after a meal. This is especially true after eating or drinking something acidic.
If that goes against what you’re used to hearing, you’re not alone. However, brushing immediately after eating can force the acids leftover by our food farther into the enamel, eroding it more quickly. So what are you supposed to do? Just wait an hour after meals to brush your teeth so your enamel will suffer less wear and tear. Counterintuitive? Maybe.
It turns out that brushing our teeth after meals isn’t the only thing we’ve been doing wrong all our lives. Here are five other backwards health tips you need to know.
Drink Coffee Before You Nap
Somewhere along the way, our poor brother the coffee bean got a bad reputation. Did you know that a good cup of joe is packed with antioxidants? Studies show that java lovers actually live longer and are at less risk for type 2 diabetes, depression, Parkinson’s AND Alzheimer’s. So, this all seems pretty reasonable. We can get on board with healthy coffee, but, given one of the major perks of coffee is the perk it gives in the mornings, why would I drink it before a nap?
Hitting the pillow for a short nap after a cup of coffee promotes better rest and an easier waking transition. During the 20 minutes immediately after drinking your coffee, you can catch some zzzz’s and then wake up alert thanks to caffeine’s natural adenosine-clearing properties. Adenosine the brain molecule we can thank for feeling fatigued surrounding sleep. The caffeine kick at the end of your nap helps you blow through that A-word and feel wonderfully rested.
And speaking of drinking habits…
Drink Water When You're Bloated
An uncomfortable, bloated belly might scream some pretty explicit warnings in your head about staying the you-know-what back with the food and beverages. You can’t seem to zip your jeans, all you want to do is slip into those well-worn sweatpants (that you may or may not have had to fish out of the clothes hamper) and stay as far away from anything that will make you feel fuller. But!
You can fight water retention and bloat by adding even more water into the mix. Water retention is caused by the kidneys (thanks a lot, guys) when they notice that your body’s fluid levels have decreased. With lower fluids, those babies want to protect you so they cause your body to desperately cling to the water it’s already got to avoid dehydration (so, really. Thanks a lot guys!) This potentially life-saving process, however, can lead to the big, bad bloat. So, for your sake, and for your hard-working kidneys, drink up! Proper fluid intake is essential to keep the body’s systems running efficiently, so the next time the bloat boat commandeers your ship, use the water to your advantage.
Choose Full-Fat Salad Dressings for Better Health
If you’ve ever been on a diet then you know. You know, you know, you know.
Salads are frontrunners in the dieting game because they are packed with nutrients and a calorie count that just won’t quit (working for your waistline). Even those of us who haven’t been on the dieting train know that salads are uber popular in the world of healthy eating. Here comes another but!
But did you know that low-fat and non-fat salad dressings are working against us, not for us? First, salads are made of veggies. Any vegetable that is your heart’s desire, throw it in a bowl (or a cup, or a jar, or straight into your mouth, I don’t care) and you’ve got a gorgeous blend of benefits. So, we feel great about our healthy choice, and then we unknowingly poo-poo all over it with a non-fat salad dressing.
It may seem like the calorie benefits are what we need from choosing a non-fat or low-fat dressing, but we’re actually canceling the good of our veggie salad. The fats present in regular dressings help the body to absorb a thing called carotenoids, or the very wonderful essence of the vegetables. It’s HOW they wonderful. Non-fat dressings don’t help the body absorb any of that goodness. Plus, many non-fat or low-fat dressings have added sugar or salt to punch of the flavor that was kicked to the curb with the fat.
The choice is clear.
Eat Chocolate for Better Skin
Just like with the toothbrushing myth, we’ve grown up with the notion that chocolate is just a sugary mess that makes us fat and ruins our skin. Maybe that’s a little harsh. It is chocolate after all, and we do love it, regardless of what it does to our bodies. Right?
For a change of pace, let’s go with however.
However, chocolate isn’t nearly the villain that you might think it is. Be aware, though, that not all chocolate is created equal in this sense. When it comes to better skin, the antioxidant-packed dark chocolate is the victor and, eaten moderately, can actually improve the overall look of your skin and protect it from the sun.
Studies show that the high cocoa levels in dark chocolate can improve circulation to the very top layer of the skin which leads to the capillaries that live there to use oxygen and specific nutrients more efficiently in the war against skin dehydration and sun damage.
As an added bonus, dark chocolate is great for heart health, anxiety, cognitive function, healthy weight and even healthy teeth.
I'm pretty sure dark chocolate just won this article.
Health isn’t always as straightforward as we would like it to be. It can be frustrating sometimes, especially for those of us who fervently brushed our teeth after every meal since childhood only to find out we were promoting enamel wear instead of preventing it.
Other times, though, counterintuitive health has its surprising advantages. Let’s face it, if loving the fact that chocolate has all of these secret superpowers is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.