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5 Dinner Habits That May Shorten Your Lifespan
Written by Dr. Veena Madhankumar and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team
February 19, 2021 icliniq Healthy eating
Our dietary habits can either prolong or decrease our lifespan. In fact, most of us do not consume a nutritionally balanced diet and forget to eat the recommended amount of vegetables and fruits and binge on sugary and high-calorie foods. A study linked longevity to five lifestyle factors, and our diet is one of the five factors.
Also Read : The Psychology of Healthy Eating
There are various food habits that could shorten your lifespan, but here, we have listed the most common blunders people make during dinner. To avoid ingestion and enjoy a good night’s sleep, have a light dinner as our physical activity is reduced at night.
1. Cocktail Before Dinner
A glass of wine or a drink while cooking or relaxing before dinner sounds divine, but cocktails increase your appetite, resulting in more calorie consumption. A study also proved that people who drink vodka with orange juice consume more food and fatty foods than those who drink only orange juice. This effect is called the aperitif effect.
2. Microwave and Plastic Containers
Also Read : Nutrition Tips for Kids
When you microwave your food by keeping it in a plastic container and covering it in a plastic sheet, you consume harmful chemicals. Your food, especially fatty foods, get contaminated with phthalates and BPA (Bisphenol-A) that get released by non-microwave safe containers. These chemicals are believed to work as endocrine disruptors, meaning they act like hormones that disturb the healthy cells and interrupt the endocrine system. Instead of using plastic containers, transfer your food to a ceramic container or a microwave-safe glass.
3. No Activity After Dinner
It is essential to either go for a walk or be a little active after dinner to live a long and healthy life. According to the American Cancer Society, sitting for an extended period is associated with a high risk of death from diseases like heart disease, cancer, stroke, kidney disease, lung disease, liver disease, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. Taking a short walk after dinner will keep you healthy and fit and has various other health benefits. It also improves digestion, maintains blood sugar levels, reduces heart disease risk, promotes weight loss, and reduces blood pressure.
4. Eating Very Fast
Gulping down food can make you gain weight and affect your heart. This was reported by the American Heart Association in a scientific conference in 2017. When you eat quickly, you fail to chew your food properly, which affects digestion and absorption of essential nutrients. Fast eaters are 11.6 % more predisposed to have metabolic syndrome (a cluster of high blood pressure, high blood glucose levels, and high triglycerides levels). Therefore, eating slowly by chewing your food properly will keep you more healthy.
5. Failing to Drink Water Before Dinner
Not drinking water before dinner may lead to headaches, constipation, fatigue, poor digestion, and even weight gain due to dehydration’s adverse outcomes. When you drink water before having food, you will get a sense of fullness that will allow your body to consume fewer calories and improve digestion. This practice will also help you maintain a healthy body weight. So, try to drink water at least 30 minutes before your dinner
The human body comprises around 60% water.
It’s commonly recommended that you drink eight 8-ounce (237-mL) glasses of water per day (the 8×8 rule).
Although there’s little science behind this specific rule, staying hydrated is important.
Here are 7 evidence-based health benefits of drinking plenty of water.
1. Helps maximize physical performance
If you don’t stay hydrated, your physical performance can suffer.
This is particularly important during intense exercise or high heat.
Dehydration can have a noticeable effect if you lose as little as 2% of your body’s water content. However, it isn’t uncommon for athletes to lose as much as 6–10% of their water weight via sweat (1Trusted Source
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This can lead to altered body temperature control, reduced motivation, and increased fatigue. It can also make exercise feel much more difficult, both physically and mentally (3).
Optimal hydration has been shown to prevent this from happening, and it may even reduce the oxidative stress that occurs during high intensity exercise. This isn’t surprising when you consider that muscle is about 80% water (4Trusted Source
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If you exercise intensely and tend to sweat, staying hydrated can help you perform at your absolute best.
Losing as little as 2% of your body’s water content can significantly impair your physical performance.
2. Significantly affects energy levels and brain function
Your brain is strongly influenced by your hydration status.
Studies show that even mild dehydration, such as the loss of 1–3% of body weight, can impair many aspects of brain function.
In a study in young women, researchers found that fluid loss of 1.4% after exercise impaired both mood and concentration. It also increased the frequency of headaches (6Trusted Source
Many members of this same research team conducted a similar study in young men. They found that fluid loss of 1.6% was detrimental to working memory and increased feelings of anxiety and fatigue (7).
A fluid loss of 1–3% equals about 1.5–4.5 pounds (0.5–2 kg) of body weight loss for a person weighing 150 pounds (68 kg). This can easily occur through normal daily activities, let alone during exercise or high heat.
Many other studies, with subjects ranging from children to older adults, have shown that mild dehydration can impair mood, memory, and brain performance (8, 9Trusted Source
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, 12, 13).
Mild dehydration (fluid loss of 1–3%) can impair energy levels, impair mood, and lead to major reductions in memory and brain performance.
3. May help prevent and treat headaches
Dehydration can trigger headaches and migraine in some individuals (14Trusted Source
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Research has shown that a headache is one of the most common symptoms of dehydration. For example, a study in 393 people found that 40% of the participants experienced a headache as a result of dehydration (14Trusted Source
What’s more, some studies have shown that drinking water can help relieve headaches in those who experience frequent headaches.
A study in 102 men found that drinking an additional 50.7 ounces (1.5 liters) of water per day resulted in significant improvements on the Migraine-Specific Quality of Life scale, a scoring system for migraine symptoms (16).
Plus, 47% of the men who drank more water reported headache improvement, while only 25% of the men in the control group reported this effect (16).
However, not all studies agree, and researchers have concluded that because of the lack of high quality studies, more research is needed to confirm how increasing hydration may help improve headache symptoms and decrease headache frequency (17Trusted Source