Breaking These Health Rules Can Lead to an Early Death

There are plenty of health rules that may seem easy to follow in theory, but difficult to adhere to in practice.

In fact, ignoring some of the biggest health rules may even possibly contribute to an early death in some cases. Just about every rule is relatively easy to follow, which means you can take control of your health right now. But did you know the rule on page 13 may have one of the biggest impacts on early death?

1. Exercising regularly

Moderate intensity cardio

Man exercising | Robert Daly/Getty Images

You probably know you should exercise to stay in shape, but did you know about direct health impacts? People who avoid physical activity are at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and possibly some cancers, Hopkins Medicine reports. Harvard researchers recommend exercising 30 minutes per day. Adding in exercise can contribute to living 10 years longer.

Next: You’ll also need to say ‘yes’ to this.

2. Eat your veggies (and fruit)

Refrigerator full of healthy food

Eat clean | olesiabilkei/iStocks/Getty Images

Consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help you avoid certain diseases, according to SF Gate. In addition to nutritional deficiencies, not eating your veggies (and fruit) can lead to digestive issues too. Also, your risk for diseases like diabetes and inflammation rises as well. Consuming fruits and vegetables also balances the sodium and potassium in your diet, which contribute to cardiovascular health.

Next: You need to keep this steady to stay healthy.

3. Maintain a steady weight

young healthy girl on home scales

Person an a scale | Ensuria/Getty Images

While some weigh fluctuations are normal, extreme BMI highs and lows are not. Yo-you dieting, or extreme weight gain and weight loss, may contribute to a higher possibility of getting diabetes and an increase in heart disease, according to Healthline. Dieting extremes may also lead to high blood pressure. What is a healthy BMI to maintain? Generally shoot for a body mass index between 18.5 and 24.9, Harvard researchers found.

Next: You also need to avoid this too.

4. Reduce your alcohol intake

two glass cocktail, in low light inside a pub background

Glass of alcohol |

Having more than five drinks per week may reduce your life by about five years, NBC News reports. Those who drank more had a higher incidence of disease too. This includes stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, and even fatal aortic aneurysms. Alcohol use may also increase your risk of developing heart disease and cancer. Beyond developing disease alone, the CDC estimates more than 2,000 Americans die each year from acute alcohol intoxication.

Next: This habit sometimes goes with your cocktail too.

5. Don’t smoke cigarettes

Ash tray

Ash tray | VladyslavDanilin/iStock/Getty Images

Cigarette smoking is responsible for about one in five deaths in the U.S., according to the CDC. To put this into perspective the CDC reports 10 times as many Americans have died prematurely from smoking than in every war that involved the U.S. Smoking makes you vulnerable to getting heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer too. Plus, more women die from lung cancer than breast cancer.

Next: You probably hate this visit, but it is important you go.

6. Visit the dentist

Dentist in examination room

Man at the dentist | Sam Edwards/Getty Images

If ignored, infection and dental disease can be deadly, according to PBS Frontline. In one case, an eight-year old boy died when he was unable to obtain proper dental care for a chronically infected tooth.

In the case of infection and decay, the patient usually needs some work and antibiotics. Skipping the dentist could also mean not being screened for mouth cancer, but also checking for underlying health issues from inflammation, according to The Independent.

Next: Dining on this may be hazardous to your health.

7. Don’t eat too much animal-based protein

Beef mince

Hamburger meat | Wiktory/iStock/Getty Images

While Americans may be in love with meats like bacon and pastrami, those meats aren’t in love with our bodies. Generally, the more animal protein you consume the higher your mortality rate, according to a study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine.

One study involved 170,000 participants over the course of a few decades. Of the 170,000 people, 36,000 died. The participants who died not only consumed plenty of animal protein, they also had another unhealthy lifestyle factor like obesity, smoking or inactivity too.

Next: Try it, you may like it.

8. Try vegetarianism

Vegetables recalled

Veggies | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Instead of going for the bacon cheeseburger, consider a plant-based protein instead. In fact, taking the dive into vegetarianism may prevent one in three premature deaths, Fortune reports. Research points to 200,000 lives in the U.K. being saved by simply cutting out animal protein and replacing it with plants. A plant-based diet may also lower your risk of developing heart disease too.

Next: But you may want to consider eating this.

9. Eat seafood


Seafood | Lisovskaya/Getty Images

While a plant-based diet may extend your life, so does eating fish, Time reports. Fish, such as salmon, albacore tuna, and mackerel contain omega-3 fatty acids. Researchers from Harvard found that people who had fatty acids like docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) in their diet had a 35% less chance of dying of heart disease. These fatty acids may be found in both fish and fish oil.

Next: Slather this on every single time.

10. Use sunscreen

Young woman applying sunblock cream on legs

Woman putting on sunscreen | Fizkes/iStock/Getty Images

Of course, you’ll want to wear your swimsuit to the beach, but you’ll also want to wear plenty of sunscreen too. If you don’t wear sunscreen and allow yourself to get burned you could be at risk for developing the most deadly skin cancers, called melanoma. The Skin Cancer Foundation estimates one person dies from a melanoma each hour and new cases have increased over the last decade. The risk also includes exposure in a tanning bed too.

Next: This is bad news for night owls.

11. Get a good night of sleep

Senior woman sleeping on bed in bedroom at home

Woman sleeping | Wavebreakmedia/Getty Images

Those who like to burn the midnight oil and then try to get up the next morning may be a higher risk for an early death, Forbes reports. A study found those who stay up late have a 10% higher risk of premature death. While some research suggests staying up late at night puts you at risk for potential heart issues, new research finds night owls may have a biological clock that doesn’t match up with their environment. Being up late at night could also be due to stress, eating at off times, and possibly drug or alcohol use too.

Next: Taste your food before you add salt.

12. Ditch salt

Salt shaker

Salt shaker | Sebalos/iStock/Getty Images

While you may want to season your food, covering it in salt may be linked to an early death. In fact, a study in JAMA Internal Medicine found adding too much salt can be a main cause of a diet-related linked death. Researchers note excessive salt intake may lead to about 9.5% of diet-related deaths. Consider using seasoning like garlic powder or fresh (or dried) herbs instead.

Next: This may boost your risk by 50% of a premature death.

13. Be financially stable

Piggy bank with calculator

Money bank | BrianAJackson/iStock/Getty Images

Financial instability may actually lead to an early death, CBS News reports. Middle-aged people who endure a huge financial setback may end up dying earlier than those who don’t. Researchers at Northwestern University refer to this as “wealth shock,” which may lead to chronic disease like stress and substance abuse too. While your risk of dying early goes up to 50%, researchers couldn’t pinpoint exactly why.

Next: Who knew you could actually die from this?

14. Be surrounded by a support system

Group of young

Friends eating together | ViewApart/iStock/Getty Images

Loneliness may actually be a risk factor to premature death, Forbes reports. Being socially isolated may contribute to an early death by anywhere from 30% to as high as 60%. Why is there an increased risk? Researchers believe lonely people may have a compromised immune system, which also makes the person vulnerable to even cancer and heart disease.

Next: This presents a risk too.

15. Ban this from your home


Gun | Cas Photography/iStock/Getty Images

You are more likely to increase your odds of premature death by owning a gun, Vox reports. Unfortunately, having access to a gun may increase the odds of suicide versus those who do not have a gun. Odds are also increased for homicide as well. Plus, children or people under age 25 account for approximately half of gun deaths. This includes accidental deaths too.

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