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Bye-Bye Bad Habits...


Hello to a Healthy New Year!

If ever there are bad habits worth kicking, binge drinking and smoking would have to compete for first place. Of course it’s one thing to resolve to “never do that again” while memories (or migraines) of holiday indulgence remain painfully fresh. But as willpower fades, and temptations return like the ghost of yesteryear, it can be hard to stick to those good intentions. Well, here are some extra incentives to help keep you on the straight and narrow.

So, you’ve sworn off smoking — good for you! If improving your own health isn’t enough motivation, how about the health of your loved ones? Second hand smoke risks “somewhere down the line” may seem abstract, but new research shows that your bad habit may have immediate impact on others’ ability to breathe. That’s the implication of findings presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians. Healthy volunteers were monitored after exposure to cigarette smoke in a test chamber simulating an enclosed, smoke-filled area. Within minutes, subjects suffered diminished lung capacity and increased oxidative stress.

No brainer, you say? Well the next, seemingly relatively harmless habit, could be a literal no brainer — as in brain damage from stroke. If you congratulate yourself for the rarity of your hangovers, you may want to reconsider. Finnish researchers compared alcohol consumption habits to incidence of stroke risk among 2,682 middle-aged men monitored over the course of nearly 16 years. Analysis showed that men with more than just one hangover a year were about 300% more likely to suffer a clot-induce stroke. Talk about a sobering statistic!

Turns out picking up a piece of fruit may help you put down that cigarette — while more produce can help with weight loss resolutions as well. And if your fruit of choice is a banana, you’ll enjoy a bevy of nutrients that can help salve (your last, we hope) hangover as well.

Published January 1, 2014

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