Staying Healthy

Maintaining good health doesn't happen by accident. It requires work, smart lifestyle choices, and the occasional checkup and test.

A healthy diet is rich in fiber, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, "good" or unsaturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids. These dietary components turn down inflammation, which can damage tissue, joints, artery walls, and organs. Going easy on processed foods is another element of healthy eating. Sweets, foods made with highly refined grains, and sugar-sweetened beverages can cause spikes in blood sugar that can lead to early hunger. High blood sugar is linked to the development of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and even dementia.

The Mediterranean diet meets all of the criteria for good health, and there is convincing evidence that it is effective at warding off heart attack, stroke, and premature death. The diet is rich in olive oil, fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish; low in red meats or processed meats; and includes a moderate amount of cheese and wine.

Physical activity is also necessary for good health. It can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancer, depression, and falls. Physical activity improves sleep, endurance, and even sex. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week, such as brisk walking. Strength training, important for balance, bone health, controlling blood sugar, and mobility, is recommended 2-3 times per week.

Finding ways to reduce stress is another strategy that can help you stay healthy, given the connection between stress and a variety of disorders. There are many ways to bust stress. Try, meditation, mindfulness, yoga, playing on weekends, and taking vacations.

Finally, establish a good relationship with a primary care physician. If something happens to your health, a physician you know —and who knows you — is in the best position to help. He or she will also recommend tests to check for hidden cancer or other conditions.

Staying Healthy Articles

Indoor cycling for older adults

Indoor cycling is a low-impact exercise that’s easy on the joints, and popular among older adults. It involves sitting on a high-tech stationery bicycle, in a group setting, with an instructor calling out instructions to simulate a real bicycle ride. Many classes are specifically for seniors, with instructors who are familiar with modifications for that age group. Indoor cycling has many health benefits, such as improving endurance and heart health, lowering blood pressure and stress levels, and strengthening hip and leg muscles.  (Locked) More »

Now hear this: You may need hearing aids

Some estimates suggest that by age 65, about one-third of men need hearing aids; however, only half of this group wear them. Many men resist hearing aids because they symbolize declining health, but these tiny devices can improve their communication skills, their relationships, and even their brain function.  (Locked) More »

Say cheese?

Even though dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, and milk contain saturated fat, they don’t seem to pose a risk to heart health. Other nutrients found in dairy products, such as calcium and potassium, which may help lower blood pressure, may explain the observation. But some nutrition experts recommend choosing low-fat milk and yogurt and not eating too much cheese. Replacing dairy fat with plant-based unsaturated fat appears to be a healthier choice.  (Locked) More »

What causes a cough after a cold?

A persistent cough that remains after an infection has been treated can last for a month or two. There are several treatments that may offer relief, such as antihistamines or a bronchodilator inhaler.  (Locked) More »

What to do for bronchitis

Although bronchitis may last up to three weeks, it usually doesn’t warrant antibiotics or medical treatment. Rest, fluids, acetaminophen for pain, nonprescription cough remedies, and steam therapy can ease symptoms. (Locked) More »

When is it okay to split medication in half?

Splitting a pill into two equal halves is sometimes necessary when needing to adjust dosage, or as a means to save money buy purchasing higher-dose pills. However, splitting is not safe for all pills, so a person should always consult a pharmacist or doctor. (Locked) More »