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

Headache remedies to help you feel better

© Ragsac19 | Dreamstime.com When headache pain has you in its grip, a fast-acting headache remedy is a top priority. Some headache remedies come in the form of medication. But there are also many ways to achieve natural headache relief. Feeling better may require a combination of treatments. More »

The best foods for vitamins and minerals

© Maksym Yemelyanov | Dreamstime.com Vitamins and minerals are as essential for living as air and water. Not only do they keep your body healthy and functional, they protect you from a variety of diseases. Vitamins and minerals get thrown together, but they are quite different. Vitamins are organic substances produced by plants or animals. They often are called "essential" because they are not synthesized in the body (except for vitamin D) and therefore must come from food. More »

Gum disease may signal warning for pancreatic cancer

Research has found that people with high levels of the oral bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis had a 59% greater risk of developing pancreatic cancer. It is too early to say whether this specific bacterium directly contributes to the disease. However, one theory is that since inflammation is related to cancer, the bacteria could cause inflammation in the pancreas. Another possibility is the bacteria are simply a marker for cancer-causing inflammation.  More »

Salt shakedown: A boon for lowering blood pressure

Health experts say the FDA’s proposed guidelines to scale down sodium levels in processed and restaurant food is a long-awaited step in the right direction. Lowering dietary sodium lowers blood pressure, a key risk factor for heart disease. Current federal guidelines advise getting no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium (one of the main components of salt) per day, but most Americans consume about 3,500 mg a day. About 75% of the sodium people consume comes from processed foods; the biggest sources include breads and rolls, pizza, and cold cuts and cured meats. (Locked) More »

The perks of group fitness classes

Group exercise classes may offer certain benefits—such as motivation from fellow participants and trained instructors—that can help improve fitness. Classes that emphasize aerobic exercise, which boosts a person’s heart and breathing rate, include dancing, water aerobics, spinning, and kickboxing. Greater cardiorespiratory fitness lowers the risk of heart disease and may prolong life. Classes such as yoga and tai chi, which incorporate movement, breathing, and meditation, may also improve risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure. (Locked) More »

The top 5 benefits of cycling

Bike riding has many health benefits. It’s easy on the joints, it’s an aerobic workout, it builds muscle and bone, and it helps with everyday activities, such as walking and stair climbing. People who have heart disease, arthritis, or thinning bones should be cleared for bike riding by their doctors. People with osteoporosis may consider riding a tricycle, which is more stable than a two-wheeler, posing less of a fall risk. The seat height should allow a slight bend at the knee at the pedal’s lowest point.  (Locked) More »

What a personal trainer can do for you

A personal trainer is a wise investment for an older man’s current and future health. He or she can identify fitness needs, teach proper workout form and execution, help to overcome exercise fears, and keep a man motivated to ensure he reaches his full potential during every workout session.  (Locked) More »