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

Can I take an expired medication?

Most drugs remain potent after their expiration dates. You may want to move it to the refrigerator, though, because drugs stored in cool temperatures usually remain potent longer. (Locked) More »

Why you should heed a ministroke

Transient ischemic attacks signal “silent” brain damage and impending stroke. Prompt treatment can minimize damage and prevent strokes. Controlling blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose levels, along with a healthy lifestyle, can prevent TIAs. (Locked) More »

You can protect yourself against superbugs

Infections of antibiotic-resistant bacteria are increasing. People can reduce the risk by washing hands regularly, having recommended vaccines, taking antibiotics only as prescribed, and choosing organic meat, poultry, and dairy. (Locked) More »

Cutting calories offers benefits for normal and overweight adults

 Reducing daily calorie intake by 25% may improve health-related quality of life even in people who are not overweight, according to a new study. After two years following a specific diet plan, subjects lost an average of 16.7 pounds, compared with less than a pound in control subjects. They also had better mood, less tension, greater general health, higher sexual drive, and better quality of sleep.  More »

Dental implant reality check

A dental implant is a small titanium post that’s surgically placed into the jawbone. In time, it fuses with the bone and provides a base for a porcelain replacement tooth that will later be screwed into the implant. After surgery, it’s important to avoid crunchy and sticky foods and stick to a soft diet until the gums heal. In older adults, dental implants are typically used to replace one or two missing teeth or to anchor a bridge or dentures to keep them secure during chewing and speaking. (Locked) More »

Exercise-free activities that work your muscles and heart

Engaging in recreational or household activities that work the heart and muscles is an effective way to get a workout. Examples include swimming, gardening, dancing, bowling, playing tennis, brisk walking, playing with kids, golfing, vigorous house cleaning, and any other activities that increase heart rate and make the muscles move. It’s important to track the time doing these activities when substituting them for a traditional workout. Activity trackers and journals are handy tools for this.  More »

Feel the beat

Measuring resting heart rate (RHR)—the number of heartbeats per minute while at rest—provides a real-time snapshot of heart muscle function. When considered in the context of other markers, such as blood pressure and cholesterol, RHR can be used to identify potential health problems before they manifest as well as gauge a person’s current heart health.  (Locked) More »

Prescription drug and supplement use on the rise among seniors

Older Americans are taking more prescription drugs and dietary supplements than in years past. More than a third of adults ages 62 to 85 take five or more prescription medications, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, or dietary supplements. Polypharmacy—taking multiple medications—could put one in six seniors at risk for drug interactions. But the most commonly reported examples of these combinations are not necessarily dangerous. For example, aspirin and clopidogrel (Plavix) are often prescribed in combination for people who’ve had a heart attack or received an artery-opening stent.  More »