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

6 ways to stay on your medication plan

Certain strategies can help people stay on their medication regimens. For example, a person should record when a drug is taken, how much is in the dose, and whether there are any new side effects. A person can ask his or her doctor if it’s possible to cut back on the amount of medications being taken, or to simplify dosing to once or twice daily. Other ideas are to use a pillbox and to link the act of taking medications to a daily activity, such as teeth brushing. (Locked) More »

Ask the doctor: Do I really need to floss every day?

The long-term benefits of flossing are still unknown. While new federal guidelines have dropped the recommendation for daily teeth flossing, the American Dental Association and most dentists still endorse the inexpensive and low-risk practice. More »

Get cooking at home

Many older men have never developed or have lost touch with basic culinary skills, and thus have gotten used to eating out and becoming dependent on processed and prepared foods. Yet, by learning some basic cooking techniques, older men can make a small number of stable items that can help create healthy, low-calorie, and inexpensive meals at home. (Locked) More »

What is in a food label? You may be surprised

The FDA is redefining the term “healthy” and working on a definition for “natural” for use on food packaging. The Nutrition Facts box on the back of the package is a more reliable source of information than front-label claims. (Locked) More »

What you can learn from wellderlies

“Wellderlies” is a term to describe a special group of older adults who have reached age 90 to 100 without having any major health issue or disease. If they do get sick, it often happens late in their life, shortly before death. While genes play a key role in their longevity, research has found that they also follow some basic lifestyle principles that anyone can adopt.  (Locked) More »

Can vitamin C prevent a cold?

For the general population, taking daily vitamin C does not reduce the risk of getting a cold. Taking at least 200 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C per day appears to reduce the duration of cold symptoms by an average of 8% in adults and 14% in children, meaning recovery about one day sooner. It’s best to get vitamin C from food. Eating the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day should provide the Recommended Dietary Allowance of 90 mg per day for men and 75 mg per day for women. More »