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

A check on blood pressure

A man’s blood pressure is one of the easiest and simplest measurements and can tell much about his current and possible future health. New guidelines have suggested a lower threshold for normal blood pressure in all adults. Getting blood pressure checked by one’s doctor and monitoring it on a regular basis at home can help people note any significant changes and whether they need to alter lifestyle behaviors or take medication. (Locked) More »

Are you drinking too much alcohol?

AUD is the umbrella term for problem drinking, whether from alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence. While both are marked by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use, they’re not the same. Alcohol abuse causes significant problems in one’s life at home or at work, but it doesn’t involve physical addiction. Alcohol dependence is different. It’s a physical addiction to alcohol that causes withdrawal symptoms when a person stops drinking. AUD is classified as mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the number of symptoms a person exhibits. (Locked) More »

Do you really need to take 10,000 steps a day for better health?

Exercise experts often recommend that people aim to take 10,000 steps a day for good health. But that number is not backed by research. A new study shows that it may take far fewer steps to see health benefits. Women who took at least 4,400 steps each day saw a drop in their risk of dying during the study period, when compared with women who took 2,700 steps per day. (Locked) More »

Fitness trend: Nordic walking

Nordic walking is catching on in the United States as an exercise regimen, especially among older adults. The activity adds Nordic poles to a walking routine, and walkers then mimic the motions of cross-country skiers. Propelling oneself while walking combines cardiovascular exercise with a vigorous muscle workout for the shoulders, arms, core, and legs. Nordic walking is also associated with reductions in fat mass, “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and waist circumference, and increases in “good” HDL cholesterol, endurance, muscle strength and flexibility, walking distance, cardiovascular fitness, and quality of life. More »

Give your heart health a lift

Cardio exercise may help improve many aspects of heart health, such as lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reduce plaque buildup to improve blood flow, and help maintain a healthy weight. But if people cannot meet the 150 minutes of recommended weekly aerobic activity, new research suggests that weight training for just an hour per week can be just as effective for protecting against heart attacks and strokes. (Locked) More »

How do I get rid of dandruff?

Persistent dandruff may be caused by another medical condition, such as seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, a fungal infection, or eczema. If dandruff doesn’t respond to treatment, it should be checked by a doctor. (Locked) More »

How many eggs can I safely eat?

More recent studies show that the average healthy person suffers no harm from eating up to seven eggs per week. Eggs also are a nutritious food. They are relatively low in calories and saturated fat, and rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals. (Locked) More »

Keep your health habits on track during the holidays

The holiday season is a busy time of year when many people let their good exercise habits and diet slip. Planning ahead for the season can help people stay on track. Some strategies to help maintain good health habits include tracking your fitness and diet, focusing on social connections instead of food and drink at parties, and looking for new, interesting workouts. More »

The kidney stone diet: Not as restrictive as you may think

Harvard doctors say long lists of foods to avoid in order to ward off a second kidney stone are often too restrictive. While it’s important to limit foods high in oxalate, it’s unnecessary to avoid all foods with oxalate. Instead, doctors suggest avoiding foods with more than 75 mg of oxalate per 100-gram serving. Such foods include many nuts, spinach, and rhubarb. Other approaches to avoiding another kidney stone include getting enough dietary calcium, limiting animal protein, and drinking 2 to 3 liters of fluid per day. (Locked) More »