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

Grain or seed of the month: Wheat

About 75% of all grain products in this country are made with wheat. But most contain highly processed white flour, which is less nutritious than options such as 100% whole-wheat bread or bulgur wheat. (Locked) More »

How long does a drug stay in my system?

Most drugs will leave a person’s system quite quickly, but the symptoms of side effects may remain for some time. If symptoms from side effects persist, people should contact their doctor. (Locked) More »

Is there an age limit for a colonoscopy?

Whether men age 80 and older should have a colonoscopy depends upon many factors. Yet, the most important question is whether anything found on the colonoscopy will lead to treatment that improves a person’s quality of life. (Locked) More »

Keep your digestion moving

Over time, everyone’s digestive system works less efficiently and people can develop food intolerance or begin taking medications that can affect digestion. These changes can create problems like gas, bloating, cramps, and constipation. By identifying the reasons for the digestive issues, managing them becomes easier and can help keep the entire system running smoothly. (Locked) More »

Pickleball pleasures and pitfalls

Pickleball has some drawbacks for older adults. One is that the game is not a total aerobic workout, although it can help work the muscles. Another drawback is the risk of injuries, such as strains or sprains of the ankle and knees. Pickleball also has fall and fracture risks for older players. Players can prepare for pickleball by wearing the right clothing during a game (shorts, court sneakers, and goggles); warming up before the game; and stretching the muscles after playing. (Locked) More »

Rural health risks?

People in rural areas were more likely to die of preventable causes than those living in urban areas, according to a CDC report. More »

Stand tall

Poor posture doesn’t just affect your appearance. It may lead to chronic pain and a curvature of the upper back known as kyphosis. Exercises that target your upper body, back, and core can help improve your posture. Other good strategies are to try yoga or tai chi or to work with a physical therapist to improve your strength and flexibility. (Locked) More »

Tips to keep lost weight off in the New Year

Maintaining weight loss can be more challenging than losing it in the first place. This is the case because your body drives you to store more fat. Unless you address that underlying regulatory problem, you will likely regain the weight. Some common causes of the underlying metabolic problems are stress, poor sleep, or medication. (Locked) More »