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 flexible way to stretch

It’s normal for people to become less limber as they age as their muscles shrink and their tendons lose their water content. A sedentary lifestyle can make the condition even worse. This lack of flexibility can increase a person’s risk of injuries and make everyday movements more difficult. Yet it’s possible to slow and even reverse the loss of flexibility by adopting a regular all-around stretching routine. More »

Common eye problems and how to fix them

Eyes often develop minor problems, becoming dry, gooey, itchy, or watery. Many symptoms are temporary and can be treated at home. For example, dry or burning eyes can be treated with artificial tears; itchy eyes can be relieved with antihistamines. However, if a symptom is persistent and has been going on for many days or there’s something that’s severe for a shorter period, it may be time to visit a doctor. An ophthalmologist or an optometrist can help. (Locked) More »

Fried foods linked to earlier death

A new study shows that women who eat fried chicken or seafood daily have a higher risk of early death from any cause and also specifically from heart-related causes than women who don’t eat fried food at all. Reducing fried food intake is recommended for better health. (Locked) More »

Get healthy for vacation

Taking regular vacations is good for one’s health, but to ensure this time is healthy and injury-free, people should adopt several strategies before and during their trip. This includes updating their medication, increasing their endurance, practicing good hydration, getting enough sleep, and protecting themselves from local insects and possible food contamination. (Locked) More »

Keeping your weight stable in older age

To gain weight safely in older age, eat several smaller meals and focus on nutrient-dense foods. Examples include oatmeal with berries and walnuts; a salad with spinach, tomatoes, cheese, beans, shelled sunflower seeds, and avocado dressing; brown rice with raisins, almonds, chicken chunks, and asparagus pieces; or simple meals and snacks such as scrambled eggs with cheese or whole-wheat crackers with peanut butter. A healthy weight gain should happen slowly. Aim for gaining 2 or 3 pounds per month. (Locked) More »

Tips for better bowel control

Stool can leak out of the rectum accidentally—a condition called fecal incontinence—as a result of aging, an underlying condition, or damage to nerves or muscles. A fiber supplement such as Metamucil or Citrucel can help reduce incidents of loose stool leakage. An over-the-counter antidiarrheal medication such as loperamide (Imodium) can also help. A surgical procedure called sacral nerve stimulation can help curb solid stool incontinence. Pelvic floor exercises can also help reduce leakages, but won’t solve the problem. More »