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

Free services to help your health

There are many free services that can help improve health. Grocery store workers can point shoppers toward fruits and vegetables that are in season and the freshest cuts of meat. Pharmacists may be able to dispense free prescription medications or free advice about how to use medications, and even take a person’s blood pressure at no charge. Some universities offer free online academic classes. Some nonprofit organizations provide free food to people who are too sick to shop or cook for themselves. And many organizations offer free exercise classes for older adults. (Locked) More »

More over-the-counter hearing aids on the way

In August 2017, Congress and the president approved the Over–the-Counter Hearing Aid Act, which gives the FDA three years to establish an over-the-counter hearing aid category and develop safety and labeling rules for the devices. More »

Older adults are drinking more alcohol

Excessive alcohol use among adults ages 65 or older increased significantly between 2001 and 2013. Older adults are at higher risk for disability, illness, and death from many alcohol-related chronic diseases, falls, and injuries. More »

Sodium in groceries on the decline

It appears that from 2000 to 2014, the amount of sodium in purchased packaged foods declined from about 2,300 milligrams (mg) per person per day to about 1,900 mg per person per day. More »

Trending now: Sprouted grains

Sprouted grains are whole-grain seeds that have just begun to grow and aren’t quite plants yet. They have more available nutrients than regular grains. Sprouted grains can be cooked as a side dish or mashed into a paste for used in baked goods. In grocery stores, sprouted grains can be purchased raw or in products such as sprouted-grain flours, breads, muffins, and even pizza crust. Just because a product contains sprouted whole grains, it doesn’t mean it has more nutrients than a regular whole-grain product. It’s important to read the Nutrition Facts label to compare nutrition content. (Locked) More »

Better balance: Activities to keep you on an even keel

Many types of common physical activity can help improve balance. For example, climbing stairs without holding onto the railing trains the body to balance on one leg and improves leg stability. Playing tennis challenges coordination and reaction time, which helps balance. Tai chi and yoga train the body to shift in space and control movement. Other common activities that can boost balance include playing golf, walking sideways or backward, and playing soccer. Before starting any of these activities, one should get a doctor’s okay first. More »