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

7 ways to safeguard your feet

Protecting the feet is important to mobility. Ways to do that include inspecting feet daily for potential problems, keeping toenails trim, wearing the right shoes, and avoiding going barefoot. One should also get an annual check-up with a foot and ankle specialist, either an orthopedic foot and ankle specialist or a podiatrist. The expert will often be able to pick up signs of foot trouble early, which is often the key to safe, simple, and effective treatment. (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 »

Does drinking coffee offer health benefits?

Drinking regular coffee is linked with lower rates of diseases and a longer life span, although science still cannot provide solid evidence for its potential benefit. Still, enjoying a daily cup or two does not present any major risks, although a person should be careful about consuming too much caffeine from coffee, as high amounts can lead to acid reflux and a rapid heart rate. (Locked) More »

Medical marijuana: Know the facts

Even though medical marijuana has been approved in 28 states and the District of Columbia, in-depth human-based research is lacking. Some initial research has found it helpful for conditions like pain, glaucoma, and nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy, but science is still trying to connect the dots as to how, and if, it works. (Locked) More »

Positive outlook may mean better sleep

People who feel they have more meaning and purpose in life have fewer sleep problems. The connection could work two ways: people who feel good about their lives tend to be more proactive about maintaining good health, which is linked to better sleep, and people who battle issues that lower one’s outlook on life, like depression and heart disease, tend to have more sleeping problems. More »