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

Bargain or beware? Tips to buy gently used medical equipment

There are several points to consider when getting used home medical equipment, such as whether an item has been sanitized, whether it’s adjustable, whether a seat cushion will provide the proper support, and whether any accompanying motors or batteries are working properly. It’s important to do a thorough assessment of the item or hire a technician who can do it. If equipment doesn’t seem to fit the user or if it has missing parts, one should keep looking for other options. (Locked) More »

Common physical problems that threaten your driving skills

There are many physical changes that can affect driving skills. For example, arthritis pain may make it hard to grip a steering wheel, get in and out of a car, or push the pedals; hearing loss can make it harder to detect hazards, such as an ambulance approaching an intersection. Driving assessment programs can help people find out if their conditions are impairing their road skills. The goal of such programs is to keep people in the driver’s seat, so that they can stay safe, mobile, and independent for as long as possible. (Locked) More »

Focus on easier reading

At some point, almost all people need reading glasses as their eyes naturally lose the ability to focus up close, a condition called presbyopia. People also may get extra reading assistance by using desk magnifiers, lubricating the eyes with artificial tears, and installing proper lighting. (Locked) More »

Keeping tabs on triglycerides

Lowering LDL cholesterol levels is an important way to reduce the risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. But people also should monitor their triglycerides—the most common type of fat in the body. In some cases, medications help lower high levels, but lifestyle changes are the preferred method, such as eating healthier carbohydrates, curbing alcohol, losing weight, and increasing exercise. (Locked) More »

Longer work week, higher blood pressure

People who worked 49 or more hours each week were more likely to have high blood pressure than workers who were on the job fewer than 35 hours a week. This difference remained after taking into account other risk factors for high blood pressure. More »

Plant milk or cow’s milk: Which is better for you?

There is no health reason to switch from cow’s milk to a plant-based alternative. But people who do want to switch should ensure that the product they choose has a nutritional profile similar to cow’s milk. Some plant-based milks contain similar nutrients. Others fall short, particularly on protein. People should also try to avoid products with extra sugar and other additives. (Locked) More »

Run for a healthier life

New research has found that running for about an hour per week can offer many health benefits and it does not matter how far or fast you run during this period. For people who are hesitant about taking up running, adopting a simple run/walk program can help many novices ease into running no matter their fitness level. (Locked) More »

The best breads in the grocery store

Healthy breads are made of whole grains and have a short ingredients list. To find a healthy bread in a grocery store, one should read the ingredients list to make sure whole grains are used, and read the Nutrition Facts label to make sure each slice (or 28-gram serving) contains no more than 80 calories, less than 100 milligrams of sodium, at least 3 grams of fiber, less than 3 grams of sugar (and zero added sugar), 15 grams of carbohydrates, and no saturated fat. (Locked) More »