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

Antibiotics: Part of the cure or part of the problem?

Studies show that antibiotics are overused, a problem that can lead to antibiotic resistance and unnecessary medication-related side effects. To prevent misuse, it’s important to take antibiotics only when they’re truly needed. Sometimes this means waiting a few days to see if a condition improves on its own before initiating antibiotics. (Locked) More »

Crave a better appetite

It is common for appetite to decline with age because of loss of taste buds and sense of smell, chewing problems, medication side effects, and gastrointestinal issues. These problems can change men’s eating habits, leading them to move away from healthier foods to ones that can increase their risk of high cholesterol high blood pressure and diabetes. Changing how men approach meals and meal making and addressing medical concerns can often help increase their appetite for healthier fare. (Locked) More »

Surprising sources of dietary fiber

Legumes aren’t the only good source of fiber. Many nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables are also loaded with fiber. For example, an ounce of chia seeds (about 2 tablespoons) has about 10 grams of fiber. One cup of either cooked whole-grain Kamut or teff has about 7 grams of fiber. Many fruits are good fiber sources, too, such as raspberries, with 8 grams of fiber in a cup. Vegetables can also be rich in fiber, such as Brussels sprouts or dark, leafy greens. (Locked) More »

Do I need a shingles vaccine booster?

The shingles vaccine becomes less effective over time, but currently there is no approved booster shot available. To ensure protection at the time of greatest risk, people should get the vaccine at age 60 or older. (Locked) 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 »

Sniffing out sinus relief

Chronic sinusitis strikes when inflammation leads to swelling within the lining of the sinuses. This can interfere with normal drainage, cause mucus buildup, and make it hard to breathe through the nose. Over-the-counter treatments and home remedies can often control the problem, although surgery is sometimes needed for severe cases. (Locked) More »

Taking too much vitamin D can cloud its benefits and create health risks

In recent years, there has been more research into the role vitamin D plays in the development of chronic diseases. While evidence showing vitamin D as a cause for disease or a means to prevent it is far from conclusive, vitamin D supplements and testing have seen a surge in popularity. It is important to stick to recommended doses, unless a doctor advises otherwise. Taking too much can be harmful. More »

Why do I bruise more easily as I age?

Easy bruising is more common for older men due to less fat tissue and more fragile blood vessels. Common medications like blood thinners, aspirin, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs also can increase your risk. Men should see their doctor if they experience unusual or frequent bruising. (Locked) More »