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

4 intermittent fasting side effects to watch out for

Over the last several years, intermittent fasting has become increasingly popular for its promises of improved health and weight control. The idea is that it's easier to sharply restrict calories a few days a week or to limit eating to a shortened "eating window" each day than it is to moderately cut calories at every meal, every day. Proponents claim that extended fasting periods (beyond the normal time between meals) promote cellular repair, improve insulin sensitivity, increase levels of human growth hormone, and alter gene expression in a way that promotes longevity and disease protection. But are there any risks? More »

BPA now linked to premature death

High levels of bisphenol A (BPA) exposure are linked to an increased risk for premature death from any cause, according to a study published online Aug. 17, 2020, by JAMA Network Open. More »

Coping with face mask discomfort

Wearing a face mask can be uncomfortable. It can make breathing feel a little challenging, spark feelings of claustrophobia, or irritate the face and ears. Fortunately, many steps can help reduce face mask discomfort. For example, if breathing with a mask on feels difficult, it will help to breathe at a slower rate. If ear pain is a problem, it will help to use an "ear saver" that relieves pressure on the ears. (Locked) More »

Fighting fatigue

Fatigue is a common symptom that can be caused by a whole host of factors, from medical conditions to stress and poor sleep. In order to ease ongoing fatigue, it’s important to investigate and treat the underlying cause. Fatigue that doesn’t respond to interventions or is severe or persistent should be brought to the attention of a doctor. It may be caused by a medical condition. (Locked) More »

Get connected with telemedicine

Telemedicine—interaction between patients and doctors by video or phone—has surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. It increases doctor-patient communication and is ideal for follow-ups, routine check-ins for specific conditions, and consultation for minor issues, like sore throats, aches, pains, or skin spots. Older adults may have to improve their technology and online skill or have help in order to take full advantage of telemedicine. (Locked) More »

How do I improve the quality of my sleep?

Experts recommend an average of seven to nine hours of total sleep per night, but you also want your brain to reach a stage called deep sleep. During this stage, the brain creates and stores new memories, makes a hormone that helps tissues grow and regenerate, and "flushes out" toxins and waste products that have accumulated during the day. One can take several steps to improve sleep quality, including going to bed and waking up at the same time each day; avoiding mobile phone use, exercise, or caffeine intake too close to bedtime; and using a noise machine to increase deep sleep. (Locked) More »

Low-carb and high-fat diet helps obese older adults

Science continues to explore what is the right percentage of carbohydrates and fat in people’s diets. But for obese older adults who need to lose fat and improve their health, a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet could be the best formula. More »

Medication and your skin

Medication side effects sometimes involve the skin. There are a number of medications that can cause pigment changes, including turning the skin blue. In addition, some medications may make the skin more prone to sunburns or skin cancer. A person who notices skin changes after starting a new medication should bring it to the attention of a doctor. More »

5 things to know about your morning cup of joe

A recent review found not only that coffee won’t harm cardiovascular health or raise the risk of cancer, but it may actually have some health benefits. These include a lower risk of diabetes, and certain cancers, such as liver, and endometrial cancer. Many of these benefits may come from plant chemicals found in coffee. (Locked) More »

Are you healthy enough to age in place?

There are many health-related requirements for living independently in older age. For example, one needs sharp thinking skills in order to manage medications, pay bills, choose clothes for the day, and select and buy groceries; and one needs strength, balance, and flexibility in order to get up from a chair, cook, or clean. People with weakening aspects of health should talk to a doctor for potential solutions to improve or cope with health challenges in order to continue living independently. More »