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

Are you denying yourself medical care?

Fears of catching COVID-19 may be keeping some people from seeking medical treatment. But many doctor appointments, such as those for medication management, can be handled via telemedicine. Appointments that must be conducted in person—such as dental visits and cancer screenings—can in some cases be postponed, if a doctor says it’s okay; it depends on a person’s individual health. No one should avoid treatment for an urgent medical condition, such as a suspected heart attack or stroke. (Locked) More »

5 tips to help you stay healthy this winter

To stay healthy this winter, people should stick to tried-and-true infection-control strategies, such as handwashing, following a healthy lifestyle, having regular medical check-ups, and getting a flu shot and other recommended vaccines. This year, wearing a mask and avoiding large gatherings is also important. New products marketed to kill germs may be ineffective; the best cleaning strategy is to wipe surfaces clean, and then use a simple disinfectant. (Locked) More »

COVID-19 or something else?

Many COVID-19 symptoms—such as fever, cough, or muscle aches—overlap with the symptoms of other respiratory conditions, such as influenza, a common cold, or asthma. But there are differences among the conditions. For example, a bout of the flu or a cold will not cause shortness of breath the way COVID-19 will. And while asthma can cause shortness of breath, it won’t cause a fever or body aches the way COVID-19 will. A person who’s experiencing concerning symptoms of respiratory illness should report them to a doctor. More »

Does alcohol help protect the brain?

An observational study published online June 29, 2020, by Jama Network Open found a potential link between low-to-moderate alcohol drinking in middle age and better cognitive skills in older age. More »

Home gym advantage

COVID-19 forced most gyms and fitness centers to close and to require more restrictions once they reopen. Home-based exercises are ideal for maintaining fitness during the pandemic. Investing in a stability half-ball and resistance bands can help replicate most machine or hand weight exercises. (Locked) More »

How super are "superfoods"?

Certain fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds have been labeled "superfoods" because, compared with other foods, they have higher amounts of certain vitamins and minerals and powerful antioxidants. They often are associated with combating high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and even some cancers. But instead of focusing on eating more of individual foods, experts suggest building "superplates" that include a variety of superfoods. (Locked) More »

How to get your prescriptions when you can’t leave home

There are many ways to have prescription medications delivered right to one’s home, such as using a grocery delivery service or finding a drugstore that contracts with a courier service to make home deliveries. Online pharmacies provide medications by mail. While convenient, prescription delivery has drawbacks, too, such as delays in receiving medications, or missed packages if the recipient isn’t home at the time of a delivery. When ordering prescription refills, it’s best to order well in advance, such as day 21 for a 30-day prescription. (Locked) More »

Supplements for three common conditions

If someone is unable to tolerate medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or anxiety, supplements may be an option. Evidence shows that certain supplements may be effective for these conditions, if taken properly under the supervision of your doctor. But to ensure you are buying products that are both safe and effective, look for a quality seal on the label. More »