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

5 tools to help you stand up on your own

Some tools can help people stand up from a seated position. For example, a “couch cane” provides additional support to get up off of a couch. A car grab bar slips into a door latch and acts as an extra support to lean on when exiting or entering a car. Rotating seat cushions help a person swing the legs into standing position. And furniture risers raise the height of a seat, which may also assist someone when standing. The ultimate assistance in getting up from a chair is an automatic electric recliner. (Locked) More »

How to adopt a Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet has been touted for its heart- and cancer-fighting abilities, and countless studies have backed up its reputation as one of the world’s healthiest diets. The best way to adopt the Mediterranean diet is add more of its staple foods into every meal as much as possible, so the eating pattern eventually feels like a lifestyle and not a structured, rules-oriented diet. (Locked) More »

5 medications that can cause problems in older age

Medications that caused few if any side effects in youth can cause discomfort or risky side effects later in life. Common offenders include anti-anxiety drugs, antihistamines, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, sleeping pills, and tricyclic antidepressants. While a person may not have to avoid using these medications in older age, it may be necessary to use them carefully and judiciously: minimizing doses, using them only when necessary, and turning to other methods to manage symptoms when they arise. (Locked) More »

CBD products are everywhere. But do they work?

Many products containing cannabidiol (CBD) are now on the market. Some of these products may be a good option for certain health conditions, such as chronic pain or even anxiety and sleep disorders. But product regulation is not consistent, quality may vary, and in some instances products may contain too little CBD to be clinically effective. (Locked) More »

Counting on calories

Men ages 50 and older need anywhere from 2,000 to 2,800 calories per day. The exact amount, however, depends on many individual factors, such as age, weight, height, metabolism, and most important, activity level. Focusing on quality of food instead of quantity by embracing a diet that includes whole grains, nuts, fish, and fruits and vegetables can provide the necessary calories along with the vitamins and other micronutrients men need for an active and healthy life. (Locked) More »

Maximizing home food delivery

There are many options for home food delivery, such as grocery store delivery, restaurant food delivery, and subscription produce clubs. Most services require customers to place orders on a website or smartphone app. When restaurant food arrives, one should make sure it’s still warm, and eat it right away or put it into the refrigerator. If a person isn’t home to receive a delivery of food from the grocery store or from a produce club, food will be left outside, potentially allowing cold items to spoil. So one should try to be home when a delivery is expected. (Locked) More »

The state of gas

The average person produces between ½ and 1 liter of gas per day, and passes gas about 10 to 20 times during the day. However, what a person eats—or more specifically how the body digests these foods—can increase gas production. The more common gas-producing foods contain short-chain carbohydrates called FODMAPs. Working with a nutritionist to identify specific problem foods and adjusting their amounts can help control excess gas. (Locked) More »