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 factors to help you gauge where COVID-19 risk is highest

To get an idea where COVID-19 risks are highest, one should consider if an environment has poor airflow, crowds, and low use of face masks. The amount of time spent somewhere and the ability to sanitize the hands should also be considered. The more risk factors that are present, the higher the risk. For example, spending an hour in a crowded, stuffy gym with low face mask use is a bad idea; it’s better to go for a walk and lift dumbbells at home. (Locked) More »

Common ways to fight the common cold

While there is no cure for the common cold, there are plenty of remedies, such as zinc lozenges, vitamin C, and even old-fashioned chicken soup. Taking them at the first onset of symptoms like a scratchy throat, stuffy nose, and achiness may reduce the severity and duration of cold symptoms. While the science is somewhat mixed on their effectiveness, experts suggest there is often little harm in trying them. (Locked) More »

Easy ways to fight pandemic-era inactivity

Two-, five-, or 10-minute breaks are all it takes to interrupt the unhealthy physiological processes percolating during long periods of sitting. Ideas for two-minute breaks include hula-hooping or stair climbing. Five-minute breaks allow enough time to walk around the yard or complete household chores. The best way to maximize a 10-minute break is to take a brisk walk outside or follow a 10-minute video designed specifically for a mini workout, such tai chi, yoga, or dance. (Locked) More »

Got a cold? Try some honey

A review of studies published Aug. 18, 2020, by BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine suggests that consuming honey appears to improve upper respiratory tract infection symptoms and in some cases shorten the duration of symptoms by a day or two. More »

Moderate amounts of coffee are the best

Drinking no more than four or five 8-ounce cups of coffee per day—equal to about 400 milligrams of caffeine—helps people get the drink’s health benefits with a lower risk of caffeine side effects like anxiety and nervousness. More »

Should I get a flu shot this year?

This year, getting a flu shot is more important than ever, because it can not only protect people against the flu, but will also reduce the burden on health care systems. More »

Stuck at home?

It may be difficult to leave the house to exercise this winter, but there are numerous exercises that can be done at home, including walking, stationary biking, strength training, yoga, tai chi, and balance training. Most of these options don’t require expensive equipment or a live instructor. Online classes are also a great option if a person can’t get to the gym. More »

The best way to beat colon cancer

Colon cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths, but the death rate has steadily dropped over the past several decades among older adults. Experts point to more colon cancer screening as the main reason. A colonoscopy continues to be the gold standard for effective screening, but there are other options for people who are not ready for a full colonoscopy, or who can’t have one because of certain health conditions. (Locked) More »