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

Can fish oil stave off heart disease?

The question of whether fish oil staves off heart disease is not yet settled. Most available fish oil supplements don’t clearly protect against heart disease. However, eating at least two meals of fish per week does appear to protect against heart disease. (Locked) More »

Can supplements save your sex life?

Most dietary supplements for sexual function haven’t been studied scientifically and may be a waste of money or dangerous for health. The supplements often contain hidden pharmaceutical drugs—like traces of PDE5 inhibitors, medications in the same class that includes prescription erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra. Lifestyle changes such as weight loss, eating a healthy diet, limiting alcohol, and smoking cessation can help boost sexual function without medication. If not, there are medical approaches that can help. More »

Easy ways to adapt exercises when you have arthritis

As helpful as exercise is for osteoarthritic joints, it can also lead to injury. One can avoid the risks by adapting exercise so that it does not place excessive force on the joints. That may mean ditching high-impact classes that include a lot of jumping and opting for low-impact classes or pool aerobics. Other exercise classes that help include tai chi and yoga. At the gym, a stationary bicycle or an elliptical machine is good for low-impact aerobic conditioning. When using dumbbells or weight machines, it helps to use lighter weights with more repetitions. (Locked) More »

Shorter sleep may cause dehydration

Adults who sleep only six hours per night may have a higher chance of waking up dehydrated, compared with those who sleep longer. Besides getting more sleep, drinking at least one full glass of water upon waking up can help. More »

The dish on dairy

Dairy isn’t a necessary component of a healthy diet. Some research warns against consuming too much dairy, while other studies show some benefits from regular dairy consumption. Still, for many men, it is an easy way to get the required calcium, vitamin D, and protein they need to keep their heart, muscles, and bones healthy and functioning properly. (Locked) More »

The hidden dangers of dietary supplements

Research suggests that many types of dietary supplements contain hidden pharmaceutical ingredients, including erectile dysfunction drugs, weight-loss medications, antidepressants, anabolic steroids, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. More »

Does your face need a workout?

Some publications and online sources have been touting face workouts as way to slim, tighten, and improve the appearance of the face. But there is no hard evidence that these exercises work as advertised. In theory, they may be helpful for certain conditions, but improvements are likely to be small. More »