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

Easy upper-body boosters

The loss of muscle mass begins in one’s 30s and accelerates after age 60. A loss of upper-body strength can make it more difficult to complete daily activities, and it may also increase the risk for muscle injury during an activity that involves reaching. A physical therapy program can help increase muscle mass in older age. A program typically involves gentle stretching to keep muscles supple, plus strengthening exercises like triceps curls, with low amounts of weight (just a few pounds) and a high number of repetitions. More »

Getting your five a day

Research has consistently shown that eating five servings of fruits and vegetables per day is associated with a lower risk of heart disease. However, many men have trouble reaching this daily quota. To achieve this goal, it’s best to focus on food quality and adding some fruits and vegetables to every meal and snacks. (Locked) More »

Are cracking joints a sign of arthritis?

The cracking and popping sounds in joints are often due to tendons or muscles moving over the joint or the popping of nitrogen bubbles normally in the joint space, and are not an early sign of arthritis. More »

Can you be overweight and still be fit?

Science is quite clear that excess weight carries considerable health risks, including a higher risk for heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. Yet where that weight accumulates may pose the greatest threat. A large waist size suggests excess visceral (belly) fat, which is stored in the abdominal cavity and surrounds vital organs like the pancreas, liver, and intestines. It poses an increased heart attack risk because of its association with high blood pressure, elevated blood sugars and abnormal lipid levels. (Locked) More »

Extra protein does not build more muscle

While it might seem natural to think that increasing protein intake could help improve muscle strength and performance, a new study confirmed that taking in more than the Recommended Dietary Allowance did not improve lean body mass, muscle performance, or physical function among older men. More »

Fermented foods can add depth to your diet

Fermented foods, which are preserved using an age-old method, can provide health benefits if eaten regularly. Fermented foods containing live active cultures can help support a healthy gut microbiome, which helps to ensure that the lining of the intestines is strong and doesn’t allow digested material to leak out of the intestinal tract. This condition, called leaky gut syndrome, has been linked to a number of chronic diseases and health conditions. (Locked) More »

Is poison ivy contagious?

A rash from poison ivy can’t be passed from one person to another, but plant oil remaining on clothing or other items can cause a reaction. (Locked) More »

Precious metals and other important minerals for health

The body doesn’t manufacture essential minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, chromium, copper, and iron. Instead, the minerals come from diet. Most people can meet recommended intakes of dietary minerals by eating a healthy diet rich in fresh foods. But some minerals, such as magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium, may be harder for people to obtain in the proper amounts. In those cases, it may be necessary to increase dietary intake of certain minerals or to take a dietary supplement. But it depends on an individual’s needs. (Locked) More »

The benefits and risks of multigenerational fitness parks

Multigenerational fitness parks offer fun ways to exercise. The parks include playground equipment that’s suitable for people of all ages: swings are sturdy and roomy; slides are wide, with gentle slopes; and seesaws have ergonomically designed seats that are easy to sit on. The equipment makes it possible for adults to play alongside their kids or grandkids or other children. The parks may also include outdoor fitness equipment, such as leg presses and recumbent bicycles to build leg, hip, and core muscles and elliptical or cross-country ski machines for a total body workout. (Locked) More »