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

A check on blood pressure

A man’s blood pressure is one of the easiest and simplest measurements and can tell much about his current and possible future health. New guidelines have suggested a lower threshold for normal blood pressure in all adults. Getting blood pressure checked by one’s doctor and monitoring it on a regular basis at home can help people note any significant changes and whether they need to alter lifestyle behaviors or take medication. (Locked) More »

A major change for daily aspirin therapy

In March 2019, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology recommended against the routine use of low-dose (81-mg) aspirin in people older than 70 who do not have existing heart disease and haven’t had a stroke, or in people of any age who have an increased risk for bleeding (from a peptic ulcer, for example, with sores on the stomach lining that can bleed). The recommendations were based on three large studies. (Locked) More »

Do you really need to take 10,000 steps a day for better health?

Exercise experts often recommend that people aim to take 10,000 steps a day for good health. But that number is not backed by research. A new study shows that it may take far fewer steps to see health benefits. Women who took at least 4,400 steps each day saw a drop in their risk of dying during the study period, when compared with women who took 2,700 steps per day. (Locked) More »

Fitness trend: Nordic walking

Nordic walking is catching on in the United States as an exercise regimen, especially among older adults. The activity adds Nordic poles to a walking routine, and walkers then mimic the motions of cross-country skiers. Propelling oneself while walking combines cardiovascular exercise with a vigorous muscle workout for the shoulders, arms, core, and legs. Nordic walking is also associated with reductions in fat mass, “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and waist circumference, and increases in “good” HDL cholesterol, endurance, muscle strength and flexibility, walking distance, cardiovascular fitness, and quality of life. More »

How many eggs can I safely eat?

More recent studies show that the average healthy person suffers no harm from eating up to seven eggs per week. Eggs also are a nutritious food. They are relatively low in calories and saturated fat, and rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals. (Locked) More »

Taking multiple prescriptions can be risky

Taking multiple medications at one time is a common cause of adverse events. This might include dangerous drug interactions or unpleasant side effects. To reduce the likelihood of these problems, people should always be certain that their doctor is aware of all the drugs and supplements they are taking. An online drug interaction checker can help identify dangerous combinations. Automated pillboxes and other technology can help ensure that drugs are taken correctly. (Locked) More »

Don't give up on grains

Many people are opting for low-carb diets and cutting out grains as a result. But when they do, they might be missing out on the nutritional benefits whole grains can bring. Whole grains are not only nutrient-rich but also contain fiber and cancer-fighting plant chemicals, known as phytochemicals. To eat more, try different varieties, including brown rice, barley, steel-cut oats, and quinoa. (Locked) More »