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

Is low-fat or full-fat the better choice for dairy products?

Full-fat dairy products can bring health risks because of the high levels of saturated fat they contain. To ensure good health and good nutrition, it’s important to keep tabs on the amount of saturated fat you eat, and focus on eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. (Locked) More »

Refueling your energy levels

Everyone has the occasional low-energy day, but constant fatigue can make people less mentally and physically active, and diminish overall quality of life. To fight fatigue and increase your energy level, eat healthier foods, exercise regularly and be sure to get enough quality sleep. However, if you have unusual fatigue, it can be an early warning of a serious illness and should be checked out by a doctor. (Locked) More »

Should you try the keto diet?

The ketogenic diet deprives the body of carbohydrates for fuel. Instead, the body uses ketone bodies, a type of fuel that the liver produces from stored fat. Keto diet followers must eat fat at each meal. In a daily 2,000-calorie diet, that might look like 165 grams of fat, 40 grams of carbs, and 75 grams of protein. Ditching carbs means limiting fruits and vegetables, which raises the risk for nutrient deficiencies. The keto diet also increases the risk for kidney, liver, mood, and thinking problems. More »

Take that, muscle cramps!

When muscle cramps strike suddenly, gently stretching the muscle can relieve pain. A shortcut for nighttime leg cramp stretches is sitting up in bed, looping the blanket around the foot, and gently pulling the toes up while keeping the knee straight. A “child’s pose” yoga posture can help ease back cramps. A “forward bend” yoga pose may relieve hamstring cramps. After stretching the muscle, it helps to put a heating pad on the area to promote blood flow, and then to gently massage the muscle. (Locked) More »

Americans aren’t meeting exercise goals

A report published online June 28, 2018, by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics suggested that most Americans are not meeting the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities. More »

Rethinking the 30-minute workout

Federal guidelines advocate 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week for optimal health, which breaks down to 30 minutes, five days a week. People who have trouble finding the time for exercise can break down their 30-minute workouts into smaller segments throughout the day. Also, doing less than the required 150 weekly minutes can still offer significant health benefits compared with not doing any exercise. (Locked) More »