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 plan for easy stretching

Regular stretching becomes even more important as people age. Flexibility naturally declines over time as muscles lose strength and tone, and ligaments and tendons get tighter, which makes many everyday movements more difficult like reaching overhead, squatting, twisting, and bending over. A simple daily all-around stretching routine can help improve flexibility and mobility. More »

Learn new things without leaving home

There are many ways to learn something new while at home. Tools include smartphone apps, books, online classes, project kits, podcasts, and even YouTube videos. Learning something new brings invaluable health benefits, such as sharper thinking and maybe even better brain health. The reason behind better thinking skills that result from learning could be new brain cell connections, which may lead to more paths for information to get where it needs to go. More »

Living room workouts

There are many ways to exercise when stuck indoors. Just stepping in place is a simple and effective aerobic workout: one should lift the knees high and raise and lower the arms to get to get the heart and lungs pumping harder. For a home strength training workout, one can lift household objects such as soup cans, or do body weight exercises such as standing planks and bridges. To stretch while at home, one can practice yoga or tai chi, or follow a list of stretches. (Locked) More »

The questions about fish oil supplements

Some research says taking a daily fish oil supplement can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, while other studies say the evidence remains thin. While fish oil is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids (essential nutrients that the body cannot make on its own),  taking an over-the-counter fish oil supplement probably provides no extra heart benefit beyond a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of omega-3-rich fatty fish, nuts, and seeds. (Locked) More »

Adopting a Mediterranean-style diet, one meal at a time

The Mediterranean diet is touted for its health benefits, which include a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and potentially even improvements to the gut bacteria, which may reduce harmful inflammation inside the body. Making some simple changes to your current diet can help improve your health. These include switching to olive oil as the primary fat, eating more whole grains and less processed food and sugar and reducing red meat consumption. Whenever possible, base your daily diet on a base of vegetables, fruits and plant-based options. (Locked) More »