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

4 stretches to keep your shoulders in shape

An easy way to stave off shoulder problems is to regularly stretch the muscles that support the joints. Stretching the muscles fixes the shortening that occurs with disuse and extends muscles to their full length. The more one stretches the muscles, the longer and more flexible they’ll become. That will help increase range of motion, ward off pain, reduce the risk for injury, and improve your posture. In order to stretch the muscles, one should warm up the muscles and then hold stretches without moving for 30 seconds to two minutes. More »

5 medications that can cause problems in older age

Medications that caused few if any side effects in youth can cause discomfort or risky side effects later in life. Common offenders include anti-anxiety drugs, antihistamines, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, sleeping pills, and tricyclic antidepressants. While a person may not have to avoid using these medications in older age, it may be necessary to use them carefully and judiciously: minimizing doses, using them only when necessary, and turning to other methods to manage symptoms when they arise. (Locked) More »

Caregiver nation: New tools to manage a family members health as well as your own

There are all kinds of free educational opportunities designed to help family caregivers jump into their roles and better manage their own health. Family caregiver education is available in classes or workshops you attend in person. The Internet offers how-to articles, videos, podcasts, books, and guides for caregivers. Topics range from the basics of caregiving to the more nuanced challenges, such as communicating with a person with dementia. Many classes focus on how to cope as a caregiver and maintain one’s health and wellness. (Locked) More »

CBD products are everywhere. But do they work?

Many products containing cannabidiol (CBD) are now on the market. Some of these products may be a good option for certain health conditions, such as chronic pain or even anxiety and sleep disorders. But product regulation is not consistent, quality may vary, and in some instances products may contain too little CBD to be clinically effective. (Locked) More »

Counting on calories

Men ages 50 and older need anywhere from 2,000 to 2,800 calories per day. The exact amount, however, depends on many individual factors, such as age, weight, height, metabolism, and most important, activity level. Focusing on quality of food instead of quantity by embracing a diet that includes whole grains, nuts, fish, and fruits and vegetables can provide the necessary calories along with the vitamins and other micronutrients men need for an active and healthy life. (Locked) More »

Is your sunscreen safe?

A study found that sunscreen chemicals are absorbed into the body, prompting the FDA to recommend further study to ensure that they are safe. In the meantime, people are not advised to change their sunscreen practices. Protecting the skin from the sun should involve not only sunscreen, but also other measures, such as wearing sunglasses, hats, and other protective clothing. (Locked) More »

Maximizing home food delivery

There are many options for home food delivery, such as grocery store delivery, restaurant food delivery, and subscription produce clubs. Most services require customers to place orders on a website or smartphone app. When restaurant food arrives, one should make sure it’s still warm, and eat it right away or put it into the refrigerator. If a person isn’t home to receive a delivery of food from the grocery store or from a produce club, food will be left outside, potentially allowing cold items to spoil. So one should try to be home when a delivery is expected. (Locked) More »

Take a stand against heart disease

Almost one-quarter of adults still don’t meet the federal guidelines for physical activity, and chronic sitting may be a major reason. New statistics have found that a vast majority of older adults spend at least two hours a day or even longer sitting. This can lead to weight gain, blood clots in the legs, and is associated with an increased risk for a heart attack and stroke. (Locked) More »

The state of gas

The average person produces between ½ and 1 liter of gas per day, and passes gas about 10 to 20 times during the day. However, what a person eats—or more specifically how the body digests these foods—can increase gas production. The more common gas-producing foods contain short-chain carbohydrates called FODMAPs. Working with a nutritionist to identify specific problem foods and adjusting their amounts can help control excess gas. (Locked) More »