There are basic lifestyle steps all adults should take to minimize health risks and extend well-being. We often discuss them individually, but let's take another look at them as a whole.
Know Your Risks
Knowing your family medical history and your personal health history will help you and your doctor understand what to keep a closer eye on, establish your screening test schedule, and determine where to focus your lifestyle efforts.
Get Regular Screenings, Exams
Stay current on your health screenings to help catch preventable causes of disease/death early, and get the necessary vaccines to prevent some illnesses. Also, get regular physical checkups, including dental, vision, and hearing exams.
Adopt a Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet has been associated with a lower risk of heart disease and some cancer, less inflammation, and a longer life, among other benefits. This way of eating is high in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and monounsaturated fats. For more guidelines, see Dr. Cherry's Mediterranean Diet video.
Eat More Fiber, Less Salt, Sugar and Trans or Saturated Fats
Following the Mediterranean Diet will naturally have you following these guidelines, be sure to make these a specific focus. Fiber has benefits for cholesterol, blood sugar management and digestion, while sodium, sugar and trans or saturated fats are associated with a host of problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, inflammation and heart disease.
Don't Skip Breakfast
Breakfast not only provides the energy you need to start your day, but it helps keep your energy levels more stable throughout the day. And studies show that breakfast eaters are better able to manage their weight than non-breakfast eaters.
Exercise - Both Strength and Cardio
Make exercise part of a daily routine for numerous health benefits, from weight management and a lowered risk of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease to improved mood and better sleep. While aerobic/cardio exercise (walking, dancing, biking, etc.) is great for the heart, don't forget to include some strength training (with light weights, bands or just your body weight) as well for bone health and to prevent loss of muscle. Add some stretching for flexibility, balance training, and core exercise for a stronger back and middle.
Get Enough Sleep
Chronic sleep loss can lead to a metabolic syndrome, which can raise your risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease. It also can lead to depression, impaired cognitive function and weight gain.
Protect Your Skin
Skin cancer is an increasingly common but highly preventable disease. Using sunscreen, limiting sun exposure during peak hours (11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.), wearing hats and glasses can greatly reduce your risk, and frequent screenings can detect abnormalities early. Also, mature skin grows thinner and less elastic, so give it a little more TLC.
Engage Your Brain
Exercising your brain helps you maintain the brain cells, synapses and connection you have, and may delay cognitive issues. Doing puzzles, learning new activities, even reading challenging books can help keep your brain engaged and active.
Don't Smoke, Drink Moderately
Smoking harms nearly every organ in your body, and no level of smoking is considered safe. However, moderate alcohol consumption (up to 1-2 drinks daily for men, one for women), particularly of red wine, can be a part of a healthy lifestyle as long as you don't have other risk factors.
Recent medical studies consistently show that people do better when taking nutritional supplements, and the need for supplementation is clear. Soil depletion; increased exposure to pollution, toxins and stress; longer transport and storage time for foods; diets high in refine, processed foods; and the increased use of pharmaceutical drugs all compromise the quality of nutrients and our ability to use them. Today's natural supplements provide concentrations of the life-giving nutrients we need on a daily basis to maintain our bodies.
Maintain a Support System
Maintaining personal relationships keeps you active, alert and can help alleviate depression. In fact, social connections are among the strongest predictors of a person's well-being, longevity and happiness.
Pray for Healing
Ask whatever you will in Jesus' name and He will answer you. Apply Philippians 4:6,7 KJV: Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.