The Prevention Series: Daily Steps to Good Health

magnoliaThis will be the first post in a series of posts about how to live a long, healthy life.  These basic guidelines are applicable for all of the decades.  Later on in this series, we will explore the common health concerns of the decades and discuss prevention strategies through diet, lifestyle, supplements and preventive exams.

DAILY STEPS TO GOOD HEALTH, FOR ALL AGES:

The guidelines below are meant to be helpful for most people throughout their lifetime. Some people with medical issues may need more tailored instructions to their condition.

  • Do not smoke or be around smoking: It is not too late to quit. Quitting now will still add years to your life, and improve your quality of life. Seek assistance with medication or counseling if needed.
  • Exercise regularly: 20-30 minutes a day, 4 days per week is a great goal.       It is not too late to start.       Find something you enjoy, or that brings you into social situations. Choose an activity that is safe yet challenging. The risk of getting hurt while exercising is lower than the downfalls of not exercising.
  • Eat a healthy diet: Diet philosophies are quite vast, and you may have a diet that you strongly believe in. Talk to a naturopathic physician about a diet that is right for you.       What has generally seen to be healthy and good for longevity is a mostly plant-based diet, with moderate animal products, moderate alcohol intake, and very minimal processed foods and sugar. I like to have my patients eat a cup of vegetables at each meal, and try to eat 2 vegetarian meals per day. Dark leafy greens should be a daily addition to meals. I also encourage eating protein, fat and fiber at every meal. Minimize charred and smoked foods. Consider a 12 hour fast every day (between dinner and breakfast).
    • Protein: meat, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds, legumes
    • Fat: meat, fish, eggs, dairy, nut s, seeds, coconut, avocado, olive oil
    • Fiber: vegetables, fruit, whole grains such as oats/quinoa/brown rice/millet (minimize grain products such as whole grain bread, pasta, etc).
  • Drink water: Generally, ½ of your body weight in ounces per day is recommended. (For example, if you weigh 150lbs you should be drinking 75oz of water daily).       Another glass of water is added for any alcoholic or caffeinated drinks.
  • Alcohol in moderation: Studies show that 1 glass of red wine daily can be beneficial for health. Consider that the body must process and discard alcohol and its byproducts, so heavier use can lead to health problems.
  • Avoid toxic chemicals: eat a diet of organic produce, organic free-range poultry and eggs, grass fed organic beef, wild seafood as much as possible.       Avoid processed and fast foods as much as possible. Use natural bath/beauty products and home cleaning products. Look at the website EWG.org (Environmental Working Group) to rate your products.
  • Participate in social activities: It is important to stay social and have relationships as we age. If you are in a partnership, continue to grow and change together and continue to experience new things together. It is important to maintain friendships and to continue making friends throughout your life. This helps with mental health, warding off depression and anxiety.
  • Appropriate supplements: For many people, a daily multivitamin is enough. This is important as we age and possibly have more limited absorption of nutrients from the gut. For those on medications, there may be other supplements that are important.       It is best to consult with a Naturopathic Physician for these concerns.
  • Immunizations: {Note- these are my personal opinions, which may be slightly different then the CDC recommendations}. Tdap/Dtap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) vaccine is recommended every 10 years throughout life. This is especially important if you are caring for young children/babies.       Shingles vaccine is given once at age 60. The flu vaccine is recommended annually for all ages, but it can often be declined in healthy people. It is generally recommended for those over age 65 and for pregnant women, even in healthy individuals.
  • Weight management: Metabolism naturally slows after age 30, and many people find that they easily gain weight between ages 30-65. After age 65, many people start to lose weight again. This is partially from metabolism changes, but also can be related to absorption of nutrients in the gut. It is important to alter nutrition and diet during these years, to not become overweight or underweight. If you are experiencing weight gain or weight loss, seek the care of a physician, as it could be a sign of a treatable medical issue.

**Next Post in The Prevention Series: The 30’s- Common Medical Issues and Prevention Tips**

{Disclaimer: The information in this document is not meant to be personal medical advice and is for informational purposes only. For medical advice tailored to your needs, please schedule an appointment}

 

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