Saturday, December 31, 2016

Top doctors list best ways to stay healthy for the new year or any year

Organic tomatoes at the new Whole Foods Market in Closter.


AARP has been far from consistent on just what people 50 and older should do to stay healthy.

But the AARP Bulletin sent to members this month lists leading health professionals' guidance on nutrition, fitness and making smart everyday choices.

You'll find "Best Advice from Top Docs" on Pages 24-25 of the December 2016 bulletin.

Daily living

The everyday lifestyle adjustments most important for general health:
  • Take a daily 30-minute walk (the only choice selected by every doctor surveyed).
  • Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night.
  • Spend time each day with a friend or loved one.
  • Reduce your consumption of junk food, such as cookies and chips.
  • Cut back on refined carbohydrates (white bread, pasta, white rice).

100% organic whole wheat spaghetti, available at ShopRite, Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe's, is a healthy alternative to regular pasta and other refined carbohydrates.

 Eating habits

Change these harmful eating habits to improve your long-term health:
  • Drinking soda at most meals and for snacks.
  • Eating several fast-food restaurant meals each week, eating two or fewer servings of vegetables each day; and bingeing on pizza, hot wings, nachos or other 'social foods' a few times per week.
  • Eating ice cream, cake, doughnuts or other sweets every day.
Lifestyle choices

Lifestyle habits or patterns most harmful to a person's long-term health:
  • Smoking cigarettes.
  • Not exercising
  • Feeling perpetually lonely or socially isolated
  • Ignoring health problems or symptoms.
  • Taking painkillers every day; and being angry, worried or stressed more often than feeling happy.

A survey of some of the nation's leading health professionals is published on Pages 24-25 of the AARP Bulletin, a sister publication of AARP The Magazine.

"I would argue for 'Eat less meat and more plants,'" says Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center.

Ignore 'Eat This/Not That!'

An example of AARP's bad advice on nutrition was published in the non-profit group's April/May 2016 issue of AARP The Magazine.

"Eat This/Not That!" listed only fast-food and chain restaurants that serve low-quality meat and poultry raised with big doses of harmful antibiotics, and recommended unhealthy meals with lots of unwanted sugar, cholesterol or saturated fat.

AARP is the former American Association of Retired Persons.

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