April 17, 2024

It is difficult to stay on top of the latest recommendations to help prevent diseases and maintain good health. The guidelines for what you should eat and not eat, when to exercise (and how frequently), how much sleep to get, and other lifestyle factors change constantly. Medical organizations and other sources can also give contradictory advice.

The basics of disease prevention are not complicated. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is a good resource. It bases its health-preserving recommendations based on an evaluation of the scientific literature that shows which health care, screenings and healthy living guidelines actually work.

The USPSTF has identified seven specific things that everyone can do in order to improve their physical, mental and emotional well-being, live a healthier life, and prevent disease. Even if you already practice some of these, there is a good chance that you can improve on each.

7 Steps to Disease Prevention and Healthy Living

1. Diet

He is clear in his advice: Eat whole plants, which are unrefined and processed minimally. Plant-based food consumption can reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

The Mediterranean diet has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and chronic diseases. This diet is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, olive oils, and nuts.

Another study suggests that eating a diet based on whole foods, such as vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and fruits, can reverse chronic diet-related diseases, including advanced cardiovascular disease. This diet excludes meat, eggs, and dairy products and includes whole food such as fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. Dr. Golubic believes that this is the most compassionate, sustainable and healthy diet. It’s the one he most recommends.

2. You Should Take Care of your Teeth

Millions of Americans suffer from oral diseases, which range from gum disease and cavities to cancer. Drink fluoridated water and use fluoride toothpaste at least twice daily. Also, floss every day. You should visit your dentist every year, whether you have natural teeth or dentures.

3. Don’t smoke

Smoking reduces the quality and length of life. Smoking is responsible for many diseases, and it is the number one preventable cause of deaths in the U.S.2. If you smoke then quitting should be your top priority. USPSTF recommends healthcare providers advise patients to quit smoking and, for those not pregnant, prescribe FDA-approved smoking cessation medication.

4. Physical Activity

All your body systems benefit from moving. Experts recommend 150 minute of moderate intensity activity per week.

Dr. Golubic suggests starting small if it seems overwhelming. “Most people can walk. Start with a ten-minute walk. “Repeat this twice or three times per day,” says he. “Then, try walking faster or doing a minute more intensely. Or climb a few stairs. Any physical activity is acceptable if walking isn’t an option. “Move more and sit less.”

5. Learn Your Family History

You may be at a higher risk of developing a chronic illness if you have a history in your family. This includes cancer, heart disease or diabetes. Your doctor can help you prevent or detect these conditions by discussing your family’s health history.

6. Lose Weight If You Need To

You can also prevent or manage diseases (such as diabetes or arthritis) by losing excess weight if you are overweight. Even a modest loss of 5-10% can be beneficial.

You can save hundreds of calorie a day by switching to fresh fruits and vegetables and avoiding sodas, sugary drinks, and other sweet foods. This will also allow you more space on your plate to include more fiber, vitamins and minerals.

7. Diet

Aim for between seven and nine hours of good, restful sleep every night. If you can’t resist burning the midnight oils, then try:

  • Even on weekends, keep a regular bedtime and waking time.
  • Exercise daily. (Note a common theme?)
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol.
  • Turn off digital devices 90 mins before going to bed.
  • Keep your sleeping area cool and dark.

Bottom Line

You don’t have to do everything at once if you find the idea of improving your self-care daunting. Choose one step and dedicate a whole week to it. You can start an exercise program or make small changes to your diet.

You’ll also want to speak to your healthcare provider, as you may need to take additional steps based on factors such as your family history, your health status, and others. This is a good place to start when it comes to navigating the health care system and disease prevention.

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