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5 Steps to Sidestep Serious Illness

By Sandy Schroeder

Most of us are trying to eat more veggies and fruits, and pass up the fries, but there's more work to do if we want to sidestep serious illnesses like cancer, heart disease or diabetes.

Harvard Health researchers say we may be able to add more years to our future retirement and really enjoy them by taking a few simple steps. Their public health researchers looked at data from the long running Nurses' Health Study of 73,000 women and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study of 38,000 men. Out of all those numbers, they came up with the five most crucial steps to outrun serious illness.

See where you stand with them.

Fill your plate with plants -  Pick juicy fruits, green, yellow and red vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds and whole grains. Skip the fast or fried foods, donuts, cookies and sugary colas or teas, and drop way back on the red or processed meats such as salami or ham.

Maintain a healthy weight - Losing 5 to 10 pounds can make a difference in lowering diabetes and heart disease risk. Check in with your doctor to see where you stand and then make the effort to drop any extra pounds. A healthy body weight, BMI, is between 18.5 and 24.9.

Keep moving every day - The more you move the better, but even short 10-minute bursts count when it comes to health. Try to walk, run or jog 30 minutes every day. Divide it into a morning and evening 15-minute segment if you need to, but do it.

No smoking - If you have never smoked you are way ahead in the game, but stopping smoking at any time is a must. Rule out smoking or vaping and congratulate yourself on all of the health boosts gained as your lungs return to normal and you move away from the risk of cancer and heart disease.

Drink moderately or not at all - Give up any weekend or evening binge drinking and hold the line at one drink for women or two for men. One drink is 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits. 

Overall, the researchers found having four of the five healthy habits made a significant difference in avoiding serious illness, and often added another 10 years of healthy life. That means you could be out touring the world or playing golf instead of dealing with the outcomes of serious disease such as blindness, kidney failure, stroke or heart attack.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Brea, Calif.

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