MountainView Hospital - December 31, 2019

The holidays have passed and the New Year is here, and it can be a busy and exciting time. Throughout the year it’s easy to become distracted and keep you from focusing on your health. We want to help you and your family stay healthy all year long, so we spoke with Dr. Jasprit Takher, MD, FACP, with MountainView Hospital’s Medical Associates for wellness tips that you can implement to ensure good health!

1. Making Healthy Food Choices

“When it comes to diet and healthy foods, we must understand balance, because a balanced diet is very important. The ideal balance of nutrients should be about 40 to 60 percent carbs, 10 to 30 percent protein and 10 to 30 percent fats,” says Dr. Takher. Be aware that not all nutrients are equal and that there are good and bad carbs, proteins and fats. The way that you can differentiate between them are as follows:

  • Good carbs are high in fiber and have a low glycemic index, some examples of this are whole grains, vegetables and fruits
  • Avoid refined carbs such as white flour, white breads, pasta and added sugars
  • Good proteins come from foods such as lean meats and legumes
  • Good fats are monosaturated and polysaturated, commonly found in salmon, nuts and avocados
  • Try to avoid trans and saturated fats which can be found in frozen pizza, crackers, cookies, coffee creamer or many refrigerated dough products like biscuits

2. Keeping on Track with Meal Plans

Dr. Takher states, “the best way to achieve a balanced diet is to start slow, and eliminate less nutritious foods from your diet slowly. Eventually you will reach the optimal diet. If you just jump right in you may have a hard time achieving and maintaining that healthy diet.”

  • Start with realistic expectations and set a goal that is achievable to keep you from getting discouraged
  • Keep unhealthy snacks out of the house and instead, replace them with healthier options such as apples, celery sticks or mixed nuts
  • Practicing proper portion control is also just as important as eating the right foods in helping maintain a healthy weight along with cutting back on sugars and salt

3. Stay Hydrated

Drinking water is very important in maintaining good health. Water makes up 60 percent of your body and drinking water can help keep you cool, promote cardiovascular health, help your muscles and joints work better, cleanse your body inside and out by helping your kidneys filter out waste from your blood and excrete it into urine. It can also prevent UTI’s (urinary tract infections). So, how much water should you be drinking daily?

  • Most men over the age of 19 should get at least 11-12 eight ounce glasses of water daily
  • Women should aim for 8-9 eight ounce glasses of water daily

4. Stress Management

Sometimes, stress can get out of control and it’s very important to learn how reduce stress. Why? Stress absolutely affects your health and has been linked to the following diseases: asthma, diabetes, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), chronic pain, headaches, Hypertension (high blood pressure) amongst others. “Stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior. There are several proven methods to reduce stress,” says Dr. Takher. Methods to reduce stress include:

  • Getting regular physical activity
  • Practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, Tai Chi or massage
  • Keeping a sense of humor
  • Spending time with family and friends
  • Setting aside time for hobbies, such as reading a book or listening to music
  • Taking some time out of your day for yourself

5. Incorporate Daily Exercise

One of the best ways to make exercise not seem like a task, is to find an exercise that you enjoy and make sure that you start slow and slowly increase as your body becomes accustomed to your exercise routine. The recommended amount of weekly exercise is 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity which is approximately 20 minutes a day, or, 75 minutes of high intensity aerobic activity which is about 11 minutes a day. Here are a few examples of ways to get exercise into your day:

  • Take the stairs whenever possible, instead of the elevator. If you work in a building with stairs, take a few 10 minute breaks throughout your day and do runs up and down the stairs or walk them if running is feasible for you
  • Go for a walk outside. Take a 15 minute walk around your building at work during your lunch or around your block at home. Sitting for 6 hours or more can significantly impair vascular function but walking for at least 10 minutes can help reverse that damage. Get your blood flowing and have a positive impact on your health!
  • Park further away. Whenever possible, choose to park farther away so that you get a few extra steps in on your walk into the building
  • Walk the dog. If you have a dog, make sure to squeeze in a walk during your day. The exercise will benefit both you and your dog

6. Get Plenty of Sleep

Sleep is important and vital to good health. According to Dr. Takher, good sleep can improve immune function, memory, cognition and mood. Getting a good night’s rest can even help reduce the effects of stress. Here’s how much sleep you should be getting nightly:

  • People age 16 to 60 should aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep nightly
  • People over the age of 65 should aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep
  • Don’t consume caffeine late in the day. Consuming caffeine up to six hours before bed may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night and can lead to significantly reduced sleep quality
  • Take a relaxing bath or shower before bed. A hot bath 90 minutes before bed may help improve sleep quality. You could also try simply bathing your feet in hot water before you’re ready for bed to help you relax and improve sleep

7. Wash Your Hands

Proper hand washing can help prevent the spread of illness and is the first line of defense against germs, and not just from the cold or flu, but also from other serious diseases such as meningitis, bronchiolitis, hepatitis A and many types of diarrhea. Combat germs and practice good hand hygiene to stay healthy!

  • Wash your hands in warm water
  • Use soap and lather for at least 20 seconds. You don’t have to use antibacterial soap either, any soap will do
  • Make sure you scrub thoroughly in between your fingers, around your nail beds and don’t forget to scrub up to your wrists
  • Rinse and dry well

8. Avoid Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol is not healthy for your body or mind. Not only can alcohol dull your senses and lower your inhibitions, many alcoholic beverages also contain sugars or are grain based. Try to drink alcohol responsibly and in moderation so that it does not negatively impact your health.

  • For men, excessive drinking may be having 5 or more drinks in one sitting or more than 15 drinks during the week
  • For women, excessive drinking may be more than 4 drinks in one sitting or more than 8 drinks over the course of the week
  • Alcohol may also impact your ability to get quality sleep which can contribute to stress

9. Take Baby Steps

Many of the tips that we have discussed are easy to implement into your daily life if you add them slowly. It may be tempting to try and tackle all of your health goals all at once, however, that may backfire and overwhelm you! Change can be hard. Instead, make a series of small changes and implement your health goals slowly and increase them as you become accustomed to the changes. For example:

  • Start by walking around your office or home a few times a day and work up to walking around outside the building or around the neighborhood
  • Start out by eating a more nutritious breakfast and once you have that down, improve your lunch menu

10. Check In With Your Doctor

There are many benefits to scheduling regular check-ups with your doctor. Regular visits can help catch health issues early which means that it may be easier to treat or cure your ailments. Regular visits to your doctor may also help increase life span along with improving your overall health and can help you form a good partnership with your doctor so that treatment can be more efficient. Here are some examples of preventative health screenings for adults:

  • Annual well-visit (physical exams)
  • Cancer screenings
  • Sensory screenings such as for eyesight and hearing
  • Immunizations

These are just a few suggestions, make sure to do what works for you to help you achieve your health goals. Making these changes part of your everyday habits can help keep your family and yourself - happy, healthy and fit!

If you have any questions or would like to find more information about MountainView Hospital’s Medical Associate, please visit this page or call (702) 962-9550.