Updated: Jun 13, 2019
As a physician I treat disease. As a Hospitalist I see disease at its most severe. And what I have noticed is that many of the diseases that I treat in the hospital could have been prevented or at least better controlled by healthy lifestyle choices. I have put together a list of 4 things that you can do today that can alter the course of your health and if not completely prevent some disease at least control it much better.
1) Drink more water. Everyone knows we are supposed to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water every day. But few of us accomplish this goal. This is one of the simplest ways to help us stay healthy. Being well hydrated with water helps all of our organs function better. Drinking water can also help curb our appetites. Staying away from sugary beverages and sticking with water can help prevent or control diabetes and weight gain. Avoiding other beverages that contain chemicals and additives that are not good for our bodies and can cause disease such as kidney stones. Water is free and so good for you this really is a no brainer.
2) Exercise. We don’t need to be professional athletes in training to reap the benefits of exercise. Even walking 20 minutes a day can have huge benefits. Aside from the obvious calorie burning benefits that can help prevent weight gain, simply moving and keeping joints loose and muscles warm can help with muscle aches and pain, keep bones strong and reduce injuries. Regular exercise can help get better control of diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol!
3) Eat more fruits and vegetable. These are low in calories ( woohoo weight loss) and high in nutrition. The fiber helps keep the digestive tract moving. If you fill up on fruits and veggies you are going to eat less of other food items that have extremely low if non-existant nutritional value. (No one can convince me a Cheetoh has any worth inside my body)
4) Limit alcoholic beverages. The CDC recommendations for alcohol consumption are no more then 15 drinks per week for a man and no more than 8 drinks per week for a woman. Excessive drinking is anything over this amount. I am always amazed at how some people really don’t understand how much alcohol is too much alcohol. I no longer ask people if they drink alcohol in excess as the answer is most often “no” even when the amount is a 6-pack per day. Instead I now just ask “How many alcoholic beverages do you have in a typical week?”. Aside from the dangers of being out of control when drunk there are other potentially serious and life threatening consequences to excessive alcohol. The vitamin deficiencies caused by drinking too much alcohol can lead to early dementia type illnesses. It can also increase blood pressure and cause weight gain (beer belly anyone?) The effects on the digestive tract include bleeding, and liver failure. Not to mention alcoholic beverages are actually dehydrating!
Remember that our body is a machine. If we don’t take care of it then it will break down! Be sure to feed it the proper nutrients to keep things moving and stay away from those things that will serve the body well.