7 things you can do to have a healthier body

Many people in middle age are in fair or poor health leading to chronic health conditions, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

It is important to improve body health through lifestyle changes.

In a recent articles, researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham provided 7 helpful tips.

Exercise for heart and brain health

Regular physical exercise is recommended to make your cardiovascular system and brain healthy.

Exercise helps lower blood pressure, improve lipid profile, and better control and possibly prevent Type 2 diabetes, as well as provide a longer life.

Multiple studies have shown people who exercise regularly have better erections than men who do not exercise.

Experts recommend two and a half hours of moderate exercise per week, like brisk walking, or lesser totals of more intense exercise.

Although it represents only about 2% of the total body weight, the brain gets about 15% of the total blood output from the heart and consumes 20% of the body’s oxygen.

Research studies indicate that persistent exercise triggers hormonal pathways that help brain cells increase the number of connections with other cells, as well as strengthen the chemical mechanisms of memory.

A combination of resistance or strengthening exercise with endurance exercise is ideal for heart and brain health.

Eat more fruits and veggies

The most important thing people can do for their overall health is to eat a healthy diet.

Heart health, diabetes and hormones levels are tied to maintaining a proper diet, including eating the daily recommended fruits and vegetables.

Many of the books and courses for complicated diets have sustained benefit for the average person.

Extremely low-fat diets may be dangerous, because the fats are replaced by more carbohydrates, usually simple sugars, which have a variety of bad effects, including Type 2 diabetes.

Moderate restriction of sodium is a good idea. Processed foods and snacks are usually loaded with it, as are canned vegetables and soups unless labeled low in sodium.

Experts recommend the DASH diet as a reliable model that is affordable and tasty due to its reduction in sodium and variety of foods rich in nutrients.

The Mediterranean Diet and its variations also can be worked into a healthy approach to dieting, according to a recent UAB study.

Both diets have been associated with maintaining brain health, as well.

Take the right vitamins

Americans spend more than $20 billion per year on multivitamins, but not every vitamin is appropriate for every person.

Identify the health problems you have to better evaluate your daily vitamin needs.

There is no proven value of multivitamins unless a man has a known deficiency or specific condition.

However, the doses of various vitamins — vitamins A, B complex, C, D, and E — in the standard multivitamin products are typically in a safe range.

Experts recommend a multivitamin for those with malabsorption of the gut, alcoholism, previous gastric bypass surgery, severe kidney disease, on dialysis, or rare metabolic defects.

Those who follow a strict vegetarian diet should also consider a general multivitamin.

Antioxidants including Vitamin A, beta-carotene, and vitamins C and E are heavily promoted and advocated; but studies have not found benefit for preventing cardiovascular disease or cancer.

However, high doses of Vitamin A can result in fractures and visual problems. In addition, high doses of Vitamin E, 400 units per day or more, may cause higher mortality.

Be cautious of what you drink

Many people are affected by kidney stones sometime in their lives, and a higher number in the Southeastern United States, also known as the kidney “stone belt.”

It is a multifactorial disease influenced by events in the kidney, gastrointestinal system and bone health, certain endocrine disorders, genetics, diet, and environmental factors.

Warmer climates may cause individuals to perspire excessively, causing them to become dehydrated. This results in urine’s becoming concentrated and the chemicals’ forming kidney stones.

Crystals of these chemicals can arise, which is a prerequisite for kidney stone formation.

The more fluid you consume, the less likely you are to have kidney stones, but it is important to consume the right fluids.

Experts recommend drinking 10 to 12 ounces of water every couple of hours while you are awake. If you are exercising or perspiring, drink more due to losing these fluids more rapidly.

Sugary drinks that include high levels of fructose corn syrup, like sodas, should be avoided.

Studies have shown a link between drinks with high fructose and kidney stones, as well as links between obesity and kidney stones.

Ideally, you should not drink anything other than water or black coffee. Soft drinks contain sodium and sugar or artificial sweeteners, which may contribute to obesity and diabetes.

Carbonation causes calcium to be pulled from bones into the bloodstream, which causes osteoporosis and kidney stones.

Sports drinks often contain more sodium than you should eat in a day.

Alcohol is another ‘simple’ sugar and is burned before other calorie sources, more likely to lead to diabetes and obesity.

Alcohol should be limited to one to two servings a day. High amounts of alcohol lead to poor judgment and eating more unhealthy foods.

Say goodbye to tobacco

Quitting smoking or chewing tobacco can be very challenging.

Kicking the habit can be beneficial for heart and lung health. It is a preventable driver of mortality through cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Studies have shown that men smokers are at a higher risk of having a reduced sperm count and lower sperm motility, affecting male fertility.

Side effects are worse in moderate or heavy smokers.

In addition to the overall issues with tobacco, chewing tobacco poses a risk for throat and next cancer, as well as many dental problems.

Protect your skin

Human skin is the body’s largest organ, providing protection to muscles, bones, ligaments, and organs. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun directly damages the skin DNA in susceptible people.

Over time, this damage can build up, leading to the formation of cancerous cells, which grow into tumors.

Know the types of skin cancer and what they look like to help better identify markings that may have you concerned.

Three common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.

If undetected or untreated, skin cancers lead to loss of vital functions or death. It is important to keep an eye on your skin and watch for changes that could be a sign of skin cancer.

The most important aspect of protecting your skin is to avoid UV radiation exposure from the sun.

Know your family health history

For men, prostate cancer is the most common cancer next to skin cancer.

Men who age 50 and older should be screened during their annual physical exam with a discussion regarding prostate cancer risk.

A routine blood test can measure a biomarker called prostate-specific antigen or PSA, which can identify a man’s risk of prostate cancer along with a digital rectal exam.

Concern based on the PSA blood test level or digital rectal exam can prompt a biopsy of the prostate gland, which can be further evaluated to determine the presence of prostate cancer and if found, the aggressiveness of cancer.

Certain men may have a higher risk of prostate cancer based on family history or ethnicity, race, and ancestry and should receive their first screening discussions at the age of 40.

Source: University of Alabama at Birmingham