Editor’s note: Wellness Word is an informational column which is not meant to replace a health care professional’s diagnosis, treatment or medication.

What’s the best health insurance?

Hari Dass S. Khalsa, DC

What’s the best thing you can do to protect your health? Ask some people that question, and they will tell you all about the great health insurance policy they have though their workplace. The problem seems to be that many people are more focused on treating a sickness than they are on achieving health. Not that there is anything wrong with good insurance, but it’s almost as though we expect our doctors to cure us from things we have done to ourselves.

The best insurance is a healthy lifestyle. We simply need to choose healthy behaviors, rather than unhealthy ones.  In fact, medical research teams have found that we can add about 14 years to our lifetime by doing just four key things:

1. Eat nourishing foods – Avoid snack foods. Don’t overeat. Consume at least 3 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. A great way to eat healthy with food that tastes great is to adopt Mediterranean cuisine.

Typical Mediterranean cuisine includes: • the use of olive oil for cooking and dressings • generous amounts of fruits and vegetables • nuts • fish products a couple times a week • consumption of white meat (e.g., poultry) instead of red or processed meat.

2. Get plenty of exercise.  Keep physically fit by embarking on a regular program of physical activity.  Keep your exercise moderate and within the scope of your age, ability and fitness. You need at least 2 1/2 hours physical activity per week – that’s 30 minutes a day for 5 days. Please note that before starting any exercise program, you should consult with your health care professional.

3. Do not smoke. If you smoke, STOP! Smoking is related to a host of serious diseases, including cancers and heart disease. The single most important thing you can do to improve your health is to stop smoking.

4. If you drink, do so moderately. Do not consume more than one 5 ounce glass of wine daily for women or men over age 65, or more than two 5 ounce glasses of wine daily for men under 65.

These four simple lifestyle factors have been shown in numerous scientific studies to be independently related to a higher quality of life, less illness and reduced risk of early mortality.

Health care experts agree that while insurance is worthwhile, the best thing you can do to prepare for a long and productive life is to take care of your health now.

 

Dr. Hari Dass Khalsa is a chiropractor specializing in the non-surgical treatment of spinal conditions He can be reached at 503. 238.1032