1. If you don’t drink, there’s no need to start.
For some people—especially pregnant women, people recovering from alcohol addiction, people with a family history of alcoholism, people with liver disease, and people taking one or more medications that interact with alcohol—drinking can be dangerous and harmful to health. There are other ways to boost your heart health and lower your risk of diabetes, such as getting more active, staying at a healthy weight, or eating healthy fats and whole grains.
Coverage from Harvard Gazette, featuring HSPH’s Dariush Mozaffarian
Coverage from Baltimore Sun, featuring HSPH’s Eric Rimm
For an elite athlete, a weekend warrior, or anyone just starting out on a fitness plan, physical activity does increase the risk of injury. (37) Don’t let that stop you from becoming more active, though. The health benefits of being active far outweigh any risks.
For general good health, the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults get a minimum of 2-1/2 hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. (37) Yet many people may need more than 2-1/2 hours of moderate intensity activity a week to stay at a stable weight. (37)
1. Skip “quick fixes.” Fad diets may cause rapid weight loss, but they’re highly likely to fail in the long run. Avoid short-term diets and instead set realistic goals that include choosing healthy foods in smaller portions.
Walking is an ideal exercise for many people—it doesn’t require any special equipment, can be done any time, any place, and it is generally safe. Also, many studies – including the Nurses’ Health Study, (1, 2) Health Professionals Follow-up Study, (3) Women’s Health Study, (4)Harvard Alumni Health Study, (5) National Health Interview Survey, (6) Women’s Health Initiative, (7) Honolulu Heart Program, (8) Black Women’s Health Study, (9) and others (10, 11) – have demonstrated that this simple form of exercise substantially reduces the chances of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes in different populations.
Coverage from Today.com, featuring HSPH’s Rob van Dam
1. Choose good carbs, not no carbs. Whole grains are your best bet.
2. Pay attention to the protein package. Fish, poultry, nuts, and beans are the best choices.
3. Choose foods with healthy fats, limit foods high in saturated fat, and avoid foods with trans fat. Plant oils, nuts, and fish are the healthiest sources.