The most sensible approach to good health in 2019

I’m all in favor of making smart, practical New Year’s resolutions that you can maintain. After all, why make a resolution if you can’t stick to it all year long?

This year, I suggest really focusing on moderation. (Yes, in all things.)

You can start by implementing 10 simple healthy habits. On New Year’s Day, I covered the first five. And today, I’ll cover the rest.

6.) Avoid taking unnecessary medications
Some of the best things you can do to support your health involve getting off unnecessary and harmful OTC and prescription drugs. Especially common, yet dangerous, acid blockers like Prilosec®, Nexium®, and Prevacid®.

These proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) suppress stomach acid. So you might think they’re a quick, easy fix for your acid reflux.

However, these harmful drugs can neutralize your body’s normal ability to kill dangerous bacteria, which can cause diarrhea. They can also block your body’s absorption of key vitamins — especially B vitamins. Even worse, they can increase your risk of weight gain, bone fractures, pneumonia, and dangerous bacterial infections.

Not to mention, many OTC and prescription drugs, including PPIs, are addictive or cause terrible side effects if you try to stop the medication.

I’ve found that by simply balancing the GI system, you can prevent a laundry list of ailments and conditions. Use these natural approaches to get your microbiome in order.

7.) Nourish your cells with red tea
In 2019, I recommend adding this healthy beverage to your daily routine — a delicious tea made with South African red bush (rooibos or aspal). It balances your electrolytes and stimulates your cells to manufacture their own water in the cellular mitochondria.

I began my own investigation into red bush about 15 years ago. And I learned a great deal about how it helped the Kalahari Bushmen of South Africa survive in one of the harshest, hottest places on Earth. It turns out, red bush actually hydrates your body on a cellular level. Red bush tea also helps prevent and combat heartburn. It even helps to improve digestion and keep things moving in your GI tract to prevent constipation. You can also find rooibos as an ingredient in a dry powdered extract together with blueberry, rose hips, and baobab.

8.) Stay active — but skip the indoor gym

As I often report, light-to-moderate exercise benefits body and mind. Especially when you do it outside in Nature.

So, in the New Year, aim for just 2.5 hours of light-to-moderate physical activity per week. The best exercises are those you can do around the house and yard — like housework and gardening. These activities also help you maintain and even increase your muscle mass, strength, endurance, and functional capacity.

Also, most grocery stores have ample parking lots, and the spots furthest away from the entrance are usually up for grabs. So, when you’re out running errands, park farther away from the entrance, and walk a few hundred extra steps to and from the store.

9.) Beware of polypharmacy

Polypharmacy (taking five or more daily medications) is an increasing problem in our country. And although pharmacists now have systems to call attention to multiple drug interactions, a lot still slips through the cracks. Plus, if you see more than one doctor, they might not be aware of what your other physicians are prescribing.

So, in the New Year, make sure to ask your primary care doctor to review with you each and every one of your medications and dosages. And bring a copy of the full list to your doctor visits. Hopefully, it’s not too long of a list — and if it is, it’s always worth having a conversation about reducing the amount you’re taking.

Make sure your doctor reviews your blood pressure medication, in particular. Especially if you’re over 60. Compelling evidence now suggests that maintaining a slightly higher blood pressure as you get older benefits health. And one group of experts now recommends that anyone over 60 shouldn’t begin treatment to reduce blood pressure until levels are over 150/90 mmHg.

Furthermore, blood pressure medications can push your numbers too low, causing fainting and falls — especially if these drugs aren’t adjusted or stopped when they’re no longer needed.

Likewise, drugs to control blood sugar can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) — another major cause of falling and injury in older adults if they’re taken more than needed.

So, make sure your doctor reviews those dosages in the New Year as well.

10.) Consider getting a furry friend

My last health tip for the New Year is a fun one — consider adding a furry companion to your home.

On one hand, having pet dogs and cats underfoot may mean that you have to step over and dodge certain items on the floor (which may actually help with keeping up your agility). On the whole, observational studies show that having a pet results in all kinds of health benefits for both body and mind. In fact, it’s one of the very best things you can do to improve your longevity!

If you need assistance getting up and walking around, large, trained service dogs — like Sully, George H.W. Bush’s service dog — can help you tremendously, as I mentioned last Friday. These dogs can provide physical support, almost like a “walker” — but without having to rely on cumbersome, ungainly, and unsightly medical equipment. And if you fall and can’t get up, they’re trained to get you help.

Well, that’ll do it for my 10-point, commonsense, practical health plan for 2019. It’s my hope that you put these to use and stick with them throughout the year. Feel free to drop me a line on my Insiders’ Cures Facebook page or send me an email at [email protected] to let me know how things are going.

Lastly, for the full details on making 2019 your healthiest and happiest year yet, refer to the current issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter. If you’re not yet a subscriber, now’s the perfect time to get started.