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Ten Health Tips for 2010:

Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year! What better time than now to resolve to achieve better health? My resolutions are to 1) get my entire family following the Mediterranean diet (see below), 2) read Tolstoy’s War and Peace for the third time and 3) start writing the book I have wanted to write for years.

Here are 10 resolutions for better health at any age:

Eat a well-balanced diet low in saturated fats. A Mediterranean, heart-healthy diet rich in olive or canola oil, fresh fish, lean meats, red wine (in moderation), whole grains, walnuts, and organic fruits and vegetables helps decrease bad cholesterol and your risk of developing heart disease or diabetes.

Keep your body active or “use it or lose it!’ The more you move your limbs, the better. Walking for 20 minutes five days a week can help reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, heart disease and diabetes. However, be careful not to overstress your body and joints, and always consult your doctor before starting a new exercise program.

Maintain a healthy weight. Losing weight at any age can be difficult, but it is worth it. Don’t be overwhelmed if you have a lot of weight to lose. Set a realistic goal for yourself and consider getting help from a diet program like Weight Watchers. Losing just a few pounds around your waist can help reduce your risk of developing diabetes.

Use your mind. You have heard the term “Use it or lose it!” Well, this applies to your mind too. Instead of watching television, you might read a good book for an hour. I love mysteries, and my favorite series is the “Sir John Fielding” mysteries by Bruce Alexander Cook.

Stay positive! Even if you have had a difficult year or suffered the loss of a loved one, try to focus on the positives. Remember all of your many blessings — your friends, family, health and independence. Positive thinking benefits your overall health.

Socialize with family and friends! Attend free concerts, such as “Sundays Live at LACMA,” or join a book club, temple, or church. These days, you can even reconnect with old friends on the Internet. Get a Facebook account and get reacquainted with your old grammar or high school buddies!

Listen to classical music! In addition to personal enjoyment, studies show that classical music helps heart health and also can reduces stress, anxiety and tension.

Establish a relationship with a primary care provider (PCP). Whether you see a geriatrician, internal medicine specialist or family medicine doctor, it’s important to have a primary care physician who can help you stay healthy by preventing illness or regain your health during an illness.

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