[COLUMN] The healthiest habits


The healthiest habits: eating a healthy diet, avoiding/minimizing intake of sugar and sweets, drinking at least 8 glasses of filtered water, exercising daily, and sleeping 8 hours (when possible) daily; taking mini vacation/staycation to de-stress, doing charity work, and having regular medical/dental checkups.


The healthiest fruits are lemons, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, limes, grapefruits, blackberries, avocados, apples, pomegranates, pineapples and bananas.


The healthiest vegetables are asparagus, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, butternut squash, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, garlic and kale.


Besides pure filtered water, milk, coffee, tea, kombucha, and vegetable smoothies are the healthiest drinks. The worst beverages are soft drinks – they are poison to our body, especially to children, increasing the drinkers’ risk for metabolic syndrome. Thirst quencher sport drinks, like Gatorade and others, contribute to childhood obesity. Drinking hot water upon rising in the morning is healthiest, instead of cold drinks.


Non-drug involved activities are the healthiest: Gardening, swimming, volleyball, skiing/snowboarding, horseback riding, hiking, yoga and paddling. Find a practical choice for yourself and your circumstance.


These are the healthiest: Swimming, tai-chi, tai-bo, normal or brisk walking (jogging eventually damages joints). I find tai-bo works as a personal preference – I tailor the duration and intensity to what my senior body can take and endure, with safety.


The healthiest: Mediterranean Diet, which is a plant-based diet consisting of a lot of variety of vegetables, olive oil, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, herbs, and spices. Fish, other seafood, lean beef, lean poultry, and sweets [can be consumed] sparingly. Besides quality of food items, quantity is vital to good health. Maintain a normal weight and live longer.


The healthiest attitude includes waking up cheerful, being positive and always hopeful, being loving and compassionate, being forgiving, showing courage under fire, with malice towards none, and bringing your own sunshine to people everywhere you go.

Brain exercise

The healthiest: Solving memory games, jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles; reading stimulating books, writing letters/stories, playing chess or joining sports competitions for seniors, and social interactions with people.

Exercise for joints

The healthiest exercise that minimizes damage to the spine, hip, knee and ankle joints are walking, bicycling, swimming, and water aerobics. Jogging is becoming less popular because it has been linked to damages of the hip, knee, and ankle joints over time.

Sleep apnea

The healthiest way to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), or prolonged frequent breath-holding while asleep resulting in hypoxemia (low blood oxygen level), is with the use of a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. Using items advertised as treatment (nose clips, mouth guard, medications, etc.) are unhealthy and dangerous. CPAP addresses the pathology of OSA and effectively keeps the collapsing airway passage in the throat wide open with air pressure for normal air exchange.

Shoes for walking

The healthiest (to minimize trauma to joints, prevent foot blisters, and provide foot comfort) for women is the Ryka Devotion Plus 3; and for men, the Brooks Glycerin GTS 19. Both are available at Amazon.

Cities in the world

The top eight healthiest (and happiest) cities: Copenhagen, Denmark; Frankfurt, Germany; Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Helsinki, Finland; Berlin, Germany; Stockholm, Sweden; Fukuoka, Japan; and Geneva, Switzerland. The people of the United States were the unhappiest in 50 years, according to the mid-2020 study by NORC at the University of Chicago.

Cities in the United States

The ten healthiest cities in the U.S. according to the Mindbody + Class Pass Annual Wellness Index, in this order: San Francisco, not the safest but ranked the healthiest; Miami, Florida; San Diego, CA; Atlanta, GA; Chicago (the murder capital?), Illinois; Albuquerque, NM; Los Angeles, CA, (despite air pollution?); New York, NY; Oakland, CA; and Tampa, FL.

And finally, I challenge all of you and your loved ones to enjoy life and be the healthiest and happiest possible!

Erythritol danger?

A new study revealed erythritol, a sugar alcohol used in artificial sweeteners, can increase the risk for blood clot formation, heart attack, and stroke, and result in digestive disorders. A few of the sugar substitutes that contain erythritol are Stevia, Truvia, Splenda Monk Fruit in packets, jar or pouch, Splenda Stevia packets, Splenda Magic Baker, Splenda Coffee Creamer, Trim Healthy Mama Sweet Blend, and Zsweet and Swerve (France). Pure 100 percent Monk Fruit does not contain erythritol.

Erythritol is a type of carbohydrate also known as polyol, with zero calorie. This was approved by the WHO in 1999 as a sugar substitute. It has only 6 percent calories of sugar but 70 percent (200-400 times) of the sweetness. When ingested, erythritol goes to the blood stream; only 10 percent goes to the colon (where it could cause inflammation and digestive problems), and about 90 percent is excreted in the urine. The tested safety of erythritol was the reason it was recommended for diabetics since it also does not affect blood sugar or insulin.

However, this new small-scale and limited study recently put the spotlight on erythritol and its safety, per CNN. A Small amount (adding it to coffee, etc.) like a couple of packets a day is deemed safe from the reported risks listed above. The benefits from erythritol are the following: has antioxidant properties that protect against blood vessel damage and heart attack caused by high blood sugar level among diabetics; Erythritol also suppresses the growth of bacteria in the mouth, like Xylitol (in toothpaste/mouth wash) does, reducing plaque and cavities.

The study is too small to be valid. Large multi-nation clinical research is needed to provide convincing scientific evidence-based data before the verdict becomes a valid part of the standard of care.

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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The main objective of this column is to educate and inspire people live a healthier lifestyle to prevent illnesses and disabilities and achieve a happier and more productive life. Any diagnosis, recommendation or treatment in our article are general medical information and not intended to be applicable or appropriate for anyone. This column is not a substitute for your physician, who knows your condition well and who is your best ally when it comes to your health.

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Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, a Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus based in Northwest Indiana and Las Vegas, Nevada, is an international medical lecturer/author, Health Advocate, newspaper columnist, and Chairman of the Filipino United Network-USA, a 501(c)3 humanitarian foundation in the United States. Websites: FUN8888.com, Today.SPSAtoday.com, and philipSchua.com; Email: [email protected].


Dr. Philip S. Chua

Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus in Northwest Indiana and chairman of cardiac surgery from 1997 to 2010 at Cebu Doctors University Hospital, where he holds the title of Physician Emeritus in Surgery, is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the Philippine College of Surgeons, and the Denton A. Cooley Cardiovascular Surgical Society. He is the chairman of the Filipino United Network – USA, a 501(c)(3) humanitarian foundation in the United States.

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