6 tips to help you be healthier


As World Health Day approaches on April 7, it's a perfect time to reflect on our well-being and consider steps we can take to lead healthier lives. From dietary changes to lifestyle adjustments, here are six tips recommended by Northside Hospital experts to help you prioritize your health. 

1. Cut the salt. 

According to primary care physician Dr. Francisco Echevarria-Santiago, excess sodium plays a critical role in your blood pressure

“The American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium intake to no more than 1,500 mg per day,” Echevarria-Santiago said. High-sodium foods include processed and canned goods. Instead, opt for fresh, whole foods whenever possible, and flavor your meals with herbs and spices instead of salt. 

<5 ways to love your heart

2. Eliminate red meat. 

Red meat and processed meats have been shown to increase risk of developing certain cancers, including colon cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. 

Oncology dietitian Savannah Duffy advises limiting red meat intake to 12-18 ounces per week and opting for lean cuts to lower saturated fat intake. She recommends avoiding processed meats like deli meat, bacon and hot dogs altogether. 

“A quick pro tip to help you cut back on deli meat intake is to keep a shredded rotisserie chicken in your fridge to top on salads and sandwiches throughout the week,” said Duffy. “Or to use canned tuna for a quick high-protein option.” 

3. Create a consistent sleep routine. 

Quality sleep is essential for overall health and well-being, yet many people struggle with insomnia and sleep disorders. 

According to sleep medicine specialist Dr. Jason Krahnke, factors such as racing thoughts, excessive worry and exposure to blue light from electronic devices can disrupt sleep patterns. 

The first step in treating insomnia, says Dr. Krahnke, is to practice good sleep hygiene habits that include “only going to the bedroom when sleepy, maintaining the same bedtime and wake time every day (including on the weekends), keeping the bedroom dark and quiet and avoiding stimulating activities close to bedtime.” 

If sleep difficulties persist, consult with a health care professional for personalized guidance and treatment options. 

4. Quit smoking.

Kenny Haney, community health advocate with Northside Hospital Cancer Institute, says, “Be conscious of your smoking habits; don’t make this a mindless activity.” He suggests one way to do this is to write down and keep track of every time you smoke. 

“Make it harder to smoke,” Haney adds. Keep your tobacco products in your car so that you have to go get them when you want them or hide them in your house. “Anything to give you extra time to reconsider giving into that craving.” 

<Tips to quit smoking

5. Limit sun exposure. 

Spring is here. We all need some sun exposure to produce vitamin D and keep our bones healthy and strong. But prolonged and unprotected sun exposure can be very harmful to your skin, eyes and immune system. 

Surgical oncologist Dr. Nicole Kounalakis advises taking precautions to protect yourself from harmful UV radiation. 

  • Seek shade during the hottest time of the day; avoid midday sun. 
  • Cover up and understand which clothes can protect you from the sun’s rays. 
  • Use sunscreen whenever possible. 
  • Wear a hat, wear sunglasses and use extra precaution near water, snow and sand. 
6. Get moving. 

Exercising on a regular basis can have major health benefits that extend far beyond any medication a doctor can prescribe, according to Northside Hospital Heart Institute’s Dr. Cesar Cruz. “In fact, just 30 minutes a day at least five times a week can have profound benefits on your health,” he said. 

Running, in particular, is a great way to boost your endurance and is very effective when it comes to strengthening your heart — the body’s most vital organ. It can improve your blood circulation, reduce stress hormones and lower your risk of vascular disease. 

Find more healthy tips in the Northside Hospital News Center. 


Media Inquiries

Northside Hospital's media relations staff look forward to assisting you with news stories whenever possible. We promise to try and meet all of your story needs.
Media Contacts

Need Help Finding a Provider?
Take advantage of Northside Hospital's free physician referral service. Available weekdays , 8a.m. - 4p.m. EST. 404-845-5555