Healthy Choices

Live the Mediterranean Way

People in countries around the Mediterranean Sea live longer on average and suffer less chronic disease, such as heart disease or cancer, than people living in the United States. They are much more physically active than Americans. They also have a stronger sense of family and community, and gather for relaxed meals and afternoon rests. The Mediterranean diet traditionally consists of whole plant foods: grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, potatoes, beans, nuts and seeds. The people eat meat only occasionally; fish and poultry are the primary choice. Olive oil is the main source of fat, and honey is the most common sweetener.

Happiness Is Contagious

Want to be happier? Spend time with happy people. A 20-year study of more than 4,700 people found people who are happy increase the happiness of those around them. This study discovered one person's emotion can influence another's emotion—even in people whom they've never met. To boost your happiness:

1 Surround yourself with people you love.

2 Spend time doing things you enjoy.

3 Pursue personal growth opportunities.

4 Don't compare yourself to others.

5 Be grateful for what you have.

6 Forgive others.

Flax Seed for Prostate and Heart Health

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer found in men (excluding skin cancer). Studies have shown flax seed, along with a low-fat diet, may be protective against prostate cancer growth, according to the American Cancer Society. Flax seed has the highest amount of omega 3-fatty acids of any plant food. It is also rich in a type of fiber known as lignans. Flax seeds should be ground first since whole seeds probably pass through the intestinal system undigested. One rounded tablespoon of ground flax meal will meet the daily omega 3-fatty acid requirement for a man. Flax seeds are also good for heart health.

Ask the Wellness Doctor

Q: What's an easy way to tell a healthy fat from a bad fat?

A: Read the answer from Don Hall, DrPH, CHES, at

April 01, 2009 / Health