Many of us want to lead a healthier lifestyle. But with so much information out there, it can be difficult to know what health advice you can trust. Here are our tips for tracking down the best information about health online.
Established Medical Platforms
As tempting as it can be to use search engines for your health ailments, doctors tend to warn against self-diagnosis using ‘Dr Google’. It is always better to go to a general practitioner (GP) or accredited health professional if you have any specific questions about health.
Depending on your questions, you may not need to make an appointment. Many local doctors’ offices have great resources on their websites or leaflets you can pick up. A number of doctors give patients the ability to message them about non-urgent queries, and you’ll typically hear back within a few days.
When you are researching health advice online, remember to look at who is actually giving the advice. It can be easy to read a great article on health and forget to look at the credentials of who is giving the advice.
The websites of public health bodies and organizations give advice that will be safest for you to follow. Equally, websites with articles written by accredited health professionals can also be trusted.
Bloggers using platforms such as WordPress may offer good advice, but you don’t necessarily know what their health credentials are. Surprisingly, however, you can learn a lot by taking a quick look at the professionalism of the site itself. Does it look like it was put together quickly, or does it have the professionalism of an established company using WordPress for enterprise?
If the site looks amateur, the health advice it provides may be similarly poor. Of course, a professional site is not an iron-clad guarantee of trustworthiness either.
Universities and Research Institutes
One of the safest ways to find solid health tips is to look at the work coming out of universities and research institutions. These types of organizations are both highly regulated and are working at the cutting edge of science.
You can be sure that findings of health that are outlined in the latest research papers come from experts in the field. Find out about the latest health research by using academic search engines, or by looking at individual university websites.
Everybody wants to find the latest diet miracle or health solution that offers quick results, but if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Diet pills, natural remedies not backed by research, and high doses of herbal medicines can sometimes do more harm than good. Surgical intervention can be helpful for some people, but individuals should never go into surgery lightly and without exploring other options.
Try to focus on the areas of good health habits that make sense. When it comes to eating, anything with added sugar, saturated fat, and too much salt is never going to do you any favors. In terms of exercise, doing too much of something you are not used to could do more harm than good.
The Key Principles of Good Health Tips
When you’re looking for new health tips or trying to decide if you should take a specific piece of health advice, check if they meet these key principles. All of the following advice that relates to being healthier is rooted in science that has been unchanged for decades.
The first principle of better health is to choose higher fiber carbohydrates. Some diet fads encourage people to cut down on carbs, but carbohydrates should actually form a third of your diet. This is the case even if you are trying to lose weight. It is always better to choose whole grain varieties, which include brown pasta and brown rice. Always question any health advice that tells you to cut out carbohydrates completely.
The second fact that should be listened to in a quest for better health is to eat more vegetables, fruit, and legumes (such as beans and lentils). The health-boosting vitamins and minerals are second-to-none in all of these foods. It’s also always better to choose one of these foods over a pre-packaged alternative, even if it is advertised as being low-calorie.
Good carbs and veg boosted with a little oily and non-oily fish, and an occasional portion of meat should form the basis of your healthy eating diet. If you’re given health advice that favors pre-made packaged meals over meals prepared from scratch using fresh ingredients, you should be suspicious.
Once you are certain of the foods you should be choosing more often than not, familiarize yourself with the foods that are rarely a good choice. The third principle of good health choices is to avoid foods with added sugar and to cut down on saturated fats.
Sugary carbonated drinks, cakes, and alcoholic drinks are all examples of things you can consume that are high in sugar. Sometimes you’ll be surprised about what sugar is added to, so check food packaging to be sure.
Foods that are high in saturated fats include sausages, butter, cakes, and cheese. These types of food should be eaten occasionally or in moderation if you do still want to consume them.