Tips for optimal health

What health habits to keep, avoid, and improve, according to medical specialists


Nobody wants to go visit a doctor at the hospital in these times, so to maximize your health goals, we asked specialists what their advice is to keep you at your optimal shape. 

To keep a healthy heart, you should take care of both your body and mind. Eat a heart-healthy diet, exercise daily, and for your mental wellbeing, keep doing the things you enjoy.—MICHAEL JOSEPH AGBAYANI, M.D., cardiologist

Practice basic proper hygiene like showering daily and brushing of teeth. Also, don’t forget to drink a lot of water and take vitamins daily. —JOHANNA CO-DY LIM, M.D.,otolaryngologist

In this time of uncertainty, it is acceptable to experience a certain level of anxiety. It’s human nature to try to control situations but for now, we must learn to live in the moment and adapt to the change everybody now faces. —JEROME GO, M.D., psychiatrist

Be intentional with taking care of your mental health. Find which self-care activities work for you, they should re-energize and fill you up. When you find what works, purposefully set aside time for it and block it in your schedule. —SYDNEY FONTANARES, PSY.D., psychologist

It is preferable to wash hands with mild soap and water because alcohol tends to dry out the skin more and causes eczema for some people. They can, however, use alcohol if they don’t have access to soap and water. It doesn’t have to be antibacterial soap. Mildsoap should do the job. It is also advisable to use hand creams or petroleum jelly if there are signs of dryness.—SHARMAINE IVY SUN, M.D., dermatologist

Challenging your brain with new activities or hobbies as well as doing mentally stimulating activities will help keep the brain healthy. The regular physical exercise should also be at least 30 to 40 mins a day of aerobic exercise at least three times a week.—DONNABELLE CHU, M.D.,neurologist 

Maintain a healthy fluid intake, avoid smoking, and do not take over-the-counter pills on a regular basis. —RAMONA ESPERA-LOBATON, M.D., nephrologist

When using digital devices, remember the 20-20-20 rule, which says that every 20 minutes of gadget use, rest your eyes for 20 seconds by looking at something 20 feet away. —MICHAEL LAGAMAYO, M.D., ophthalmologist

Though it may be challenging for younger children, limiting their exposure to other kids should be the parents’ goal because kids do not necessarily understand social distancing. Parents should also instill the habit of frequent handwashing to kids and teach them the fun way so they will remember well. Also, develop new routines of playing and learning the least electronic way possible, especially for children under four years old. These basic concepts are essential for children to stay in good health.—JAYMEE CHRISTINE ABARQUEZ, M.D.,pediatrician

Maintain feminine hygiene by using cotton underwear and changing it two times a day. Avoid using strong-scented commercial feminine wash, tight fitting pants, and fabric softener to wash undies. Last, never wipe your vulvar area after each wash and just tap it dry from front to back.—ROWENA JACINTO-LABAO, MD., obstetrician 

Avoid sodas and sugary drinks because they concentrate your urine and make you prone to infections. Also, avoid salty food and too much meat, which can cause stone formation. Empty your bladder once there is the urge to urinate. And last, do not smoke. Apart from reducing your risk for cancer, this will also reduce the risk for heart problems. You can also see your urologist through teleconference. A lot of answers can be obtained by just talking with your doctor and it reduces your time of stay at the clinic or hospital during an actual face-to-face consultation. —JOSEPH MICHAEL URSUA, MD., urologist