Your guide to a healthier, happier 2018

Topics: Public Health, Food/Nutrition, Diseases & Conditions, Cancer

American Health Line's editorial team in 2017 read through scores of news stories and studies on the lifestyle choices that we face every day—from whether to treat dark chocolate as a health food (don't) to the behaviors most commonly associated with cancer.

As part of our Year in Review, we compiled this list of top resources to help you stay happy and healthy in 2018.

Eat better

Start with a big breakfast (but end with a small dinner)

Nutrition research published in August supports the old adage "breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper," the New York Times' "Well" reports.

Eat more fat, less carbs

Countering global dietary guidance, a diet that incorporates more fats and fewer carbohydrates—and some fruits and vegetables—might be tied to lower mortality rates, according to three papers published in the Lancet.

Sure, stock up on blueberries, but don't call them a 'superfood'

The Atlantic does some myth-busting around the moniker that implies blueberries are better than other fruits or vegetables.

No, dark chocolate is not a health food

Despite a research and marketing push from the chocolate industry, cocoa has not been proven to hold any long-term health benefits, Vox reports.

Find the diet that's right for you

U.S. News named the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension—often called just "DASH"—diet as the Best Overall in 2017 but also praised and profiled dozens of others in its annual diet rankings.

Small dietary changes can increase lifespan

A study published in July has good news for those whose diets tend to be on the less healthy side: People who made small improvements to a less healthy diet significantly cut their risk of death over time.

Exercise (safely and effectively)

Bad news about fitness tracker calorie counts

The devices are effective at measuring heart rate but tend to be inaccurate when it comes to calorie counting, according to a study published in the Journal of Personalized Medicine.

Is it worth getting a standing desk?

A standing desk isn't likely to cause you to lose weight—but it might stave off weight gain, and it's still better than sitting, according to a study published in Circulation, the Washington Post reports.

A word of caution about high-intensity workouts

As vigorous workouts grow in popularity, recent research highlights the potential for rhabdomyolysis, which occurs when muscles die and their contents leak into the bloodstream, the New York Times' "Well" reports.

Be happy

Want to buy happiness? Try buying time.

A study published in August found spending money on timesaving services for disliked chores, such as grocery shopping or housecleaning, could make individuals happier.

Bad news for pet lovers

We're hesitant to remind you of this, but in case you're considering getting a pet, a study from earlier this year challenged the "sort of implicit consensus" that having a pet benefits human health, The Atlantic reports.

7 ways to build resilience in midlife

The New York Times' "Well" outlines seven tips to build "emotional muscle" and increase resilience in midlife.

Is it time to put down the phone?

Here are five questions you can ask yourself to determine whether your phone usage is a problem—and three simple steps you can take to change your behavior for the better, according to experts.

Stay well

The behaviors that experts say could account for roughly half of cancer deaths

The American Cancer Society says more than 40% of cancer deaths are attributable to potentially modifiable lifestyle factors.  

The 9 lifestyle factors that could cut dementia risk by one-third

Midlife hearing loss makes up 9% of dementia risk, followed by early life education, which makes up 8%.

The relationship between cold weather and illness, explained

It's mostly true that people are more likely to get sick during cold times of the year, but the explanation as to why might be surprising, The Atlantic reports.