Illness or injury may often be the instigator, but frailty is what kills us, says Dr. Mehmet Oz, cardiothoracic surgeon, author, and host of The Dr. Oz Show. Our bodies can't recover as well if we're not strong, which is why he recommends a balanced workout plan that includes strength, cardio, and flexibility training.
This doesn't mean you need to spend hours in the gym each week. The busy doctor has no problem fitting in his seven-minute workout every morning (check out the full routine here), which he says is better for you than the occasional hour-long gym session. And you can say goodbye to boring treadmill sessions. Instead, Dr. Oz suggests getting a basic pedometer and setting a goal of 10,000 steps per day (that's about five miles) to stay slim and healthy.
Cut Out the White Stuff
2 OF 10
The easiest way to lose weight and improve your health? Ditch the white stuff! Most white foods (bread, rice, pasta, sugar, flour) are primarily made up of refined carbs and empty calories, so cutting them out of your diet is one of the quickest ways to shed pounds and improve your well-being, Dr. Oz says.
There are a few exceptions to the rule, including egg whites, cauliflower, and fish, he says. Those are the only white foods you should have on hand.
They may be chock-full of nutrients, but exotic vegetables like celeriac and Jerusalem artichokesdon't always appeal to more traditional pallets. And that's fine, according to Dr. Oz, who says broccoli is his all-time favorite produce.
"Broccoli is the best produce option because it cleanses the liver and helps to fight cancer," he says. To reap the most rewards, the doctor suggests cleaning and slicing cruciferous veggies (like broccoli) five to 10 minutes before cooking, and then steaming or microwaving them (instead of boiling) to help retain the most cancer-fighting compounds.
"New research says that vitamin D may play a crucial role in weight loss by controlling appetite and helping fat cells become more metabolically active," Dr. Oz says. The sunshine vitamin also helps your body better absorb bone-boosting calcium, improves immunity, reduces inflammation, and may even protect against some forms of cancer. Nearly 75 percent of Americans are vitamin-D deficient, so there's a good chance you're not getting your recommended daily dose of 400 IU (some people may need as much as 1000 IU, so check with your doctor to find out what's right for you).
"The best sources [of vitamin D] are salmon, tuna, and mackerel (especially the flesh)," Dr. Oz says, adding that "fish liver oils, beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks also contain small amounts."
And don't forget the most convenient source of all: sunlight. "Vitamin D is actually produced in your body when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike your skin; the UV rays trigger synthesis of vitamin D, which then gets converted in your liver into its active form."
There's a reason Dr. Oz can't omit this expected tip from the list. Drinking water is so imperative for staying healthy, energized, and even losing weight. There are so many reasons to stay hydrated—hunger is often disguised as thirst, it boosts your metabolism, and water is the best energy drink available, he says.
To find out exactly how much water you should be drinking, divide your body weight (in pounds) by two and aim to drink that many ounces of water every day.