Daytime television talk shows, popular podcasts and diet books on the New York Times best-seller list would have you believe that being healthy is complicated. You need to eat the latest superfood, buy the perfect supplements or join the hippest fitness cult. These theories are particularly popular right now, as people commit to New Year’s resolutions.
But after practicing family medicine for 16 years, with a focus on nutrition and obesity, I’ve learned that the keys to good health are quite simple to describe. In fact, I believe the best health advice can be boiled down to 48 words.
So what are these 48 words? In no particular order:
Don’t smoke (2).
Get vaccinated (4).
Avoid trans fats (7).
Replace saturated fats with unsaturated if you can (15).
Cook from whole ingredients — and minimize restaurant meals (23).
Minimize ultraprocessed foods (26).
Cultivate relationships (28).
Nurture sleep (30).
Drink alcohol at most moderately (35).
Exercise as often as you can enjoy (42).
Drink only the calories you love (48).