Can I Have Your Number?

Know the perfect number when it comes to cholesterol, vitamins and…sex and sushi.

Some numbers are best left forgotten or unknown. Like, the number that girl scrawled on a bar napkin last night. Or the number of kids Michelle and Bob Duggar currently have. But other numbers are important to know, track and control — for your health, well-being and general state of happiness.

1. Cholesterol: 120-130 mg/dl

The most recent survey conducted by the National Center of Health Statistics found that 32 million Americans take statins to control their cholesterol. The first thing to do: buy stocks in those drug companies. The second thing to do: get your cholesterol levels tested. The ideal, healthy adult should have a total cholesterol number of approximately 120-130 mg/dl, and an LDL of 70 mg/dl.

2. Vitamin D: 400 IU

Vitamin D has benefits for everything from heart disease to depression. You may be woefully under the recommended daily intake of the “sunshine vitamin” if you live in an igloo or basically all of Canada. General studies have found benefits for daily intakes of 400 to 800 international units per day.

3. Sushi: 3 Rolls

If you’re pregnant or a child, step away from the all-you-can-eat sushi buffet. Due to mercury contamination, many doctors and agencies recommend complete avoidance of sushi. If you are an otherwise healthy, average adult, many doctors recommend a maximum of one meal if the sushi is made from swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish or shark. If you’re enjoying low-mercury fish, such as salmon, many recommendations come in at around 12 ounces a week. Unfortunately, that’s like, just three average-sized sushi rolls. May I suggest the cucumber rolls instead?

4. TV: 0

In a 2011 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, doctors found that your risk of developing heart disease or type 2 diabetes increased by 15 percent and 20 percent, respectively, for every two hours of TV you watch per day.

5. Exercise: 20 Minutes

The American College of Sports Medicine suggests a minimum of 20 minutes of aerobic exercise, such as running or swimming, three to five times a week. Of course, more is usually better.

6. Sex: Lots

Apparently what feels good is good for you, too. A Duke University research report followed a group of Americans for 25 years and concluded that “frequency of intercourse was a significant predictor of longevity,” while a British study found that men who had two or more orgasms per week had a 50 percent reduction in their death rate over the course of a decade compared to men who had sex just once per month.

7. Blood Pressure: 120/80

A whopping 50 million Americans have high blood pressure. Scarily, 30 percent of them have no idea they do. High blood pressure numbers increase the risk of everything from kidney damage to heart failure. Ideally, your blood pressure should ring in at 120/80. One of the easiest ways to reduce your blood pressure: reduce dietary salt intake, lose weight, quit smoking and avoid alcohol. Speaking of which…

8. Alcohol: 1-2 Per Day

If you drink, doctors typically recommend a maximum of two drinks a day for men and one drink for women. But here’s the kicker: most people underestimate how much they’re drinking. To put it into perspective, one drink is a 12-ounce serving of beer (not a pint) and a 5-ounce serving of wine (and note that many wine glasses hold much more than this).

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Peter Reese's claim to fame is he once met a bodybuilder in California who had once met Arnold Schwarzenegger. A fitness buff, Peter loves educating people about the importance of exercise. His biggest gym pet peeve: people who walk around locker rooms without a towel.

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