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Seniors’ Fitness Age v. Chronological Age

You could be over 60 and have a “fitness age” decades younger. It all depends on the shape you’re in and how hard you’re working to stay fit. This news comes from a study of participants in this year’s Senior Olympics for athletes over 50 showing that their fitness age is typically 25 years younger than their chronological age. More than 4,200 of the nearly 10,000 men and women who qualified for the games entered information about themselves on an online calculator designed to assess fitness age. Results showed that their average chronological age was 68, but their fitness age averaged 43. According to a New York Times’ interview with Dr. Pamela Peeke, M.D., a Senior Olympics board member and a competitor in the games, few of the athletes who qualified had begun to exercise and train seriously until they were middle-aged or older. The calculator was developed using health and fitness data gathered from more than 5,000 Norwegian adults, and was designed to quickly calculate aerobic capacity and relative fitness age based on gender, resting heart rate, waist size and exercise routine.

Worried About Your Eyesight?

Lutein is a carotenoid that can help to protect the eyes. Find out if you should take it, and what foods are good sources.

If you or someone you know is getting on in years, you may want to consider supplementing your diet with lutein. Lutein and another carotenoid, zeaxanthin, form the yellow pigment of the retina and absorb blue light, which is a potentially harmful component of sunlight. There is very good evidence that the lutein in food helps protect against cataracts and macular degeneration, which are common age-related eye disorders. The best thing you can do for your eyes this month, and in the future, is to make sure your diet contains plenty of lutein-rich produce, including:

Fruits - mangoes, watermelon and tomatoes are good sources of lutein

Vegetables - corn, sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, squash and dark leafy greens (such as kale, collards and bok choy) provide lutein

In addition to the foods listed above, you can get zeaxanthin from orange bell peppers, oranges, and honeydew melon. I recommend eating five to seven servings of fresh fruits and vegetables per day. If you are unable to get adequate lutein through your diet, you may want to consider a vision-supportive supplement; talk with your doctor.

Can Your Diet Prevent – or Cause – Cancer?

A healthy diet can help the body in its efforts to heal itself, and in some cases, particular foods can lessen the risks of serious illness. To help reduce your risk of some types of cancer, try the following:

1. Avoid polyunsaturated vegetable oils, margarine, vegetable shortening, all partially hydrogenated oils and all foods that might contain trans-fatty acids (such as deep-fried foods).

2. Minimize or eliminate consumption of foods with added sugar and other sweeteners including fruit juices.

3. Increase omega-3 fatty acid intake by eating more cold-water oily fish, freshly ground flaxseed and walnuts.

4. Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit.

5. Use hormone-free, organically raised and grown products whenever possible. Eat shiitake, enokidake, maitake and oyster mushrooms frequently.

6. Drink green tea daily.

Scared of Dying Young?

If a longer life is something you aspire to, four simple habits can make a difference in your longevity. Find out what they are, and make them part of your routine.

If living a long life is important to you, you may want to adopt some of the habits that supercentenarians have in common. Most supercentenarians - people who live to be 110 or older - share four lifestyle characteristics that may help explain their longevity. Throughout their lives, they remain:

  1. Physically active. Even as you get older, daily physical activity should be a priority. Modify your routine to incorporate small steps, such as daily walks, parking in the back of the lot, using the stairs instead of the elevator, or taking up hobbies that involve exercise, such as gardening, playing tennis or hiking.
  2. Positive. Maintaining an optimistic outlook is important to managing stress and preventing related health issues such as heart disease. You can easily train yourself to start looking at the glass as half full. Begin with some simple self-reflection and meditation, and use humor for coping with negative thoughts.
  3. Social. A network of family and close friends is vital to optimum health. You can enjoy the benefits of a well developed social life by spending time with people who make you happy, joining community groups or clubs, volunteering, and participating in support groups.
  4. Spiritual. Regardless of your religious affiliation (if any), feeling a connection with nature, a higher being or purpose cultivates spirituality, and is an important part of graceful aging.

Nuts for Weight Loss?

Nuts may be high in fat and calories, but it turns out that they have a special property that makes them a good bet even for dieters. Find out what makes them a good choice even when you are watching your weight.

You've heard it dozens of times - nuts are good for you, but don't eat too many because they are full of fat and calories. However, research indicates that the reality is somewhat more complex - and that's good news for nut-lovers who are watching their weight. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that while a handful (about 22 kernels) of almonds contains 170 calories, only 129 calories are actually absorbed by the body. The rest are passed, because the protein and fat in them are relatively hard to digest. Even better news - after one daily handful of almonds, three percent of the calories you consume for the next 24 hours are rendered indigestible. That means if you eat 2,000 calories in a day, the almonds you ate in the morning will remove about 60 calories from that total. The effect probably applies to other kinds of nuts, although only almonds have been rigorously studied. So enjoy your nuts - their monounsaturated fat content appears to lower cardiovascular risk. And of course, they're delicious!

3 Ways to Prevent Blindness

Keeping your vision as clear as possible is vital – but an unhealthy lifestyle and diet can be detrimental to your eyesight. Try adding these three simple suggestions to your daily routine to help prevent macular degeneration and other vision concerns. 

The leading cause of blindness in those over the age of 60 - affecting more than 13 million Americans - is macular degeneration. The health of the macula (an oval spot in the center of the retina that's essential for central vision) depends on a very rich blood supply, and anything that interferes with circulation can cause damage to the macula and decrease its ability to function.

Unhealthy diet and lifestyle choices can reduce the supply of oxygen and vital nutrients to the eye, eventually leading to the death of cells in the retina and macula. To help prevent macular degeneration and other vision problems, consider the following: 

1. Stop smoking. The nicotine in tobacco smoke can decrease blood supply by causing a narrowing of the blood vessels and a thickening of the blood. You should also avoid secondhand smoke.

2.  Eat a diet low in sugar, flour and oxidized oils (such as soybean oils used in processed foods and deep-fat frying). These can contribute to plaque build-up along blood vessel walls, including those supplying the macula, which impedes blood flow.

3. Get enough antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E and lutein. These antioxidant compounds may help prevent plaque from sticking to the blood vessel walls, lessening the risk of damage to the tissue.

Want to Lower Your Blood Pressure?

If lowering your blood pressure is important to you, try adding spice to your food! Find out which spice has been shown to help, and learn about other health benefits it offers. 

If you enjoy spicy foods, eat up - you may be helping your blood pressure. Capsaicin, the compound that adds the spicy zing to hot peppers, appears to help lower blood pressure. Animal research suggests that long-term consumption of capsaicin helps relax blood vessels by increasing production of nitric oxide, a molecule known to protect blood vessels against inflammation and dysfunction (the primary function of nitric oxide is really vasodilation, or relaxation). While follow-up studies will be needed to see whether capsaicin works as well on blood pressure in humans, other studies indicate that capsaicin may enhance the metabolism of fat, and help inhibit inflammation. Even if you don't like spicy food, capsaicin has something to offer - a topical application can help minimize symptoms of shingles, eczema and arthritic aches.

3 Ways to Prevent Alzheimer’s

Want to keep your brain healthy and ward off dementia? Try adding these three, simple steps to your daily routine. 

To help preserve mental function and protect against age-related cognitive decline including dementia and Alzheimer's disease, consider implementing these healthy lifestyle strategies:

  1. Get 30 minutes of physical activity per day. Regular physical exercise, specifically aerobic exercise such as walking at a quick pace, can help slow memory loss and improve mental function.
  2. Develop healthy habits in all aspects of life. Not smoking, drinking only in moderation, staying socially involved, managing stress, getting adequate rest, and cultivating a positive attitude and outlook have all been associated with a lowered risk of Alzheimer's.
  3. Keep an active mind. "Use it or lose it" applies to mental as well as physical health. Enjoy crossword puzzles, mind games, challenging reading, and take educational classes.

 

Is Colloidal Silver Harmful to Your Health?

Colloidal silver's proponents claim that it is an alternative to antibiotics, can extend life and remedy weakened immune systems. Is any of this true?

Widely promoted as a cure for everything from ear infections to shingles to AIDS, colloidal silver is a solution of silver particles suspended in liquid. Promoters claim that colloidal silver is an alternative to antibiotics and can extend life and remedy mineral deficiencies that lead to a weakened immune system. Is any of this true?

I don't think so - the claims are unproven, and colloidal silver is not a substitute for antibiotics, or any other medications. Not only does the human body have absolutely no need for silver, it can be harmful:

 

  1. Silver can accumulate in the body and lead to a skin condition called argyria, which causes bluish-gray skin pigmentation, especially around the nose and mouth, a color change that cannot be reversed.
  2. Long-term use of oral silver products has led to neurological problems including seizures, as well as kidney damage, stomach distress, headaches, fatigue and skin irritation.
  3. It can also interfere with the absorption of some drugs including tetracycline antibiotics and thyroid hormone supplements.

 

While it is true that silver is an effective germicide, it has limited usefulness in medicine. In 1999, the FDA banned the sale of all over-the-counter drugs containing colloidal silver and silver salts as these compounds haven't been recognized as safe. However the ban doesn't apply to dietary supplements containing colloidal silver because the FDA has no jurisdiction over such products, unless there are established safety issues. I would avoid all products containing colloidal silver.

Feeling Achy? Try Eating These Foods

If suffering from joint pain is a common start to your day, consider adding these foods to your diet. Each can help to address the pain and symptoms associated with stiff, painful joints.

If your mornings begin with stiffness, pain and swollen joints, you may be experiencing symptoms of osteoarthritis. In addition to getting regular exercise (low-impact is the best) and maintaining a healthy weight, consider the following nutritional strategies to help prevent or lessen symptoms.

1.   Eat foods rich in antioxidants. A variety of colors of fresh organic fruits and vegetables are good sources, and may help reduce tissue damage from inflammation.

2.   Get enough omega-3s. The omega-3 fatty acids provided in oily fish (such as wild Alaskan salmon), walnuts and freshly ground flaxseed might help reduce the inflammation and pain of arthritis.

3.   Regularly use ginger and turmeric in cooking and/or supplements for their natural anti-inflammatory properties.