HOW TO LIVE A LONGER AND HEALTHIER LIFE

There are some excellent insights here on the eating aspects of living a long and healthy life.

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Biochemist Valter Longo has devoted decades to discovering connections between nutrition and successful aging. He runs the Longevity Institute at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, where the focus is on extending healthy life spans and finding ways to prevent and treat conditions like cancer and cardiovascular disease that growing older makes us more susceptible to developing. Longo is also a professor of biological science at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

Armed with results from the lab — including clinical trials showing that cycles of a five-day fasting-mimicking diet can reduce risk factors for many life-threatening diseases — Longo is calling for change in the kitchen. In this Q&A, he reveals the role that food can play in keeping us youthful and tackles some common misconceptions related to how, what and when we should eat.

How important is food to our health and aging?

Other…

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14 Reasons to disconnect on the weekend – Infographic

As an old retired guy, I have to look backwards to remember the intensity of the engagement I felt when I was in the working world. I remember that I considered going to sleep an intrusion on my productive day. I often failed to get a good night’s sleep. Ditto on weekends, you could usually find me in the office on Saturdays. Turns out that neither of those actions was wise.

I am now in my 18th year of retirement. I have been writing this blog for nearly eight years. I think one of the best posts I have done is my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep? I hope you will check it out. Recharging is one of the best and healthiest activities there is for our brain and body. A kind of corollary of not enough sleep is that prolonged sitting hurts us. You can check out my Page – Do you know the dangers of too much sitting? for more details.

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Some weekend funnies … vintage ads

Here is a variation on the theme of fitness funnies. It is always fascinating (to me) to look at some of the old ads and the way goods and services were sold. Times have sure changed.

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Tony

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Cold vs. flu symptoms – WebMD

The country appears to be under siege from the flu this year. Schools are closing in some states to protect children. The flu vaccine appears to have been formulated in a way that it is not a protective as usual. You have every reason to be concerned about your health these days. No one wants to come down with the flu. On the other hand, you might just have a cold. How do you tell the difference? WebMD offers the following infographic to help  you answer that question.

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Finally, I have found it valuable to be very careful of where I put my hands these days. You can buy antiseptic hand wipes cheaply from Amazon and your local drug store. I recommend that you buy them and use them often. Be careful where you put your hands. It is winter so you can wear gloves and use them for opening doors, wear them riding the bus or train. Those strap hangers and poles on your ride to work can be breeding ground for bacteria. 

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Tony

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Filed under aging, colds vs flu, flu deaths, flu season, flu shot, flu symptoms, preventing the flu, successful aging

Turmeric compound could boost memory and mood

I have eaten and enjoyed Indian food back in the late 1970’s when I lived in London and didn’t eat meat. Those days are long gone, but I do keep hearing good things about turmeric. Here is a nice rundown from Medical News Today on it.

Not a lover of Indian food? A new study might change your mind. Researchers have found that a compound in turmeric — the spice that gives curry its golden color — could help to improve the mood and memory of older adults.

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Turmeric has been linked to a wealth of health benefits. Last year, for example, Medical News Today reported on a study suggesting that turmeric could help to treat pancreatic cancer, while other research claims the popular spice may help to treat stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, anti oxidant, Medical News Today, memory, successful aging, turmeric

My experience with CBD Oil for arthritis pain

Last month I wrote a post on CBD Oil as a possible pain reliever for the arthritis I suffer from in my hands. Before you read the current post, I wish you would go back and check out the original from January 18. It is from Medical News Today and has lots of good information in it. This is a quote from that post “CBD is a type of cannabinoid, which is a chemical found in cannabis plants. Unlike delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another chemical found in cannabis, CBD is not psychoactive. This means it does not change a person’s mental state or produce a “high” as THC can.

So, now you know what it is, and isn’t. You can’t get high using this stuff.

On to my experiment experience with it. Of course I went to Amazon because that is where you buy anything. And, of course, they had lots of it. Keep in mind that one can use this oil topically, rubbing it on the skin, or internally, drinking it. Being the human guinea pig, I felt safer with the topical use.

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This is what I bought for $19.99 on Amazon

Continue reading

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Some funnies to start the week …

Since I pre-empted Friday’s funnies with my birthday celebration, I thought we might still get some funnies in to start the week.

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Don’t you just love this cat?

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This must be how you get your ducks in a row.

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Let there be light …

I don’t know if I suffer from SAD – seasonal affective disorder – or not. If I do, I think it is a mild case. Don’t know what SAD is?

Here’s the Mayo Clinic explaining it, “Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.”

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I shot this November 8, 2017 at 5:56 AM on a morning Chicago lakefront bike ride.

“Treatment for SAD may include light therapy (phototherapy), medications and psychotherapy.”

What I do know about myself is that I don’t feel happy about the dwindling light as winter looms.I can’t ride my bike as often because of the declining hours with light. By late December I am thrilled to see that the days are beginning, very slowly, but undeniably, to have more light.

I live in Chicago. To help me to enjoy the return of the light as winter ebbs, I have charted the sunrise and sunset for January through March. I mentioned living in Chicago because you likely live elsewhere and your sunrise and set times will be somewhat different.

On January 1, sunrise occurs at 7 :18 AM and sunset at 4:29 PM. On January 31, sunrise has slipped down to 7:05 AM and sunset has stretched out to 5:04 PM. That is an increase of 48 minutes of daylight in the first month of the year.

It just keeps getting better after that. In February, we add a further 67 minutes of sunlight to our day. So, at the end of February, we have added 115 minutes of light, nearly two hours!

At the end of March, a further 99 minutes of sunlight is added. That makes a total of 214 minutes – three and more than a half hours of additional light per day in the first three months.

I don’t know if this kind of info has an interest for you, but for me, a guy who likes to be outdoors, it means a great deal. I hope you have a great bright day.

Tony

 

 

 

 

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5 Benefits of exercising outdoors

I wanted to reproduce this very simple infographic because I think it is accurate, helpful and meets my bias of not liking working out indoors at the health club. That doesn’t mean that you can’t do it and get worthwhile health benefits. I just really prefer doing it outdoors.

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Tony

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Everyday habits can bolster your memory muscles – Harvard

Regular readers know that I have had several members of my family, or both sides, suffer from dementia in general or Alzheimer’s in particular. So, being a guy in his late 70’s I am particularly sensitive to any kind of cognitive kinks that I may be experiencing. I don’t know if it is my imagination or there are simply more people coming on board the cognitive improvement movement. Herewith, Harvard Healthbeat on tips for strengthening your memory.

Your daily habits and lifestyle — what you eat and drink, whether you exercise, how stressed you are, and more — affect your mental health every bit as much as your physical health. A growing body of research indicates that regular exercise and a healthful diet can help protect your memory from aging-related decline. (my emphasis)

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Exercise

Physical fitness and mental fitness go together. People who exercise regularly tend to stay mentally sharp into their 70s, 80s, and beyond. Although the precise “dose” of exercise isn’t known, research suggests that the exercise should be moderate to vigorous and regular. Examples of moderate exercise include brisk walking, stationary bicycling, water aerobics, and competitive table tennis. Vigorous activities include jogging, high-impact aerobic dancing, square dancing, and tennis.

Exercise helps memory in several ways. It reduces the risk of developing several potentially memory-robbing conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Exercise is good for the lungs, and people who have good lung function send more oxygen to their brains. There is some evidence that exercise helps build new connections between brain cells and improves communication between them. Finally, exercise has been linked to increased production of neurotrophins, substances that nourish brain cells and help protect them against damage from stroke and other injuries.

 

Here are some ways to build physical activity into your daily routine:

Walk instead of driving when possible.

Set aside time each day for exercise. For extra motivation, ask your spouse or a friend to join you.

Use the stairs instead of the elevator.

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Filed under aging, aging brain, Alzheimer's disease, Alzheimer's risk, dementia, Exercise, exercise benefits, memory, successful aging

Famous people born today – January 26

General Douglas MacArthur, Paul Newman, Angela Davis, Wayne Gretzky, Eddie Van Halen, Jules Feiffer and Ellen DeGeneres were all born on January 26.

Oh, yes, and one not so famous. It’s also my birthday. I am now 78 years old. I am happy to say that I feel great and am healthier than I was 20 years ago when I toiled in the working world.

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This is my birthday picture from last year. It’s the only one I have that’s decorated.

This is from my birthday blog post last year:

One of the main reasons I feel like I have things so together is this blog. I started writing it in March of 2010 with a partner who has since left for other pursuits. From the beginning, I discovered a focus. At first it was simply trying to keep my weight down. I learned portion control and serving size. This Italian guy was surprised to learn that a “serving” of pasta was not a 10 inch plate heaped with spaghetti noodles smothered in tomato sauce. No, a serving of pasta is about the size of a baseball. Incredibly, that was a revelation to me. But I put the information to use. I began to reduce my portions accordingly. I am not going to recount all the lessons I learned in the past nearly eight years, but if you want to get control of your weight, check out my Page – How to Lose Weight – and Keep it Off. Continue reading

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Filed under 78th birthday, aging, cholesterol, Exercise, HDL Cholesterol, LDL Cholesterol, successful aging

Cognitive Training Helps Regain a Younger-Working Brain

Relentless cognitive decline as we age is worrisome, and it is widely thought to be an unavoidable negative aspect of normal aging. Researchers at the Center for Brain Health at The University of Texas at Dallas, however, say their research could provide new hope for extending our brain function as we age.

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In a randomized clinical study involving adults age 56 to 71 that recently published in Neurobiology of Aging, researchers found that after cognitive training, participants’ brains were more energy efficient, meaning their brain did not have to work as hard to perform a task.

Dr. Michael Motes, senior research scientist at the Center for BrainHealth and one of the lead authors of the study, said, “Finding a nonpharmacological intervention that can help the aging brain to perform like a younger brain is a welcome finding that potentially advances understanding of ways to enhance brain health and longevity. It is thrilling for me as a cognitive neuroscientist, who has previously studied age-related cognitive decline, to find that cognitive training has the potential to strengthen the aging brain to function more like a younger brain.” Continue reading

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Some micro reasons to exercise

Eat less; move more; live longer. I have been preaching that for the nearly nine-year life of this blog. There are lots of ways that exercise benefits our brains as well as our bodies which I hope will protect me from cognitive damage as I age. When it comes to the trillions of microbes in my gut, however, I confess to pretty much total ignorance. They are there. They do their jobs. We get along fine.

A recent issue of the New York Times, however, had Gretchen Reynolds writing about exercise benefiting our gut microbes in some very interesting ways. Here is a link to the article if you would like to read the full details.

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Below is a quote of several paragraphs which I found meaningful.

“Most of these changes were not shared from one person to the next. Everyone’s gut responded uniquely to exercise.

“But there were some similarities, the researchers found. In particular, they noted widespread increases in certain microbes that can help to produce substances called short-chain fatty acids. These fatty acids are believed to aid in reducing inflammation in the gut and the rest of the body. They also work to fight insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes, and otherwise bolster our metabolisms. Continue reading

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Coconut oil: Healthful or unhealthful? – MNT

Coconut oil has been all the rage for some time. Endorsed by a number of celebrities as a superfood, this tropical-smelling fat — often liberally applied to our skin and scalps — is a favorite of many. But the question remains: is it healthful or not?

Fat suffered a bad reputation for a long time and we were told to opt for low-fat options instead. But the tides turned eventually, prompting us to see fats in a new light.

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Our lives became simpler. We learned how to avoid bad (saturated and hydrogenated) fats and eat good (unsaturated) ones to keep our tickers and arteries healthy.

Then the humble coconut came along in 2003, and the waters were once again muddied. Seen by some as a superfood but recently labeled by the American Heart Association (AHA) as part of the pool of unhealthful fats, the controversy goes on.

So, what are the scientific facts behind the coconut oil hype, and what are the latest developments?

Secret ingredient: ‘Medium-chain’ fatty acids

Many of the purported health claims surrounding coconut oil stem from research published in 2003 by Marie-Pierre St-Onge, Ph.D. — a professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University in New York City, NY. Continue reading

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Filed under cholesterol, coconut oil, HDL Cholesterol, high cholesterol, LDL Cholesterol, medium chain fatty acids

Drinking 100 percent fruit juice does not affect blood sugar levels – Study

I know that a lot of people have strong feelings about juices – both positive and negative. I am kind of agnostic. I like pineapple-orange juice and drink it regularly. Otherwise, I am not much into fruit juice.

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Juice found to have no association with major diabetes risk factors

One hundred percent juice does not have a significant effect on fasting blood glucose, fasting blood insulin, or insulin resistance according to a new study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science. The findings are consistent with previous research indicating that 100% fruit juice is not associated with an increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes and support a growing body of evidence that 100% fruit juice has no significant effect on glycemic control.

A comprehensive data analysis quantitatively assessed the relationship between drinking 100% juice and blood glucose control. Using fasting blood glucose and fasting blood insulin levels as biomarkers for diabetes risk, the systematic review and meta-analysis included 18 randomized controlled trials (RCT) to evaluate the impact of 100% juice from fruits, such as apple, berry, citrus, grape, and pomegranate.

According to The American Diabetes Association, about 90% of the 29 million cases of diabetes in adults and children in the United States are considered Type 2. Type 2 Diabetes is a metabolic disorder where the body is unable to respond to insulin. The first line of defense for preventing and treating Type 2 Diabetes is following a healthy lifestyle. Eating right, exercising regularly and staying at a healthy weight are encouraged. U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend consumption of a healthy eating pattern which includes fruits, vegetables, grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy and a variety of protein foods. A 4-oz. glass of 100 percent juice counts as one serving (1/2 cup) of fruit, and can complement whole fruit to help individuals add more produce to their diets. (my emphasis)

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The study entitled “100% Fruit juice and measures of glycemic control and insulin sensitivity: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials” is available online. It was conducted by Exponent, Inc. on behalf of the Juice Products Association. The authors are Mary Murphy, MS, RD, Erin Barrett, PhD, Kara Bresnahan, PhD, MPH, and Leila Barraj, ScD of Exponent, Inc. For more information on the nutritional benefits of 100 percent fruit juice, please visit http://www.juicecentral.org.

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Non-HDL cholesterol explained – Harvard

When I get my annual physical, I always have blood work done, too. I have often wondered at the various breakdowns of cholesterol. Herewith, an explanation from the Harvard Medical School.

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Q. My recent cholesterol test result included “non-HDL cholesterol.” What is the significance of this number?

A. Your non-HDL cholesterol result refers to your total cholesterol value minus your HDL cholesterol. When you get your blood drawn for a cholesterol test (also known as a lipid profile or lipid panel), the report usually includes four numbers: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol; high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol; triglycerides; and total cholesterol.

Although you might assume total cholesterol is simply the sum of your LDL and HDL, it also includes very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL). These particles carry triglycerides to tissues and eventually become LDL. Like LDL, it also causes cholesterol to build up on the inside of arteries, creating artery-clogging plaque. Both are considered undesirable, so the higher your LDL and VLDL values, the higher your risk of heart disease. Continue reading

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