You may not be as young as you feel, but almost … Harvard

I post on a lot of subjects having to do with living longer. Most of them are indirect, like eat less; move more; live longer. But, an issue of the Harvard Health Letter focuses on something directly related to living longer. Namely, how you feel about yourself at your age.

Heidi Goldman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter writes, “I just celebrated a birthday, and not the kind women like to crow about. Let’s just say I’m mid-century modern. But I feel as young and as vibrant as ever. I have energy, a zest for life, and a real sense of purpose. And it turns out that this youthful feeling may pay off big-time. A research letter in JAMA Internal Medicine found that older people who felt three or more years younger than their actual (chronological) age had a lower death rate compared with those who felt their age or those who felt more than one year older than their actual age.

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You’re as young as you feel
“Two researchers at University College London looked at the responses of about 6,500 men and women who answered the question, “How old do you feel you are?” The respondents were age 52 and older, with an average age of 65. Their answers:
•    about 70% felt three or more years younger than their actual age
•    25% felt close to their actual age
•    5% felt more than one year older than their actual age
What came next was the really interesting part: Eight years after study participants answered the age question, researchers determined which ones were still alive:
•    75% of those who felt older than their age
•    82% of those who felt their actual age
•    86% of those who felt younger than their actual age.

More than just a state of mind?
“Did a youthful feeling keep people alive? There was no association between self-perceived age and cancer death. But researchers did find that the relationship between self-perceived age and cardiovascular death was strong. They speculate that feeling younger may lead to better health habits. “Feeling younger or older itself seems to have an effect on our health,” says Dr. Ronald D. Siegel, assistant professor of psychology, part time, at Harvard Medical School. (my emphasis)

“He says there are several ways that feeling younger psychologically might lead to better health. One is exercise. Good health is associated with 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. “When people see themselves as old, they’re more likely to abandon physical challenges which feel difficult, such as, ‘I don’t think I should ski any more, I’m an old man.’ When people feel younger psychologically, even if physical exercise is challenging, they’re more likely to pursue it, believing no pain no gain,” Dr. Siegel explains.

“Another way that feeling younger leads to better health may be attitude about diet. “If we feel old, we’re likely to treat food with an ‘I won’t live much longer, I might as well enjoy this’ attitude which could lead us to eat unhealthfully. If we feel young, we may have more of a future-orientation that will lead us to eat with future health in mind.” Avoiding added sugars, trans fats and saturated fats, and increasing dietary fiber, good fats, whole grains, and omega 3 fatty acids is important for good health. Continue reading

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080816 Protect your memory by staying at a healthy weight

Regular readers know that I feel strongly about maintaining my mental powers as I age because my direct blood line has three cases of Alzheimer’s or dementia. So this is clearly good information.

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I am not a big fan of BMI for an indicator of fatness, but most people are able to work out whether they are overweight or not.

Besides the eating suggestions offered, I would like to direct your attention to my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits).

Tony

Explosivelyfit Strength Training

080816 Protect your memory by staying at a healthy weight

New research recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found a link between weight and memory loss in older women. An analysis of data gathered from 8,745 women, aged 65-79, showed no signs of dementia at the beginning of this study. Things changed.

Throughout the study, periodic body mass index (BMI) measurements were taken on the participants.

The researchers found that for every increase in the BMI unit, memory loss also increased when measured from the memory test. This is not unexpected.

Clearly, from all the scientific studies conducted over the years, there is a direct link between excess body fat and heart disease. The fact is that for every risk for cardiovascular disease there is also a risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, the findings were not inconsistent with other data gathered relating to weight gain, cardiovascular…

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Less meat, more plant-based protein may prolong your life – JAMA

In my youth, I became a vegetarian for a period of about five years. In that time, I tipped the scales in the high 140 pound bracket (I was around 5’11” at the time). I did yoga most days and felt like a million dollars. Those days are past (I am now down to around 5’9-1/2″) and I ride my bike pretty much daily for exercise. I eat meat sparingly, because of the fats. So, I was not surprised to see the latest from the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Eating more protein from plant sources was associated with a lower risk of death and eating more protein from animals was associated with a higher risk of death, especially among adults with at least one unhealthy behavior such as smoking, drinking and being overweight or sedentary, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

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“The consideration of food sources is critical to better understanding the health effects of eating protein and fine-tuning dietary recommendations. Continue reading

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8 Ways to improve your brain power – Infographic

Regular readers know that my family has a history of Alzheimer’s and dementia, so I am keenly interested in anything that might help me in this regard as I am in my mid-70’s.

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I would like to add that I feel strongly about the value of sleep. Check out my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep? for more details.

Finally, consider this an addition to point 6 above, I have to add that my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits) will add another arrow to your quiver in the fight against cognitive impairment.

Tony

 

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This Is Why Climbing Stairs Leaves You Breathless

Fascinating insights here into our mental and physical activities.

On a related note, I am an avid stair-climber and recommend this for good cardio and weight bearing exercise.

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If you would like to learn more about the benefits of stair-climbing, check out my series:

Stair-climbing is good for you – Part One

Stair-climbing is good for you – Part Two

Stair-climbing is good for you – Part Three

Stair-climbing is good for you – Part Four

Tony

Our Better Health

A flight of stairs can leave the fittest people feeling out of breath.

It’s happened to all of us: We’re running late for a meeting and it’s only one flight of stairs away, so we dash on up. But when we arrive at the meeting, we’re embarrassed to be huffing and puffing as if we had just sprinted for a mile. It was just one little flight of stairs!

If you’re tempted to take this as a sign that you need to hit the gym more often, think again: Even marathon runners can get winded by the sudden task of vaulting a flight of stairs quickly, because physical fitness has little to do with it. It’s also tempting to assume it’s just a matter of not warming up. Eh, not really.

What happens when we approach a flight of stairs, with the intention of darting up them quickly, is that…

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11 Stomach-soothing steps for heartburn – Harvard

Everyone I know seems to get heartburn at some time or another. Harvard HEALTHbeat has some good positive suggestions on how to deal with it.

Heartburn, that uncomfortable burning sensation that radiates up the middle of the chest, is the most common digestive malady. It’s the result of a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), often called acid reflux, in which stomach acid leaks upward from the stomach into the esophagus.

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While heartburn should not be ignored, there are many stomach-soothing steps you can try before going to a doctor. These can help cool your symptoms and prevent bigger problems later on.

 1    Eat smaller meals, but more often. A full stomach puts pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a valve-like muscle that keeps stomach acid from backing up into the esophagus. Continue reading

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5 Top anti-aging foods – Infographic

Here are some good examples of the kind of fuel we should be using to get through the day. Regular readers know I am a total believer in the health benefits of coconut oil. I start everyday with a spoon full of peanut butter dipped in coconut oil. Wonderful fast energy source. Check out my Page – Coconut oil – Why you should include it in your diet for lots more information on its value.

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Last, but not least, don’t forget that the organic machine that you live in – your body – needs exercise every day. Not just good fuel.

Tony

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5 Clean and healthy snack ideas – Infographic

I am convinced that portion control and serving size are the keys to controlling our weight and living a healthy (and long) life. Of course, we need to integrate regular exercise into the mix, too.

Also, must confess that I am an inveterate snacker. It was one of the reasons that I lost the battle of the bulge for so many years. Check out my Page – Snacking – the good, the bad and the ugly to read more on it. 

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Regarding the air-popped popcorn, I personally prefer regular popped corn using coconut oil. Just don’t go crazy on the quantity. Check out my post – How healthy is popcorn(?) for the details.

I posted on hummus a while back : Is hummus good for you?

Finally, check out Healthy snacking as an act of kindness.

Eat less; move more; live longer.

Tony

 

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“Bad” cholesterol fluctuations may worsen seniors’ brain health – AHA

•    Greater fluctuations in “bad” cholesterol levels may be linked to declining brain health in older adults.
    •    The negative effect from fluctuations was found regardless of average bad cholesterol levels or use of cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Greater fluctuations in “bad” cholesterol levels may be linked to worse cognitive function in elderly adults, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

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In a study of European adults age 70 to 82 years old, researchers found that greater fluctuations in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, are associated with lower cognitive performance.

For example, study participants with the highest LDL cholesterol variability took 2.7 seconds longer on average to finish a cognitive test to name ink colors of color words written in different ink (for example, the word blue written in red ink), compared to individuals with the lowest variability.

“While this might seem like a small effect, it is significant at a population level,” said Roelof Smit, M.D., lead study author and a Ph.D. student at Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden, the Netherlands.

The link between variability and declining cognitive function was found regardless of average bad cholesterol levels or use of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.

In addition, greater fluctuations in bad cholesterol were associated with lower brain blood flow and greater white matter hyperintensity load – which has been linked to endothelial dysfunction.

These results show LDL cholesterol variability may be important to neurocognitive function, Smit said.

“Our findings suggest for the first time that it’s not just the average level of your LDL-cholesterol that is related to brain health, but also how much your levels vary from one measurement to another,” Smit said. (my emphasis)

Measurements fluctuate because of diet, exercise, frequency of cholesterol-lowering statins and other factors, he said. However, these fluctuations might also reflect an increasingly impaired homeostasis; for example, due to age or underlying disease, added J.Wouter Jukema, M.D., Ph.D., senior author of the study and professor of Cardiology at the Leiden University Medical Center. Continue reading

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The Best Foods For A Long Life

Some very good examples here. We need to eat right as well as exercise often to keep the reaper at bay.

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I have also posted on:

Green tea for St. Patrick’s Day – and every day

Dark chocolate’s beneficial deeds

Chia seeds vs. flax seeds – Which is better?

Besides the extra-virgin olive oil, I recommend:

Why you should include coconut oil in our diet

Tony

Our Better Health

What you eat can affect your health and your longevity.
Here, the best foods for a long life — and which ones to avoid.

Longevity isn’t just about delaying death — it’s about enjoying more years of health and vitality. In her book, The Longevity Diet, dietician Leslie Beck outlines the ways food choices affect the aging process and help to delay the onset of age-related chronic illnesses.

First, certain foods can cause or prevent inflammation in the body. We’re not just talking arthritis; chronic inflammation also contributes to illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease, heart attack and type 2 diabetes. Foods that are high in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, monounsaturated fat and phytochemicals promote the production of anti-inflammatory compounds. In contrast, foods which are high in fat, refined sugars and refined starches can promote inflammation. (See Can food fight inflammation? for more details.)

Second, foods containing high levels of antioxidants combat…

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Dave & Buster’s, Uno Among 2016 Xtreme Eating Award Recipients – CSPI

We really do have to use our heads when we decide to eat out. Some chains’ offerings make a joke out of our attempts at portion control.

One Chain’s Burger Platter Has Nearly 3,000 Calories and 10,000 Milligrams of Sodium

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Perhaps you’ve eaten a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese.  Picture having a second one.  And a third.  And then a fourth.  Along with two medium orders of fries doused with a combined 18 packets of salt.  For most people, that’s unthinkable.  At Uno Pizzeria & Grill, it’s lunch:  The chain’s Whole Hog Burger has hamburger, sausage, bacon, prosciutto, pepperoni, four types of cheese, garlic mayo, and pickles and comes with fries and onion rings.  All told it’s more than a day’s worth of calories (2,850), three days’ worth of saturated fat (62 grams), and six days’ worth of sodium (9,790 milligrams).

That burger is just one of nine recipients of the 2016 Xtreme Eating Awards—conferred annually by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest and published in its Nutrition Action Healthletter.  Far from doing their part to reverse the obesity epidemic, America’s chain restaurants are pouring gasoline on the fire, crossing fried chicken and waffles with Eggs Benedict, merging cheeseburgers and egg rolls, and repurposing macaroni and cheese as a sandwich filling. Continue reading

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5 Ways Hope Improves Your Success

Our Better Health

The Challenge: We all want to find inner peace and perform at our best -how can we do it?
The Science: Hope is a little-known secret to getting ahead and improving well-being! 
The Solution: Implementing a hopeful mindset in life gives you 5 serious advantages!

Psychologists have proposed lots of different vehicles to success over the years. Grit, conscientiousness, self-efficacy, optimism, passion, inspiration, etc. They are all important. One vehicle, however, is particularly undervalued and underappreciated in psychology and society. That’s hope.

Hope often gets a bad rap. For some, it conjures up images of a blissfully naïve chump pushing up against a wall with a big smile. That’s a shame. Cutting-edge science shows that hope, at least as defined by psychologists, matters a lot.

Here are 5 reasons hope gives you a serious advantage:

Hope Gives You Willpower

Why is hope important? Well, life is difficult. There are many…

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Plusses and minuses to our aging – HSE

I am working on cracking the 100 year old barrier. That’s what this blog is all about. There is unquestionably greater interest in personal health and longevity these days than previously despite the proportion of overweight and obese folks among us. I hope we succeed, but an aging population has costs as well as benefits.

The National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE), one of the largest and leading universities of Russia says, “Population aging is likely to boost medicine, nanotechnology and robotics, but increase political risks.”

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Progression based on age …

The UN estimates that the number of people aged 65 and older will have reached almost a billion by 2030. The proportion of those aged over 80 will grow at particularly high rates, and their numbers are expected to reach 200 million by 2030 and triple that forty years later.

Due to a combination of an aging population and declining birthrates, the demographic structure of most countries will change towards lower proportions of children and young people. As a result, the global division will no longer be between first- and third-world nations, but between old and young ones. Continue reading

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How healthy is laughter? – Infographic

This being the weekend, I thought it appropriate to offer some ideas on how good it is to laugh.

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Tony

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Riding a bike may help to cut diabetes risks – Study

Must confess I love reading news that meets my bias. In this case, there are more benefits to riding a bicycle besides the wonderful sensation of flying across the pavement and giving the old cardio system a workout.

Opting for two wheels rather than four could lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, new research suggests.

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The study found that people who bike to work or regularly cycle for fun were less likely to get the illness.

That was true even for those who started biking late in life, Danish researchers said. Continue reading

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Health benefits of coffee vs. tea – Infographic

Thought you might be interested in this. Seems most of us have a beverage of choice first thing on arising.

When I worked in the Reuter newsroom on Fleet Street, I  was surprised that most of my British fellow journalists drank coffee while I was thrilled to discover English tea with milk in it.

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Tony

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