The older we grow, the more determined we are to recapture our fleeting youth.
With the average life expectancy for men and women of all races living in the United States at 77.9 years, perhaps it's time to focus on a realistic road to health and long life.
1. EAT BREAKFAST
Mom was right. "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day," said James Joachim, a primary care physician practicing internal medicine and medical nutrition in Wilmington, N.C. A breakfast high in complex carbohydrates and protein generates energy to kick-start your metabolism and help the body burn fat.
2. LOAD UP ON
Bodies exposed to damage from free radicals - renegade atoms that can cause cellular damage - become more susceptible to other problems, from premature aging to cancer. Some studies have shown an antioxidant-rich diet can prevent free radical damage. The main antioxidants are vitamin E, beta carotene and vitamin C.
3. MOVE MORE
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, regular physical activity not only improves the chances of living longer, but also helps prevent arthritis, osteoporosis and diabetes, and relieves symptoms of depression and anxiety. The current recommendation for adults is 30 minutes a day most days of the week.
4. MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT
Make sure your weight is appropriate for your height, age, sex and body frame. The American Institute for Cancer Research reports that having an appropriate body mass, coupled with eating properly and exercising, can reduce cancer incidence by 30 to 40 percent.
5. EAT SIX SMALL MEALS A DAY
Have you dined out lately? Portion sizes have exploded. Three squares used to be the rule, but doctors and nutritionists now suggest eating four to six small meals a day, or every three hours, to speed up metabolism and burn fat faster.
6. KNOW YOUR MEDICAL HISTORY
One of the most important steps is to know what you're up against. It matters. If, for instance, your grandmother died from breast cancer, be aware that the women in your family have an increased risk for cancer and must take the necessary precautions.
7. QUIT SMOKING, TODAY
If you started smoking at 20 and you're 40 now, you've taken 15 years off your life, says Demetrius Harvey with the American Lung Association. Smokers, even occasional ones, are not only more susceptible to developing lung cancer, but their risks of having high blood pressure, a heart attack or stroke also increase. Quit smoking now.
8. BE ON PINS AND NEEDLES
Acupuncture as a whole, and as preventative medicine, is a form of total health care that can help you live longer, says William Mead, a chiropractor and acupuncturist in Wilmington, N.C. "It's energy medicine," he said. Select a licensed acupuncturist: Ask around for ones who come highly recommended.
9. GO GREEN
Green tea has been used in Asia for centuries to promote good health. It is an antioxidant as well as an anti-carcinogen. Scientists at the University of Texas Center for Alternative Medicine Research in Cancer reviewed 15 studies on green tea. The results - more than half of the studies confirmed that green tea is effective against stomach, lung, gastric, bladder, colorectal and esophageal cancers.
10. SAY YES TO GARLIC
Garlic in its natural and capsulated forms can be seen as a near-cure-all, with properties that help ease disease and fend it off. Garlic kills off infection, viruses and bacteria in the body and protects and boosts the immune system. Fresh garlic has also been shown to treat ordinary chest complaints, such as asthma, colds, cough and flu.
11. GET YOUR OMEGA-3
Omega-3s, or essential fatty acids, are just that - "essential" to a healthy body. They aren't produced by the body and must be supplied in the diet. Omega-3 improves blood pressure, acts as an anti-inflammatory for arthritis and lowers triglyceride levels and bad cholesterol (LDL). It also improves hair quality. Look to the ocean for omega-3. Fish such as salmon is a good source, and fish oil tablets have the same benefits.
12. PROTECT YOUR LOWER BACK
Lower back problems aren't a symptom of old age. Back pain hits people as young as 20, and there's no shortage of ways that you can injure your back. The most common trigger is a car accident. Still, many people hurt their lower backs while working and lifting, or playing sports. Recovery from a low back injury or low back discomfort can be as emotionally challenging as it is physically. Loss of function in the back can cause people to become less social, avoid certain activities and even become depressed.
13. GO WITH THE FLOW, PRACTICE YOGA
A lot of people think doing yoga is about being a pretzel. But it's not. It helps to reduce stress, anxiety and depression, relieve chronic pain, relax, be more flexible, lower the heart rate, lose weight, decrease cholesterol, relieve allergy and asthma symptoms. And those are just the physical benefits. Practicing yoga together removes people from the isolation of cubicles and opens up a community for like-minded people to find one another and interact.
14. SAY OHMMMMM
Meditation can quiet the rumbling and free the mind from having and obsessing over unproductive thoughts. It can also reduce high blood pressure and stress, and ease depression and anxiety. Meditation is said to be the process of attaining total awareness through the cessation of thought.
15. WEAR SUNSCREEN
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rates skin cancer as the most common form of cancer in the United States. From 65 percent to 90 percent of cases of melanoma, the third most common type of skin cancer, are caused by exposure to ultraviolet light or sunlight. What's scarier - not even sunscreen is entirely effective in preventing skin cancer. UVA and UVB rays are the culprits that damage skin. Buy a sunscreen that protects against both and that includes zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Read the labels. The active ingredient still needs to be zinc or titanium dioxide. If zinc is way down the list of ingredients at 1 percent, it's not worthwhile.
Cleanse and moisturize your skin daily to give it that extra boost to retain elasticity and texture. Facial moisturizer is a line of defense against daily damage that comes from pollution, sun and makeup. Use products that contain herbal extracts and natural ingredients.
17. PROTECT YOUR COLLAGEN
No matter how diligent you've been about keeping in shape, the wrinkles start showing once you hit 40. That's when collagen, a protein within the body's connective tissue, starts to break down. By 60, it becomes more noticeable. By 80, wrinkles become more folds of skin than fine lines. Again, buy sunscreens that list either zinc oxide or titanium oxide as the main ingredient.
18. GET JUICED
Cranberries have free-radical-fighting power. It works in fighting urinary tract infections, and offers other unexpected benefits, such as protection against chronic age-related burdens like loss of memory and coordination. Pomegranate juice contains beneficial antioxicants - polyphenols, tannins and anthocyanins - in higher levels than most other fruit juices, red wine or green tea.
19. USE OLIVE OIL
Olive oil is a fundamental ingredient of Mediterranean diets. It's good for the heart and its most healthful component is its percentage of monounsaturated fat - which boosts good cholesterol, or HDL.
20. RED, RED WINE
Red wine has two beneficial components; both come from the skin, pulp and seeds of grapes. Flavonoids are a form of antioxidant, and resveratrol may help reduce the risk of blood clots. The American Heart Association recommends that you drink in moderation. Too much wine or other forms of alcohol can increase high blood pressure, obesity, stroke and cancer. Limit yourself to one or two 4-ounce glasses a day.
21. PASS THE TRUFFLES, PLEASE
Eat a small, 1.6-ounce bar of dark chocolate every day. Dark chocolate lowers blood pressure and has been added to the list of antioxidants that can fight free radical damage, according to studies at the University of Cologne in Germany and Italy's National Institute of Food and Nutrition Research in Rome. Dark chocolate also contains flavonoids - but remember to burn those extra calories. A 1.6-ounce bar contains about 210 calories.
22. BE SOCIAL
Stress and anxiety are killers. Left untreated, it can lead to gastro-intestinal problems, alcohol abuse, depression, panic attacks and insomnia. The remedy? Make time to be social. It is essential to health, happiness and the quality of life. Engage in any assortment of activities once to twice a week, whether it's attending church, going to the movies or joining a book or social club.
23. POP SOME ASPIRIN
Studies by the National Cancer Institute have shown that aspirin can treat conditions such as arthritis and has lowered the rates of colon polyps, cancer and colon cancer deaths. Aspirin also has been said to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, inhibit blood from clotting and decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke.
24. MAKE A LITTLE LOVE
Sex increases the supply of oxygen to cells, according to the American Academy of Anti-Aging. Regular sex helps balance out bad cholesterol (LDL) and good cholesterol (HDL) - as well as reducing joint pain and headaches. It also relieves stress, protects the prostate gland, wards off depression and increases the level of testosterone released into men's bodies, which helps strengthen bones and muscles.
25. GET YOUR ZZZZZZZZZS
Sleep is restorative. Sleep-deprived people secrete more leptin, a protein hormone that increases appetite. Obesity can bring on a host of other ailments.
by:Jana Clancey writes for Wilmington (N.C.) magazine.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
The older we grow, the more determined we are to recapture our fleeting youth.
Posted by Ayu Chan at 4:16 PM