Healthy Aging: 10 Tips

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1.    Are you getting enough sleep? 

Sleep provides resiliency; according to the National Sleep Foundation, as we sleep, our blood pressure drops and plateaus, blood-flow to our relaxed muscles increases, tissues grow and repair themselves and our energy is revitalized and restored – all within a good night’s sleep.  Experts say that you should get anywhere between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Medical Director Dr. Lawrence Epstein offers a unique way to gauge just how much sleep your body needs: during your next vacation, Epstein suggests going to bed at the same time every night and sleeping in – after a few days, you should start waking up at the same time and have a better idea of how much sleep your body demands.   

2.    Drink plenty of water!

Next to oxygen, water is the most vital element for survival.  Humans can go nearly two months without food, but could only last a few days without water.  In fact, without water – we couldn’t breathe!  Water moistens the lungs in order to efficiently take in oxygen and excrete carbon dioxide – it’s possible to lose 8oz of fluids each day, just from exhaling!  The daily minimum for adults is eight to ten 8oz glasses per day.  Hydration is an essential process for survival.  Dehydration can lead to heartburn, stomach ache, recurring or chronic pain, depression and headaches – it turns out that over 70% of all headaches are associated with dehydration.

3.    Avoid harmful toxins such as caffeine, tobacco and alcohol.

I’m sure you’ve heard that a glass of wine a day can actually improve your cardiovascular health.  However, too much alcohol or any other toxin for that matter can rapidly deteriorate the body’s organs and organ systems.  When you use tobacco or consume other toxic products such as those containing caffeine and/or alcohol, you are actually restricting the blood flow throughout your body. Leading psychiatrists have found that this process takes quite a toll on the brain among other vital organs and can often lead to the onset of psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety and in seniors, senility.

fruits_and_vegetables24.    Eat your vegetables!

The fountain of youth is in your refrigerator! Vegetables are a great source of essential vitamins and nutrients necessary to live a long and healthy life. Studies have revealed that vegetables such as garlic and celery can lower cholesterol. Some vegetables like Broccoli and cauliflower help boost the metabolism and help maintain muscle mass.  Vegetables provide naturally occurring antioxidants that help purify and rid the human body of threatening toxins. Artichokes have been found to improve the function of the liver by aiding in detoxification. In addition to promoting brain activity, asparagus is a proven aphrodisiac and in oriental tradition, it was actually used to treat sexual dysfunction in men.

5.    Don’t forget to floss!

Your smile is important. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), flossing is the most effective preventative measure on can take to improve their smile, next to brushing. Flossing removes the bacteria that remain in the crevices of our teeth and gums after brushing. The ADA shares that brushing without flossing is like washing only 65% of your body – pretty gross.  Plaque builds up and eventually hardens into tarter. Overtime however, plaque accumulates dangerous bacteria and can lead to the condition known as gingivitis. If neglected, gingivitis can manifest itself into a more serious condition known as periodontal disease – a condition where toxins seep beneath the gums and begin wearing away at the bones and skeletal structures, leading to bone loss and loose and/or missing teeth. By flossing, you’re taking the first step to preventing the inflammation of the gums and in turn reducing your risk of inflammatory-related disease. 

6.    Substitute wheat for white.

I’m sure you’ve heard that whole wheat is better than bleached white bread, but why exactly?  Both are made from wheat berries which have three nutrient-rich layers: the bran (the outer layers), the germ (the center) and the endosperm (the starchy layer between the two).  While whole wheat is processed to include the bran, the germ and the endosperm, white flour only uses the endosperm.  According to research reported by the University of Washington in the April 2, 2003 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, “simply switching from white to whole wheat bread can lower risk of heart disease by 20%. Don’t be fooled by imitation pseudo-wheat bread – sure white bread is white because it’s bleached, but some white breads have a darker color to them because of caramel that is added in processing. Read the label – if the first ingredient on the label says “whole wheat” or “whole grain” – you’re in good shape – if any other ingredient is listed first, chances are it’s not really whole wheat. 

10_foods_berries_raychel_deppe7.    Get your antioxidants!

Recently, the antioxidant market is booming and with good reason. Anti-aging experts keep finding break-through antioxidants, varied sources and a slew of uses for the nutrients. Very simply, an antioxidant is a molecule that can prevent oxidative damage to other molecules in the body – this process promotes longevity. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and many forms of tissue and blood cancers are all attributed to the free radicals of oxidative damage. Some common antioxidants include Vitamin A, C and E as well as selenium.  Antioxidants are found in a variety of beans, grains, fruits and vegetables. In addition to incorporating antioxidants into your diet, it would be wise to avoid exposure to oxidative stress such as smoking and sunburn.

8.    Get fit!

Life can get a little hectic sometimes – by the time we get home and hit the couch, we’re down for the count. Physical activity is one the best things you can do for your body.  A sedentary lifestyle can often lead to conditions such as obesity, atherosclerosis, heart attack, stroke, hypertension, some forms of cancer and osteoporosis.  Regular exercise also helps the body recover from injury at a faster rate and improves the immune system, making you less susceptible to pathogens. Fitness experts say that it would be wise to customize a workout regime tailored to the individual’s personal needs and capabilities. The routine should last about 30 min. and you shouldn’t exert yourself beyond the point of being able to hold a conversation. Remember, working out regularly doesn’t mean that you can eat whatever you want. Getting fit means eating the right foods to support a high-protein diet, low in carbohydrates and sugars. 

 9.    Connect with people!

Why is it that we don’t even know our own next-door neighbor’s first name?  Heaven forbid we both go out to check our mail at the same time – arbitrarily fumbling through our mail, avoiding eye contact at all costs as if a little social interaction would be the death of us.  It’s amazing how much a little conversation can add to your day.  A simple “how are you?” or “how was your weekend?” really goes a long way, for both parties. We’re so informal these days that when someone actually goes out of their way to say “hello”, we think of it as being peculiar. It’s pretty unfortunate that we find peculiarity in what was once a common form of respect.  Just try it sometime – let’s say you’re in the elevator with a complete stranger – ask them how there day is going, but don’t stop there. Try to work up a conversation and see where it takes you and how you feel afterwards. Humans did not evolve as solitary creatures; we need interaction and connections in order to keep our sanity!

happy_couple210.  Balance your hormones!

As we age, our hormone levels naturally decline.  Millions of men and women suffer from hormonal imbalance resulting from menopause, andropause, thyroid disorder and adrenal fatigue.  The signs of hormone imbalance are also connected to your stress levels, poor nutrition, lack of exercise and the environmental toxins your body is exposed to on a daily basis. Hormonal imbalances are the root of many chronic health problems and can increase your risk of serious disease. In women, the symptoms often first appear in perimenopause or menopause, when estrogen, progesterone and testosterone production begins to diminish.

The good news is that hormone losses and imbalances are correctible. Through the use of bioidentical hormones, women can not only be relieved of the symptoms, but also effectively protect themselves against osteoporosis and heart disease. And through supervised treatment, natural hormone replacement therapy can make women feel healthier, and younger than they have in years.

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