Hello, I hope your summer didn’t go by too fast and that you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. Here is an interesting article that I read in Natural Health. These are great tips for staying healthy and leading a less stressful life. I hope you take away from it something useful. Enjoy.
Coming of Age by Kristina Grish
Getting older isn’t about fighting time, but enjoying it. Here are 20 of the most surprising and inspiring tips on how to live a longer, healthier life.
1. Think young. Perspectives on Psychological Science recently published a study by Ellen Langer, Ph.D., a mindbody psychology professor at Harvard, about the correlation between how women look and feel after having their hair cut and colored. Salon subjects’ before and after shots were assessed by volunteers only, and those women who believed having their hair dyed made them look younger actually did look younger after the salon visit. Those who didn’t think they looked youthful with a new ’do didn’t appear so. The take-away? “Feeling young makes you look younger,” says Langer. “So act your inner age.”
2. Meditate. Ancient Taoists used meditation techniques to help maintain emotional balance, and thus good health, into old age. Cut to 2010, and Blue Cross-Blue Shield found factors that typically increase with aging—such as blood pressure, susceptibility to stress, insomnia and heart failure—actually decreased among meditators. Another recent study found that meditators have a 30 percent higher level of telomerase—the enzyme responsible for repairing telomeres, structures on the ends of chromosomes that protect them from deterioration—than those who don’t meditate. (Each time a cell reproduces, telomeres become shorter and less effective at protecting the chromosome, and this is a cause of aging.) So, hit your meditation pillow—even if it’s just for a few minutes a day.
3. Be consistent in the kitchen. Don’t pay attention to your diet one minute, and then ditch your good-eating habits the next. “This can create a sugar imbalance, which causes confusion, headaches and fatigue—characteristic features of aging brain syndrome,” says Naheed Ali, M.D., author of Diabetes and You: A Comprehensive Holistic Approach (Rowman & Littlefield).
4. Stop multitasking . Cramming a lot of to-dos into a limited amount of time gives us the false impression that we’re über-efficient. But studies show chronic multitaskers have elevated cortisol levels, more incidences of depression and weaker immune systems—all of which can diminish cognitive prowess as we age. To reduce multitasking but still bang through your to-dos, jot down your tasks—but focus on three that have the biggest impact on your day or involve strategic thinking.
5. Eat your antioxidants. These free radical foragers help delay aging and reduce vulnerability to cancer, heart disease and diabetes, so don’t just put them on your face. Keri Glassman, R.D., author of The O2 Diet (Rodale), calls these edible antioxidants “beauty foods”: dark chocolate (it contains cocoa flavanols that increase blood flow to the skin), salmon (its omega-3s prevent collagen breakdown and reduce skin-damaging inflammation) and green tea (it’s loaded with polyphenols that boost cell turnover to improve skin tone).
6.Give for giving’s sake. “There’s nothing more health-giving than feeling useful and knowing you’ve helped someone else,” says Christiane Northrup, M.D., and author of the newly revised Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom (Bantam). “But far too many people give in order to get, and don’t know it. Giving out of a sense of obligation or because you feel as though it will earn you love or respect can be a health risk.” So, go ahead and do something nice for someone—without expectations of anything in return. And don’t forget to notice how great it feels.
7. Pump some iron . The typical American gains a pound of fat and loses a half pound of muscle yearly from the age of 30 to 60, says Desmond Ebanks, M.D., former assistant clinical professor of medicine at New York Medical College. “Loss of muscular strength is a major reason that elderly people lose mobility and independence,” he says. Ebanks suggests an interval-style resistance program for the most muscle-building benefits; brief but intense bouts of strength training, lasting 12 to 20 minutes, have also been shown to preserve telomeres.
8. Learn how to feel full. Trimming calories can help reduce cellular inflammation, which drives the aging process by causing disturbances in hormonal signaling between cells, thus decreasing the efficacy of every organ in the body. “Reducing excess calories is only possible if you’re not hungry between meals,” says Barry Sears, M.D., president of the Inflammation Research Foundation. Reach for at least 3 ounces of low-fat protein at breakfast, lunch and dinner, which increase the release of satiety
9. Confide in a friend. “We know regular social interaction has a significant effect on long-term brain health and function,” says Michael Roizen, M.D., a Cleveland-based internist and co-author of the bestselling You series (Rodale). “But you must also have friends with whom you can be intimate and vulnerable. You need to connect with your confidantes at least six times a month.” In a landmark Harvard University study of more than 56,000 women, the absence of a single confidante, as measured in physical decline, was equivalent to being in the highest category of obesity and being a heavy smoker.
10. Get a massage. A good rubdown does more than lower stress and make you feel like a million bucks: A 2010 study at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles found that Swedish massage can improve immune function, helping your body fight off everything from the common cold to cancer.
11. Move it. New research from The Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas claims that 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week, improves short-term memory by increasing blood flow to the medial temporal lobe—where memories are stored. Gettin’ physical also lengthens our telomeres, says Sandra Bond Chapman, Ph.D., founder and chief director of the institute, and the sooner you start, the better: Researchers recently found that women older than 70 who regularly exercised during middle age were in better health than those who didn’t.
12. Eat bitter. Humans recognize six distinct tastes—sweet, sour, salty, bitter, savory and astringent—and each plays a role in feeding your body and mind. In terms of longevity, however, bitter-tasting foods are the best because they balance sugar cravings, support digestion and metabolize fat, says Stephan Dorlandt, C.N., a clinical nutritionist and herbalist in Los Angeles. Tasty bitters include yellow and green vegetables, such as yellow peppers, broccoli rabe, collard greens, mustard greens, radicchio and chicory.
13. Eat like an Italian . In a 2011 Rush University Medical Center study, researchers found that the Mediterranean diet, long known to be heart-healthy and reduce risk of certain cancers, is now also associated with a slower rate of cognitive decline in older people. This diet—rich in fruits and vegetables, legumes, olive oil, potatoes and fish—also helped prevent Alzheimer’s disease in subjects.
14. Keep working. Can’t wait to quit your day job? Be careful what you wish for. New data from the United States, England and 11 other European countries suggest that the earlier people retire, the more quickly their memories decline. Researchers found that the longer subjects kept working, the better they did on memory skills tests in their early 60s. Some experts say social and personality skills known to support a healthy aging brain—like getting up in the morning, dealing with others and knowing the importance of being prompt and trustworthy—may play a role here, because these factors are highly valued in the work environment.
15. Relax your face. It’s great to book a massage for your body, but don’t forget your face! Facial massages stimulate circulation, creating softer, suppler skin and a younger-looking complexion, says Lynn Anderson, Ph.D., N.D., R.Y.T., a naturopathic doctor and yoga and fitness instructor in Los Angeles.
16.Tell your story . Judith Kolva, Ph.D., a psychologist who focuses on aging, says adults who write down their life stories use skills highly valued by longevity experts. “Writing our memoirs helps us bestow knowledge, offer advice and give meaning to experiences—all components in aging w ell,” she says.
17. Get healthy, not skinny. Alice D. Domar, Ph.D., executive director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health in Boston, says being thin doesn’t necessarily make you live longer. “Being in the middle zone of the BMI scale is actually associated with the longest life span,” she says. Just be sure to choose your calories wisely. A 2011 University of Maryland study found that eating lots of vegetables, fruit, whole grains and fish leads to better quality of life in older adults, but those who indulged in sweets had a 37 percent higher risk of death.
18. Prepare your body to sleep. Logging eight hours of shut-eye can make you look as much as three years younger, says Amy Wechsler, M.D., a New York City-based dermatologist. But if you have trouble relaxing into a sound slumber, prepare for it with a series of bedtime rituals: Don’t drink caffeine four to six hours before bed; eat a full meal three hours before hitting the hay; and turn off electronics an hour before sleep.
19. Believe you’re getting better with age. Dilip Jeste, M.D., director of the University of California, San Diego’s Stein Institute for Research on Aging, says people who think they’re aging well aren’t necessarily the healthiest physically. “Yet they generally possess a positive, yet realistic, attitude about their lives and an ability to adapt to change,” he says. Tend to look at the glass as half empty? Try writing three positive things that happen each day in a journal to help redirect your thoughts.
20. Have a beer . Scientists at the University of California, Davis, found that beer is a substantial source of silicon, which stimulates the production of collagen to keep bones strong and joints healthy by maintaining flexibility in cartilage. The study found that most beer brands contain between 6 milligrams and 57 milligrams of silicon per liter, and those with high levels of malted barley and hops have the most. We say go organic and drink in moderation. If you’re not down with a brew, silicon can also be found in foods like bananas and brown rice.