Exercising in your 70s may stop your brain from shrinking and showing signs of aging linked to dementia, so say experts from Edinburgh University. Brain scans of 638 people past the age of retirement showed that those who were most physically active had less brain shrinkage over a three-year period.
Exercise did not have to be strenuous – going for a walk several times a week sufficed, but this study found no real brain-size benefit from mentally challenging activities, such as reading a book, or other pastimes like socializing with friends and family.
When the researchers examined the brain’s white matter – the wiring that transmits messages round the brain – they found that those over the age of 70 who were more physically active had fewer damaged areas than those who did little exercise.
Having too little calcium in the diet increases older women’s risk of a hormone condition that can cause bone fractures and kidney stones.
Primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) affects around one in 800 people during their lifetime and is most common in post-menopausal women.
Writing in the British Medical Journal, the team found those with the highest intake of dietary calcium had a 44% reduced risk of developing PHPT compared with the group with the lowest.
Adults need at least 700mg of calcium a day. Milk and other dairy foods, nuts and fish such as sardines and pilchards (where the bones are eaten) are some dietary sources of calcium. Taking too much can cause stomach pains and diarrhea.
Why you need calcium: It helps form and maintain healthy teeth and bones; needed for normal heartbeat; helps with blood clotting.
Good to know: The body needs vitamin D to help absorb calcium, so if you use calcium supplements choose one that contains D. Recent studies have linked calcium pills to increased risk of heart attack.
Food sources: Dairy products, tofu, green leafy vegetables, nuts, fish and calcium-fortified orange juice.
Moderate exercise, and a regular intake of oily fish fatty acids, helps to keep us mobile as we age.
Findings of a recent trial show that women aged over 65 who received omega-3 fatty acids gained almost twice as much muscle strength following exercise than those taking olive oil. A larger trial is planned to confirm these findings and to determine why muscle condition improves.
Some studies have linked diets high in omega-3 – commonly found in oily fish such as mackerel and sardines – to potential health benefits, such as a lower risk of coronary heart disease. During normal aging, muscle size is reduced by 0.5-2% per year. This process, known as sarcopenia, can result in frailty and immobility as we age.
In what is being called the “most conclusive evidence to date,” Johns Hopkins researchers recently found that low levels of vitamin D lead to a significantly increased risk of death. This study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, included a large, diverse sample of 13,000 men and women.
Researchers compared the risk of death between those with the lowest vitamin D levels and those with higher levels. During the course of the study, 1,800 people died, nearly 700 of which died from heart disease. Among them, 400 were deficient in vitamin D, translating into a 26 percent increased risk of death from low vitamin D levels.
“Our results make it much more clear that all men and women concerned about their overall health should more closely monitor their blood levels of vitamin D, and make sure they have enough,” study co-lead investigator Erin Michos, M.D. “We think we have additional evidence to consider adding vitamin D deficiency as a distinct and separate risk factor for death from cardiovascular disease, putting it alongside much better known and understood risk factors, such as age, gender, family history, smoking, high blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, lack of exercise, obesity and diabetes,” he continued.
Researchers at the University of Colorado Denver and Massachusetts General Hospital evaluated the association between vitamin D levels and death rates of those 65 and older and found the vitamin plays a vital role in reducing risk of death associated with older age. Specifically, older adults with insufficient levels of vitamin D are more likely to die from heart disease and other causes than those with adequate levels. Those with low vitamin D levels were three times more likely to die from heart disease — and 2.5 times more likely to die from any cause — than those with optimal vitamin D.
“It’s likely that more than one-third of older adults now have vitamin D levels associated with higher risks of death and few have levels associated with optimum survival,” Adit Ginde, MD, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine and lead author of this study. “Given the aging population and the simplicity of increasing a person’s level of vitamin D, a small improvement in death rates could have a substantial impact on public health.”
The Lancet recently released a series of reports on the state of physical activity — or, more accurately, inactivity — around the globe. Among the results? One in 10 deaths worldwide is now attributable to inactivity.
To find out just how inactive we were, as a species, Brazilian researcher Dr. Pedro C. Hallal from the Universidade Federal de Pelotas, compiled answers to 155 population surveys from 122 countries. In most countries, inactivity rises with age and is higher in women than in men. Inactivity is also increased in high-income countries.
It’s true that many affluent countries topped the ranking, though countries with great poverty, such as the Dominican Republic and Swaziland, also made it on the list. Also noteworthy were countries often associated with healthful lifestyles. Japan, known for longevity and low cardiovascular disease rates, was in the most active 25 along with Brazil, and several Mediterranean countries also associated with healthy eating and lifestyle such as Italy, Spain and Portugal.
Malta was the least active country in the world, followed closely by Swaziland and Saudi Arabia. In fact, 72% of Maltese people qualified as inactive. To give some context, the United States had an inactivity rate of 41 percent and the country with the highest activity level, Bangladesh, had only 5% of its adult population operating with habitual inactivity.
Other active winners include: Mozambique, with 7.1 percent inactivity; Benin, with 9.1 percent inactivity; Mongolia, at 9.4 percent and Cambodia at 11.2 percent.
Limiting the time you spend sitting to just three hours per day could add an extra two years to our life expectancy, scientists calculate.
Similarly, if you cut daily TV viewing down to two hours you might add 1.4 years.
Here’s the report from the online journal BMJ Open.
I couldn’t disagree more with Dr. Oz’s conclusions about weight loss and protein, as discussed yesterday with Dr. Joel Fuhrman.
Yes, he did get the part about eating lots of vegetables right. That is the BEST way to cut down on calories and fat, but how many of us want to live on vegetables full-time? And many of us cannot live on or lose weight while eating only bean protein. That just doesn’t agree with all of us!
This show made very little mention of the importance of lean protein in a healthy diet, and that was the piece I was missing before I lost 50 pounds! I had to decrease my starch intake quite a bit, while increasing my protein intake to over 60 grams per day. And I’m certainly not alone in this viewpoint. Check out this new article from the Associated Press on the many new portable protein sources.
Just be very careful that those delicious protein bars aren’t also FULL OF CALORIES!!!
During midlife, women’s bodies fall prey to osteoporosis and the many stressful symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, mood swings, depression, fatigue, insomnia and headaches.
There’s really no age limit for yoga, but as you grow older your yoga practice may change. You may need to modify your routine to include more restorative poses. Begin to think of yoga as a good way to make friends with yourself, the way you are. Only hold poses as long as is comfortable.
Accessories needed for the yoga poses are medium-size throw pillows and bolsters (long cushions).
To get started, create a “sacred space.” This can be rejuvenating in and of itself. For yoga, you don’t need a lot of room. Turn off your cell phone, close the door and set a flower and candle, which will begin to shift your mood.
Pose 1: Breathing
For the first pose, calm your nervous system and ground yourself. Focus on the present moment. This position helps open shoulder joints and strengthen the back. Breathing is used in all the other poses as well, as related to your nervous system. The breathe also gives the mind something to focus on, besides stress. Sit on a small pillow and calmly breath in and out through your nose.
Pose 2: Spinal Twist
The seated-spinal twist is good for digestion, which can be problematic for women who are going through menopause. It massages the inner abdominal organs and the discs in the spine and the muscles that run along the spine, which helps to keep you standing tall. It also can relieve neck tension and headaches. This pose allows the eyes to turn around, which exercises and relaxes the face and the eyes. Seated with cushion under the buttocks, twist to the right, put your left hand on your right knee and your right hand on the floor behind your backside.
Pose 3: Downward Dog
This pose is good for strengthening the bones to battle osteoporosis. It reverses the blood-flow to bring fresh blood to the face, which makes the face look younger. It also lets the abdominal organs reverse themselves by hanging upside down, strengthening the heart and the lower back and shoulder area. The movement stretches and strengthens at the same time. Come onto the hands and knees. Push hips up to form and upside down v-shape with the body.
It is fine to bend your knees for this pose, but important to keep your spine straight. You can also put your hands on the back of a chair and then step back until spine is parallel to the floor. This modification is helpful for people that don’t have a lot of upper-body strength or for medical reasons, your head should not be below your waist.
Pose 4: Plank Pose
This pose is especially good for osteoporosis because it develops strong bones and abdominal areas. The pose is a lot like a push-up, which is hard for most women.
Pose 5: Goddess Pose
This pose is very relaxing and restorative, as it relaxes your nervous system and is good for digestion. Lie down on your back with the bolster under your spine. Your feet will be together with your knees apart. Put a pillow under your knees.
Their new findings are that these drugs are quite effective in the short-term (3-5 years), but can lead to fractures in the long-term.
From my own experiences in the past few years and what I have learned after suffering from a terrible case of Candida Albicans back in 2008, sugar is one of the worst toxins we consume everyday.
A handful of scientists have recently suggested that sugar is actually the worst thing in the American diet, on some levels even worse than trans fats. Sugar can be blamed for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even some form of cancers. According to research led by Robert Lustig of the University of California, sugar is toxic. He will appear on CBS 60 Minutes this evening to explain his findings.
According to research, the average American person consumes roughly 130 pounds of added sugars, which includes sugar as well as high fructose corn syrup, every year. While high fructose corn syrup is often vilified more often than sugar, Lustig says that, metabolically, there is no difference.
Taking the idea of the toxicity of sugar even further, Lustig, in an interview with CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CBS 60 Minutes tonight, goes so far as to say that sugar should be treated no differently than alcohol or tobacco.
Ironic isn’t it, we try to limit alcohol and tobacco consumption to adults, but push sugar at our children every chance we get. EASTER candy anyone?
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