Taking steps to a healthy lifestyle

Could lifelong fitness be as easy as taking a walk? Researchers say yes! In the United States, adults are urged to get the equivalent of 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise. Walking, in all its beautiful simplicity, fits the bill quite well. What’s more, it’s the perfect gateway exercise for older people who have been relatively inactive for a while. One long walk vs several short walks? Similar benefits, study says. Tufts University recently reported on a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Researchers found that the benefits of walking on longevity were equivalent whether people got their steps in one long walk, a few shorter ones, or even brief walk breaks of a few minutes – as long as it was done regularly. Preserving Mobility One of the top benefits of walking for older adults is retaining physical mobility; the ability to walk without assistance. Tufts University led a study in 2014 that explored the benefits of physical activity in older adults. According to a Tufts University article, this study, for the first time, showed conclusively that a regular exercise program can preserve independence among older men and women. “We think that …

“MIND” your diet for better brain aging

Does a healthy eating pattern preserve brain function with aging? An important new study hopes to provide clues. As June is Alzheimer’s and brain health awareness month, we couldn’t think of a better time to explore some exciting new research that was featured in a recent Tufts University newsletter article. Currently available medical treatments for age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease have had limited success. Adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle has been among the most consistent recommendations to maintain brain health over the long term. Some studies have linked an overall healthy dietary pattern to less chance of experiencing age-related decline in memory and other cognitive skills. The specifics of “brain protective” diets vary but tend to have certain elements in common. Dietary patterns associated with lower risk of age-related cognitive decline and dementia are higher in non-starchy vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, legumes and seafood while limited in red and/or processed meats, sugar-sweetened foods and drinks, refined grains and added salt. But there have been few long-term trials testing overall dietary patterns for protecting the aging brain. Researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health are currently conducting a …

What can exercise do for your brain?

Our friends at Tufts University recently offered an update on the important link between exercise and brain health. In the past, Juvenon has featured several interesting posts covering this topic, and we believe it is worthy of further exploration. Scientists discovered that the number of nerve cells in the brain typically decreases with age, and the levels of the chemical substances involved in sending messages in the brain change. Although researchers aren’t sure about the exact mechanism, exercise is strongly associated with protection against age-related decline in cognitive function. Regular physical activity also may help postpone the decline in your ability to think quickly and may help improve reaction time. Additionally, exercise may aid your ability to shift quickly between activities and plan and organize tasks. Some studies also suggest regular exercise may help reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. The effects of exercise on brain health are partly due to its ability to improve cardiovascular function and blood flow within the central nervous system. Studies in animals have found that exercise increases the number of small blood vessels that supply blood and nourishment to the brain, in addition to increasing the number of connections between nerve cells. Even if …

8 Foods that fight inflammation and boost your immune system

Doctors are learning that one of the best ways to quell inflammation lies not in the medicine cabinet, but in the refrigerator. We all know that chronic inflammation is bad. But do you know exactly why it is unhealthy and how you can protect yourself from its effects? (Hint: the remedy may be found in the fridge instead of the medicine cabinet) Inflammation 101 Your trusty immune system is hardwired to attack anything in your body that it sees as foreign—such as an invading bacteria, germ, or chemical. The process is called inflammation and it means well. In fact, occasional bouts of inflammation protect you against threatening, health robbing invaders However, when inflammation is a constant visitor it’s bad news. You see, when there is no foreign invader to be found, chronic inflammation becomes your enemy. Many major diseases that plague us—including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s—have been linked to chronic inflammation. Eat This Not That According to a Harvard Medical School publication, one of the most powerful tools to combat inflammation comes not from the pharmacy, but from the grocery store. Experimental studies have shown that components of foods or beverages may have anti-inflammatory effects. Simply …

Enrich Your Healthy Plate With Tropical Fruits

Our colleagues at Tufts University recently featured this article on lesser-known fruits in their health newsletter. In addition to the bananas, apples, grapes, oranges, and peaches that often fill the collective American fruit bowl, there is a rich variety of tropical fruits available—some year round, and at affordable prices. Only 15% of American adults eat the recommended amount of fruit, which ranges from 1.5 to 2.5 cups per day depending on daily calorie needs. Diversifying your fruit portfolio can inspire you with appealing new tastes, textures, aromas, and colors, thus making you more likely to include fruit in your overall eating pattern. With fruits, as with vegetables and other foods, eating a variety is key, because it provides a range of vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytonutrients and flavors. So don’t get too caught up in which particular fruits you choose. Additionally, remember that to improve overall diet quality, fruit should replace less healthy foods. “The best approach to increase fruit intake is to use it to replace foods made with refined-carbohydrate or added sugar,” says Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, director of Tufts’ HNRCA Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory. Try these tropical fruits fresh cut as snacks, in salads, in desserts without added sugar, …

4 obstacles to healthy eating

Does it feel like you are constantly hungry? You aren’t alone, according to a Washington Post article by nutritionist Carrie Dennett. She says that assuming you’re eating regularly throughout the day, there are several possible explanations why you can’t shake the gnawing feeling. You just may be surprised by the following reasons … 1. Your diet is low in protein Protein contributes the most to satiety, which is that feeling that you’ve had enough to eat. No need to go overboard on protein, but include some protein and each meal and snack and chances are you’ll feel satisfied longer. Not a meat-lover? Try eggs, tofu or yogurt to up your protein intake. 2. Your gut’s not diverse enough There’s something to that expression “follow your gut.” In fact, some scientists refer to the gut and the microbes that dwell in it as the “mini brain.” That’s because it influences – among other thing – mood, appetite, and food cravings. Dennett says that 20 minutes after a meal, certain bacteria in your gut send signals that you’ve had enough to eat by stimulating the release of a hormone that has been linked to feelings of satiety (fullness). But when you lack …

5 Ways to Preserve Your Hearing And Avoid Hearing Aids

Did you know that, according to AARP, more than 48 million Americans have some type of hearing loss that seriously disrupts their life? What’s more, that includes 1 in 6 baby boomers and two-thirds of those over 70. And as our boomers age that number is expected to rise significantly in the future. Hearing aids address this frustrating issue; however they are an unwanted expense and stigma for some people. Fortunately, there are proven strategies to protect and improve your hearing that don’t involve hearing aids. In a nutshell, a healthy body and mind are much less susceptible to hearing loss. Here are five lifestyle tweaks that can preserve your ears for years. Get Your Heart Pumping! Cardio exercise — walking, running, cycling — helps to improve blood flow to your ears, which is good for your hearing. Wear a helmet for biking because a fall that results in concussion can harm your hearing.  Make Friends With Ear Protection: Protect your hearing and avoid loud situations whenever possible. Earplugs do more than dull the sound of a snoring spouse. They can protect your ears from the loud noise of machinery like lawn mowers and power tools. Comfortable plugs and noise-canceling headphones …