Staying Young – Down To Your Cells!

When it comes to aging, we aren’t stuck in an inevitable decline. There are ways to help your cells continue regenerating to turn over new cells, new tissue, and a new you over time. There are simple changes you can make today that will help your body stay young and healthy over time. Below you’ll find a breakdown of what it means to be regenerating versus degenerating, and the foods that can help you stay on the best path for long-term health.

Keeping Your Body Young

Are You Degenerating Or Regenerating?

We know that in a fashion we are creating a new body by slowly getting new cells every day. The question is whether our new cells will be a healthier or less healthy.

The quality of the new cells is dependent on the raw material, the food that was available when the replacement cells were being formed. If you feed the body the proper food and nutrition, the new cells being formed can actually be stronger and healthier than the old cells ever were.

This is called regeneration. If you feed the body poorly, the result will be cells of an inferior quality. This is degeneration.

There are limits to this of course. Reasearchers estimate that 30 percent of our health is determined by genetics. You can do a LOT with that leftover 70 percent though. Even the expression of genetics has been shown to be moderated by the environment.

The Big 5 Degeneration Pitfalls

1. Processed foods
2. Sugar
3. Alcohol
4. Caffeine
5. Rancid fats and oils (deep fried foods, baked goods, etc)

The Big 5 Regeneration Tips

1. Fresh vegetables
2. Fresh fruits
3. Whole grains
4. Lots of pure water
5. Exercise. Nourishing friendships. Nature. Sleep.

– via www.care2.com

Staying young is about more than just having smooth skin or healthy joints – the main factor that will keep you feeling young is a healthy, active, exercised mind. There are tons of ways to keep your brain healthy and active, but below you’ll see a few of the best. Your brain is an organ just like any others and there are specific, measurable things you can do to keep it in the best working order.

Keeping Your Brain Young

Improve your diet

Good nutrition can help your mind as well as your body. Here are some specifics:

  • Keep your calories in check. In both animals and humans, a reduced caloric intake has been linked to a lower risk of mental decline in old age.
  • Eat the right foods. That means reducing your consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol from animal sources and of trans-fatty acids from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
  • Remember your Bs. Three B vitamins, folic acid, B6, and B12, can help lower your homocysteine levels, high levels of which have been linked to an increased risk of dementia. Fortified cereal, other grains, and leafy green vegetables are good sources of B vitamins.

Improve your blood pressure

High blood pressure in midlife increases the risk of cognitive decline in old age. Use lifestyle modification to keep your pressure as low as possible. Stay lean, exercise regularly, limit your alcohol to two drinks a day, reduce stress, and eat right.

Improve your blood sugar

Diabetes is an important risk factor for dementia. You can fight diabetes by eating right, exercising regularly, and staying lean. But if your blood sugar stays high, you’ll need medication to achieve good control.

Improve your cholesterol

High levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol increase the risk of dementia, as do low levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Diet, exercise, weight control, and avoiding tobacco will go a long way toward improving your cholesterol levels. But if you need more help, ask your doctor about medication.

Consider low-dose aspirin

Observational studies suggest that long-term use of aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may reduce the risk of dementia by 10%–55%. It’s hopeful information, but it’s preliminary. Experts are not ready to recommend aspirin specifically for dementia.

– via Harvard Health

How do you plan to keep yourself young? What steps are you taking to make sure you have a healthy brain long term?

Overcoming Bad Habits For A Healthier Life

If you’re ready to start overcoming bad habits to create a better, longer, healthier life, it’s time to figure out how to exchange those bad habits for good ones.

When you try to simply eliminate an old habit that your body and mind have grown accustomed to, it can feel like an impossible, uphill battle. But it doesn’t have to be! The secret isn’t in how you eliminate the bad habit, it’s in how you replace it with a good one!

You don’t eliminate a bad habit, you replace it.

All of the habits that you have right now — good or bad — are in your life for a reason. In some way, these behaviors provide a benefit to you, even if they are bad for you in other ways.

Sometimes the benefit is biological like it is with smoking or drugs. Sometimes it’s emotional like it is when you stay in a relationship that is bad for you. And in many cases, your bad habit is a simple way to cope with stress. For example, biting your nails, pulling your hair, tapping your foot, or clenching your jaw.

These “benefits” or reasons extend to smaller bad habits as well.

For example, opening your email inbox as soon as you turn on your computer might make you feel connected. At the same time looking at all of those emails destroys your productivity, divides your attention, and overwhelms you with stress. But, it prevents you from feeling like you’re “missing out” … and so you do it again.

Because bad habits provide some type of benefit in your life, it’s very difficult to simply eliminate them. (This is why simplistic advice like “just stop doing it” rarely works.)

Instead, you need to replace a bad habit with a new habit that provides a similar benefit.

For example, if you smoke when you get stressed, then it’s a bad plan to “just stop smoking” when that happens. Instead, you should come up with a different way to deal with stress and insert that new behavior instead of having a cigarette.

In other words, bad habits address certain needs in your life. And for that reason, it’s better to replace your bad habits with a healthier behavior that addresses that same need. If you expect yourself to simply cut out bad habits without replacing them, then you’ll have certain needs that will be unmet and it’s going to be hard to stick to a routine of “just don’t do it” for very long.

– via jamesclear.com

Some bad habits are things you do, and some bad habits are things you skip. For example, we might skip regular doctor appointments or skip the daily exercise you know you need. But just because you have had the bad habit in the past doesn’t mean that you’re destined to be stuck in that cycle forever. Today we will conquer a common bad habit and how to overcome it, starting today!

Bad Habit: Skipping breakfast.

Why It’s Dangerous: Skipping the first meal of the day can have serious consequences for your weight, your energy levels, and even your blood sugar. Munching a piece of morning toast or crunching a bowl of bran flakes signals to your metabolism that it’s time to kick things up a notch. Skipping the fuel keeps your metabolism running on low, which can lead to weight gain and sluggishness. You’ll also create a starve-now-indulge-later eating pattern, which is why breakfast-skippers tend to overeat later in the day.

Why You Should Stop: Starting a breakfast routine is easy. The moment you do, you take a major step towards fixing the problems skipping breakfast caused, including excess weight and unhealthy blood sugar swings. Eating breakfast will result in more stable blood sugar, which means fewer food cravings and hunger pangs later in the day. Because you’re re-fueling your body early in the day, you’ll also have more energy in the morning. You may find that you start to control your weight more easily, too.

Reverse the Habit:

- Work with your body: Not hungry first thing in the day? Wait and hour or two until you’re ready to eat.
- Eat foods you like: No need to start the day with breakfast food. Have a sandwich, a bowl of soup, or last night’s leftovers—whatever your pleasure is.
- No time? Make a portable breakfast sandwich: Bring along a piece of fruit, and maybe some milk in a coffee mug.
- Grab an energy bar and a cup of yogurt: Both are instantly ready, and together they are the perfect amount of nutrients and calories to start your day.
- Have a smoothie: Whirl low-fat yogurt, frozen berries, half a banana, a little OJ, and some honey in a blender. It’s the ultimate healthy on-the-go breakfast.
- Set things up in advance: Prep breakfast the night before, so you can eat it at the kitchen table in 10 minutes or less.

– via Reader’s Digest

What are some bad habits that you want to change? What good habit can you think of to replace it?

How To Choose Healthy Snacks

Heart Healthy Snacks

Chances are you’ve heard that heart disease is the number one killer of women. You’ve seen the commercials and you’ve read the statistics. But do you know how you can help prevent it? Are you looking for a great heart healthy snack? We can help!

Whether you wore a red dress in support of heart disease awareness back in February or have been seeing ad campaigns alerting you to the hard fact that it’s the number one cause of death for women in the U.S., you still might be struggling to manage your risks—and you’re not alone.

In our increasingly on-the-go culture, getting the right amount of exercise and nutrition can be challenging. Talking to your doctor about your personal risk factors is a good place to start, but you can also make simple changes to your diet.

Snacking during the day can help you maintain a work-life balance. The key to snacking for a healthy heart benefit is making the right choices.

Try this easy nutrition snack: Stash a few 1.5-ounce-size bags of Planters NUT∙rition Heart Healthy Mix in your handbag, office desk drawer, car, and laptop bag so that you have one within reach when you get hungry.

They’re also a great size for packing in school lunches or backpacks. At home, keep the 9.75-ounce tin handy for grabbing a small handful between a meal or after the gym.

– via womenshealthmag.com

Healthy Snacks: Tips To Help You Eat Well!

Sometimes it can be hard to eat well. There’s temptation all around us, and even when we are eating healthy snacks it’s easy to eat too much. Here are a few tips to help you snack well and get healthy.

Snacking Isn’t Grazing

Mindless eating is often the downfall of many snackers.

You may start with only a handful of your favorite crackers, only to finish the entire box, without even thinking about it.

Obviously, this example isn’t the healthy snacking that can help you reach your weight loss goals.

To avoid grazing:

  • Fill a small plate with your snack, and leave the kitchen. Just walk away. When your plate is empty, snack time is over.
  • Never bring the entire container with you in front of the television or computer. Enjoy your snack without distraction and you won’t be tempted to reach for more.
  • If you stand around the snack table chatting at a party, you may find yourself reaching for food when the conversation lulls. This can often lead to an unintentional binge because you simply aren’t paying attention to what you are eating.
  • Limit yourself to a single serving.
  • Plan out your snacks just like you would a meal. Is one cookie worth the calorie cost, when you could eat a plate of fresh fruit instead?

Practice Moderation

As with the rest of your diet, moderation is crucial when snacking.

Make sure that you are adding every snack to your Nutrition Tracker, along with the larger meals you eat during the day.

If you don’t keep track, you might add excess calories and fat to your diet without realizing it.

– via SparkPeople

What kinds of healthy snacks to do you eat?

Cheap And Healthy Foods To Buy

Do you ever worry that eating healthy is going to break the bank? It won’t! All you have to do is know what to look for to get the best nutritional bang for your buck!

Foods That Are Cheap AND Healthy?

Sure, some healthful foods are more expensive, but the same rules of smart shopping apply: Price compare, be flexible about brands and choose larger sizes to save money per serving.

Protein

Canned salmon: $3.09 for 14.75 ounces (77 cents per serving)
Get your Omega-3’s for less. Salmon is full of these healthy fats, which help lower cholesterol and prevent heart attacks.

Chicken breasts: $5.99 per 3-pound bag (49 cents per serving)
Easy-to-prepare, chicken is full of lean protein, which helps keep you fuller longer.

Natural peanut butter: $3.39 for 16 ounces (42 cents per serving)
Skip the sugary, processed varieties and spread the real stuff on whole-grain bread. Throw a tablespoon in smoothies or yogurt, use it as a dip for carrots and pretzels, or mix it with a bit of low-sodium soy sauce, brown sugar and garlic, then thin with water for a quick sauce.

Fruits

Frozen fruit and berries: $2.99-$5.99 per pound (75 cents-$1.50 per serving)
Throw some in the blender with milk or yogurt for a healthy treat. Frozen berries can be used in oatmeal or drained and baked into muffins and quick breads.

Apples: $1.39 per pound (35 cents per serving)
They might not keep the doctor away, but apples are actually full of antioxidants, which help slow the progression of age-related diseases.

Bananas: 48 cents per pound (12 cents per serving)
Slice one on your morning yogurt or oatmeal for some added fiber and only 100 calories or so. Snack on a potassium-rich banana to prevent cramps after a workout.

– via SparkPeople

Cheap And Healthy Carbs

You may think that carbs aren’t healthy or good to eat, but you’d be wrong! Healthy carbs are essential to brain and body function, you just need to know what the right ones are. There are some very healthy carbs that you can buy in your local grocery store. The best news? They’re also cheap!

Carbs

Despite what Dr. Atkins might have said, carbs are not the devil. Eating too much of anything — carbs, fat, protein, even fruit — will result in weight-gain. For now, consume 1 serving of carbs from the list below with every meal.

Rice

Rice, whole-grain or not, is a great cheap cooking accessory to keep in your kitchen. Debating the pro’s and con’s of brown rice versus white rice would require an essay (and this is already long enough!), so to dive into that debate, go here.

Beans/legumes

Legumes are a great source of carbs and protein that you can add to soups, salads, and dips. The nutritional value of legumes varies depending on type, so compare the labels in your store to figure out your best options.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a slow-digesting carbohydrate that hangs out in your stomach for a while after consumption, which could help you control cravings since you’ll feel full longer.

Potatoes

Potatoes, like oatmeal, are rich in complex carbs that digest slowly and reduce over-eating.

Popcorn

Instead of munching on candy the next time you enjoy a movie marathon, opt for natural popcorn which includes fiber and a surprising amount of antioxidants.

– via Lifehack

Have you had trouble finding cheap and healthy foods? Do you have any tips for people who are trying to eat a healthier diet on a budget?

Tasty Foods To Keep You Healthy

Protecting your heart and keeping yourself healthy doesn’t have to be all about what you CAN’T eat. Sometimes the best thing you can do is add a few super healthy, super tasty foods that will add the nutrients your body may be missing. Next time you’re at the store, keep an eye out for these foods to keep you healthy.

Secret Foods To Protect Your Heart

SECRET 1: Popcorn. It’s more than just a snack. It’s a whole grain that’s high in cholesterol-lowering fiber. Surprisingly, popcorn contains more fiber, per ounce, than whole-wheat bread or brown rice.

Scientific evidence: Data from the 1999–2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that people who eat popcorn daily get 22% more fiber than those who don’t eat it.

SECRET 2: Chia seeds. You’re probably familiar with Chia pets—those terra-cotta figures that sprout thick layers of grassy “fur.” The same seeds, native to Mexico and Guatemala, are increasingly available in health-food stores. I consider them a superfood because they have a nutrient profile that rivals heart-healthy flaxseed.

In fact, chia seeds contain more omega-3 fatty acids than flaxseed. Omega-3s increase the body’s production of anti-inflammatory eicosanoids, hormonelike substances that help prevent “adhesion molecules” from causing plaque buildup and increasing atherosclerosis.

Scientific evidence: A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, which looked at nearly 40,000 participants, found that an omega-3 rich diet can prevent and even reverse existing cardiovascular disease.

– via Bottom Line Health

Moving beyond keeping your heart safe and healthy, next up are foods that protect and stimulate your brain. Foods that are best for you are often very tasty, too. There’s nothing like a baked sweet potato!

Best Brain Foods

image_mini

Got a Sweet Tooth? Have a Sweet Potato.

Sweet potatoes are loaded with carotenoids, giving them a rich orange color. Carotenoids are important for the brain because they act as antioxidants, protecting cells from damage. Carotenoids also help form vitamin A, which is important in helping to sprout new neurons and to help neurons find each other to form new connections.

You can roast sweet potatoes in their skins and sprinkle with a little cinnamon. Despite their sweet taste, sweet potatoes are less sugary than white potatoes. The rate at which a food is converted to sugar is called the glycemic index. For optimal brain and body health, eat more foods with a lower glycemic index, like sweet potatoes.

Had Any Spinach Folately?

A handful of spinach can do wonders for your brain. Spinach is a great source of folate, a B-vitamin that helps the brain in many ways. Folate helps maintain healthy brain circulation by preventing the buildup of plaque. Folate, also called methyl, helps to form neurotransmitters needed for all thinking and learning.  In addition, folate helps protect DNA in neurons from damage. Lastly, folate helps the liver to detoxify substances in the body to keep the brain healthy.

Try spinach raw or lightly sauteed with olive oil and fresh garlic, or freshly juiced.

– via www.healthybrainforlife.com

What are some of your favorite healthy foods? How do you work the best foods into your diet on a regular basis?

Making Exercise Part Of Your Daily Life

Sometimes what we think of or term as “exercise” isn’t really what we think it is. It’s time to shed some light on a few myths and figure out what exercise really means and why it matters so much.

The Truth About Exercise

Unless you’re Michael Phelps swimming for 8 hours a day at a Olympic level, there is no amount of exercise that can cancel out a diet full of processed foods, junk food, and liquid calories.

In order for you to live a healthy life, you need to get your head straight and understand a few key facts:

  • Exercising for an hour, burning 300-400 calories, and then saying “I earned this” to justify stuffing 1000 calories worth of junk food down your throat is a losing battle.  We’re gonna stop doing this.
  • Exercise does not mean “run on a treadmill for four hours and be miserable.”  Exercise is anything that elevates your heart rate and takes your body outside of its normal comfort zone.
  • Your diet is responsible for 80-90% of your success or failure when it comes to losing weight and getting healthier.  If I could only tell you to fix one thing, your diet or exercising, it would be your diet. Every time.
  • Every decision counts and every choice adds up.  One bad decision does not ruin a day.  One day off doesn’t ruin a week.  One week off doesn’t ruin a month.  EVERY SINGLE DECISION you make can take you closer or further away from your ultimate goal. Stop worrying about the decision you made 10 minutes ago or yesterday and focus on the next one.

– via www.nerdfitness.com

So now that we know exercise can be anything that raises your heart rate. And we also give up the idea that doing a little exercise means you can indulge all the time as a reward. But how can you start working this mentality into your daily life?

If you work at an office job, it can be hard to keep yourself active on a regular basis. But if you start adding small moments of activity into your daily routine, you might notice a big difference in no time at all.

Exercise At the Office

1. Be a stair master: But consider taking them one at a time, not two. Researchers found that while the rate of caloric expenditure is higher when taking two at a time, the burn over an entire flight is more when taking one at a time. In one study, participants climbed a 15-meter stairway five times a day with an average of 302 calories burned per week using one step and 266 calories per week using the double step .

2. Walk and talk: Make like the West Wing and hold walking meetings. While moderate walking uses almost two-and-a-half times the energy of sitting in a meeting, mobile meetings can also strengthen work relationships, improve health, and boost creativity.

3. Please stand up: Think of your ring tone as an alarm to get up out of the chair. Throw in a few bodyweight exercises before sitting back down.

4. Hydrate often: Getting lots of H2O means more trips to the bathroom (drinking water might also help ramp up metabolism) . Pick a bathroom on a different floor, and visit it often.

– via Greatist

Have you found any clever ways to keep yourself active as part of your daily routine?

Health In Your 30s

The main focus for healthcare can shift from decade to decade of your life. While your own personal health profile is unique to you, there are some concerns that are universal at specific age groups. If you’re in your 30’s, there some things to keep in mind to stay as healthy as you can, as long as possible.

3 Health Care Priorities for 30-Somethings

As you transition into your 30s, you may not notice a difference in your physical health, but priority shifts—like wanting to start a family—can affect your health care game plan.

It’s also important to maintain the habits you developed in your 20s, since they can continue to help minimize risks for diseases—and prepare you to handle the demands of family planning and parenthood.

1. Upgrade Your Insurance

Regardless of what kind of plan you may have, if you’re 30-something, you should be reevaluating your current—and future—health care priorities to determine whether more comprehensive coverage would be beneficial.

2. Address Unhealthy Risk Factors

Now can be the ideal time to revisit that risk-factor conversation, and get on the same page with your doctor about how likely you are to develop such conditions as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, based on your lifestyle and habits. If needed, you should come up with a schedule for regular screenings.

3. Talk to Your Doctor About Family Planning

If you’re thinking about starting a family in your 30s, you may find it helpful to discuss your fertility health with your doctor, since these levels generally peak for women in their 20s.

Your initial evaluation may involve a sperm analysis, lab work to gauge hormone levels, and tests to determine the quality and quantity of eggs in a woman’s ovaries.

– via Forbes

One of the biggest risk factors for anyone is heart disease. But the good news is that there are many things you can do to help protect your heart and prevent these issues from arising.

Preventing Heart Disease In Your 30s

Life’s a lot more complicated now than it was in your 20s. Most likely, your career has gained momentum and you may be starting a family. Balancing work and family might be upping your stress levels, which raises your risk for heart disease, says Dr. Goldberg. Cortisol and adrenaline — two major stress hormones — can constrict blood vessels, raising blood pressure and leaving vessels vulnerable to blockages.

Decompress

You may not be able to change your stressors, but you can change how you react to them. “The more you learn to relax, the more adept your body will be at regulating stress hormone levels,” says Dr. Goldberg. Find your own relief zone, whether it’s yoga, aerobic exercise, tai chi, or a weekly massage or manicure and pedicure appointment.

Muscle Up

If you haven’t already started a weight-training routine, doing so now will help maintain and boost your percentage of lean body mass, which keeps your metabolism stoked and prevents the pounds from creeping up.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleeping fewer than five hours per night can increase your risk of heart disease by about 39 percent. Make sure you get more than that (about six to eight hours), and go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.

– via Fitness Magazine

What do you do to make sure you stay healthy, long term? Have your 30s been a time where you refocus on your healthcare?

Relieve Stress Naturally!

We live in a hectic world. It seems like there’s always so much to do and so little time, leaving most of us feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. If you’re looking for a way to relieve stress naturally here are a few tips from Dr. Manny Alvarez.

Massage

Historically, the Chinese used massage to open blocked energy channels in order to improve health and Hippocrates, the “father of western medicine,” used friction for physical healing treatments.

Today, we use massage to relax tense muscles, reduce pain and improve circulation, which can all do wonders for the mind.

Massage is great for long term and short term stress relief. Most people immediately feel different — relaxed muscles, fewer headaches — and these things carry over into the long term.

Meditation

Meditation, or mindfulness, only takes 15 to 30 minutes a day, which is possible even in a packed schedule. It’s also incredibly affordable, considering the only tool you need is your own mind.

Just give yourself some silent time to let your thoughts run free or just focus on your breathing. That small amount of peace in your day can help you deal with or even release stress.

Exercise

Whether it’s yoga, Tai Chi or running, exercise works much in the same way as meditation because it gives you the time to be alone with your thoughts (or an opportunity to let them go).

However, exercise also has the added benefit of releasing endorphins into the brain, which improves your mood. It also prevents obesity and other health problems, giving you less to be stressed about.

Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health. Not only will it help relieve stress on its own, it also helps you sleep better — which relieves stress too!

Eat healthy

It’s actually been proven that junk food can make us depressed (not to mention fat) so clean up your diet.

Healthy foods like whole grains and protein can improve your mood and give you long-lasting energy to tackle everything that comes your way during the day.

Limit Internet and cellphone use

Disconnect, disconnect, disconnect. Part of the problem with reducing stress in today’s world is that we are never truly able to shield ourselves from it.

It is particularly important to cut off electronic use before sleep, which can cut down on insomnia-related problems.

B Vitamins

B vitamins are known to promote proper functioning of the brain and nervous system, as well as help induce relaxation and fight fatigue.

In fact, indicators of B deficiency include irritability, depression and apathy, so to stave off those symptoms, increase your intake of foods rich in B vitamins.

Lack of B vitamins isn’t something most people think of when they’re stressed out, but it really can have an impact on how you feel.

Sleep

Sleep is the most important natural stress reducer of them all. Too little sleep leaves us cranky, irritable and on edge. Too much sleep can leave us sluggish and depressed.

Try to find the right balance that allows you to feel well-rested and ready for the day.

Promote better sleep by establishing bedtime rituals that signal to your brain that it’s time to fall asleep, avoid exercise in the three hours before sleep or take a warm bath.

– via Fox News

How do you try to relieve stress? Have you tried any of the methods above? All of them? Do you have any tips you’d like to share to help people relieve stress naturally?