Tag Archives: Health

Low Carb Diets a No-No for Exercisers

Grain products are often baked, and are rich s...

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Understanding the role of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates come in three different types, simple, complex and dietary fiber. The last of these, dietary fiber releases very little energy to the body when digested so for this article we will limit the discussion to simple and complex carbs.

Simple Carbohydrates

Simple carbs are made up of either one or two units of sugar. These are found in fruits, milk and table sugar. They can also be found in may processed foods like cakes and candy. Of course the carbs found in most processed foods come along with a lot of calories.

Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbs have more than 2 units of sugar. These are found in vegetables and starches like pasta, potatoes and rice.

How the body uses carbs.

Carbohydrates are converted to energy for the body. This is done in the mitochondria. Simple carbs convert faster and can give you a quick burst of energy for exercise while the complex carbs take longer to digest and turn to energy.

Following this line of thought it would stand to reason that eating plain table sugar or candy right before working out would be beneficial to physical performance . While it would boost your energy level candy and sugar also pulls water from body tissues into the intestines thus speeding dehydration which can lead to nausea. That’s where the sports drinks can play a big role in your workouts. Many of them are sweetened to give you the needed sugars and also contain sodium chloride to replace the salt your body loses while sweating.

Admittedly consuming too many carbs and not working them off will be stored as fat. A proper diet that gets 45 – 65 percent of it’s calorie from carbohydrates should work well for people that have a regular workout routine.

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Health Over 50 – Eating More Fiber Leads to Longevity

Fiber reduces risk of deathHigh Fiber intake reduces death risk by 23 percent.

A scientific analysis of a nine year study conducted by the National Institutes of Health and AARP has found a meaningful link  between high fiber intake and longevity.

The analysis studied the results of over 400,000 people over fifty. The participants between 50 and 71 years old had  fiber intake that ranged from 12.6 to 29.4 grams per day in men and from 10.8 to 25.8 grams per day in women.

The average dietary fiber for most Americans is about 12 grams a day, current US dietary guidelines recommend 28 grams for the average person eating a 2,000 calorie a day diet.  This would suggest that the people in this study of people over 50 with the highest fiber intake are simply in line with the recommendations. The study excluded people with extremely high fiber intake.

Men with the highest fiber intakes had a 23% reduction in the risk of dying while women experienced a 10% reduction when compared to those eating the least amount of fiber.

It’s important to point out that the greatest benefits came from particular sources of fiber, whole grains and beans. While vegetable fiber had a small impact on longevity fruits showed no effect at all.

Fiber is a Natural Anti-Inflammatory

Most researchers believe that the anti-inflammatory effects of eating more fiber is possibly part of the reason for lower numbers  in cardiovascular, respiratory, and infectious disease death.

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Anti aging Diet – Reduce Salt Intake

Anti Aging - Reduce Salt Intake

How much salt is too much?

It’s well known that too much salt isn’t good for you but how much salt is too much? The Government guidelines are about 2300 mg for younger adults  and 1500 mg for those of us over 50. That’s only about 2/3 of a teaspoon. Removing the salt shaker is a good start to reducing your salt intake but did you know that up to 80% of your salt intake may come from processed foods?

How does salt affect aging?

High sodium consumption affects all age groups but due to other health risk that accompany the aging process the dangers of salt are more pronounced in people over fifty and others with salt sensitivities. Sodium can elevate the blood pressure, contribute to bone brittleness and raises the risk of stroke,  kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease and cataracts.

How to Cut back on Salt

As I mentioned up to 80% of your salt intake is from processed foods. Most Americans eat 3,500mg to 4,500mg a day, thats 2 to 3 times the recommended consumption for people over 50.

Start your reduction at the super market. Read the labels, the sodium content is required by law to be posted on the packaging. Compare brands. I know this can be somewhat time consuming at first but after a while you’ll know what brands contain the lowest sodium level. Canned veggies and tuna are packed in a sodium rich solution as a preservative, rinse the veggies or tuna before heating or eating to remove some of the salt.

Eliminate or reduce eating processed foods like cold cuts, hot dogs, and processed cheese. These are VERY high in sodium content.

Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables that are naturally low in sodium.

Drink plenty of water. Water helps flush excess salt out of the body.

One study found that lowering the amount of salt 5 grams a day (about one teaspoon) was associated with a 23% lower stroke rate and up to 17% less total cardiovascular disease. They went on to say that cutting normal salt intake in half  “could avert some 1.25 million deaths from stroke and almost three million deaths from cardiovascular disease worldwide.”

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Dr Oz Recommends These Supplements For Women Over 50

Dr Oz identified the 5 health concerns that are of most concern to women over 50. Their responses were;

  • Energy
    Bones
    Weight
    Chronic Disease
    Alzheimer’s

The doctor then went on to recommend a nutritional supplement to help alleviate each of these.

For optimal bone health Dr Oz recommends Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin D.

Chronic Disease can be prevented with simple Multi Vitamins. Of course there are many reasons for chronic disease but these vitamins may help with many heart, bone and cancer problems.  One multi vitamin a day with less than 2500 units of iron and Vitamin A is all you need.

For loss of energy in women over 50 he suggested 200 mg a day of Co Enzyme Q10. Co Enzyme Q10 aids the mitochondria which is the power house of the body that provides the fuel we use all day.

For weight loss he says take about 15 grams of chia seeds daily. An excellent source of fiber that you can sprinkle on almost anything that’ll help give you that “full” feeling thus fending off over eating.

Turmeric is his recommendation to ward off Alzheimer’s Disease. The science is still not clear on why Turmeric is so effective in fighting Alzheimer’s but it is. It has something to do with preventing the build up on the neurons of the brain that is associated with the disease. Turmeric is widely used in India and it is believe to be the reason that they have such a low instance of Alzheimer’s. He suggests a half teaspoon a day.

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Aging Is Inevitable – Or Is It Really?

95 y.o. woman holding a 5 month old baby boy (...
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If you’re over 50 your fitness depends on many factors,  some we can control and unfortunately some we can’t. Many of the ones that we have no control over are hereditary, they just “run in the family”. These would be things like heart disease, diabetes and even obesity. One thing beyond everyone’s ability to do anything about though regardless of who their parents are is aging. Or is it really?

As the body ages it sometimes tends to stoop, the skin begins to sag, movement can become slower and uncoordinated. This is all a result of loss of muscle mass, a condition known as sarcopenia. For most of the history of mankind these traits were considered a given. Part of the aging process and nothing could be done about it. Luckily today research upon research has determined that sarcopenia or at least profound sarcopenia is NOT inevitable.

True, there are some contributing factors of sarcopenia that are still beyond our reach such as disease and environmental factors but as it pertains to getting older the main causes that we CAN affect are hormone changes, protein deficiency and motor unit restructuring.

Muscle is made up of proteins. The body is in a constant state of trying to reach a balance between making more protein and using what protein there is available for energy. These processes are called synthesis and metabolism respectively.

The body can produce some proteins itself by converting amino acids. Other needed proteins cannot be made by the body and are acquired from outside sources, these are called “essential proteins” and are derived from the foods that we eat.

As we age, withstanding disease or trauma, we never stop metabolizing proteins but we do steadily lessen the ability to synthesize our own internally. It is thought that this is due to the decrease in hormones testosterone and HGH or human growth hormone. This is where protein and hormone loss contributes to the aging process.

Motor Unit Restructuring happens when the signaling mechanisms (motor neurons) that control the muscles start to die off. There are two types of these neurons, ones that control fast movement and ones that control slower movement. It seems that the ones that control fast movement die first, when this happens the other slower neurons step in and take their place. This is good because other-wise the muscle would die too, but it does noticeably slow the reaction time between thought and movement. It also can cause slooped posture and sagging skin.

Next time I will talk about ways to minimize or reverse the effects of sarcopenia.

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