#1: Omega 3's are Essential to Your Health
From cardiovascular health to brain health to vision health, the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are significant. The best food sources are fish, especially mackerel, sardines, and salmon. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends that adults with no history of heart disease eat at least two servings of fish per week. Omega-3s are also found in some seeds and nuts, like flax seed and walnuts. The body does not manufacture omega-3s, and typical American diets may be low in them, supplements are often recommended.
Flax seeds are a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids.
Photo by Alisha Vargas.
#2: The Antioxidant Advantage
Harmful chemicals known as free radicals can cause cell damage and may contribute to cancer and heart disease. Produced by your body or found in pollution, free radicals cause damage that accumulates with age. Fortunately, help is available in the form of antioxidants--compounds that fight free radicals. Vitamins C, E, and A, as well as selenium, lutein, and flavonoids are just a few types of antioxidants. Make certain you have an ample supply: Strive for a balanced diet that includes 5-8 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Other good sources include green tea, whole grains, and nuts.
#3: Stop Using Brazilian Blowout Solution
Striving for straight and sleek? Steer clear of Brazilian Blowout Solution. Available at salons across the U.S., this hair smoothing treatment contains unacceptable levels of the known irritant formaldehyde. Although permitted in cosmetics at less than 0.2 percent as a preservative, formaldehyde is linked to cancer in humans when inhaled chronically over a long period of time. Consumers and stylists have complained of burning eyes, nose and throat, breathing difficulties, and even hair loss after using this product.
#4: Treating SAD with Light Therapy
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that afflicts many Americans each year during fall and winter. Not everyone has SAD, but those who do may want to consider a light therapy box for treatment. The light from a light box mimics outdoor light, causing a chemical change in the brain that lifts your mood.
In clinical trials at Columbia University, 75 percent of participants showed major improvement of depressive symptoms. Some SAD sufferers reported improvement by spending more time in the sun. For most, however, the strongest therapeutic effect requires exposure to artificial bright light for approximately 30 minutes. Looking at the light is not recommended. Treatment consists of sitting close to the light box and concentrating on activities illuminated by the light.
Photo courtesy of SAD Light Boxes UK.
#5: Raising Awareness of Oral Cancer
A new survey conducted by the British Dental Health Foundation reveals “an alarming lack of awareness” about the causes and symptoms of mouth and throat cancer. One person in 10 claimed to have never heard of the condition.
The National Cancer Institute estimates that in 2010 more than 36,000 new cases of oral cancer were diagnosed in the United States and that nearly 8,000 people died as a result of the disease. Because survival rates increase dramatically with early detection, learn and watch for symptoms: a red or white patch in the mouth, unusual lumps. Remember that prevention is key: quit smoking, reduce alcohol consumption, enjoy a healthy diet, brush and floss teeth daily, and see a dental or health professional for regular screenings.
#6: Accelerated Aging in Obese Children
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of childhood obesity in the U.S. has more than tripled in the past 30 years. Poor nutrition and inactivity are responsible for increased health risks in obese children: heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 Diabetes.
In a recent study, Dr. Kevin Harris, from BC Children's Hospital in Vancouver, evaluated 63 obese children and found aortic stiffness, a condition typically associated with aging and an indicator of cardiovascular disease and early death. Researchers are working to determine if improved diet and exercise will reverse such adverse changes to the health of obese children.
#7: Andropause: The Male Version of Menopause
Nutritional expert Brad King's new book, "Beer Belly Blues," is a must-read for all men concerned with their health. It's filled with fascinating facts about how the aging process affects men. For example, by age 60 men typically produce 60 percent less testosterone than they did at age 20. Mortality rates are 88 percent higher in men with low testosterone compared with men who have normal testosterone levels. King offers expert knowledge and strategy to increase the body's natural production of testosterone.
#8: Teens and Prescription Drug Abuse
In recent surveys teens report that prescription drugs are easier to buy than beer. Even more alarming is the news that 20 percent of students in grades 9 through 12 nationwide have taken prescription drugs, without a prescription, one or more times. Parents are concerned and rightly so: it's easier to use prescription drugs than abuse cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined.
When celebrities like Lindsay Lohan misuse prescription drugs, they gain media attention and become “bad” role models. There is a very real connection between this modeling and the national epidemic. As a parent, you can deal constructively with the connection: learn the warning signs and symptoms of addiction. Then bravely broach the subject.
#9: A Healthy Sex Life at Any Age
Middle-aged and older adults don't accept the myth that “Sex is only for young people,” according to a recent AARP study. The body changes with age and so does sexuality. Declining hormone levels for both men and women may lead to sexual challenges later in life, such as erectile dysfunction and vaginal dryness. The good news is that a wide array of medical treatments and nutritional supplements are available to treat these conditions today. Your sex life after 50 may be more sedate than it was when you were 20. But the physical changes of aging may provide an incentive to develop a new and satisfying style of lovemaking.
#10: Healthy Living Reduces Risk of Colorectal Cancer
According to Danish researchers, 23 percent colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented if people followed five simple lifestyle recommendations. Specifically, the Danish Cancer Society in Copenhagen advises:
- At least 30 minutes of exercise daily
- No more than seven drinks a week for women and 14 for men
- No smoking
- A healthful diet: high in fiber, more than six servings a day of fruits and vegetables, low in red meat and processed meat, less than 30 percent of calories from fat
- Waist size no more than 34.6 inches for women and 40.1 inches for men.
#11: Substitute Whole Grains for Refined Grains
A recent study of more than 2,800 men and women from ages 32 to 83 suggests that eating whole grains rather than refined grains helps to reduce a harmful type of body fat. The fat that is associated with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance was approximately 10 percent lower in adults who ate three or more daily servings of whole grains and less than one daily serving of refined grains. Tufts University scientists stressed the importance of substituting whole grains for refined grains, rather than simply adding whole grain foods to the diet. For example, use brown rice instead of white. Make a sandwich with whole grain bread instead of white.
#12: Going Off Antidepressants
I get asked a lot how someone can get off antidepressants. First, talk to your physician or therapist. Then slowly lower the dose, with their supervision. Abruptly stopping an antidepressant can cause a number of physical and emotional problems, such as nausea, dizziness, and sleep disturbances. Make a plan: It's a good idea to reduce your dose in increments, allowing two to six weeks or more between dose reductions. Other techniques include pill cutting and using a liquid antidepressant formulation. Your doctor or therapist will advise you. Seek support. Stay in touch with your clinician and report any physical or emotional symptoms. Be sure to check in one month after you've stopped.