Steps To Prevent Prostate Health Issues

Elderly HealthWhile there is no surefire way to prevent any kind of cancer, including prostate, there are steps that individuals can take to protect themselves and enhance their overall health which, in turn, might help prevent certain types of cancer. Physicians in several studies agree there are specific choices that individuals can make to lessen their risks of this, and other types of cancers and other preventable illnesses and they include:

  1. Eating a diet that is low in fat and high in fiber. High fat foods include nuts, oils, dairy products and meat. There is no clear correlation between a high fat diet and prostate cancer, but a low fat, high fiber diet is beneficial for everyone. When you’re eating “fats” look for those that come from plants, not animals. Plant based fats include olive oil, avocados, nuts, etc. Meat based fats include meat and butter.
  2. Your dinner plate should be comprised of more fruits and vegetables than meats – at every meal. Fruits and vegetables are full of fiber and nutrients and are low in fats. Filling up on these foods will satiate your appetite and make you less hungry. Reach for a piece of fruit when you’re craving a snack. Tomatoes, because they are high in lycopene, may lower the risk of prostate and other cancers.
  3. Fish that are high in omega 3 fatty acids such as salmon and tuna have been shown to lower your risk of prostate cancer. Up your fish intake. You can also add flaxseed to meals to obtain more omega 3 fatty acids.
  4. It’s been shown that men who eat more dairy products are more likely to develop prostate cancer than those who eat a diet that is lower in dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese.
  5. Keep a healthy weight. Ask your doctor what a healthy weight is for you and ask him for advice on attaining that weight. Chances are he will recommend a more plant based diet and increased activity.

Before you begin any diet or exercise routine, it’s always best to check with your physician. Your personal physician will have all the best information to help you navigate your health.

 

Maintain Youthful Looking Skin

No one really wants to age, right?  As we age, wrinkles start to form (some like to call them “smile lines”) and our skin is less supple and resilient.  However, there are things we can do, at any age, to keep skin vibrant and youthful looking.

Quit Smoking

Smoking takes years off your life and damages collagen and elastin in the skin. These two keep the skin flexible and firm so eliminating something that damages them is a smart, healthy thing to do! Smoking also decreases blood flow to the skin making it harder to receive enough oxygen to maintain health. Wrinkles form more easily from pursing the lips together as you smoke as well as from squinting to avoid getting smoke in your eyes.  Stop smoking and watch your skin begin to improve!

Drink More Water

When you’re dehydrated, any available water is diverted to the heart and liver – organs that need it the most.  Skin is not on the priority list when you’re dehydrated so it doesn’t receive the hydration needed for cell renewal. Drink the recommended six to eight glasses of water per day to ensure your body is getting enough water to maintain all the organs, including the skin.

Exercise

What does exercise have to do with your skin, you might ask?  When you engage in cardiovascular exercises, you encourage blood flow and nutrients to the skin’s surface. This helps to create more youthful looking appearance and glow. Exercise also helps to relieve stress – which leads us to the next point……

Avoid Stress

Easier said than done! However, reducing stress can change your outlook and appearance. Stress causes us to frown, squint, sleep less (which creates undereye bags) and all of these can Youthful Skinaffect the appearance of your skin.  Stress makes it harder for your body to function properly so do what you can to avoid stress whenever possible.

Get Your Vitamin D More Safely

After a long winter, cloudy days or a vacation on the beach, the sunshine is simply joyful and appealing! But, it isn’t your skin’s best friend! Excessive exposure to UV rays can damage your skin and cause it to prematurely age. Wear sunscreen and reapply it often to prevent burns.   However, don’t avoid the sun altogether as Vitamin D received from the sun is good for you!

 Improve Your Diet

Did you know that skin is actually an organ?  Omega-3 fatty acids such as flax and fish oil or walnuts are great for you skin because the support health cell membranes. Anti-oxidants (Vit. A&C) fight free radicals.  Eat a healthy diet such as the Mediterranean diet, which really isn’t a diet at all but a way of eating.  To learn more about the Mediterranean Diet, click here.

Moisturize

Using a moisturizer daily with SPF in it for the day and serums with vitamins, anti-oxidants and botanicals at night will improve the look and feel of your skin while also protecting it. Night serums are especially helpful because your skin has many hours of protection when there is no wiping or touching the skin.  This allows the product to penetrate the cells and do their magic.

Lastly, Get Enough Rest

Work, home, kids, errands, caregiving, commitments, groceries….they all take time and sometimes there simply isn’t enough time. However, a regular routine of going to bed at the same hour and rising at the same time each day will improve your alertness, reduce fatigue and help you be more clear-headed during the day.

While certain things work better for some people than others, these basic things will help you achieve more youthful looking skin!

 

Traveling Alone

Sometimes we all simply need to get away from it all! What do you do, though, if you’re single or can’t find anyone who wants to indulge their wanderlust with a trip? Go solo! Even if you’ve never taken a solo trip, it is not as frightening as you might think and you may just enjoy it so much that you’ll do it more than once!

Here are some tips for traveling solo:

  • Safety should always be front of mind. Even if you were traveling with a group, this advice applies.  A smart choice can be to join group guided tours or make new friends while you’re on your vacation.
  • Know where you’re going before you head out of the hotel. Peering at maps or reading guidebooks while you’re out on a sidewalk is a clear indication that you’re not “from around Traveling Alonehere.”
  • Don’t go into unfamiliar locations at night. Don’t travel to places that have been deemed “unsafe” for visitors. Blend in with the locals.
  • Know how much it should cost to get from the airport to the hotel. How? Call the hotel and ask what a typical fare is. Why? Some unscrupulous drivers will take the “long way” so as to add to your fare; it doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.
  • Make certain you have identification with you. Carry it in more than one place – your purse, wallet, pocket, etc. In case you lose one you will still have access to the other piece of identification.
  • Maintain a low profile by not wearing a lot of jewelry.
  • Make certain your friends and family know your itinerary and check in with them daily.

Getting away from it all and exploring a new area of the world or country is a great way to take a break from your daily routine and just pamper yourself.

Diagnosis Cancer

The word “cancer” may easily be the one the worst words a person can hear.  Suddenly everything about life is seen through a new set of lenses – lenses that magnify things, make others blurry and some impossible to see.  As the initial shock wears off, one is faced with the physical, emotional and spiritual challenges before them.

Patients respond to this news differently. Some strongly rise to the challenge and refuse to lose while others feel a tremendous sense of loss and inability to fight. As all of this turmoil surrounds them, it is also time to develop a plan to fight the cancer.

Every journey is unique but here are some ideas on steps you can take to manage your life after a cancer diagnosis:

  • Don’t go it alone. Find someone to share the journey with. It may be a spouse, family member or close friend and it should be someone you feel you can talk openly with.
  • Research and learn. Take the necessary steps to learn all you can about your cancer diagnosis and treatment options.  Sometimes too much information creates an overload that causes more stress and remember, not everything you read on the internet is the gospel truth. Begin with the web sites for the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute and take it at your pace.
  • Consider getting a second, perhaps even a third, opinion. Different doctors and cancer treatment centers have different philosophies and approaches. A second opinion can help you feel more confident in your treatment plan.
  • Use trusted sources for additional information. Your aunt, cousin, neighbor or friend may have known someone with cancer and offer you an opinion. Remember, they are trying to help so hear them out and gently tell them that you appreciate their concern but each diagnosis is unique.
  • Get organized. Start a notebook or binder to coordinate appointments, doctors’ phone numbers, and the information you collect along the way. Take it to your appointments and use it to make lists of questions you want to ask your doctors on your next visit.

No one will fully understand what you’re going through but tackling this with someone at your side will be a bigger help than you may realize.

 

The Health Benefits Of Yoga

Caregivers might find themselves drawn to yoga for the simple, mindful movements and its relaxation benefits. At its most basic level, yoga is a series of stretching poses with the purpose of cleansing both mind and body of toxins and toxic thoughts. Yoga is typically practiced in a darkened room, with soothing music and an instructor who will lead participants through the various movements. Different poses address different muscles and joints and can work out kinks and help relieve stress.

Another benefit of yoga, and one that is important as we age, is it helps with balance issues and also helps to improve balance through some of the poses and the movements involved. Because a yoga session is thought to “massage your joints, muscles and brain” it is also thought to help move any toxins from your organs.

There are many levels of yoga, from beginner to advanced to yoga practiced in rooms that are heated to more than 100 degrees (this is said to aid in the detoxification process). Here are some of the other benefits of yoga:

  • It helps increase your breath control.Health Benefit of Yoga
  • It enhances your endurance.
  • It enhances your balance; this is crucial as we age because trip and fall accidents are the main cause of emergency room visits for individuals over the age of 65.
  • Yoga raises one’s awareness of his or her own body and this might help an individual notice any slight changes in health.
  • It increases flexibility.
  • Your energy levels may soar and this is a benefit for caregivers who may be juggling their own family demands, working full time and caring for aging relatives.
  • Stress reduction.
  • Weight control might be a byproduct of practicing yoga.
  • Yoga might help stabilize blood pressure, regulate metabolism, enhance digestion and improve your blood circulation.

Yoga is a practice that can be enjoyed by individuals of almost any age as there are yoga classes for seniors that are aimed at increasing flexibility and balance as much as practicing the various poses. As with any exercise program, check with your doctor before you begin just to make sure you’re healthy enough for exercise. You may find that if you’ve been sedentary, a beginning yoga class might offer you an easier way to get back into physical activity without much stress and strain on your joints.

A benefit a caregiver will surely reap is the opportunity to be mindful, exercise and concentrate on taking care of themselves during the yoga session.

 

Exercise Programs For Those With Limited Mobility

The benefits of exercise cannot be stressed highly enough. As obesity increases in the United States, we know that it can lead to injury and myriad other illnesses. If you’ve been sedentary and are now looking to start an exercise routine, you will want to check with your doctor first for help and advice. You may find that he will recommend an exercise program for those with limited mobility and this is especially true if you haven’t exercised for a long period of time or if you are suffering other health issues that don’t allow you to be as mobile as you’d like.

There coExercise Programsuld be many reasons you have limited mobility and they could range from an existing disability, a breathing condition, diabetes, arthritis, being severely overweight or recovering from an injury.

Those dealing with mobility issues may also find themselves dealing with depression and anxiety. Oftentimes, beginning any kind of exercise routine can help enhance self-esteem, reduce anxiety and improve a persons overall outlook on life in general. There are challenges that come with having limited mobility, but there are also creative ways to overcome and find ways to exercise.

What can you do if you want to exercise, but have limited mobility? Here are a few options to consider:

  • Exercising in the water is a great way to increase your cardiovascular strength. Swimming also makes it easier to exercise because of the natural buoyancy the water provides your body.
  • Increasing your range of motion with flexibility exercises such as yoga or stretching can help you regain flexibility.
  • Lifting light weights and undertaking strength training exercises can help build muscle strength and improve balance. If you have limited mobility in your upper body, you may want to focus on your leg strength. For those with limited mobility in their legs, working on strengthening exercises for the upper body are ideal.

Before you start exercising, ask your doctor for advice on the type of exercises to try, how often you should exercise, if there are activities you should avoid and whether any of the medication you’re taking will impact your workout.

Here are tips for starting a routine:

  1. Take it slow and build up your activity level as your endurance increases.
  2. Work exercise into your daily routines. If it becomes a habit that you work out at a specific time of day, it will be easier to stick with it.
  3. Don’t give up if you don’t think you’re seeing results. It can take a while for the results to be visible.

Exercises to consider for those with limited mobility include:

  • Chair workouts. If you can’t get up and move around you can still move your upper body! Do some “chair dancing” exercises by raising your arms and lifting your legs. Turn on some music to make it more enjoyable.
  • If you have a chair with wheels and a non-carpeted area in the home, use your legs to move around the room to help build endurance.
  • Sit on a balance ball. These are ideal for increasing stability and can also help you work out by moving your arms, wiggling your hips, making figure eights with your waist all while increasing your balance.
  • Turn on some music and clean the house! Vacuuming and bending and stretching to dust your furniture is also a great way move and stretch. If you move in time with the music you may also amp up your cardio!

The actual point of any exercise program is to simply get moving! Even if it’s only one area of your body, moving it will help you feel better, raise your spirits and may lead to even more healthful activities!

Watch Your Cholesterol Levels

 

If you watch television for any length of time, chances are you have seen the cholesterol commercials that talk about your LDL and your HDL – good and bad – cholesterol levels. While you may not need to know everything about levels, you should be aware of what you’re eating and how much cholesterol and saturated fat it has.

High cholesterol can lead to heart attacks and strokes and because of that you will want to have your doctor check your levels and once the results come in, you may need to adjust your diet. If you need to change your diet to lower your cholesterol here are a few steps you can take:

  1. Start by asking your doctor to explain your cholesterol and overall health to you so you can understand your starting points. With a starting point you will be able to determine how well your efforts are paying off when you make changes to your diet and exercise habits.
  2. The first, and most important, step is to give your diet a makeover. Move away from processed foods as they are typically full of fat, calories, salt and sugar. Make a change to fewer processed foods and more whole foods such as fruits and vegetables (fresh or frozen are best), whole grains, fish, oatmeal, walnuts and limit your meat intake or switch to chicken breast sans skin.
  3. If you smoke, it can negatively impact your “good” cholesterol levels. If you stop smoking you will see benefits not only in your cholesterol levels, but in your overall health.
  4. Get up and move! Our sedentary lives lead to weight gain and other health risks, especially as we age. If you get up and move for even thirty minutes a day for a brisk walk, you can control your weight and if you lose weight, your cholesterol levels may improve.
  5. Ask your doctor about supplements and other medical ways to improve your cholesterol. Some individuals want to try to lower their cholesterol through diet and exercise before they begin taking medications, but your doctor may prescribe medication if your levels are too high or if you have a family history of high cholesterol.

While high cholesterol is a health risk factor, it is not the only risk factor that many of us face, especially as we age. It might make sense to schedule a visit with your doctor for a physical and also before you start any exercise program. Take steps today to live a healthier life!

 

 

 

The Dangers Of Too Much Sugar

“A spoonful of sugar might help the medicine go down,” as Mary Poppins sang, but in reality too much sugar is as detrimental to your health as is too much salt. When you look at the Healthy Eating Pyramid, you’ll notice that sugary sweets and drinks should be used sparingly or avoided altogether if possible. Keep in mind, when planning your diet, that one teaspoon of sugar is equal to four grams – that is good information to keep in mind when you’re at the grocery store reading nutrition labels on food packages.

Did you know that the average American consumes close to 25 teaspoons of sugar a day – either in actual sugar used in coffee or on cereal or in your processed foods such as bread, cereal and even soups and other savory food items. Because sugar provides no nutritional benefits or health benefits, it is something that we should look to cut out of our diets as much as possible.  Soft drinks and cereals are the biggest culprits with sneaking additional sugar into our diets that’s why it’s important to read the nutrition labels because even your “healthy” drinks and cereals can contain an abundance of sugar.

How is sugar detrimental to your health? Here are a few ways:

  • Ingesting sugar can lead to your feeling hungry – even when you’re not. If you eat too much sugar your body could develop “leptin resistance” which is the signal from your brain that you are full and should stop eating.
  • Sugar and sugary drinks can lead to cavities.
  • Even if you’re active, eating too much sugar will negate your efforts to lose weight and you may see it continue to creep up. If you want to jump start your weight loss efforts, the quickest and easiest way might be just to cut back on your sugar intake.
  • Sugar levels that are too high can lead to diabetes because it will increase your body’s need for insulin. If your body is developing an insulin resistance you may find yourself feeling constantly hungry, having low energy, brain fog, fatigue and high blood pressure.
  • Too much sugar can also lead to other health conditions including liver failure, high blood pressure, gout, heart disease and even some forms of cancer.

As caregivers it’s important to not only care for your health, but for the health of your aging loved ones. Why not take some time the next time you’re over for a visit and go through the pantry and eliminate high sugar foods and concentrate on purchasing and consuming fewer processed foods and eating more fruits and vegetables.

 

The Dangers Of Too Much Salt In Your Diet

Salt in the dietWho is at risk for health issues because of high salt intake?
•    If you already have elevated blood pressure
•    Those with diabetes
•    African Americans
•    Individuals over the age of 50
If you’re a caregiver, you may fall into any one – or more – of these categories. You may notice, too, that your aging parents are being more heavy-handed with the salt and the reason for this is as we age our taste buds aren’t as “sharp” as they once were and it takes more salt to help you “taste” your foods. Look to your own salting habits as well as your parents when you are visiting them and consider making changes if you are using a lot of salt with meals.

If you use too much salt, your kidneys could have a hard time keeping up with the excess sodium and this means your heart will have to work harder and your blood pressure can dramatically increase.  High blood pressure is the leading cause of heart disease, in fact, high blood pressure is the cause of two-thirds of strokes and more than half of all heart disease issues.

Eating more high potassium foods, including bananas, and lower sodium foods can reduce the risk of suffering a stroke or a heart condition. Make changes in your diet by eating fewer processed foods which are notoriously high in sodium and more fresh fruits and vegetables.

Other health issues that are connected to a high sodium diet include:
•    Certain types of cancers
•    Osteoporosis; this is due to your body losing calcium when you urinate and this increases with the amount of salt you consume.

The recommended daily allowance of sodium (from all sources, including processed foods and the salt you put on your meals) should be no more than one teaspoon (2,300 milligrams) a day and most Americans consume one and a half teaspoons or more every day. If you already have high blood pressure you should be consuming no more than 1,500 milligrams (two-thirds of a teaspoon) a day from all sources.

The next time you, or those in your care, visit your physician ask him to check your blood pressure and share with him the sodium you’re consuming and see if you might need to make changes in your diet.

Health And Nutrition Tips For Seniors And Caregivers

There is so much information on the Internet, in magazines and given to you by your friends and family about ways to stay healthy. How do you know what to believe or which advice to follow? The first thing is, before you start any fitness regime or change your diet, it’s always best to discuss it with your doctor to make sure you are either healthy enough to do so or that any nutritional changes you may be considering won’t impact any medications you’re taking.

Nutrition for SeniorsHere are seven health and nutrition tips for seniors, and everyone for that matter, that you can take to the bank, though!

1. Don’t drink sugary beverages. Steer away from soda or from any sugar-laden beverage. Drink water, lots of it. Drink water before and with meals. Add lemon if you want to amp up the flavor and the health benefits.

2. Make a move toward fresher ingredients and away from fast foods or processed foods. Become a label reader as a way to understand what your food is being made from and, ultimately, what you’re putting in your body. Make sure you add fish to your diet. Fatty fish like salmon has omega 3 fatty acids and other nutrients that may help you stave off diseases such as dementia or depression. Fill your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables at every meal.

3. Barring any allergies, you should be eating nuts. These may be high in fat but they are nutritious, full of protein and healthy for you. They have fiber, magnesium and vitamin E, among others. If you have high blood pressure you should choose unsalted or lower-salted nuts.

4. Enjoy your morning cup of joe. Coffee sometimes get a bad rap but it is actually healthy. It’s full of antioxidants and some studies show that those who drink coffee live longer, have a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and type 2 diabetes. Don’t load your healthy coffee up with sugars and creams though as that may negate some of the healthful benefits.

5. Sleep is important. The need for quality sleep cannot be over stated. A good night’s sleep could be as important to your overall health and well being as your diet and exercise. If you’re not sleeping, talk with your doctor to see if there is an underlying health reason. Make your bedroom conducive to sleep by lowering the temperature and turning off all electronic devices.

6. Get up and move! Dance. Take a walk. Clean the house! Any kind of aerobic or cardio is the best thing you can do for both your physical and your mental health. Moving will also help you keep your balance as you age and that is important to prevent any slip or fall accidents. If you want to amp up your walking routine, use walking poles because these engage the upper body and give you a full body workout.

7. Avoid cigarettes and alcohol. If you’re a smoker, ask your doctor for advice on quitting. Even if you’ve been a lifelong smoker, stopping now can help enhance the rest of your life. Alcohol can be consumed in moderation – a glass of wine with dinner, an occasional beer with friends. Keep in mind though that even though alcohol is a depressant it will negatively impact your sleep if you drink before bedtime.

Talk with your family and find ways to be healthier. With summer on the horizon, it is the perfect time to get fit and get healthy for life!