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How to reach optimal health in middle-age...

I came across an article on Dr. Mercola's website (www.mercola.com) that I found basic yet intriguing. The article's highlights were that gleaned from a Harvard study, summarizing 5 healthy habits based on the findings of that Harvard Study. This was a compilation of over 34 years of data from approximately 73,000 females & 39,000 males. The objective of this study was to determine what specific habits could support living free of the top chronic diseases leading to death in the US:

Stroke, Diabetes, Cardiovascular disease, Cancer, & Alzheimer's.

In this study, scientists defined 5 lifestyle parameters most important for supporting optimal, middle-age health. Here they are:


  1. Diet- Eating high on the ORAC scale (healthy antioxidants).

  2. Exercise- Daily exercise, at least 30 min. every day, at moderate levels, to increase heart rate and engage the muscular system.

  3. Alcohol- No more than 1 serving daily for women, 2 servings daily for men.

  4. Smoking- Stop or never start.

  5. Weight- Maintain a healthy body weight (less than 25 BMI).


These are my pointers in which I took from the article, encompassing what ways of living to adopt (and possibly not to adopt) by the time we reach middle-age:


1. Diet-

  • Stay away from toxins in foods: MSG, Aspartame, Artificial colors, Trans fats. The body will treat these as invaders, causing negative reactions (i.e. inflammation, allergies, skin issues, gut problems, general low immunity).

  • The body recognizes whole foods. Cells utilize the nutrients. Eat whole foods. Choose colorful sources with phytonutrients- these are cell protectors (AKA antioxidants to fight free radicals). I.e. pomegranates, blueberries & other berries, avocados, leafy greens, herbs, spices, citrus.

2. Exercise-

  • Daily exercise, at least 30 min. every day, at moderate levels, to increase heart rate and engage the muscular system. Our heart is our hardest working muscle... it needs to be conditioned. The heart beats about 100,000 times in one day and about 35 million times in a year. (PBS.ORG-NOVA)

  • Research shows a variety of exercises is best (both cardiovascular & strength).

3. Alcohol-

  • The liver is our great detox organ. If it is over-ridden with filtering alcohol, it cannot optimally detox in other ways (cholesterol, diet toxins, etc).

  • Alcohol is essentially sugar, and therefore can significantly affect glucose levels, calorie intake, and increase the risk of diabetes.

  • No more than 1 alcoholic beverage a day for women, and 2 max for men, daily.

4. Smoking-

  • It’s no secret that cigarettes contain over 100 added chemicals, most of which have been proven to be active carcinogens (cancer-causing).

  • Smoking increases the risk of stroke, triggering oxidative damage to the brain, therefore adding to the possibility of dementia/Alzheimer's.

  • The burden smoking places on the lungs greatly increases the risk of respiratory conditions such as lung infections, bronchitis, COPD, and yes, COVID.

5. Weight-

  • Not maintaining a healthy weight increases the risks of metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, & diabetes.

  • Consider BMI, but also body fat% as well.

  • Weight is certainly NOT the only factor that determines a person's health status.

There it is! A snapshot of 5 ways you can start today of creating a healthy, thriving middle-age season, which can carry on into your 60's 70's, 80's, and beyond!


What other lifestyle habits do you think make a positive difference by the time we reach middle age or older?


Be Well,

Cara

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