If you drink alcohol — which includes beer, wine and liquor — you WILL have a hangover. The difference in severity is a matter of degree.
The human body is a well-oiled machine, built to last well into old age — an average of 81 years for American women and 76 for American men. The introduction of any amount alcohol into the body throws your system out of whack. (Note: this includes red wine). So the best advice for folks who wonder about alcohol consumption is “don’t drink.”
But for those who do decide to take the risk, it’s best to remember the following advice:
- One drink (4 ounces of alcohol content) is enough, two is chancy, three is dangerous and four is insane.
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Food slows the effects as alcohol, an alien substance, moves through your system.
- Drink plenty of water. (Same as above).
- Alcohol poisons your body, especially your brain.
- There is no cure for a hangover. Absolutely none.
Some studies indicate that moderate use of alcohol may be of benefit to older consumers who run the risk of heart disease. But those findings are debatable. What is not debatable is there are other ways to avoid heart problems. These include proper diet and exercise.
But what is proper?
There is a lot of information out there about alcohol consumption, dieting and exercise, and it is wise to study them. And once you have a plan, be sure to run it past your family physician. This is especially true for anyone more than 50 years of age.
Once you do have a doctor-approved diet and exercise regime, you should consider another factor that is essential for your success: Who will hold you to it? That’s where a health and wellness coach comes in. Certified health coaches will discuss your situation with you (and your doctor if need be), review your diet and exercise plan, help you understand your personal benefits and then hold you accountable.
The guidelines are simple for a healthy diet: Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, unsaturated oils, whole grains, omega 3 fats, no red meat and lots of water. And don’t forget your beans.
Beans are cheap, convenient, versatile, filling and nutritious. They come in red, green, yellow, white, black and brown. They’re full of protein, folate (B vitamins) and fiber. They are antioxidant and also provide iron, potassium, calcium and magnesium.
Beans, of course, are also good for the heart. They can lower bad cholesterol, blood pressure and the risk of type-2 diabetes. They also provide protection for both colon and breast cancer.
Smart people eat lots of beans daily. Beans “feed your brain,” give you energy and combat depression, as do nuts, greens and, occasionally, low sugar (no less than 72 percent cocoa) dark chocolate.
It pays to know your beans. A serving cost only about 9 cents. You can buy them fresh, frozen, dried and canned, and serve in dips, soups, salads, burritos, with red peppers or eggs or by themselves. The delivery system doesn’t matter provided it’s not loaded with salt and sugar.
So tell me. What are your favorite bean recipes?
Women outlive men two-to-one. But it hasn’t always been this way.
I read a study recently that found men and women died of so-called natural causes at about the same rate until about 1900. But by the year 1970, men have become twice as likely to pass away of old age than women.
Why is this?
Because of heart disease and stoke.
Ok, then why are men more likely today to die of hear
t disease and stroke compared to women?
Men appear to be more vulnerable to these diseases because their body fat — called “adiposity” — tends to collect between the chest and hips. And it is between these areas where men need to work on their “core” values.
By that I mean men should focus their exercise to include leg-lifts, full sit-ups and weightlifting that strengthens the core muscles. This combined with a proper diet will do wonders for men’s health.
So wise up, men, and get with the program.
Moderation is Key in Salt Consumption
Too much salt in your diet can kill you. Not enough can kill you too. So how much is enough?
Although everyone requires some salt intake, the American Heart Association recommends a maximum of 1,500 milligrams daily for adults. That’s slightly less than three-quarters of a teaspoon. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agrees, but only for adults over age 50. Those younger than 50 and in good health may ingest up to a full teaspoon (2,300 mgs), it says.
Unfortunately, nobody really knows. What is for sure is salt causes your body to retain water, but too much water stretches the tissue of your artery walls, which leads to high blood pressure, and over time high blood pressure can result in a disease called “hypertension,” which can kill you.
So be careful. Have your blood pressure checked on a regular basis by a health-care professional. If he or she determines that you have a problem, set your treatment goals and take action — which typically includes monitoring your salt intake and regular exercise.
Regarding salt consumption, if you eat processed foods, you are probably getting more salt in your diet than you need. So read the labels on packaged foods, and stay under 1,500 mgs of salt daily, which also means stay away from the saltshaker. If you are one of those rare people who do not eat packaged food, remember it’s best to consume less than a teaspoon of salt daily.
And those who can afford to dine out often, you’d better get word to the kitchen that none of the chef’s recipes are good enough “to die for.”
It’s been said before that eating chocolate can improve declining memory loss, and now it may be good for our heart as well. Former “no-nos,” could actually be a “yes” for heart health.
Eating up to 100 grams of chocolate a day is linked to lowered heart disease and stroke risk. There also doesn’t seem to be evidence for cutting out chocolate to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Higher chocolate intake is associated with a lower risk of future cardiovascular events.
Contrary to popular belief, milk chocolate and dark chocolate may have similar benefits. Not only flavonoids, but also other compounds such as calcium and fatty acids, provide proof for the association between milk and dark chocolate.
Moderate consumption of chocolate doesn’t appear to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. A common and considerably healthy daily consumption of chocolate is around 7 grams.
Higher levels of consumption are often associated with younger age and lower weight (BMI), waist: hip ratio, systolic blood pressure, inflammatory proteins, diabetes and more regular physical activity — all of which add up to a favorable cardiovascular disease risk profile.
Eating more chocolate was found to be associated with higher energy intake and a diet containing more fat and carbs and less protein and alcohol. Those who have a higher intake of chocolate have a much lower risk of cardiovascular disease, around 11 percent, and a 25 percent lower risk of associated death. Those eating the most chocolate seem to have an 18 percent lower risk of disease than those who ate the least.
Researchers have found a significantly lower risk of both conditions associated with regular chocolate consumption. A 25 percent lower risk of any episode of cardiovascular disease and a 45 percent lower risk of associated death.
Reverse causation — those with a higher cardiovascular disease risk profile eating less chocolate and foods containing it than those who are healthier.
So, enjoy that scrumptious, delicious bite of chocolate! Me, I go for the dark stuff. What about you?
We’re used to seeing pancakes piled high, topped with butter and syrup, but there’s a much lighter way to enjoy these treats. The simple solution is pancakes that have flourless batter consisting of old-fashioned oats, egg whites, grated apple and a dash of cinnamon. The key is to let the mixture sit for 5 to 10 minutes before cooking, so the oats plump up from the moisture in the egg and fruit. Also heat some canola oil to keep pancakes from sticking. Ladle spoonfuls of the batter onto a griddle, flip them when they start to bubble, put them on a plate and eat them with fresh berries. The cakes are high in fiber, protein and vitamins, and will keep you full all morning.
Broccoli (Yes, Broccoli)
Eating broccoli everyday can be very beneficial since it contains a phytonutrient that converts to an antioxidant when consumed. Try to add a serving of frozen broccoli to a smoothie (it’s great with peach, mango or banana along with a small handful of cashews or hazelnuts, water, ginger and protein powder). Or, you can sauté the florets and leaves in avocado or coconut oil, then cook an egg, scrambling it right in with the veggies.
Breakfast Food With A Lunchtime Twist
Stuffed French toast may sound fancy or fussy, but nutritionists swear it’s simple. It is a tasty, high-fiber and protein-rich meal. First, prepare an almond-butter-and-pear sandwich; then, plunge it into a mixture of milk, egg, vanilla extract and lemon zest. The final step is to sauté the soaked sandwich until it’s golden and crispy on both sides.
A Parfait That’s Not What You’re Expecting
Try making a layered parfait — but instead of using the usual yogurt, granola and berries, mix up you own puree in a blender, consisting of pitted dates, berries, coconut milk and protein powder. The dates add sweetness and fiber, plus they give the mixture some heft. Then layer the mixture with nuts, seeds, fresh berries and shredded coconut (yogurt optional!).
Eggs With A Kick
Nutritionists love vitamin- and fiber-rich green smoothies. You can make one they would approve! Use a whole bag of spinach, plus water, whatever fruits you have on hand and flax or chia seeds. But if you don’t have time to pull out the blender, you can use a few hard boiled eggs. Peel them, slice them in half and top each piece with whole-grain mustard and pepper; both add great flavor with very few calories.
Older Americans typically attempt to shrink their midsections by consuming more greens and lean meats, and fewer calories. More effective is regular to moderate physical activity.
“Americans should meet the federal physical-activity guideline: 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity per week,” Russell Pate said. “If most American adults met that guideline, rates of overweight and obesity would be substantially lower than they are today.”
Overall, Americans’ activity levels are lower because most of them are inactive at work, relying more on technology and less on physical labor to earn their livings. They also use more convenient forms of mass transportation, according to the American Heart Association.
Unfortunately, we’re paying for such conveniences with our health, and statistics prove it: Sixty-nine percent of adults are either overweight or obese, which increases the risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some cancers and reproductive problems.
Nuts are among nature’s healthiest food sources, although most people don’t realize it. And even though peanuts are actually peapods, they are lumped right in with a wide variety of the real thing. This nut trend as a health food is starting to catch on. People are enjoying them daily as nuts or nut butters in breakfasts, salads, sandwiches and snacks. Plastic baggies of lightly salted peanuts, walnuts, almonds and the like accompany people on excursions everywhere.
The Nurses’ Health Study of 76,464 women and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study of 42,498 men, found that the more nuts people consumed, the less likely they were to die at any given age, especially of cancer or heart disease. And a clinical trial conducted in Spain showed that death rates were lower among those consuming a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra nuts.
However, these studies were conducted almost entirely among relatively well-to-do, well educated, white individuals, and despite the researchers’ care in controlling for other factors that could have influenced the results, there remained the possibility that characteristics of the participants other than nut consumption could account for their reduced death rates.
Now, strong links between nuts and peanuts and better health have also been found in a major study of people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and varied ethnic groups — blacks, whites and Asians — many of whom had serious risk factors for premature death, like smoking, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.
The results were published in March in JAMA Internal Medicine by researchers at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Their study, conducted among more than 200,000 men and women in the Southern United States and Shanghai, found that the more nuts people consumed, the lower their death rates from all causes and especially from heart disease and stroke.
Nuts are high in fat, and fat contains more calories per gram (nine) than protein or sugar (four calories), even more than alcohol (seven calories). But a review of studies of large populations here and abroad by Richard D. Mattes of Purdue University and co-authors most often found that adults who eat nuts weigh less than those who don’t.
Clinical trials found that adding lots of nuts to one’s diet had a limited effect on body weight. But more important, participants in studies that included nuts in a weight-loss regimen lost more weight and ended up with a smaller waist and less body fat than participants who did not eat nuts.
One explanation for the weight control benefit of nuts is the quick satiation provided by their high fat and protein content, which can reduce snacking on sweets and other carbohydrates. Another is that all the calories in nuts, especially whole nuts, may not be absorbed because they resist breakdown by body enzymes.
Finally, in a 2013 study in The British Journal of Nutrition, Dr. Mattes and colleagues reported that consuming peanut butter or peanuts for breakfast helps to control hunger, stabilizing blood sugar and reducing the desire to eat for up to 8 to 12 hours. (My favorite breakfast: half a banana, sliced, with each slice topped by a half-teaspoon of crunchy peanut butter.)
As for their cardiovascular benefits, nuts are rich sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which prompted a health claim by the Food and Drug Administration that “Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.” Two exceptions are macadamia nuts and cashews, which have too much saturated fat to qualify for this claim.
Nuts are also rich sources of dietary fiber, and almonds, Brazil nuts, peanuts and walnuts may actually help prevent constipation, countering my long-held concerns about their effects on digestion. Other beneficial substances in nuts include vitamins, antioxidants and other phytochemicals. All of which means we should make a handful of nuts a daily part of our diet.
When we’re in our 50s, we tend to notice changes with our bodies: Metabolism, skin elasticity, energy, vision, hormones…
These things are inevitable, but there are some things we should not accept with age.
- I’ve put weight on around my middle.
This weight can increase your risk of health problems including heart disease and diabetes. If you’re a woman and your waist is bigger than 31.5 in (37 in for men), your risk of health problems tend to be higher than normal.
How do you address this? Make a plan and follow it. (Look up the best sites for diet advice for some tips).
- I urinate more during the night.Women in their 50s naturally have frailer bladders and bladder muscles. It’s a result of lower estrogen levels. But for men, regular nighttime trips to the bathroom could suggest prostate problems. For both genders, needing the bathroom more at night might also be a sign of diabetes.
How do you address this? Go to your family doctor.
- My vision is blurry.
People often start wearing reading glasses in their 40s and 50s because the lenses in their eyes start to stiffen, making focusing on close-up objects complicated. But blurred vision is a symptom of diabetes. Other symptoms are feeling very thirsty, very tired and unexplained weight loss.
How do you address this? See your family doctor. Regular eye tests can spot the early signs of diabetes, so don’t skip appointments with your eye doctor.
- My knee hurts (or hips, or fingers).
Aching, stiff knees, hips and finger joints suggest osteoarthritis, a condition that sends a million people to their family doctor every year, and usually progresses in people over 50. But you may be able to slow it down if you catch it early using modern medical or holistic treatments.
How do you address this? Consider taking joint health supplement such as fish oils or glucosamine. If you’ve been diagnosed with arthritis, ask your family doctor about non-drug treatments such as physiotherapy.
- I feel constantly worn out.
Getting tired more easily than you used to isn’t just a sign you’re not quite a spring chicken any more. There are several health conditions that cause deep-rooted, long-lasting fatigue, including chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), anemia, under-active thyroid, diabetes and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
How do you address this? If you’re getting plenty of sleep but still feeling worn out, see your family doctor.
- I can’t get it up like I used to.
Around half of all men between 40 and 70 have erection problems to some degree. While lifestyle changes such as losing weight and exercise can help, erectile dysfunction can also be a sign of something more serious, including heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure.
How do you address this? See your family doctor if you have erections problems that last for several weeks.
- I can’t stop burping.
Heartburn and burping aren’t just irritating, they can also be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a digestive condition that’s more common after the age of 40. If you don’t treat it, you can suffer with difficulties, including damage to the lining of your esophagus.
How do you address this? Your family doctor can recommend treatments. Help yourself by eating four or five smaller meals instead of having three big meals a day. Keep a food diary, as keeping a record can help point out to you the potential food triggers.
- My snoring is driving my partner crazy.
Snoring problems are typically in people aged between 40 and 60. If you snore loudly, it could be a sign you have sleep a condition that interrupts your breathing during sleep, increasing your risk of heart failure.
How do you address this? See your family doctor for a diagnosis. Losing weight, cutting down on alcohol and giving up smoking may also help.
- I keep saying ‘What?’
Hearing loss isn’t something that only happens in old age. Surveys suggest that many of us in our 50s have some deterioration in our hearing. Problem is, most people take up to 15 years to do anything about it. But the earlier you tackle it, the sooner you’ll prevent it getting worse.
- My legs ache when I exercise.
Aching legs while walking or climbing stairs may well suggest you’re not fit. But in your 50s it can also be a symptom of peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which is caused by a blockage in your arteries, which restricts the blood flow to your legs. If you don’t do anything about it, your heart attack and stroke risk could increase.
How do you address this? See your family doctor if you have leg pain regularly, especially if you smoke or you have diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
Most of us love strawberries because of the fact that they are a treat for the eyes and taste buds. But these amazingly delicious fruits are also packed with nutrition. The strawberry is a red, juicy, conically-shaped fruit belonging to the rose family. In fact, technically, it is not a berry but an aggregate accessory fruit, composed of several small fruits, each with one seed known as achene. It is the only fruit whose seeds are visible from outside.
Strawberries are available in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, ranging from deep red and pink to off white or yellowish. There are several varieties of strawberries such as the Virginia, Chilean and European Alpine strawberry. Generally the smaller varieties are sweeter and more flavorful than the larger ones which are often watery. Because of their delicious flavor and attractive appearance, strawberries are widely used in ice creams, mocktails, cakes, smoothies and other desserts. They also form a part of several recipes and salads.
Strawberry Benefits for Health:
Strawberry has been hailed as “the queen of fruits” because of its rich nutritional value which offers a range of health benefits as given below:
1. Anti-inflammatory Properties:
The rich variety of antioxidants and phytochemicals in strawberries help fight inflammatory disorders like osteoarthritis, asthma, cancer and atherosclerosis. According to research conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, strawberries can lower the blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) which is responsible for causing inflammation. It was observed that women who ate 16 or more strawberries per week were at a 14% less risk of having elevated levels of CRP.
2. Cardiovascular Health:
Strawberries are great for heart health. They contain ellagic acid and flavonoids which improve heart health through their antioxidant effects. They also counteract the effects of low density lipoprotein or LDL (the bad cholesterol in our blood which causes plaque build-up in the arteries), thus lowering the risk of heart disease.
3. Blood Pressure:
Strawberries contain potassium which regulates blood pressure and prevents high blood pressure by counteracting the negative effects of sodium.
4. Weight Loss:
Strawberries are low in sugar, calories and sodium, and fat-free. The natural sugars contained in strawberries are extremely low with 4 grams per serving. They also contain nitrates which promote blood flow and oxygen throughout the body, resulting in weight loss. Nitrates also prevent the muscles from becoming too tired after exercise.
5. Bone Health:
Strawberries contain potassium, magnesium and Vitamin K which are beneficial for bone health. It is shown to bring down bone loss and therefore prevents bone breakage that begins with age.
6. Eye Health:
Consumption of three or more servings of strawberries can lower the risk of macular degeneration, which results in vision loss. The antioxidant properties of strawberries help in preventing cataracts, a condition characterized by clouding over of the eye lens which can lead to blindness in old age. Vitamin C in strawberries helps in strengthening the eye’s cornea and retina and also protects them from the harsh UV rays which can damage the protein in the lens.
7. Immunity Booster:
Strawberries are a rich source of Vitamin C which is a powerful immunity booster as well as an antioxidant. One cup of strawberries can provide about 100% of the daily requirement of this vitamin.
8. Cancer Prevention:
Vitamin C in strawberries helps in cancer prevention by boosting our immunity. They also contain a phytochemical called ellagic acid which has anti-cancer properties such as suppressing cancer cell growth. Some studies have proved that dried strawberry powder can help prevent human esophageal cancer.
9. Pre-natal Health:
Strawberries are a good source of folate, a B vitamin required by pregnant women or those trying to conceive. Folate is vital in the early stages of pregnancy for the development of the baby’s brain, skull and spinal cord, and for the prevention of certain birth defects like spina bifida.
Strawberry Benefits for Skin:
Apart from being great for your health, strawberry is a treat for your skin. Both consumption and topical application of strawberry provides the following benefits to your skin:
Strawberries are rich in Vitamin C which is involved in the production of collagen. By fighting the free radicals, it provides anti-ageing benefits, thereby reducing fine lines and wrinkles, and minimizing blemishes.
Strawberry fruit extract, being rich in ellagic acid, helps to lighten hyperpigmentation caused by UV rays by inhibiting the synthesis of melanin, the chemical that imparts color to your skin.
12. Good Cleanser:
The presence of Vitamin C, salicylic acid and antioxidants in strawberries make them fabulous skin cleansers. Salicylic acid removes dead cells from your skin as well as tightens pores and brightens your skin. Ellagic acid prevents skin damage, thus making your skin look young and fresh. Strawberries soothe and exfoliate your skin, remove impurities and keep your skin soft.
Being rich in Vitamin C, Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), salicylic acid and flavonoids, strawberry is effective in clearing acne and reducing oil. All you need to do is mash ½ cup of sliced strawberries with 1 tablespoon sour cream and apply it on your face for 10 minutes. This will clear the acne as well as blemishes.
14. Eye Puffiness:
Strawberries can reduce puffiness and circles beneath the eyes. You can place a few strawberry slices under your eyes and relax for 10 minutes. Then moisturize as usual.
15. Effective for oily skin:
If you have oily skin, you can mash equal amounts of fresh strawberries and plain unsweetened yoghurt. Apply it on your face for 10 minutes and then rinse off.
Strawberry Benefits for Hair:
Strawberry occupies the fourth position among fruits in terms of its antioxidant capacity. The rich variety of antioxidants, ellagic acid and vitamins make it beneficial for your hair as well. It offers the following hair benefits:
16. Hair loss and Thinning:
The high content of ellagic acid in strawberry protects your from thinning or falling. It also contains folate and Vitamin B6 which help to combat the problem of hair loss.
17. Strawberry Conditioner:
You can prepare a strawberry conditioner to get glossy, silky and lustrous hair. Mash 8 fresh strawberries with 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise. Massage this mixture into damp hair. Cover with a shower cap for at least 10 minutes and then shampoo as usual.
18. Cure for dandruff:
Combining strawberry with tea tree oil or thyme oil enhances its antifungal effects due to its high content of copper and manganese. This is effective in curing dandruff.
19. Hair Moisturizer:
Due to its antioxidant effects, strawberry protects the membranes of the cells of the scalp and prevents the formation of a hydrophobic layer on the scalp’s surface, thus preventing scalp insulation. Combining egg yolk with strawberry is a great way to moisturize your hair.
Strawberry: Nutritional Value
Strawberries have a rich nutritional value comprising of vitamins, antioxidants, flavonoids and other vital nutrients. Let us now have a glimpse at strawberry nutrition facts explained in the chart given below.
|See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:
Strawberries (Fragaria X ananassa), ORAC Value 3577, Nutrition Value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
||Percentage of RDA
Calories and Fat: A one cup serving of strawberries provides about 50 calories, 1 gram protein and 11 grams carbohydrates. They are free of fat, cholesterol and sodium. They also contain 9 grams of natural sugar mostly in the form of fructose.
Vitamins: Strawberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C with one cup of strawberries providing 160% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of this vitamin. They also have a high content of folates.
Minerals: Strawberries are a rich source of potassium with one cup serving contributing about 170% of the RDA. They also provide 2% of the RDA for calcium and iron.
For more information on strawberries, click here.