Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Fortunately, it is largely preventable and there are many things people can do to reduce their risk, such as being more active. Research shows that physical activity can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, even for those at high genetic risk.
Physical activity can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, but only about 22 percent of adults meet the federal Physical Activity Guidelines. NHLBI encourages Americans to spend at least 2 1/2 hours per week of physical activity that gets your heart beating faster and leaves you a little breathless. There are flexible ways to break it into amounts of daily activity, and even small amounts add up and can have lasting heart health benefits.
Just like an engine makes a car go, your heart keeps your body running. As you grow older, some changes in the heart and blood vessels are normal, but others are caused by disease. Choices you might make every day can contribute to heart disease.
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, making healthy lifestyle changes might help you prevent or delay heart disease.
Take the following steps to keep your heart healthy:
Be more physically active. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most or all days of the week. Every day is best. It doesn’t have to be done all at once —10-minute periods will do. Start by doing activities you enjoy —brisk walking, dancing, swimming, bicycling, or playing basketball or tennis.
If you smoke, quit. It’s never too late to get some benefit from quitting smoking.
Follow a heart healthy diet. The single most important step you can take for heart health starts with what you put on your plate. Choose low-fat foods and those that are low in salt. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and foods high in fiber. Following a healthy eating plan and being physically active might help you.
Keep a healthy weight. Your healthcare provider can check your weight and height to learn your BMI (body mass index). A BMI of 25 or higher means you are at risk for heart disease, as well as diabetes and other health conditions. Following a healthy eating plan and being physically active might help you.
The RAISE Family Caregivers Act would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop and sustain a national strategy to recognize and support family caregivers in the United States. This bipartisan legislation has been endorsed by over 60 aging and disability organizations, including the AARP, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the Arc.
Across America, 40 million family caregivers help parents, spouses, children and adults with disabilities and other loved ones to live independently. They prepare meals, handle finances, manage medications, drive to doctors’ appointments, help with bathing and dressing, perform complex medical tasks and more, all so loved ones can live at home. They spend an estimated 37 billion hours annually delaying or preventing more costly care and unnecessary hospitalizations.
The Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act (S. 1028/H.R. 3759) would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop, maintain and update a strategy to recognize and support family caregivers. The bill would bring representatives from the private and public sectors, such as family caregivers; older adults and persons with disabilities; veterans; providers of health care and long-term services and supports (LTSS); employers; state and local officials; and others together to advise and make recommendations regarding this new strategy.
“Family caregivers are the backbone of our care system in America. We need to make it easier for them to coordinate care for their loved ones, get information and resources, and take a break so they can rest and recharge,” said Nancy A. LeaMond, AARP’s chief advocacy and engagement officer.
The goals of the strategy include identifying actions that government, communities, health providers, employers and others can take to support family caregivers, including:
Promoting greater adoption of person-centered care and family-centered care in health settings and long-term care settings
Training for family caregivers
Respite options for family caregivers
Ways to increase financial security for family caregivers
Workplace policies to help family caregivers keep working
Collecting and sharing of information about innovative family caregiving models
Assessing federal programs around family caregiving
Addressing disparities and meeting the needs of the diverse caregiving population
For the roughly 75 million Americans who make up the baby boom generation, a healthy diet and lifestyle are the best weapons against age-related diseases.
“It’s vital at any age to adopt good habits to live a strong, fit and healthy life,” says Dr. Mike Roussell, a nationally recognized nutrition consultant and nutrition adviser to Men’s Health and Shape. “Fueling your life with tasty and nutrient-rich foods while making sure to be active every single day are essential components to keeping your body young and vibrant.”
Roussell’s recommendation? Nuts. In particular, pistachios. “Pistachios are a multitasking nut with fiber, healthy fats, and three specific types of antioxidants that may help fight the onset of age-related conditions that lead to poor health in these 10 ways.”
Large population studies show that people who regularly eat nuts, such as pistachios, have a lower risk of dying from heart disease or suffering a heart attack. Pistachios provide 360-degree cardiovascular support in that they can promote improvements in cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood vessel function.
Excessive inflammation is one of the root causes of age-related conditions, such as arthritis. Pistachios contain a special form of vitamin E called gamma tocopherol, which has unique anti-inflammatory properties. Gamma tocopherol levels have also been shown to decrease as we age.
Being overweight can also contribute to a number of age-related illnesses. Studies show pistachios positively promote weight maintenance as the dietary fiber, fat and protein all work together to make us feel fuller and satiated longer, plus removing them from the shell slows down eating. Pistachios are also the lowest-fat nut.
The fiber in pistachios also can help with digestion. Research shows that the fiber in pistachios works as a prebiotic and feeds the good bacteria in our digestive tract to improve the health of our digestive system. A single serving of pistachios contains as much as 3 grams of dietary fiber.
Blood Glucose Level
Developing adult onset diabetes, or Type 2 diabetes, is a common fear for boomers. The American Diabetes Association praises the health benefits of nuts, including pistachios, calling them a diabetes superfood because they improve how the body’s cells use glucose and how insulin responds to a carbohydrate-containing meal, namely, stabilizing blood glucose levels.
Skin Health and Appearance
UV light from the sun promotes damage and accelerates the aging of our skin. Pistachios contain two carotenoid antioxidants that are concentrated in the skin and work to filter out and protect it against the damaging effects of UV light.
Pistachios contain lutein, a nutrient known to help improve eye health, especially in older individuals. Lutein has been shown to prevent and slow down macular degeneration by providing more pigment for the eye, thereby reflecting more of the sun’s light, preventing damage to the retina.
Preliminary research shows that the fatty acids and antioxidants found in pistachios can help support brain health. The antioxidants in pistachios can help ward off excessive inflammation in the brain, a major cause of accelerated cognitive decline. Another study found that eating pistachios stimulated brain waves that aid the formation of ideas and memory processing.
Nuts, including pistachios, are rich in minerals such as magnesium. One benefit of magnesium is that it may aid sleep because it assists in helping the muscles relax and quiet activity in the brain by working as an inhibitory neurotransmitter.
Pistachios have been shown to promote energy, which is why so many professional athletes consume them while training. More energy means we’ll commit to getting enough exercise.
But what is Dr. Mike’s main reason for having his clients eat pistachios? “They taste good. People are much more likely to stick to a healthy diet when the food is tasty and fun to eat.”
What’s one thing that everyone in the world is going to become? OLDER! It’s not the passage of time that makes it so hard to get older. It’s ageism, a prejudice that pits us against our future selves — and each other. Ashton Applewhite urges us to dismantle the dread and mobilize against the last socially acceptable prejudice. “Aging is not a problem to be fixed or a disease to be cured,” she says. “It is a natural, powerful, lifelong process that unites us all.”
It starts between your ears: how do you feel about your own aging? What messages have you absorbed over the years? Look at where they come from. Think about what purpose they serve. Learn about longevity. Start a consciousness-raising group. Question the mainstream narrative. Speak up when you encounter ageist behavior or attitudes. Join forces with olders and youngers to make ageism as unacceptable as any other form of prejudice — and to dismantle them all.
Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Fresh fruit is slightly higher in fiber than canned. Eat the peel whenever possible — it’s easier than peeling or eating around it.
Have fresh fruit for dessert.
Eat whole fruits instead of drinking juices. Juices don’t have fiber.
Add chopped, dried fruits to your cookies, muffins, pancakes or breads before baking. Dried fruits have a higher amount of fiber than the fresh version. For example, one cup of grapes has 1 gram of fiber, but one cup of raisins has 7 grams. However, one cup of raisins or any other dried fruit has more calories than the fresh fruit variety.
Add sliced banana, peach or other fruit to your cereal.
Grate carrots on salads.
Keep prepared carrot and celery sticks, cucumber rounds and other fresh vegetables for a quick, high-fiber snack.
Choose a side salad instead of fries with lunch.
Consider alternatives for routine meals eaten out. Choose restaurants with healthier choices such as vegetable side dishes, whole grain breads, fruits and salads. Fast food should not mean high-fat and low-fiber meals.
Try recipes that use more vegetables and fruit.
Legumes and Beans
Add kidney beans, garbanzos or other bean varieties to your salads. Each one-half cup serving is approximately 7 to 8 grams of fiber.
Substitute legumes for meat two to three times per week in chili and soups.
Experiment with international dishes, such as Indian or Middle Eastern food, that use whole grains and legumes as part of the main meal or in salads.
Grains and Cereals
Keep a jar of oat bran or wheat germ handy. Sprinkle over salad, soup, breakfast cereals and yogurt.
Use whole-wheat flour when possible in your cooking and baking.
Choose whole grain bread. Look on the label for breads with the highest amount of fiber per slice.
Choose cereals with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving.
Keep whole-wheat crackers for an easy snack.
Cook with brown rice instead of white rice. If the switch is hard to make, start by mixing them together.
Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.
Eat Right for Your Heart: https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/eating_right_for_your_heart/
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.
It’s important for your body to have plenty of fluids each day. Water helps you digest your food, absorb nutrients, and then get rid of the unused waste.
With age, some people may lose their sense of thirst. To further complicate matters, some medicines might make it even more important to have plenty of fluids. Drinking enough fluids every day also is essential if you exercise regularly. Check with your doctor, however, if you’ve been told to limit how much you drink.
Go4Life has the following tips:
Try to add liquids throughout the day.
Take sips from a glass of water, milk, or juice between bites during meals.
Have a cup of low-fat soup as an afternoon snack.
Drink a full glass of water if you need to take a pill.
Have a glass of water before you exercise or go outside to garden or walk, especially on a hot day.
Remember, water is a good way to add fluids to your daily routine without adding calories.
Drink fat-free or low-fat milk, or other drinks without added sugars.
If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so sensibly and in moderation. That means up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks for men.
Don’t stop drinking liquids if you have a urinary control problem. Talk with your doctor about treatment.