How to use diet to combat age-related bodily changes that can affect your health
The human body is a marvel. How the body transforms over the course of an individual’s life is one of its more remarkable qualities, and those changes never cease, even as individuals near retirement age. The changes associated with aging include physical transformations but also more subtle shifts the naked eye cannot see. For example, metabolism slows as individuals grow older, and aging also can lead to a decrease in bone density and muscle mass. These changes affect how men and women at or nearing retirement age should approach their diets in recognition of the various ways their nutritional needs change at this point in their lives. Any modifications to a diet should first be discussed with a physician, but the following are some ways aging adults can use diet to combat agerelated changes to their bodies.
► PRIORITIZE PROTEIN
The authors of a 2010 study published in the journal Current Opinion in Nutrition and Metabolic Care recommended that older adults consume between 25 and 30 grams
of protein with each meal. The researchers behind the study concluded that such consumption could limit inactivity-mediated losses of muscle mass and function.
► OVERCOME REDUCED PRODUCTION OF VITAMIN D
WebMD notes that people over 65 typically experience a decrease in natural production of vitamin D. Vitamin D is not naturally found in many foods, so aging men and women may need to rely on supplementation to ensure their bodies get enough of it. Vitamin D helps with antiinflammation, immune system support and muscle function, among other benefits. So it’s vital that aging men and women find ways to get sufficient vitamin D.
► CONSUME AMPLE DIETARY FIBER
The National Resource Center on Nutrition & Aging notes that fiber plays an important role in the health of older adults. Fiber has been linked with heart health, healthy digestion, feeling full, and preventing constipation, which the online medical resource Healthline notes is a common health problem among the elderly.
Though the NRCNA notes that older adults need slightly less fiber than their younger counterparts, it’s still a vital component of a nutritious diet. The feeling of fullness that fiber consumption can provide also is significant, as it can ensure adults who aren’t burning as many calories as they used to aren’t overeating in order to feel satisfied. That can make it easier for such adults to maintain a healthy weight.
► MONITOR INTAKE OF VITAMIN B12
The NRCNA notes that vitamin B12 is involved in a host of important functions in the body, including nerve function and the formation of red blood cells. Vitamin B12 is most easily found in animal products, which many aging men and women must largely avoid due to other health concerns. In such instances, men and women can discuss supplementation with their physicians as well as alternative food sources of B12, such as fortified cereals, salmon and other items. Bodily changes related to aging increase the likelihood that men and women will need to alter their diets in order to maintain their overall health.
DOs and DO NOTs of healthy weight loss
Maintaining a healthy weight promotes long-term health. Being overweight or obese are risk factors for various conditions, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The World Health Organization reports that the worldwide obesity rate has tripled since 1975. In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight. Of these, more than 650 million were obese. Health issues related to obesity are largely preventable. Losing weight in a healthy manner is essential for safe and lasting results. Individuals aspiring to lose weight can follow these guidelines on what to do and what not to do.
DO add lean protein sources to your diet. Healthline indicates the body burns calories when digesting and metabolizing protein, so a high-protein diet can help to shed up to 80 to 100
calories per day. Protein also helps you to feel full, reducing the propensity to overeat.
DO NOT get hung up on numbers early on. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that even modest weight loss of 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight is bound to produce health benefits, such as improvements in blood sugar levels, cholesterol and blood pressure. Start small and gradually build up.
DO eat at least four servings of vegetables and three servings of fruits daily. Produce contains an abundance of vital nutrients and is often fiber-rich and low in calories, which helps you to feel full.
DO NOT overlook the impact of beverages on weight loss. The calories in sugary beverages, including
some all-natural fruit juices, can add up quickly. Stick to water, tea or other unsweetened beverages to help with weight loss.
DO get moving more. The Mayo Clinic notes that while it is possible to lose weight without exercise, getting moving can help burn off the excess calories you can’t cut through diet alone. Exercise boosts metabolism and benefits mood and strengthens muscles and the cardiovascular system as well.
DO NOT go shopping while hungry. If you do, you may make impulse buys that compromise healthy eating plans.
DO speak with a doctor if you are vetting diet and exercise plans. A healthcare professional can assist you by indicating if a particular diet or fitness routine is acceptable for your
age, goals and current health status.
DO NOT forget to track eating. Most healthy diets involve some sort of calorie-counting, whether they actually require you to document your intake or use a formula to attribute ‘points’ or another measure related to what you eat. Writing or tracking the foods and beverages you consume will provide the most honest assessment of habits that could affect weight loss.
DO include foods you enjoy. Completely restricting access to occasional treats may cause you to resent healthy eating, which can derail weight loss goals. The principle of moderation can apply to healthy weight loss as long as you account for the more calorie-dense foods.
Losing weight in a healthy manner is achievable when you seek guidance and follow some time-tested techniques.
MITCHELL — “New year, new me.”
It’s a saying that people around the world have echoed in different forms as they’ve watched the clock strike midnight to New Year’s Day. Most make resolutions to improve themselves over the course of the next 12 months, with common goals like losing weight, eating healthy or to stop watching as much TV.
According to Roswitha Konz, clinical director at Dakota Counseling in Mitchell, staying on top of your mental health is one of the most important parts of kicking the new year off right, noting a few tips and tricks to stay mentally fit so you can accomplish all your resolutions this year.
“You know, people make those New Year’s resolutions and 99.9% of them are no longer valid as of January 5,” she said with a laugh. “The one thing that people need to do is get rid of the word ‘should.’”
Getting rid of the word ‘SHOULD’
— A guide to starting the new year off by setting healthy goals —
Konz explained that the word “should” fills most with feelings of resentment, hindering the accomplishment of goals and tasks before they’ve even begun.
“You always hear people say, ‘Oh, I should really call my mom’ or ‘I should really do this’ and ‘I should do that,’ and that word is just loaded with guilt and discomfort and false obligations,” Konz said. “Instead of saying ‘should,’ people need to make a decision: either do it — because you want to and you choose to — or make the decision not to do it. And then own that decision. That ‘should’ is so unhealthy and it just grows like cancer over time. (Most) people will feel much more empowered if they just eliminate it altogether.”
According to Konz, some may struggle with just a small bout of the “winter blues,” also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), to which she prescribes a simple stroll outside, Vitamin D supplements, or basking in the sunshine for a bit.
“(It’s) very important to get light in the winter months,” Konz explained. “You can go outside in the sunshine and soak up some of that sun, because that’s a real thing — people get depressed because they don’t have enough light and vitamin D.”
However, Konz recognized that others struggle throughout the year and not just when winter hits, noting that nearly 1 in 10 Americans are believed to have a diagnosable anxiety disorder.
“The last two to three years have increased anxiety (rates) tremendously. According to the latest National
Institute of Health numbers, over 15% of the American population has a diagnosable anxiety disorder,” Konz said. “That means that their symptoms aren’t just run-of-the-mill worries; it means their symptoms, if they came in to see me or any other health professional, would meet the diagnostic criteria for an anxiety disorder diagnosis. 15% — that’s a lot.”
To combat anxiety, however, Konz noted that allowing time for peace as a daily habit helps to increase productivity and decrease the amount of stressors in day-to-day activities.
You can go outside in the sunshine and soak up some of that sun, because that’s a real thing — people get depressed because they don’t have enough light and vitamin D.
ROSWITHA KONZ, clinical director at Dakota Counseling
“People can use prayer, if that’s something they do anyways,” Konz said. “Or they can use any kind of mindfulness techniques. Mindfulness is just focusing on what is happening here and now, quieting the mind by focusing on the details of your surroundings.”
Part of taking care of your mental health means making sure your body is physically healthy, too, including creating a sleeping environment that is conducive to getting a good night’s rest and going to the doctor when sick.
Konz explained that using other senses, like the sense of smell, might help to invoke positive emotions before performing difficult or intimidating tasks. As part of her nighttime routine, she sprays her bedroom with what she described as a “relaxing spray” that she found while at a spa with her daughter — a positive experience tied to an inviting smell.
“Making your sleeping environment as inviting as possible is incredibly important,” Konz said, explaining that some use white noise while others might try other routines. “For instance, people that have trouble falling asleep shouldn’t use screens for an hour before trying to go to bed. Things like that have a greater impact than most people realize.”
Ultimately, Konz explained that accomplishing goals and keeping mentally fit is up to the individual.
“If the only goal is ‘I should’ – there’s that word again – like, ‘everybody tells me I need to get more exercise, so I should join the gym and be there for five
hours a week and eat healthy and what ever’ and the minute that you don’t, you feel bad, you feel guilty and say, ‘Oh, I’m a loser’ and put yourself down – that is not healthy,” Konz said. “So people need to examine the reasons behind those New Year’s resolutions. If they
have a specific goal, something that’s on their bucket list, then by all means, put things in place so that you are able to reach that goal. But, if it’s a goal that starts with ‘I need’ or ‘I should,’ people need to evaluate the motivation behind these goals.”
What to know about CBD oil
Signs advertising CBD oil have cropped up in various businesses, from pharmacies to mall kiosks, over the last several years. CBD oil manufacturers make various claims on product packaging, but consumers may not know if such claims are trustworthy or best taken with a grain of salt. A better understanding of CBD oil can help consumers curious about this enigmatic product.
WHAT IS CBD?
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is an active ingredient found in the cannabis plant, which is also known as hemp. How much tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive component, will determine how it affects people.
Companies extract CBD from the cannabis plant and dilute it with a carrier oil, such as hemp seed oil or coconut oil, according to Healthline. It may be used in oil form, as a pill, in cream, or edibles like gummies.
Researchers continue to explore the uses of CBD to treat a variety of conditions. CBD produces effects in the body by interacting with cannabinoid receptors, which are part of the endocannabinoid system. CB1 receptors are present throughout the body, but most notably in the brain. They affect mood, thinking, appetite, pain, and movement. CB2 receptors are more common in the immune system, affecting pain
and inflammation, indicates Medical News Today. Therefore, CBD has been recommended for use in treating pain, inflammation from arthritis, migraines, sleep disorders, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, seizure disorders, anxiety, depression, and other conditions. Other studies have suggested CBD usage could provide relief from withdrawal symptoms when quitting smoking or getting off opioids. While there are some indications CBD will improve these conditions, currently the U.S. Food and Drug Administration only approves the prescription use of Epidolex, a purified CBD oil, for treating epilepsy.
SIDE EFFECTS OF CBD USE
While CBD generally is considered safe to use, Harvard Medical School notes that it may cause nausea, fatigue and irritability. CBD also may increase blood thinning in the body, as well as compete with other medicines in the body much in the same way grapefruit has similar effects with certain medications. Regular use of CBD in high doses could cause abnormalities in liver-related blood tests.
The legalization of both CBD and marijuana use across the United States and Canada continues to gain momentum, but use of CBD is not necessarily legal in all areas. Also, it is important to determine if CBD will show up in drug test results for those who work for employers with zero tolerance for marijuana use. According to the drug information website Drugs.com, theoretically, CBD should not show up on a drug test.
However, because most CBD products are classified as a supplement, CBD is not regulated for safety and purity. This means that contamination of the CBD with THC can and does occur, particularly if CBD is derived from marijuana and not hemp. This may show up on a drug test, depending on the cutoff level of the test and other factors.
The popularity of CBD continues to grow. Individuals considering the use of CBD to treat a health issue are urged to speak with a medical professional prior to using it.
Set your sights on glaucoma
Eyesight often isn’t fully appreciated until it begins to diminish. Starting in one’s thirties, if not earlier, a person’s vision may start to be less sharp. Items at a distance or up close may be more difficult to discern, and if prescription glasses or contacts are worn, that prescription may need to be adjusted more regularly. However, there are some eye conditions that are not entirely a result of aging. Glaucoma is one of them.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, glaucoma is a chronic, progressive eye disease that occurs when the optic nerve is damaged. Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness and usually occurs when an abnormality in the eye’s drainage system causes the aqueous humor fluid in the eye to build up, sometimes leading to excessive pressure that impacts the optic nerve. The optic nerve connects the retina with the brain, sending vision signals. Damage to the nerve
can cause loss of eyesight. While pressure is largely to blame for glaucoma, glaucoma can occur even if eye pressure is normal.
Glaucoma is often a silent condition. The Mayo Clinic advises that many forms of glaucoma have no warning signs. With effects so gradual, no changes in vision may be noticed until the condition is in its later stages.
This underscores the importance of getting regular eye examinations that will include measurements of the pressure in both eyes, says the Glaucoma Research Foundation. Glaucoma caught early can be slowed down or even prevented before it becomes severe. Lifelong treatment and monitoring will be needed after diagnosis.
There are different types of glaucoma. The most common is open-angle glaucoma, which occurs after the clogged fluid does not drain properly. Angleclosure glaucoma, also called closed-angle glaucoma,
happens when the iris is very close to the drainage angle in the eye and the iris blocks the drainage angle. This results in an acute glaucoma attack. Some people have normal tension glaucoma, in which eye pressure is in normal range but there are signs of glaucoma. These individuals’ optic nerves may be more sensitive to pressure than others’ and will have to be monitored. Certain people are at a greater risk for developing glaucoma than others. Individuals over 40; those with a family history of glaucoma; people of African, Hispanic or Asian heritage; people with high eye pressure; those who have had an eye injury; and individuals who use long-term steroid medications are at increased risk. Other factors also affect glaucoma risk.
Glaucoma should be discussed at routine eye wellness visits to prevent lasting vision damage.
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