Reprinted from Department of Veteran´s Affairs Sunshine Healthcare Network
Volume 13, No. 2 Winter 2009

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7 Steps To Aging WELL
All of us want to "stay young" as we grow older. These 7 steps can help you live better and longer.

1. Control Your Blood Pressure
You can have high blood pressure (BP) — also called hypertension — and still feel fine. That's because high blood pressure does not cause symptoms that you can see or feel. But it is a major health problem. If not treated, it can lead to stroke, heart disease, eye problems, and kidney failure.

What You Can Do:

• Exercise every day. Moderate exercise can lower blood pressure. Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise plan.

• Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods.

• Cut down on salt and sodium. A low-salt diet might help lower your blood pressure.

• Follow your doctor's orders. If lifestyle changes alone do not control your BP, your doctor may prescribe blood pressure pills.

2. Control Your Cholesterol: CHOLESTEROL is a waxy, fat-like substance present in cell walls or membranes everywhere in the body. You need some cholesterol, but too much can build up in your arteries where it can cause heart attacks and stroke. Cholesterol travels through the blood in two "packages": High-density lipoproteins (HDL) is the "good" cholesterol. It carries cholesterol in the blood from other parts of the body to the liver, which removes it. HDL keeps cholesterol from building up in the walls of the arteries. Low density Well lipoproteins (LDL), the "bad" cholesterol, leads to a buildup of cholesterol in the walls of your arteries. The higher the LDL level in your blood, the greater your chances of developing coronary heart disease.

What You Can Do:

• Reduce your LDL bad cholesterol and raise your HDL good cholesterol through diet and exercise. If that fails, you may need drugs.

3. Control Your Weight: Research shows that extra weight puts you at higher risk for many health risks as you age: type 2 diabetes (high blood sugar), high blood presure, heart disease and stroke, some types of cancer, sleep apnea (when breathing stops for short periods during sleep), osteoarthritis (wearing away of the joints), and many other problems.

What You Can Do:

• Losing as little as 5 to 15 percent of your body weight can do much to improve your health. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, losing 5 percent of your body weight means losing 10 pounds. Losing 15 percent means losing 30 pounds. A safe rate of weight loss is 1/2 to 2 pounds per week.

4. Exercise: Why? Physical activity burns calories. When you burn more calories than you eat each day, you will take off pounds. As we age, most of us lose from 20 to 40 percent of muscle mass. The quality of muscle tissue in older adults is also decreased. Strength exercises can partly restore muscles and strength, often very quickly.

What You Can Do:

• Talk to your doctor about how much exercise is right for you. A good goal for many people is to work up to exercising four to six times a week for 30 to 60 minutes at a time.

5. Stop Smoking: Tobacco use remains the single most preventable cause of death in the United States. Cigarette smoking accounts for nearly one-third of all cancer deaths in this country each year. Smoking also increases the risk of other health problems, such as chronic lung disease and heart disease.

What You Can Do:

• All health care professionals agree that quitting smoking is the best gift you can give yourself and your loved ones.

6. Don't Drink Too Much: The risks of alcohol misuse are serious — in many cases, life threatening. Heavy drinking can increase the risk for certain cancers, especially those of the liver, esophagus, throat, and larynx (voice box) and cause liver cirrhosis, immune system problems, and brain damage. Drinking also increases the risk of death from car crashes.

What You Can Do:

• Moderate alcohol use — up to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women and older people — is not harmful for most adults. (A standard drink is one 12-ounce bottle or can of either beer or wine cooler, one 5- ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.)

• Don't drink more than this, and talk to your provider about what's best for you.

7. Follow Preventive Measures Proven to Help Taking responsibility for your own health as you age means being an active partner with your health care providers.

1. What You Can Do:

• Find and stay with a "medical home." Many families are see a lot of health care providers who have no history of them or their family members. Find a "medical home" physician or medical practice and stay with it over time.

• Get vaccinated. Ignoring flu and other shots can be hazardous to your health as you age.

• Save your skin. With age come sunlight-related effects, from wrinkles and dermatitis to basal cell carcinomas and melanoma cancers. Protect your skin, and see your provider if you notice any changes in your skin.

• Take your medicine. It can only work when taken as prescribed.

• Educate yourself. Being proactive about your health as you age means learning about how you can stay healthy. One of the best ways to do this is to talk to your providers, and use web sites such as www.myhealth.va.gov, www.medlineplus.gov and www. nihseniorhealth.gov for the most trusted and latest health care information available. You can also ask your VA Librarians for help.

—Adapted from the article in MedlinePlus: The Magazine, Winter 2007
(http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/magazine/issues/winter07/toc.html).


Sunshine Lifestyles


We can all make small changes in lifestyle that can give huge benefits toward good health, prevention of injury or illness, and quality of life.
This page will highlight some things that each of us can do to help ourselves.


Don't Let Stress Stand in the Way of Success


Stress is a fact of life. How you handle it, though, is up to you. Here are a few tips for keeping stress under control in wild times:

• Focus on the "now." Worries about the past or the future can chip away at doing anything in the present time. When you feel yourself getting anxious, focus on what you can do right now, and do it.

• Identify your fears. Sort out your feeling so you know just what you're worried about. Beating a vague dread is tough, but once you've got a real target, you'll be able to find ways to deal with your fear head-on.

• Look for positive energy. Don't hang out with people whose anger or upset spills over onto you—find friends who support you and offer encouragement. Watch hopeful or funny movies, listen to upbeat music. The more positive forces are in your life, the better you'll be able to keep stress at bay.


Pay Attention to your Feet


The next time you shop for shoes, remember these guidelines from the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center web site:

Your feet may get wider with age. Measure your feet before buying shoes.

Soft, flexible uppers will better match the shape of your foot.

Leather shoes generally irritate your skin less.

Soles should provide good traction.

Thick soles lessen pressure on hard surfaces such as concrete and wood flooring.

Low-heeled shoes are more comfortable and offer less risk of injury and pain than high heels.


What You Can Do To Stop The Flu


To lower your chances of getting or spreading the flu:

• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw it away after using it.

• If you don't have a tissue, cough into the crook of your elbow. This keeps your hands more germ-free.

• Wash your hands often.

• Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth.


Five Foods that you should eat each day

Proper nutrition can cost dearly. However, it can not be called impossible. Consider this list a little cheat sheet of inexpensive products is very important for optimal health.

Greens (lettuce)
Health experts call it one of the food wonders of nature. Such greens as Swiss chard and kale are high in nutrients like folic acid and vitamins A and C, which may reduce the risk of cancer. Just one cup of green in day, may also prevent diabetes and high blood pressure.

Onion
Research shows that consumption of onions on a regular basis may reduce the symptoms of asthma and risk of gastric cancer. Add onions to soups and stir-frying, and remember - the stronger the onion, the more health benefits.

Nuts
Many nutritionists recommend as almonds, cashews and walnuts because of the high content of fiber. Fiber slows down your digestive process, the sensation of hunger, and thus there is no need for "snack" between meals.

Whole grains
Refined foods like white rice and pasta, lose 90% of its nutritional value in processing. Choosing to eat brown rice, whole wheat, whole oats you reduce fat deposition in the lower abdomen , thereby keeping your figure.

Yoghurt
Making yogurt permanent part of your daily diet , you are improving your digestion, provided that the yogurt "real". Make sure, after reading the label that yogurt has active cultures with healthy probiotics and vitamin D effective means to prevent osteoporosis.


Few Fat Burning Foods!

Healthy eating habits prolong life expectancy. For healthy eating...try including fat burning foods such as spinach, melons and pepper in your regular diet. This article suggests a few fat burning foods the reader can include in his/her diet.

Obesity is one of the major health problems that is seen among young children, adolescents and the adults. The only ways to treat obesity is by cutting down on fat and high calorie foods and regular exercise. Exercise alone would not be enough to reduce weight and burn fat; you would have to follow a strict regime of low calorie food. Wondering what fat burning food means? There are certain kinds of food that have properties that help you melt body fat but at the same time add zip to your system. The fat burning foods have an ability to suppress one’s appetite. These foods help the body to function efficiently and reduce the urge forjunk food. lf you are really planning for a weight loss program, make sure to include a few fat burning foods. Fat burning foods are also know as negative calorie foods.

A Few Fat Burning Foods

The fat burning foods mentioned here are clinically tested and proven to promote weight loss in an individual who consumes them on a regular basis. Here are a few foods that are strongly recommended as fat burning foods.

Start your day with a cup of strong coffee. Coffee or caffeine has its own potential dangers so limit it to a cup or two in a day. Studies reveal coffee helps speed up metabolism and is therefore known as a metabolic enhancer.

For breakfast, try having a bowl of fruits such as apples, figs, grapefruit and berries such as strawberry, mulberry and raspberry. To sweeten the fruit plate add few slices of kiwi. Grapefruit is rich in galacturonic acid that dissolves fat and fights cholesterol. The fructose sugar in berries is a natural sweetener that satiates the urge to have sweet food. Apples not only help in elevating the blood sugar, but are also rich source of fiber.

Dishes made from buckwheat and barley would make a nutritious and filling lunch. For a side dish have a vegetable salad made of beans, broccoli, cottage cheese or tofu, cabbage and carrots. Broccoli is rich in vitamin C and calcium, while beans are a good source of plant fiber. Cottage cheese is low in fat and contains calcium and vitamin B.

How about baked or BBQ corn for an evening snack? lf you like to eat it raw, that is the best way to consume it. This grain is a source of minerals such as iron, zinc and potassium. It will reduce your appetite and also burn unhealthy pounds.

Now it's dinnertime! A salad bowl of cooked or baked chicken, pasta, chopped onions and lettuce sprinkled with pepper, herbs and salt, would be a wholesome and healthy dinner. This meal not only helps in burning fat but also is filling.

Before going to bed, instead of coffee, a cup of hot/cold oat porridge would do wonders to your sleep.

The other fat burning foods includes fish, turkey, potatoes, rice and vegetable soups. Wondering how potatoes fall into this category? Have baked or steamed potatoes once in a while without butter or any kind of topping. Potatoes are rich in vitamins and minerals. Also try including sweet potatoes in your diet. Tomatoes are high in potassium and low in sodium and fat. Instead of white bread, have whole grain bread. It is the natural source of fiber and complex carbohydrates.


Green Tea - 25 Reasons!

Green tea has increasingly become a very popular drink worldwide because of its immensely powerful health C benefits. It is amazing what green tea can do for your health.

If you're not drinking 3 to 4 cups (cup = 8 fl ozs, so thats about a quart total) of green tea aday, you're definitely NOT doing your health a big favor.

Sir Jason Winter in his bio said he had a tomor on the side of his head about half that of a American football in size. While in China, he drank three to four quarts (32 oz EACH or a gallon 128 oz) of green tea each day, and within three weeks the tomor was GONE.

Here Are The 25 Reasons Why

You Should Start Drinking Green Tea Right Now:

1. Green Tea and Cancer
Green tea helps reduce the risk of cancer. The antioxidant in green tea is 100 times more effective than vitamin C and 25 times better than vitamin E. This helps your body at protecting cells from damage believed to be linked to cancer.

2. Green Tea and Heart Disease
Green tea helps prevent heart disease and stroke by lowering the level of cholesterol. Even after the heart attack, it prevents cell deaths and speeds up the recovery of heart cells.

3. Green Tea and Anti-Aging
Green tea contains antioxidant known as polyphenols which fight against free radicals. What this means it helps you fight against aging and promotes longevity.

4. Green Tea and Weight Loss
Green tea helps with your body weight loss. Green tea burns fat and boosts your metabolism rate naturally. It can help you burn up to 70 calories in just one day. That translates to 7 pounds in one year.

5. Green Tea and Skin
Antioxidant in green tea protects the skin from the harmful effects of free radicals, which cause wrinkling and skin aging. Green tea also helps fight against skin cancer.

6. Green Tea and Arthritis
Green tea can help prevent and reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. Green tea has benefit for your health as it protects the cartilage by blocking the enzyme that destroys cartilage.

7. Green Tea and Bones
The very key to this is high fluoride content found in green tea. It helps keep your bones strong. If you drink green tea every day, this will help you preserve your bone density.

8. Green Tea and Cholesterol
Green tea can help lower cholesterol level. lt also improves the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol, by reducing bad cholesterol level.

9. Green Tea and Obesity
Green tea prevents obesity by stopping the movement of glucose in fat cells. If you are on a healthy diet, exercise regularly and drink green tea, it is unlikely you'll be obese.

10. Green Tea and Diabetes
Green tea improves lipid and glucose metabolisms, prevents sharp increases in blood sugar level, and balances your metabolism rate.

11. Green Tea and Alzheimers
Green tea helps boost your memory. And although there‘s no cure for AIzheimer's, it helps slow the process of reduced acetylcholine in the brain, which leads to Alzhelmer's.

12. Green Tea and Parkinson's
Antioxidants in green tea helps prevent against cell damage in the brain, which could cause Parkinson's. People drinking green tea also are less likely to progress with Parkinson's.

13. Green Tea and Liver Disease
Green tea helps prevent transplant failure in people with liver failure. Researches showed that green tea destroys harmful free radicals in fatty livers.

14. Green Tea and High Blood Pressure
Green tea helps prevent high blood pressure. Drinking green tea helps keep your blood pressure down by repressing angiotensin, which leads to high blood pressure.

15. Green Tea and Food Poisoning
Catechin found in green tea can kill bacteria which causes food poisoning and kills the toxins produced by those bacteria.

16. Green Tea and Blood Sugar
Blood sugar tends to increase with age, but polyphenols and polysaccharides in green tea help lower your blood sugar level.

17. Green Tea and Immunity
Polyphenols and flavenoids found in green tea help boost your immune system, making your health stronger in fighting against infections.

18. Green Tea and Cold and Flu
Green tea prevents you from getting a cold or flu. Vitamin C in green tea helps you treat the flu and the common cold.

19. Green Tea and Asthma
Theophylline in green tea relaxes the muscles which support the bronchial tubes, reducing the severity of asthma.

20. Green Tea and Ear Infection
Green tea helps with ear infection problem. For natural ear cleaning, soak a cotton ball in green tea and clean the infected ear.

21. Green Tea and Herpes
Green tea increases the effectiveness of topical interferon treatment of herpes. First green tea compress is applied, and then let the skin dry before the interferon treatment.

22. Green Tea and Tooth Decay
Green tea destroys bacteria and viruses that cause many dental diseases. lt also slows the growth of bacteria which leads to bad breath.

23. Green Tea and Stress
L-theanine, which is a kind of amino acids in green tea, can help relieve stress and anxiety.

24. Green Tea and Allergies
EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) found in green tea relieves allergies. So, if you have allergies, you should really consider drinking green tea.

25. Green Tea and HIV
Scientists in Japan have found that EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) in green tea can stop HIV from binding to healthy immune cells.






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