Simple Steps Toward Natural Living for Seniors

by Head Health Nutter on July 4, 2015

Here’s an article we should all be interested in for one reason or another. Whether it’s for our loved ones or for ourselves, we need to know what we need to do to be healthy in our later years. When we are, it’s easier on us, our families and our health care system. Keep reading today’s article by guest blogger, Felicity Dryer. 

As advancements in both technology and medicine continues to rise, so does the number of senior citizens in the United States. Baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, are now advancing in age and the population of older Americans is expected to double by 2030, reaching around 70 million.

Also on the rise, the number of people opting for inhome care rather than hospice, nursing home or convalescent environments. Caring for ourselves and our aging loved ones matters to everyone, and there are some simple steps for more natural living that can help our seniors live longer, happier and healthier lives.

5 Tried and True Ways to Keep Your Body Healthy as you AgeCALORIES AND ACTIVITY

According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), there is a guideline for the recommended caloric intake for people over the age of fifty:

Women
Not physically active – around 1600 calories
Somewhat physically active – around 1800 calories
Physically active lifestyle – somewhere between 2000 and 2200 calories

Men
Not physically active – around 2000 calories
Somewhat physically active – around 2200 to 2400 calories
Physically active lifestyle – somewhere between 2400 and 2800 calories

They also recommend at least two hours of physical activity per week which can be spread out in daily increments of about ten to fifteen minutes each day. As with any dietary and/or exercise regimen, always consult your doctor for beginning or changing your routine.

THE RIGHT FOODS

As we age, our dietary and nutritional needs change since seniors are at a greater risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis and a laundry list of other health risks. Remember the motto, “you are what you eat,” which is more important than ever for seniors. What we eat, is just as important as how much we are consuming, when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight and getting more nutritional rewards from our foods.

Here are some healthy tips to keep in mind and try to eat at least two or three servings of healthier alternatives (fruits and veggies) every day:

Calcium: Since elders are losing bone mass, many of them take calcium supplements, but beyond obvious choices of milk, cheese and yogurt, consider broccoli, almonds, kale and tofu.

Fruits: Non-seasonal apples and bananas are often common choices, but remember other choices are usually available year round, melons and berries, which are high in antioxidants.

Vegetables: Color is key in this category. Reach for dark, green veggies, kale, broccoli and spinach, but don’t forget about carrots, squash, zucchini and even yams.

Grains: Choose more whole grains over processed white flour, which are richer in nutrients and provide more fiber. Look for the word “whole” in the ingredients and eat six to seven grams daily.

Protein: Limit consumption of red meat, high in cholesterol and opt for more fish, poultry and pork. Other foods high in protein include beans, nuts seeds and eggs.

REGULAR SLEEPING HABITS

According to another NIA study of over 9,000 men and women aged 65 and older, over half of them reported at least one sleep complaint that would be considered chronic. Many factors can contribute to insomnia in the elderly including a decrease in serotonin or increase in medications that often accompanies aging in adults.

Some ways of combating sleep disturbances include:

  • Reducing or eliminating liquids, especially those containing sugar or caffeine, at least two hours before bedtime to prevent frequent urination during sleeping hours.
  • Sticking to a sleep schedule with consistent bed and waking times.
  • Avoid alcohol before bedtime since it interferes with deep REM sleep.
  • Eating too much before retiring for the evening, foods that are difficult to digest or will upset the digestive system.
  • Warm milk and decaffeinated herbal teas can aid with sleep.

Most adults, even seniors, require somewhere around seven to nine hours of sleep for the best health rewards. A chronic lack of sleep, especially for the elderly, can lead to depression and heart problems.

While many different types of family and ethnic factors can contribute to our health, there are many things that we can do to live a longer, happier and healthier life with more natural food choices and other beneficial habits.

About the Author

Originally born in Flagstaff, Arizona, Felicity Dryer was raised by her parents (more or less modern-day hippies) to always make her health a top priority. She moved to Los Angeles to pursue her career as a freelance health writer, and continues to help those seeking encouragement to keep moving forward to achieve their goals.

Do you have any additional tips that fit here? I would add having a social life and fun, which also guard against depression. This is something I saw in my own mother when she was living at home. Now she’s in a retirement home and thriving – mainly because she has a ton of friends!

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Eat to Improve Vision: 6 Foods that Enhance your Eyesight

by Head Health Nutter on July 2, 2015

Prevention is worth a pound of cure, they say. So today’s guest blogger, Rachelle Wilber, is here to impart smart advice in how to improve your vision through nutrition.

It is estimated that more than 25 million people’s lives are affected in some way by age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Anything that adversely affects your vision can potentially cause stress and inconvenience in almost every area of your life.

One easy, yet highly effective way to protect and enhance your vision is to include foods in your diet that contain nutrients and vitamins that are known to be beneficial to your eyes. Everyone’s minds tend to immediately focus on carrots as a food that enhances vision. Carrots are good, but there’s a lot more options to include in your diet.

Leafy Greenskidney-friendly-foods

There are times when it’s best to take your mom’s advice and refrain from following the crowd. However, there are also times when getting on board with the latest trend is a beneficial thing to do. Kale has burst on the scene and is at the top of the most trendy foods list. Go ahead and join the crowd and incorporate kale into your diet in as many ways as possible. Kale is an excellent source for lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which are revered for their role in protecting vision. Spinach, collards and other greens are also beneficial to your eye health.

Fish

Salmon is another food that can enhance your eyesight. It is a great source of Omega-3 fats and astaxanthin which is known to protect against a variety of eye diseases.

More Green things

Leave it to a site such as Grandparents.com to make it easy to remember some of the important vision enhancing foods that we need to add to our diet. This site refers to these green foods as “the 3 B’s”. This is a quick and easy way to remember to pick up some bell peppers, brussels sprouts and broccoli on your next trip to the grocery store or local Farmer’s Market. These foods provide Vitamin C which is important both to your vision and your immune system.

Citrus

Another category of foods that are beneficial to your eyes and your immune system is citrus foods such as oranges, grapefruits and lemons. Fruits are a great snack item for anyone who is trying to lose weight or simply eat healthier. Fruits can easily be incorporated in any meal of the day. Their portability makes them a fantastic brown bag lunch item.

It’s okay to be a little nutty

Pistachios, walnuts and almonds are just a few examples of the nuts that contain omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E. Nuts are another portable lunch idea and delicious snack idea. You can also include them in a lot of dessert recipes and sprinkle them on salads.

Let color guide you

Fruits and vegetables with red, yellow or orange pigment are excellent sources of vitamins A and C, both of which can enhance your eyesight. Tomatoes and strawberries, pumpkin and cantaloupe and corn and yellow bell peppers are just a few of the colorful foods that can enhance the visual appeal of your plate and decrease the risk of numerous types of eye disease.

Properly caring for your eyes by eating foods that contain vitamins and nutrients that support eye health, protecting your eyes from the bright sunlight and wearing eye protection every time you are working on projects or repairs are some good ways to protect your eyesight.

However, even after doing all of those things, you may begin to notice a change in your vision. As soon as you notice a change, you should see an eye care professional, such as the Utah eye surgeons from Davis Vision Center, who can assess, diagnose and promptly provide quality care and treatment for your eyes.

About the Author

Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on twitter: @RachelleWilber

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4 Things Your Weight Loss Plan is Probably Missing

by Head Health Nutter on June 30, 2015

Here’s a fabulous article by guest blogger, Anica. She’s spot-on with the Live Lighter philosophy in how to make losing weight easy

Losing weight is an uphill battle for most people. It’s all too common to see someone choose a popular weight loss program, then fail. If you aren’t losing weight like you feel you should be on your plan, or you are struggling to continue on the program, there may be some missing elements you aren’t aware of.

4 Things Your Weight Loss Plan is Probably Missing

Enjoyable Exercise

If you hate the exercise you are doing, you probably won’t do it as much or as often. Find an exercise you truly enjoy to increase your chances of sticking to it. For example, if you hate walking but love swimming, joining a local pool is well worth the money. If you like cycling but live in a less-than-friendly climate, joining a gym so you can cycle during inclement weather is a good option.

Proper Nutrition

If your body is not getting proper nutrition, you are always going to be hungry. A good solution to that problem is to include weight loss shakes into your plan. They will help you eliminate calories while adding vitamins and minerals that are not at required levels in your other diet food. In fact, doctors often recommend weight loss shakes to those who have a problem losing weight on a conventional diet.

Try replacing one meal a day with a shake to see how it goes. If you have a stressful job, you may want to eat a good breakfast and lunch, and drink a shake for your dinner. If you don’t have time to prepare a good breakfast, use the shake to start your day. You can also find weight loss shakes for women or for men, with the blends catered to the needs of each gender.

A Meal Plan That Suits Your Lifestyle

Experts say that the secret to losing weight is 80 percent diet and only 20 percent exercise. You need a meal plan that suits your lifestyle so you don’t end up grabbing a burger and fries when you’re short on time. Choose a plan that allows you to prepare meals in advance and refrigerate or freeze them to make daily meal planning a breeze.

Belief in Your Ability to Change

No amount of low-calorie food or exercise is going to help you if you don’t believe in yourself. Self-esteem issues associated with being overweight can actually derail your success, so work on your mind as well as your body. Use meditation and affirmations, and establish or join a support network that will help you feel good about even small victories.

Weight loss isn’t always just about calories. It’s also about you, so tailor your weight loss plan to your lifestyle for a better chance at success.

About the Author

Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.

I think the biggest tip in this list is the last one: the way you think is a huge factor in the results. The trick is to just do all you need to do and when your mind starts to wander and worry that your scale isn’t moving, to focus on the positive and how great you’re feeling these days. Don’t let the little mind gremlins take over.   

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If you’re looking to boost your health, maybe one of these three following organic superfoods may fit the bill. Keep reading for what guest blogger, Chelsea Sawyer, has discovered in the latest health information from the Land Down Under.

A steadily increasing number of people are making the very important decision of improving their health habits so they can elevate their overall well-being. One of the crucial choices they are making is switching to organic food and other products which are believed to be safer, more nutritious and beneficial to the body. Despite the much higher cost of organic products, many believe that it’s all worth it if, in the end, they’ll have more energy, become less prone to developing serious ailments, and really just feel their best.

SpirulinaFrom organically grown produce to use for everyday food preparation to those labelled as organic superfoods, Australian health experts claim that everybody only has everything to gain from them; therefore, if you can make the complete switch, that is perhaps one of the best and most effective decisions you can make as far as your physical health is concerned.

And speaking of organic superfoods to try, the experts have three that are highly recommended, and below they explain why you should include them in your daily health regimen (if you haven’t already done so). [click to continue…]

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Why Tooth Trauma Isn’t The Only Dental Risk for Athletes

by Head Health Nutter on June 25, 2015

For everyone who cares about their smile, today’s guest article by Dr. Yasir Issa D.D.S is a must read! 

We’ve all seen the cliched photos of hockey players with missing teeth and those classic movie scenes where the boxer gets his teeth knocked out. But did you know that acute dental injuries like broken or lost teeth aren’t the only thing athletes need to worry about when it comes to oral health? As it turns out, athletes actually have a much higher chance of developing various periodontal diseases than the normal individual.

6 Types of Food to Avoid for Healthier TeethStudies show that athletes, endurance athletes in particular, are more likely to develop dental problems based on one factor: saliva. Studies show that when an athlete engages in exercise or a physical activity longer than 35 minutes, they develop severe dry mouth. And therein lies the problem.

Saliva is very important for your overall oral health. It helps you digest your food and maintains your mouth’s natural environment of homeostasis. The minerals, proteins, and enzymes in your saliva also serve to fight bacteria that cause decay and disease.

So when researchers took notice that athletes commonly develop dry mouth, they started doing some digging.

What they found is startling – a significant elevation in the alkalinity of athlete’s mouths after physical exertion. It’s this increased pH that is responsible for plaque build up, cavities, decay, periodontal disease, and more. [click to continue…]

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How to Strengthen Your Core & Fight Back Pain

by Head Health Nutter on June 23, 2015

Here’s another doozy of an article by regular contributor, Adrienne from Foodie Fitness blog, about what you can do to eradicate back pain for good! 

When someone talks about strengthening his or her core, most minds go to a set of washboard abs. And, while the abs are the show-stopping piece of your core, they’re not the only piece. Your core has an effect on the way that your entire body feels, especially your back.

Back pain in young girls isolated on whiteA strong core keeps your spine supported, which means it’s less likely to ache after a long — or even a not-so-long — day. You yourself might be experiencing light back pain already, or perhaps you’ve seen others at their achiest and decided to put some preventative measures into motion.

No matter what, the following four ideas will have you saying “aah” instead of “ow” when the end of the day rolls around.

1. Slow-Moving Crunches

The crunch is one of the most well-known ways to strengthen your core; however, the wrong kind of crunch can do more harm than good. Many times, people pull their heads and necks up with their arms, rather than letting their core muscles do the lifting. This can cause added neck and — you guessed it — spinal pain, which is not so good if you’re already hurting.

To ensure you’re crunching correctly, cross your hands on your chest instead of cradling your head in your hands. Then, slowly lift and hold your core muscles while your shoulders move upward toward your knees. You don’t have to sit up all the way — a crunch that you lift slowly and hold should do the trick. Return your shoulders to the ground to complete one rep. [click to continue…]

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Have you been doing everything you’re supposed to be doing but you aren’t getting closer to your goal? You’ve hit what the fitness experts call a plateau. Keep reading today’s guest post by Brooke Chaplan for ways to get over this hurdle and make the changes you want!

After a while your workouts can start to feel a bit stale, and you may no longer be seeing the results you’ve been hoping for. When this happens, it’s time to shake things up a bit. Try tackling the issue from a variety of angles to see what brings you the best results. You’re likely to find that it’s the surprising little things that make the biggest difference in your workouts.

Power Boost What you Need to Take Your Workout to the Next Level

Better Nutrition
Changing the way you eat is perhaps one of the best things you can do to improve your workout. The foods you eat are what fuels your body and your routine. If you’re not already focused on eating primarily healthy foods, that’s a good first step. Include more fruits and vegetables in your diet, switch to whole grains and eat enough fiber to keep things moving.

If you’re already a pretty healthy eater, take a look at what foods you’re eating and when when. For example, eating a mini-meal that’s high in carbohydrates before your workout can help you get through it, while protein after the workout can help rebuild your muscles.

Better Workouts
It may be time to change up your workout. You may have luck simply changing the type of workout you do. For example, if you’ve been walking on the treadmill, switching to an elliptical or aerobics class could be enough to get things moving again. [click to continue…]

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How Cold Sores Spread & Simple Tips To Avoid It

by Head Health Nutter on June 19, 2015

Part of healthy living is prevention and so even if you don’t have the cold sore virus, it’s important to know about it and how it is spread so you can protect yourself. Today’s guest blogger, Brendon Buthello, shares with us some knowledge in this area.

Cold sores are fluid-filled blisters, that develop on your lips or around the mouth. They are caused by herpes simplex virus type-1. The virus is contagious and spreads fast.

cold-soreHow HSV-1 Cause Cold Sores?

The virus enters your body and resides in your nerve cell in a dormant state. It becomes active when the virus senses a slight change in your temperature, Ph balance, weak immune system or any triggers. Triggers can be sunburn, stress, cold, dental treatment, menstruation or any hormonal change in your body. HSV-1 then invades into the outer layer of the skin and causes fluid-filled blisters to occur.

First, you feel an itching sensation on the affected area. Eventually, it turns into painful blisters making the skin red and swollen. Check its symptoms below… [click to continue…]

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How the Brain Changes & the Psychosis of Drug Addiction

by Head Health Nutter on June 17, 2015

Since Live Lighter is a blog about natural, balanced, healthy living, addiction is a very important subject as it is the exact opposite of “moderate” and balanced. We’ve blogged about addiction before and so to add another piece to the puzzle, Brooke Chaplan is here today to talk about how addiction changes brain chemistry.

To understand an addict, you need to look beyond behaviors or the source of addiction. Substance abuse goes far below the surface, and actually causes a transformation in the brain. When an addict says they can’t quit, it’s the truth. The brain has been altered through addiction and prompts a compulsion to get more of the drug of choice in order to function.

It’s a Catch-22. More of the drug is needed to get through each day, the more abusive substance is used, and the more damage is done to the brain until it gets to the point of no return. Only professional help at an outpatient drug rehab facility can turn an addict’s life around.

How the Brain Changes and the Psychosis of Drug AddictionHow the Brain Changes through Drug Addiction

You can identify an addict when you see someone who has an intense need for the source of an addiction to the point that living revolves around that drug. A victim of addiction no longer has any control over substance abuse and will do anything to get more, regardless of the consequences. All of these behaviors are due to changes that have taken place in the brain.

It begins with how the brain registers the feeling of pleasure. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is released in the brain when positive feelings are experienced. It makes a person feel good, and that is the key to addiction. Drugs cause a surge of dopamine to be released, providing intense pleasure. Through repeated use of a drug, the brain is trained to like the drug and want more of it until it becomes a need to feel those same chemicals.

The Psychosis of Addiction

[click to continue…]

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Why Is Turmeric A Great Antioxidant

by Head Health Nutter on June 14, 2015

If you’re looking to increase your health and add another spice to your cooking arsenal, then keep reading today’s guest post by Stevan McGrath. He shares with us a whole whack of fun facts and the health benefits of this bright, tasty powder!

Commonly used in Chinese and Indian cooking and prized for its medicinal properties, turmeric is the yellow spice that gives curry its distinctive color and flavor. Used for centuries as a dye for fabrics and to give food a warm and peppery flavor, turmeric also contains powerful antioxidant properties. The same natural spice that gives mustard its bright yellow color can also improve your health.

Bright and fresh ground turmeric spice in glass bottleThe Health Benefits of Turmeric

As an anti-inflammatory, turmeric can be effective at treating mild cases of bowel disease such as Cohn’s and ulcerative colitis. While researchers are still studying how the curcumin found in the spice can help treat these conditions, most believe it is partly due to its powerful antioxidant properties. Along with being able to reduce and treat the symptoms associated with inflammatory bowel disease, studies are also showing that turmeric can be an effective and healthy solution to other health problems.

This yellow spice is also thought to be able to lower cholesterol, along with improving your cardiovascular health. Other studies are beginning to suggest that the curcumin found in turmeric can also boost brain power, along with preventing Alzheimer’s, memory-related diseases and sun damage. Its ability to prevent dangerous free radicals and proteins from attacking your cellular DNA can help you stay healthy throughout your life.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Millions of people suffer from rheumatoid arthritis that occurs when the joints become swollen and damaged due to the presence of free radicals. Adding a few teaspoons of the spice to your daily diet can help to neutralize the chemicals that are causing the damage to your joints. Researchers have found that people who use curcumin (found in turmeric) suffer less from swelling and find it easier to move around without painful stiffness. [click to continue…]

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