Dr Tej K Munshi
Ageing can be hard on the body and the mind, and we can picture what we don’t want to happen. It is more possible to live those years with vitality and joy than it has ever been. One has to discover how to add years to one’s life — and life to one’s years.
Mobility: Research shows that mobility or dancing in general may reduce symptoms of depression, improve fitness, lower cholesterol, boost self-esteem, strengthen balance, and keep the brain healthy as it ages.
Protect our body meter: Like the rest of our body, our heart changes as we get older. Its valves and arteries thicken and may become stiffer, and heart muscle cells may degenerate slightly. These changes can cause the heart to work harder. Studies suggest that people who adhere to a heart healthy life style can lower their risk of cardiovascular disease by 80 percent, whatever their age or family history.
Kick bad habits: One of the most important steps one can take for better health, including heart health, is not to smoke, and to quit if you do. Nicotine damages heart and artery walls, and quitting – even later in life – can help reduce our risk to cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke. Likewise, excessive alcohol use can increase the odds of high blood pressure, heart failure, and stroke; so keep your consumption moderate if you drink.
Stay active throughout life: Extra pounds can stress the heart. Maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise. To stay active throughout life, physical activity can prevent weight gain and also help protect against cardiovascular disease. Older men who exercised regularly had a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease, as per the publication ‘BMJ Heart’. Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise or brisk walk most days of the week, is recommended. Nearly all exercise is good for one’s mental health, but walking seems to have a tension-relieving superpower. Walking out is an amazing health booster. To experience the calm-inducing benefits of walking, one can use the tips from the researcher Heisz: start with 10-minute walks. Studies have found that just 10 minutes of walking lowers anxiety and depression and increases focus and creativity. Making walking a regular habit gets the boost in mood due to the flow of neuro-chemicals to the brain. Walking just about anywhere has its health perks, including feeling of awe at reducing stress over time. Connecting with nature can help us bounce back from stress and recover from fatigue we feel so often. One can focus attention like seeing beauty in a landscape or the sky, hearing birdsong, smell natural fragrances in a beneficial way. Even short walks, even in winter and even seeing a few trees or a canal or other parts of nature can have a real positive impact. Research has found that a mindful nature walk can help improve sleep — and we all feel better when we are well rested.
Eat for one’s heart: As an anti-inflammatory component against the cardiovascular disease, one can do well to follow a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and cold-water fish and low in refined carbohydrates, fast food, junk food, and processed foods.
Address strain: Chronic stress – long term worries about health, money, or relationship, for example, can wreak havoc on one’s heart. Over time, it can lead to high blood pressure and, in turn, cardiovascular diseases. Being under stress can also contribute to unhealthy eating patterns, smoking, overuse of alcohol, and other habits that can harm the heart. One has to find a relaxation technique, you can stick with, such as breath work, meditation, or yoga, and practice it regularly to help keep a lid on tension.
Bolstering overall health: There are millions of people who regularly take vitamins, minerals, and other supplements for each reason. People take supplements to guard against chronic inflammation which is linked to a greater risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and some other health issues. Research has found that fish oil can tamp down inflammation and ease the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Calcium: Why it’s used. Calcium helps strengthen bones, and having low levels may raise the risk of bone loss and fractures. Calcium is indeed key to bone health, and supplementations could help reduce bone loss and risk of fractures in older adults. But research suggests that high levels may increase the risk of heart disease. It’s better to get Calcium from leafy greens, sardines and dairy, says Robert Saper, HOD at Cleveland in Ohio.
Strengthening immunity: Zinc: why it’s used ? This mineral can help the immune system fight off pathogens and getting too little is linked to an increased risk of infectious diseases. In people who are zinc-deficient, supplementing may help prevent illness. In a small study, older adults who took (just) 10 mg of Zinc daily had improved immune responses after 7 weeks. But people who eat a balanced diet, probably do not bother.
Magnesium: The mineral Magnesium may help reduce stress and relax the body before bed rest. Magnesium supplements can be taken as pills or as a powder added to drinks. Some studies link Mg with better sleep quality.
What else to try: Many of the habits that improve overall health also benefit the immune system. These include eating lot of fruits and vegetable, getting plenty of exercise and managing one’s stress. But it is especially important to get enough sleep. Sleep is critical to proper immune function and sleep loss is linked to immunodeficiency. Those who practice good sleep habits need no other medications for inducing good sleep.
Improving memory: Years of evidence have shown that in low doses, natural caffeine, herbs such as Ginko biloba, and amino acids such as L-theanine, can improve mental performance to great extent.
Fish oil: Research links higher omega-3 levels in fish oil supplements to better brain health and cognition.
Antioxidants : An antioxidant-rich diet with plenty of produce like berries, squash, carrots, and cruciferous vegetables – may promote brain health. One has to make sure that our diet is rich in anti-inflammatory foods such as, fruits, vegetables and fatty fish, all of which promote brain health and function over time. The Mediterranean diet is the answer to our overall organ health. Stress-reduction techniques, such as meditation, can also help promote better cognition. And staying engaged and learning new things as we age can keep memory sharp.
Multivitamins: People who are on restrictive diets can consider a regimen of multivitamins prescribed by a medic. Vitamin D obtained through sunlight and certain foods, like milk and salmon, promotes bone strength and immunity. Vitamin C, an antioxidant supports immune system function. Especially the smokers or people exposed to second hand smoke. B-Vitamins, particularly (B: 1,2,3,5,6,7,9 & 12) help our body create energy from food and form red blood cells. They are mainly in fish, meat, eggs, dairy, leafy greens, and beans. People with disorder like arthritis or alcoholism, might need extra B vitamins. Another antioxidant, vitamin E helps the immune system fight off certain illnesses and infections. It is in vegetable oils, nuts and green vegetables.
Summer super foods: Snap peas are a source of two blood-building nutrients: iron which helps with red-blood cell production, and vitamin K useful for blood clotting. They also contain vitamin C and plenty of protein and fibre.
Tips to Live Longer and Healthier
Dr Tej K Munshi