Healthy Aging Month: Longevity & Prevention

healthy aging month longevity prevention

In our society, more and more Americans young and old are seeking out ways to remain youthful, vibrant and healthy. Organic farmers and grocers are finding ways to meet the demands of a growing number of interested consumers, while physicians and other health professionals are educating patients on the benefits of new and innovative methods to enhance disease prevention and symptom relief.

Before you start any new diet or exercise program, you should consult with your doctor. Here are some options to consider:

I typically start by recommending a healthy diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. In my book the Power of 5, I elaborate about a Mediterranean lifestyle lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein. Personally, I have made more drastic changes in my food selection to a whole food, plant-based diet, eliminating dairy and animal products. It has become clear that sugar is a real demon in our food supply, and I recommend eliminating it as much as possible.

The second item I urge individuals to address is stress in their lives. There are two ways to go about this. First is to evaluate your life and figure out ways to avoid those things that stress you the most. The second approach is to find ways to diffuse your stress such as meditation and other relaxation practices.

The third set of recommendations are things to actively incorporate into your life:

  • Exercise
  • Improved quality and duration of sleep
  • Commitment to developing or improving interpersonal relationships

The following are a few nonprescription products that might provide some benefit in disease prevention and longevity.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin: Typically, glucosamine and chondroitin are combined as a supplement to relieve the inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, not to be confused with rheumatoid arthritis, for which there have been no reported benefits. While generally safe, they might pose a risk for those with asthma, diabetes, blood clotting disorders, or shellfish allergies.

Omega-3 Fish Oil: A combination of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is known to most Americans as Omega-3 Fish Oil. The American Heart Association (AHA) has long recommended eating fish high in Omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, tuna, herring, and sardines. For those who’d prefer it in pill form, fish oil can be found at most grocery and health food stores across the country. It has anti-inflammatory properties and might reduce the risk of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Ginger: This root can be introduced in a variety of ways, but freshly grated into food or drinks like water, tea, lemonade, smoothies, or juice is simple, fast and convenient. Known for its stomach-settling properties, ginger has been praised for helping those suffering from nausea, migraines, and various other sources of pain and discomfort.

Cranberry Juice: The benefits of cranberry juice go back centuries. This includes relief from urinary tract infections, respiratory disorders, and kidney stones. High in antioxidants, cranberry juice has long been studied for its health benefits. Also, avoid cranberry juices with added sugar or fruit juices.

Acupuncture: Eastern medicine dates back thousands of years, and many incorporate acupuncture into their lifestyle to help with everything from sleep disorders and tobacco cessation to pain and disease prevention. An experienced acupuncturist will use fine, sterilized needles to find your body’s acupoints in an effort to promote well-being.

What have you incorporated into your healthy lifestyle? Please feel free to share your experience! I’d love to hear from you.