Need an Energy Boost?

 

Instead of drinking energy drinks such as Red Bull or 5 Hour Energy, try boosting your energy the natural, healthy way: Through good food choices such as whole grains, nuts, fiber, and others, as shown in this slideshow from WebMD. 

Note that while the slideshow does mention energy drinks (in slide 18), it also notes that they’re high in calories and are more suited for athletes who need a quick burst of energy.

Don’t Know Much About: Macular Degeneration

My mom suffered from a multitude of health conditions, including one that diminished her vision: macular degeneration.

As a person who’s suffered from nearsightedness for most of my life, which steadily worsened until just a few years ago,  macular degeneration is something I fear.  Simply because I want to maintain what vision I have left for as long as I can.

Let me put it this way: Without my glasses on or my contacts in my eyes, I can’t read the computer screen unless I put my face about 12 inches from it! That’s bad enough for me!

So what is macular degeneration?

According to the National Eye Institute, (NEI) macular degeneration is an age-related condition, one that progressively destroys a person’s “sharp, central vision.” Central vision is needed for driving, reading, and simply seeing objects clearly.  Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, affects the eye’s macula, which helps the eye see fine detail. For people over 60,  AMD  is one of the leading causes of vision loss.

Diagram of a human eye; note that not all eyes...

Image via Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Two Forms of AMD: Wet and Dry

Here’s how the NEI describes Wet AMD:

“Wet AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels behind the retina  start to grow under the macula. These new blood vessels tend to be very fragile  and often leak blood and fluid. The blood and fluid raise the macula from its  normal place at the back of the eye. Damage to the macula occurs rapidly.”  It is an advanced form of the disease, one in which a person can quickly lose their vision.

Dry AMD, on the other hand, gradually causes central vision loss.  The NEI describes the dry form this way:

“Dry AMD occurs when the light-sensitive cells in the macula  slowly break down, gradually blurring central vision in the affected eye. As dry
AMD gets worse, you may see a blurred spot in the center of your vision. Over  time, as less of the macula functions, central vision is gradually lost in the  affected eye.”

The Mayo Clinic talks more about Dry Macular Degeneration, the more common form,  at this link.

Whike age is the primary risk factor for developing AMD, there are others.

These include:

  • Smoking (One more reason to quit!)
  • Obesity
  • Race (More common in whites than in African Americans)
  • Family History
  • Gender (Females get AMD more often than males)

How We Can Reduce our Risk of Getting AMD:

  • Eat a healthier diet, one that’s low in bad fats and cholesterol.  Highly processed foods increase our risk of developing AMD.
  • Eat dark green leafy veggies and yellow veggies.  You can find a list of great options at this article from the Third Age website.
  • Eat more fish to get your Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Watch your blood pressure and weight.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Protect your eyes from the sun by wearing sunglasses.
  • Get your eyes checked regularly.

 

To learn more about AMD, go to the eMedicine Health website. This site provides a comprehensive discussion of the disease.

 

For Johns Hopkins free Health Alerts Guide to Macular Degeneration, click here.

Sources:
National Institutes of Health, National Eye Institute: Facts About Age-Related Macular Degeneration

ThirdAge.com, Macular Degeneration Prevention

 

 

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What is Success?

 

Hal Urban, in his book Life’s Greatest Lessons, starts out talking about success.  In his first chapter, titled, “Success is more than making money,” the author answers the question:  “What does it mean to be successful?” He then lists several answers to this question. 

As I read through this list, I realized I knew someone who has those qualities!

Here’s a description of the man who personifies success to me:

  • He’s a man with a strong work ethic. 
  • He’s a problem solver.
  • He’s well-liked by his co-workers and peers and has gleaned the respect of his manager and other “higher-ups” in his workplace.
  • He gets things done at work because he doesn’t point the finger at others for mistakes made; he simply helps resolve those mistakes. 
  • He’s kind and friendly to others, and gives them respect.  He looks for the good in life, and somehow finds it. 
  • He’s generous, and thinks about his family before he thinks about himself.  He often says that if he won the lotto, he’d like to help others, particularly members of his extended family. I know in my heart that he would follow through with that plan!
  • He sees no need to impress others by having a big home, an expensive car, or other material things.   
  • He lives a life of integrity.  
  • He enjoys life as it is, right now. 

He’s not a man of great wealth, or great power.  He’s not the president of a company. He’s not a Hollywood celebrity, or a superstar athlete.  

Nope, he’s just a successful man.  I’m lucky enough to be married to him. 

Here’s to you, Mr. Boomer!

Want to read the book? It’s a good one. You can find Hal Urban’s Life’s Greatest Lessons at Amazon.

Quote for the Day:

What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others. ~Pericles

Eating the “Right Foods” is Anti-Aging

 

Eat the right foods, and you can look like a teen-ager again! (Without the zits, I hope).  No facelifts or Botox necessary. Alright, I’m stretching the truth a bit here.  But
according to health experts, eating healthy foods CAN help protect your body from age-related conditions, as well as slow down the aging process.  You’ve heard it before, haven’t you? You are what you eat.

 

Can you believe this couple is pushing 70? That's what a healthy diet can do for you!

 

What the “Right Foods” Can Do:

According to the authors of the book, Growing Younger – Breakthrough Age-Defying Secrets, eating a healthy diet can power up your energy, build a stronger immune system, help improve your memory, eyesight, and hearing, add muscle and increase bone density.

Dr. Vincent Giampapa, who heads the Longevity Institute International, maintains that a “longevity diet” helps our body become more youthful in three ways:

  1. It increases our “youth hormones:” the human growth hormone (hGH), the insulin growth factor (IGF-1) and finally, dehydroepiandroseone (DHEA) (I can’t even pronounce that word!)
  2. It slows down damage from free-radicals, which are damaging to our cells and DNA. Ugly foods, such as refined carbohydrates, sugars, saturated fats, and foods with trans-fats produce free radicals in our bodies.
  3. It builds up our bodies’ cells. Many of the foods we eat in our country contain chemicals, pesticides, fertilizer, and other toxins (sounds yummy, hmmm?) By eating a healthier diet we “clean up” our insides, and our cells work more efficiently.**

It’s hard to believe that simply eating right can make such a difference!

Some examples of diets that can revitalize us and keep our bodies going strong:

**Source:

VanTine, Doherty, & Prevention Editors. Growing Younger Breakthrough Age-Defying Secrets.

    For Further Reading:

     

     

     

     

     

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    Vitamin D – The Sunshine Vitamin

     

    Does the fear of skin cancer and dangerous UV-rays keep you from soaking up a little sun in the summertime?  Well, fear not, my friends.  Experts say that some unprotected sun time is beneficial, in order to boost our supply of Vitamin D, known as the sunshine vitamin .

    The sunshine vitamin helps protect our bones, by working together with calcium to make them stronger.  Vitamin D can also help lower your blood pressure, reduce your diabetes risk, lessen your chances of  a heart attack, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.  That’s a heckuva a vitamin!

    So how much sun should we get (without sunscreen) to obtain a daily boost of vitamin D? According to an article from the health section of the U.S. News and World Report website, this depends on how much skin pigmentation you have.

    • If you’re fair-skinned,  you may need just a few minutes in the sunshine, since fair skin absorbs UV-B rays easier than darker skin.
    • If you have a tan, or are Hispanic, you need approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
    • Black skin may need 6 times the amount as the fair-skinned, according to some studies, but more research needs to be done. *

     

    In fact, black people often suffer from vitamin D deficiency, which raises their risk of diabetes and cancer.

    Not many foods contain vitamin D, but there are foods that are fortified with D, such as milk, yogurt, orange juice, and some ready-to-eat cereals.  A complete list can be seen here.

     

    Source:

    * Kotz, Deborah (June 2008) Time in the Sun: How Much is Needed for Vitamin D? (U.S. News and World Report)

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