#LivingTo100: Boost your memory with vitamin B

Memory is as natural to us as breathing. It is an ability we have, yet rarely think of unless we perceive that we are losing the ability to remember.

It is generally believed that advancing age brings an increasing likelihood of developing memory loss. Occasional memory losses, such as misplacing the car keys or forgetting something at the grocery store are a natural, normal part of life and are not likely to precede serious memory loss.

Why memory loss?

One cause of memory loss is an insufficiency supply of necessary nutrients to the brain, specifically, the B vitamins. If the brain does not have an adequate supply of nutrients to make neurotransmitters (brain chemicals), the brain experiences memory loss.

Other causes of memory loss?

  • Memory loss is also caused by exposure to free radicals.
  • Alcoholics and drug addicts often experience memory loss, even when they are sober.
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) causes memory loss because to function properly, the brain requires that the level of glucose in the blood fall within a very narrow range. Wide swings in blood sugar levels affect brain function and memory.
  • Allergies, candidiasis, stress, thyroid disorders, and poor circulation to the brain can also cause memory loss.

Ginkgo Biloba or Lecithin?

Have you ever wondered if taking a ginkgo biloba or lecithin supplement will help reduce memory loss? It is a common wish, but it has not been scientifically proven to improve memory, thinking or learning. Under a doctor’s supervision, ginkgo biloba may be used to help treat the symptoms of age-related memory loss and dementia. Do not take ginkgo biloba if you have a bleeding disorder, or are scheduled for surgery or a dental procedure.

Sleep helps focus
Be sure to get the proper amount of rest to avoid fatigue, which can have a direct effect on the ability to focus (and remember).

#LivingTo100: Foods to Fight Heart Disease

Too much cholesterol in the blood can increase your risk of developing atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a type of heart disease characterized by a build up of cholesterol and other fat substances within the walls of arteries.

Research shows that eating whole foods over processed foods will decrease your risk. Whole grains and oily fish are very heart-healthy.

Whole Grains
Whole grains are rich in cholesterol-lowering fiber called beta-glucan. Try cooking hot cereal from steel-cut oats. Steel-cut oats are higher in phytochemicals that rolled oats. Brown rice, quinoa, and barley are also excellent grains to add to your diet. Aim for six daily servings of whole grains.

Oily Fish
Canned or fresh, oily fish contain a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Wild caught salmon is rich in omega-3s. Omega-3 fatty acids improve triglyceride levels, stabilize heartbeat, lower blood pressure, decrease heart-harming inflammation, and reduce stroke risk. Aim for 2-3 servings a week.

For an added boost against heart disease, consume foods that are high sources of dietary fiber. In the intestines, fiber binds to cholesterol-rich bile acids, passing them out of the body as waste rather than reabsorbing them. Fermentation of soluble fiber in the large intestine to short-chain fatty acids also helps inhibit cholesterol synthesis in the liver. Fiber also may help improve the LDL-HDL ratio. Great sources of fiber include oatmeal, brown rice, whole-wheat bread, beans, and several fruits and vegetables.

Research suggests that a moderate amount of red wine may help lower the risk of heart disease. Possibly a small amount may help increase HDL (“good”) blood cholesterol and may prevent LDL (“bad”) cholesterol from forming. Phytonutrients such as resveratrol and tannins in wine may offer heart-healthy benefits. Resveratrol, a flavonoid in the skins and seeds of grapes has estrogenlike qualities that may help increase HDLs or increase the oxidation, or breakdown of LDLs. Tannins may also help inhibit platelet clotting.

#LivingTo100: Avoid these beauty-product ingredients

This ingredient appears on shampoo labels as DEA. It is typically added to increase lather, but DEA has been shown to increase liver tumors in lab animals.

Formaldehyde is a skin and respiratory system irritant and considered a human carcinogen by health agencies. This substance appears in nail polish and hair straightening salon treatments. Look for nail polishes that state they are free of formaldehyde.

This substance is used to lighten skin color. It is found in skin creams and under-eye circle treatments. Hydroquinone has been linked to cancer in lab animals.

Found in toothpaste, shampoo, makeup, and moisturizer, these are identified by “methyl-“, “ethyl-“, “propyl-“, “butyl-“, and “isobutylparaben” on labels. Animal studies reveal that these parabens have estrogenic effects.

Also called PPD, this substance is found in hair dyes. It causes irritation to the lungs and nervous system.

Petroleum distillates
These often appear on product labels as petroleum or liquid paraffin. The European Union has restricted or banned these ingredients because of their connection to cancer.

Phthalates are plasticizing chemicals strongly suspected endocrine disruptors. This is a common ingredient in nail polishes, shampoos, and fragrances. Phthalates are also called DBP.

Talk is found in many body powders and some makeup. It is a suspected carcinogen. When purchasing body powder, look for cornstarch-based or talc-free formulas.

#LivingTo100: Manage your Melatonin Level Naturally

Melatonin production rises as the sun sets and continues throughout the night. When daylight hits the retina, neural impulses cause production of melatonin to slow. Light and darkness are major factors for melatonin production. However, there are few simple strategies that can help you control your melatonin levels.

Eat regular meals. The rhythm of melatonin production is strengthened by regular daily routines. Keep your mealtimes as regular as possible to keep your body in sync with the rhythms of the day.

Keep your diet light. When melatonin production begins after nightfall, the digestive process slows down. Heavy foods eaten close to bedtime may lead to digestive interruptions which can make it difficult to sleep. Aim to eat small, light meals late in the evening.

Avoid stimulants. Common stimulants like coffee, tea, soft drinks, and caffeine-containing medications can interfere with melatonin production by interfering with sleep. Eliminate these stimulants from your diet and lifestyle.

Avoid exercising late at night. Vigorous activity delays melatonin secretion. Exercising in the morning will reinforce healthful sleeping habits that lead to melatonin production. For best results, do morning exercises outdoors in the morning light.

Things to consider:

  • Discuss withe an oncologist if undergoing chemotherapy
  • Melatonin from animal pineal gland should be avoided due to potential toxin contamination
  • Avoid if taking blood pressure medication
  • Driving or using machinery for several hours after taking melatonin is not advised

#LivingTo100: What’s on your shelf?

Fifty-nine percent of Americans take supplements on a regular basis. Within this high percentage, college-educated individuals are more likely to take supplements than their counterparts who did not attend college.

Did you know all vitamin supplements work best when taken in combination with food? Unless specified otherwise, oil-soluble vitamins should be taken before meals, and water-soluble vitamins should be taken after meals. This applies when you are taking individual supplements only. Multivitamins often contain oil-soluble and water-soluble vitamins so take these as directed in the prescribed instructions.

Absorbing vitamins at full potency:

If you are concerned about absorbing the full potency of your vitamin, consider using raw food-created vitamins made from a single-cell yeast Sacharomyces cerevisiae. This yeast creates vitamins and minerals that are not isolated or synthesized, but that come from nutrient-dense whole foods. Absorption of vitamins is dependent upon bodily health. Alcohol inhibits absorption of folate and riboflavin. Antibiotics, laxatives, and some cholesterol-lowering drugs interfere with the absorption of vitamin A. Intestinal disorders and liver and gallbladder malfunctions interfere with the absorption of vitamin D.

#LivingTo100: Living Longer and Safer

Safe-house Checklist:

  • Make sure stairs are well lit, with light switches at top and bottom.
  • All railings should go from the top to the bottom of the staircase and be easy to grab, at 36-39 inches from the floor.
  • Doors should have easy-to-grip lever action handles instead of round knobs.
  • Furniture arrangements need wide paths for traffic, clear of cords and other trip hazards.
  • Keep a lamp or flashlight within easy reach of your bed.
  • Install smoke detectors on every level and near sleeping areas so you’ll hear them anywhere in the house; change batteries twice a year.
  • Keep electrical and telephone cords out of walkways.
  • Arrange items so they are easy to reach in closets and cupboards.
  • Install night-lights for better visibility in the dark.
  • Place a slip-proof rug next to the bathtub and a rubber mat or nonskid texture strips inside the tub or shower.
  • Replace glass shower doors with non-shattering material.

#LivingTo100: Nuts for a healthy heart

Some nuts do a better job at helping your heart while others may help protect your memory. The list of nuts below are nutritional all-stars.

The walnut is the only nut with a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts may help decrease the risk of illnesses including coronary heart disease.

Pistachios are a good source of phytosterols, which help lower cholesterol levels. They are also high in protein and beta-carotene which is linked to vision health.

Brazilian Nuts:
One ounce of Brazilian nuts exceeds the dietary reference intake for selenium, a mineral shown to help protect against breast cancer and prostate cancer.

The B vitamins niacin and folate found in peanuts help maintain a healthy heart and may decrease your risk for certain cancers. Folate may protect against cognitive decline.

Almonds are high in vitamin E which may help protect against some types of cancers. The fats found in almonds are largely monounsaturated which helps lower “bad” cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease.

Pecans contain more disease-fighting antioxidants than any other nut commonly found in the United States.

For more variety, toss a handful of nuts into your meal. Cashews are great in stir-fries. Pecans, almonds, or sunflower seeds add a nutty flavor to salads, waffles, and sweet potatoes. Pine nuts or pistachios are delicious in pasta sauces and casseroles. Sesame seeds compliment green veggies, soups and stews. Try walnuts and macadamia nuts in quick breads. Add nut butters and tahini (sesame paste) as a light spread. Add any type of nut to cereal, yogurt, or trail mix.

#LivingTo100: Eat Right For Healing

When you have been ill or injured, eating may be the last thing on your mind. But this is exactly when your body needs the powerful healing properties of good food. After a serious illness, injury, or surgery, your pituitary gland releases growth hormone. Growth hormone boosts metabolism in an attempt to restore order and balance.

Simple steps to heal:

Eat breakfast
After sleeping, it is important to ‘break the fast’. Breakfast is your body’s early morning refueling stop. After 8-12 hours without a meal or snack, your body needs to replenish its glucose with foods. Because your brain has not stored reserves, it too, needs a fresh supply of glucose, its main energy source.

Stick to a regular meal schedule.
Plan ahead and have a week’s worth of  meals in mind. Include plan-over meals, or meals made from leftovers of another meal in your menu plan. For example, grilled chicken Caesar Salad can be a left over meal from yesterday’s sliced, left-over chicken breast.

Drink plenty of clear fluids.
Broth, miso soup, teas, and apple juice provide nutrients that are easily digested by your body. It is important to eat simple foods and not to waste energy digesting dense, heavy foods while your body heals.

Add whey protein to your meals.
A healing body needs more protein than usual. Whey is a high-quality, readily available source that your body can easily absorb. Stir whey protein powers into broth or a clear juice.

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