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WebMD archives content after 2 years to ensure our readers can easily find the most timely content. See the latest news and features on Healthy Seniors. Experts on aging agree -- there are positive steps you can take to make your "golden years" healthier and more enjoyable.
And, they might just add as much as a decade or more to your life So read on, and act now! Healthy Aging Feature Stories. Continued Phase Out Destructive Habits The single best thing you can do for your health and longevity is quit smoking.
Smoking has been indicted for a laundry list of ills from heart disease to lung disorders, all of which can foil your longevity plans. Drink only in moderation. Alcohol infuses every cell, damaging genes and inflaming your liver. A glass of wine a day for women and maybe two for men, but no more, may be mildly beneficial. Get your Zzzz's. Your body needs down time to repair cells and rest your heart. And your mind needs dreaming to stay sane. Find a doctor who specializes in geriatrics or anti-aging. Barbara M. But according to Marc R. Blackman, MD, chief of the laboratory of clinical investigation of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine part of the National Institutes of Healtha geriatrician would be more mainstream and recommend fewer unproven treatments.
This is a natural process," he says. Whatever their style, your new doctor may recommend yearly assessment of various biomarkers, including lipids, DHEAestrogencortisol, thyroidlung function, and micronutrient assays. Cut saturated fatup omega-3 fats. It's gospel by now: eat less or no red meat; lose the cake and ice cream; consume more complex carbs, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables; and get plenty of fatty fish. The healthy fats in salmon, mackerel, and sardines help keep oxygen free-radical molecules from damaging your cells.
Consider moderating your total food intake. Blackman also cites studies in rhesus monkeys showing a gain in years from a reduction in food. Obviously, losing excess pounds means less strain on your system. Be careful when tweaking your hormones. Morris swears by controversial human growth hormone -- for her.
Blackman is no fan. Giving growth hormone can build muscle, but it has not been shown that the muscle is any stronger. And what about the other substance -- a steroid called DHEA -- often recommended for aging? As for estrogen and progesterone replacement, it's been in all the papers. The combo therapy may increase, rather than cut, the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Many natural alternatives to these substances exist -- your own situation should dictate your decision, but always consult your doctor. Supplement, supplement, supplement.
Most of us suffer from "overconsumption malnutrition" -- too much of the wrong things, Morris says. She takes a fistful of vitamins and minerals each morning. Even the cautious American Medical Association recently endorsed taking a daily multivitamin. In addition to the effective antioxidant vitamin CMorris says CoQ10, vitamin Ealpha lipoic acid another antioxidantand perhaps some of those "mental acuity" mixtures in the health-food store should be in your medicine cabinet.
Again, your doctor can help you fashion routine. Reprogram your vision of old age. A study at Yale recently showed that those with a positive view of growing older lived seven years longer than those who griped about it. Morris works with young people and "they forget things all the time and never refer to 'having to a junior moment. Guilt and regrets are part of the past. Evolving and changing is how we stay young.
Fortgang says it's never too late to move, the Peace Corps, change careers, get married, or get a divorce. Morris also half-jokingly advises that people never retire.
But don't get so intoxicated by the roses that you don't come back and do something useful. Healthy Aging Subscribe.
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