Increase Fibre and Live Longer

If you’re going to make any changes to your diet at all, increasing your fibre is the smartest move you can make.

fiberThere are two forms of fibre – soluble and non-soluble. Soluble fiber comes in the form of fruits and vegetables and is called soluble because of its high water content. It is more easy to digest and travels through the system with ease. Non-soluble fiber like bran and psyllium actually requires a lot of water to help it move through the system. A lot of people make the mistake of eating more bran but not enough water and suffer the consequences – it can lead to cramps and digestive upsets.

A new study out of Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine that was presented at the American Heart Association’s Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism/Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention Scientific Sessions this year shows that a high-fiber diet can lead to healthier hearts and an improved quality of life.

“It’s long been known that high-fiber diets can help people lose weight, lower cholesterol and improve hypertension,” said Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, M.D., corresponding author of the study and chair of the department of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a cardiologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. “The results of this study make a lot of sense because weight, cholesterol and hypertension are major determinants of your long-term risk for cardiovascular disease.”

According to the American Heart Association, a minimum of 25 grams of fiber a day is required to make any significant changes in health. The source of this fiber should come from natural sources and not processed foods or supplements designed to increase fiber intake.

“A processed food may be high in fiber, but it also tends to be pretty high in sodium and likely higher in calories than an apple, for example, which provides the same amount of fiber,” Lloyd-Jones said.

The study examined data from 11,000 adults who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. A mathematical formula to determine an individual’s risk of cardiovascular disease was used with these analytical factors from the survey:

  • Diet
  • Blood pressure
  • Total Cholesterol
  • Smoking status
  • History of diabetes

The results of these calculations showed favorably for adults aged 29 to 59, with older adults aged 60 to 79 years showing little effect. It was concluded that fiber needs a certain amount of time to take effect and that is why the results show favorably among a younger age group.

“The results are pretty amazing. Younger (20 to 39 years) and middle-aged (40 to 59 years) adults with the highest fiber intake, compared to those with the lowest fiber intake, showed a statistically significant lower lifetime risk for cardiovascular disease. The study suggests that starting a high-fiber diet now may help improve your long-term risk.”

Source:

Northwestern University. “Load up on fiber now, avoid heart disease later.” ScienceDaily 23 March 2011. 24 March 2011 <http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2011/03/110322172225.htm>.

 

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Four Ways Strong Muscles Increase Longevity

Nobody really likes to talk about aging and the negative effects it has on the body.

Four Ways Strong Muscles Increase LongevityBut the truth of the matter is, it happens to all of us, and it creeps up on you when you least expect it. So plan for the future now, whether it’s investing your money wisely or investing your time smartly and taking time to exercise, good health is the most important thing you can possess.

Strength and flexible muscles is your goal to prevent aging. Weak muscles cause accidents like falls and affect your quality of life. Imagine not being able to bend down to tie your own shoes or not having the strength to make it up a flight of stairs.

Strong muscles do not develop with cardio. In fact, if you don’t nourish your body adequately while performing long sessions of cardio, you will enter into a catabolic state. What this means is that your body will start feeding off your muscle tissue, deteriorating your muscle mass rather than building it up.

So what do you do?

Lift weights! Resistance training is rehabilitative, preventative, and anti-aging. And no, you will not bulk up like a freak, nor do you have to in order to strengthen your muscles. Light to medium resistance training at least three times a week is enough to improve your overall health, provided your diet is also in check.

How Strong Muscles Can Increase Longevity

Strong Muscles Improve Cardiac Health

  • Strong muscles absorb oxygen and nutrients from the blood more efficiently, which causes less strain on the heart.
  • Strong muscles are more efficient at physical exertion and require less of the heart.

Strong Muscles Reduce the Risk of Diabetes

  • Strong muscles are more efficient at drawing sugar from the blood for energy.
  • Strong muscles help regulate blood sugar levels.

Strong Muscles Help Control Weight

  • Strong muscles take up a lot of real estate and burn calories more efficiently than weak muscles.
  • Strong muscles help regulate your metabolism.

Strong Muscles Improve Quality of Life

  • Strong muscles help with mobility and flexibility, so you can remain more active through your senior years.
  • Exercise improves bone health and this helps reduce the risk of injuries and fractures, often reported as early as 65 years old.

Source:

Harvard Medical School, Healthbeat

High Intensity Training Increases Longevity

Sprint training and high intensity interval training are beginning to replace traditional forms of cardio.

High intensity cyclingBoth these types of training come with all kinds of health benefits and are becoming very popular because you can train in far less time than banging it out on the treadmill for 45 minutes or more.

To test this theory, researchers out of Copenhagen, Denmark, looked at cyclists who train with intensity and those who train traditionally. The results of this study show that relative intensity not duration of cycling is most important in relation to all-cause mortality and even more pronounced for coronary heart disease mortality.

In other words, cycling fast can increase your lifespan.

The study, presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2011, concluded that men with fast intensity cycling survived 5.3 years longer, and men with average intensity 2.9 years longer than men with slow cycling intensity. For women the figures were 3.9 and 2.2 years longer, respectively. The groups were adjusted for differences in age and conventional risk factor levels.

“This study suggests that a greater part of the daily physical activity in leisure time should be vigorous, based on the individuals own perception of intensity. Our group has already published similar results for all-cause mortality in relation to walking.”

Current recommendations prescribe that every adult should accumulate 30 minutes or more of moderate physical activity in leisure time, preferably every day of the week. The optimal intensity, duration and frequency still have to be established.

To improve optimum health, supplement your diet with a high quality whey protein isolate and Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Combined these supplements have been proven to slow the aging process and help muscle wasting brought on through aging.

Source:

European Society of Cardiology (ESC). “Cycling fast: Vigorous daily exercise recommended for a longer life.” ScienceDaily, 18 Sep. 2011. Web. 21 Sep. 2011.

Watching TV Can Shorten Your Life

One of the easiest ways to improve your health is to turn off the TV and get active.

Watching TV can shorten your lifeThere are legitimate reasons why television is bad for your health and most of these point to improving your health.

It’s not just that you’re inactive and your metabolism slows down when you’re in front of the TV, or that you’re more tempted to munch on some fattening snack during an intense moment of your favorite show, it’s also the fact that you’re missing out on life and replacing real-life face time with real people for the fake world of TV.

A new study out of the University of Queensland, Australia, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine now shows that the more time you spend in front of the TV, the shorter your life will be. In essence, how long you spend in front of the TV will determine how long you live.

Sound too far-fetched?

Based on data collected from 11,000 subjects aged 25 and over, this study shows a direct correlation between the amount of time you watch TV and your expected life span. So accurate is this data that they have narrowed it down to this formula:

1 Hour of TV a Day = 22 Minutes Reduced Lifespan

Someone who watches six hours of TV a day will live five years less than a more active person. And the stats are similar for those people who can’t pull themselves away from the computer screen.

So what do you do?

Keep active and make sure you’re not mindlessly munching during your show. Store some dumbbells in the TV room in full sight and get in a few reps while you’re watching TV. Get up and move during commercials. This would be a perfect time to get in some stretching and flexibility poses.

Too much Salt can Dull the Brain

We don’t give much thought to our aging brains until we start forgetting things.

Too much salt can dull the brain New research is now saying that a diet high in salt can affect the healthy cognitive function of the brain and lead to more diseases besides heart disease.

These findings were discovered in sedentary, older adults who had consumed a high-salt diet for a lifetime. Led by researchers at Baycrest in Toronto — in collaboration with colleagues at the Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal, McGill University and the Université de Sherbrooke, this study was published in the online journal Neurobiology of Aging and uncovers new evidence in the search for increasing cognitive health in older adults.

“We have generated important evidence that sodium intake not only impacts heart health, but brain health as well,” said Dr. Alexandra Fiocco, a scientist with Baycrest’s Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied and Evaluative Research Unit (KLAERU) and the study’s lead investigator.

The study itself lasted three years and followed the diets of 1,262 healthy men and women aged between 67 and 84 in Quebec, Canada. These subjects were selected from a larger group of participants in the Quebec Longitudinal Study on Nutrition and Successful Aging (NuAge).

The participants were divided into three groups defined by their daily sodium intake:

  • Low = a maximum of 2,263 mg per day
  • Mid = a maximum of 3,091 mg per day
  • High = in excess of 3,091 mg per day (this reached as high as 8,098 in some individuals)

In addition, participants were tested for cognitive function of the brain with markers at each yearly interval. Their fitness level was also measured using the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly.

“The results of our study showed that a diet high in sodium, combined with little exercise, was especially detrimental to the cognitive performance of older adults,” said Dr. Fiocco.

“But the good news is that sedentary older adults showed no cognitive decline over the three years that we followed them if they had low sodium intake.”

“These data are especially relevant as we know that munching on high-salt processed snacks when engaged in sedentary activities, such as watching TV or playing in front of the computer, is a frequent pastime for many adults,” said Dr. Carol Greenwood, a senior author on the study and internationally-renowned scientist in the field of nutrition and cognitive function in late life.

“This study addresses an additional risk associated with lifestyles that are highly apparent in North American populations.”

This research is revolutionary as until now high sodium intake has only been associated with high blood pressure and heart disease.

Strategies to reduce salt intake have been put place in Canada and indeed many states in the US as well. Health Canada recommends a daily dose of no more than 2,300 mg of sodium for people aged 14 and older.

Source:

Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care. “Older adults with too much salt in diet and too little exercise at greater risk of cognitive decline, study finds.” ScienceDaily, 22 Aug. 2011. Web. 22 Aug. 2011.