Aging is a wonderful and natural part of life. With the passage of time, the immune system needs to work harder, skin becomes drier, vision deteriorates, and reaction times become slower. But getting older should not be all doom and gloom. By finding the right balance between physical and mental health, now you can maintain good health as you age and stay sharp along the way. I've compiled a few tips to help. The important thing is to incorporate them in your life today. The sooner you start, the better you’ll age.
Exercise your brain like a muscle. Like a muscle, the brain needs exercise, stimulation, and a little TLC. As we age, the brain undergoes changes in both structure and function. These changes can lead to slower cognitive processes and make it harder for us to learn new things or recall information as quickly as we used to. That’s where brain exercises come in. Whenever we force ourselves to learn something new, we’re stretching the brain by forcing it to activate different areas. This activation keeps us sharp for the long haul. You might try spending 30 minutes a day with a mentally-stimulating activity. This should be learning a new skill. You can try this on your computer or phone, take up a new hobby, or a new type of crossword puzzle or sudoku.
Move it, move it. And by “often,” we mean every day. Exercising doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym, pumping iron, or participating in your local Spartan Race. It means moving your body every single day. Practicing tai chi, qigong, or taking up yoga are especially beneficial to aging because they’re not hard on the body, and they also engage you both mentally and physically.
These simple exercises come with big benefits. For starters, they improve balance which tends to wane the older we get. They also improve strength, endurance, and flexibility. Taking up these mindful exercises will leave you sleeping better, thinking more clearly, and feeling happier during the day. If you are unable to find this activity in your neighborhood, try looking online or checking out some Facebook groups who are knowlegable.
Find a new movement.
Eat like your life depends on it. A whole foods diet and a healthy life go hand in hand. You won’t find one without the other. This is especially true as we age. Older adults have different nutritional needs than their younger counterparts. Make sure to eat lots of Omega-3s, calcium, fiber, and plenty of water. This is also what makes fish oils so useful – they’re designed to make sure the heart, brain, eyes, and other vitals are running like well-oiled machines. Additionally, the new kid on the block is a pre-biotic. I find these incredibly delicious and possibly one of the most important things we can use to help our bodies age well. A good pre-biotic will feed the healthy bacteria in your gut. Your gut bacteria DNA is what is signaling your entire body to run smoothly. I use one frequently and pop it right in to my water bottle for a delicious treat. Most medical quality pre-biotics are in powder form and you can titrate them to what your body needs.
Laugh like there’s no tomorrow. Have you ever heard the saying, “laughter is the best medicine?' It turns out there is a lot of truth to this. When we laugh, the body produces pain-relieving hormones called endorphins. But endorphins do a lot more than just make us feel good. They lower our blood pressure and improve heart health. Laughter also connects us with people. It helps us develop social bonds and relationships. And happy relationships and a great life are tied together. I believe one of the best things we ca do for social bonding these days is to get on a live chat or zoom with new friends,old friends, or family. This may be a new skill for many but as stated above, learning new skills are great for your brain. You can access a free zoom account by going to www.zoom.com. Connecting with people and sharing your laughter can help others to do the same!
Growing mentally and physically stronger as we age doesn’t take expensive gym memberships, drastic life changes, or a personal chef. What it does mean is approaching today with an eye for tomorrow. Start making small, incremental changes that can help you think, move, eat, and live a little healthier. You’ll thank yourself years down the road.
It is easy to think the foods in your diet don't matter THAT much... especially if you're exercising, sleeping, meditating, and checking off other healthy actions.
But to upgrade & optimize brain function, certain foods and nutrients need to be in your nutrition plan.
So here are 5 of my favorite foods to improve cognitive function, performance, & productivity: (Plus, I share my favorite way to incorporate them all simultaneously. Make sure to check it out below.)
1. Avocados naturally stimulate a consistent blood flow around the heart and through the brain, which is the secret to productivity. They're also loaded with fiber (11 to 17 grams per avocado), which helps decrease hunger pangs.
2. Antioxidant-rich foods, like berries, are excellent for increasing memory, and to prevent Alzheimer's and Parkinson's in the future. General rule of thumb: the darker the berry ⇒ the higher antioxidant property ⇒ more brain power ingredients. I also use a stellar supplement to stimulate my primary antioxidants and you can message me for that.
3. Water may not be “food,” but since we’re made up of more than 70 percent water, every function depends on water to work smoothly. Water stores slowly deplete throughout the day so if you don't drink enough to replenish it, your brain and productivity suffer. Drinking ½ your body weight in ounces every day can give your brain the power it needs to be more focused, think more clearly and quickly. If you live in desert climate like I do, you will want to consider an form of hydration called bone broth or soups. Your body is just like a big bag of broth with bones and a complex cellular make-up. So when you want to get super hydrated, adding water to the broth can actually dilute it. Feel free to message me if you have further questions especially those of you who may keep to a lower sodium diet.
4. Beets contain high concentration of nitrates which are naturally-occurring compounds that increase blood flow especially to the brain. A study in Nitric Oxide found that a high-nitrate diet rich in beetroot juice increased blood flow to regions of the brain responsible for attention and self-regulation. I am known for making my homeade beet kvass, which is a fermentation process that increases the nitri oxide even more. It is a wonderful social drink as it looks identical to red wine. Let me know if you need the recipe or check it out in the probiotic / store section of my website. www.wisdomandwellness.us
5. Broccoli is rich in choline, an essential nutrient with powerful benefits in cognitive performance, brain development and memory function. It also has great fiber content and tons of important vitamins and minerals.
BONUS: Dark Chocolate (at least 70% cacao, above 80% is even better!). It's a good source of magnesium, which has been shown to enhance learning and memory in animal studies, and stimulate the release of endorphins and serotonin, which heighten your mood. (Also has small amount of caffeine.) Use it in small doses to improve your focus; don’t eat huge amounts everyday.
The nutrition strategy (ie "brain health-hack") I use EVERYDAY to incorporate foods like these into my life is with snacks and smoothies!! I love using smoothies as snacks, but I also like other healthy snacks too.
If you’re like me, healthy snacks are a critical part of our diet. So choosing brain healthy options is essential for my performance and productivity.
Here's the thing though... I don't like thinking too much about new recipes so I rely on cookbooks. And one I've been using a lot lately is Dr. Nandi's eCookbook with 77 Smoothies & Snacks.
Not only is Dr. Nandi a full time, practicing gastroenterologist and internal medicine physician.
Have you noticed yourself being just a little bit bitely lately? Is the dog running away from you or the cat not as cuddly? Might your huband or your children be gaining weight, having skin problems or just not feeling like engaging in activities? If you are answering no to these questions, you may not be in touch with your surroundings or perhaps you don't have a dog or a cat!
Dealing with Covid out here in Phoenix, Arizona is admittedly getting difficult. We have been quarantining since early March and our numbers are supposedly some of the highest in the country for the coronavirus presently. Additionally, some of us have been sick and the rest of us are trying not to get sick. We are all unable to relax as we navigate through our new norm.
In order to further understand what our brain is going through right now, I find it interesting to understand how our brain processes information on a daily basis. Did you know that the conscious mind is only able to process about 10% of our thoughts at a time? This leaves the other 90% of our thoughts to be processed in our subconscious mind. When the amount of thoughts needing to be processed is increased, this leaves alot of unconscious processing for the brain.
Have you ever tried to make a decision when you have alot on your mind? If you have ever moved, lost a loved one or started a new job, these are times when you have alot on your mind. This may not be the best time to be making other important lifetime decisions until you have been able to best process the daily decisions and get in to a routine.
During the coronavirus pandemic, we are being forced to think out of the box. If I had a nickel for every time a patient discussed anxiety with me since March 2020, I would be a wealthy nurse practitioner. In my primary care practice, we have developed a stress management program that is helping to address anxiety without chemicals and by also developing a deeper sense of community. This program is called Yoga Nidra. Truth be told, before the pandemic, I had never heard of this. Fortunately for social media, I learned that this type of "stillness practice" has been helping people with active minds to relax and restore.
In our practice, individual providers talk with individual patients and make recommendations for consideration as well as provide the education that a patient needs in order to participate. The Yoga Nidra facilitator and the provider join together with a group of patients on a weekly zoom call. Through guided words and self recognition, patients participate in this non-movement activity to develope calmness, more rested sleep, a more interactive presence rather than a reactive presence and a sense of relaxation. Sometimes this feeling lasts for a few weeks and other times it lasts for only a few days. Our experience has shown, that the more consistent the participation, the more lasting are the results. In other words, those who intitially engaged in the program weekly for 3 weeks, had stronger results than those who only participated once or twice.
If you or a loved one are recognizing difficulty in relaxing and this is not a comfortable feeling for you, consider the power of Yoga Nidra. Consider helping your brain sort through and process our new norm by using this ancient practice instead of pharmaceuticals. There is a free app called "Insight Timer," that is a good place to start. Simply download on your phone and decide how often your body appreciates getting relaxed.
This article was written by guest writer June Duncan.
If you are a caregiver to a senior loved one, there may come a time when you can no longer meet their needs on your own. This is a sign that’s time to make some long-term care decisions. Of course, the coronavirus pandemic will complicate things to some degree. Will your loved one be safe in assisted living? Will they still be able to age-in-place if they can’t leave the house? Is it okay to have nurses visit their home during the pandemic? Keep reading to find answers to your pressing questions and ensure your loved one gets the care they need for many years to come.
Moving to Assisted Living
Moving to assisted living is one option for seniors who need a little help with the activities of daily living. In an assisted living facility, your loved one will receive support with everything from eating to bathing. Not only that, but assisted living facilities offer excellent socialization and recreational opportunities for seniors who have become socially isolated or homebound due to age-related decline. Just make sure the assisted living facility you choose is following the CDC-recommended guidelines to keep residents safe and healthy during the pandemic.
Of course, moving a loved one to assisted living is not an easy decision. Besides coping with the emotional toll involved in this move, you’ll also have to figure out the financial details. A room or apartment in an assisted living facility can be very expensive! Find out whether or not your loved one’s existing insurance will cover any of the costs. Keep in mind that Medicare only pays for short-term skilled nursing care, not long-term stays in assisted living, so you will not be able to rely on your loved one’s health insurance for funding.
It’s common for seniors to pay for assisted living by selling their home. This could be a viable option for your loved one as well! To find out whether or not this would be a good decision, start by researching your local real estate market and evaluating the home prices in your area. Homes in Scottsdale, for example, have sold for an average of $545K over the last month. Of course, the coronavirus pandemic may have affected your local market, so it’s a good idea to speak to an experienced real estate agent who can help you make the best decision.
Assisted living isn’t your only option. Your loved one may also be able to thrive while remaining in their own home. Companions for Seniors explains that aging-in-place has several benefits for seniors, including greater independence, comfort, and cost savings. If your loved one’s home isn’t ideal for aging-in-place, help them downsize into an accessible condo or apartment. Alternatively, you may be able to modify your loved one’s home with accessibility upgrades to make their daily life easier.
Staying healthy is key to aging-in-place successfully, so make sure your loved one has everything they need to maintain their health. If they don’t feel comfortable leaving the house during the pandemic, organize errand services to help them with things like grocery shopping and prescription refills. If you want to ensure that your senior loved one’s health is on the right track, you can contact Wisdom and Wellness for micronutrient testing and wellness care.
Hiring In-Home Care
If your loved one needs care help, hiring in-home care could help you avoid the cost of assisted living. But with social distancing recommendations in place, receiving in-home care has become challenging. In-home care requires close contact, especially during intimate activities like bathing and feeding, and family members are concerned about their senior loved ones getting sick. Check that the caregivers you hire are taking extra safety precautions to keep your senior loved one safe, including self-monitoring their health and implementing additional cleaning practices.
Managing a role as a family caregiver can be overwhelming, especially when a global pandemic threatens the health of our vulnerable loved ones. If the pandemic prompts you to make some long-term care decisions for your loved one, think through your decision carefully. Weighing the pros and cons of each option—and considering the coronavirus risks involved—will help you make the best possible decision for your loved one.
Glyphosate is otherwise known as the main ingredient in Round-up in the USA. We spray it on our weeds and US big business agricultural companies - such as Monsanto - spray this chemical on our food. It is most often used on our wheat products however it is now in our soil and fluidity has spread through other crops as well. 17 other countries have banned this chemical use. United States companies continuously deny negative healthcare outcomes but have recently been forced by rising controversy to address the issue in the US court system.
Malawi: Malawi’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development announced the suspension of import permits for glyphosate in April 2019.
Vietnam: Vietnam announced that it banned the import of all glyphosate-based herbicides with in March 2019 following a cancer trial verdict from San Francisco
Sri Lanka: In 2015 a full import ban on all glyphosate-based herbicides was put in place by the then newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena. This ban was partly lifted in July 2018 but only for use on tea and rubber plantations.
Six Middle Eastern countries banned the import and use of glyphosate-based herbicides in coordination with each other in 2015 and 2016:
Bermuda: Bermuda’s Environment Minister Cole Simons confirmed the ban on glyphosate-based herbicides at a public meeting in January 2017.
St Vincent and the Grenadines: In August 2018 Agriculture Minister Saboto Caesar called on all stakeholders to be understanding of the new suspension on glyphosate-based herbicides “in light of the nation’s quest to promote a safe working environment and good agricultural health and food safety practices.”
Belgium: In October 2018 the ban on the sale of broad-spectrum herbicides (including glyphosate) to non-professional users entered in to force across Belgium.
Czech Republic: In 2018 the Czech Republic put strict restrictions on the use of glyphosate and banned pre-harvest spraying; “These substances (glyphosate-based herbicides) will only be employed in cases when no other efficient method can be used,” Agriculture Minister Miroslav Toman said.
Denmark: In July 2018, the Danish government implemented new rules banning the use of glyphosate on all post-emergent crops to avoid residues on foods.
France: In 2017 France banned the use of glyphosate and all other pesticides in public green spaces. In November 2018 President Macron said he would take all measures necessary to ensure that glyphosate-based herbicides are banned in France as soon as an alternative is available and at the latest within three years. However, he has since stated that this deadline may only be 80% met.
Italy: In August 2016 Italy’s Ministry of Health banned the use of glyphosate in public areas and also as a pre-harvest spray.
The Netherlands: From the end of 2015 the sale of glyphosate-based herbicides has been banned to all non-business entities.
There is a Glyphosate Residue Free Certification for Food Brands: - https://detoxproject.org/certification/glyphosate-residue-free/
You can also test certain foods and your water for glyphosate
I highly encourage my patients to steer clear of glyphosate contamination the best that they can, especially if they are experiencing any signs of a weak immune system. Toxic substances support inflammation in the body and tax our natural detoxification pathways. If you or your loved ones have further concern and would like to discuss, email me at email@example.com
Did you know that the relationship between your gut and your brain is bi-directional? The gut sends messages to the brain and the brain sends messages to the gut. This is one reason why when we feel stressed, we can have an upset stomach, or why digestive issues can cause us to feel stressed. If you are middle aged like me, you have probably also figured out an important connection between a poor attitude and poor health – “Stinking Thinking” is what this is typically called!
When you eat something and feel anything less than perfect, your body is talking to you. It is telling you that some type of reaction is occurring and you need to pay attention. Are you feeling tired? Do you have a headache? What is on the end of your fork can be connected to any health complaint. Every system of your body improves when your gut functions more normally. And when you fix your body, you’ll fix your brain.
We each host a completely unique microbiome (gut bacteria) that is influenced by our genetics, our antecedents (how we’ve lived our life), our environment, and our diet. Your immune cells in the gut sit on the same surface as your microbiome, and are heavily influenced by it. It takes many different parts to make your car drive down the road, but the primary control is your hands on the steering wheel right? The microbiome is the hands on the steering wheel of every body function. What foods or bacteria in your microbiome would you like to be driving your car? This next section is for my mom, who I love more and more every day and thank g-d for giving me such an amazing mother! She asks me…. What is so wrong about eating bread or wheat? Eating lots of bread products every day – toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, pasta for dinner – you are getting large amounts of exorphins. Exorphins trigger the same response on the opiod receptors as morphine, which is highly addictive, and are capable of causing mental derangement if they make it to the brain. Over time, you eat more and more bread products and now you can begin to understand why depression is so prevalent in the United States. We are ranked third in the world for depressive disorders, just after India and China. About one in five adults in the United States experiences some form of mental illness each year according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. (1)
Interestingly enough, there are no reported enzymes in humans that can fully digest the gluten proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley. These grains will cause inflammation and intestinal permeability every time they are eaten. Dr. Alessio Fasano, MD conducted his research at Harvard University and published a paper that showed that the gluten in wheat causes intestinal permeability in every human. (2) Since wheat and gluten can not be fully digested, they travel to places including the brain and prompt the immune system to attack them causing inflammation. So… feeding your gut constantly with wheat products, may cause your car to some day crash. Do you want to put wheat behind the wheel? Love you mom!!
(2) Hollon J, Puppa EL, Greenwald B, Goldberg E, Guerrerio A, Fasano A. Effect of gliadin on permeability of intestinal biopsy explants from celiac disease patients and patients with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Nutrients 2015 Feb 27, 7(3)1565-76.
Did you know that probiotics and probiotic rich food have a definite connection to your heart health? Specifically our Beet Kvass, which is known for its vascular health and lowering of blood pressure. The microbes from these foods not only provide signaling for healthy lining of your coronary arteries, but they also have a more direct effect of lowering your blood pressure by decreasing inflammatory processes in your gut and throughout your entire body. It is interesting to drink Beet Kvass and feel the energy of the microbes exploding inside your body. Peripheral edema or swelling of your ankles can most definitely be attributed to very poor interstitial tissue and vascular breakdown in your extremeties or your legs. Making a good habit of drinking Beet Kvass on a daily basis as your morning or evening cocktail can turn this ugly breakdown around.
What about the salt used to make Beet Kvass? Isn't this bad for my heart? The answer to this question is a simple "no!" The salt used in making the Beet Kvass is effective in breaking down the beet fibers to allow for microbial growth. The microbes overpower the salt content of your Beet Kvass to provide probiotic richness and microbial energy to work in your body. The healthy tissues of your body do need an appropriate amount of sodium in order to work properly and not shut down. When your cells shut down, the result is inflammation and cell wall breakdown which can present itself as edema or swelling of your legs,
Give Beet Kvass a try! It is absolutely delicious, better for you than a glass of wine,.......although it looks exactly the same and surprisingly more refreshing...... and it has the added benefit of being heart protective and vascular protective for all the arteries and veins in your body. Serve your next Beet Kvass in your favorite cocktail glass and know you are doing your heart a big favor!
We are still in the middle of the winter season, which means cooler temperatures, harsh winds, blasting heat, and an ongoing battle with dry skin. As the temperatures continue to drop, the humidity in the air also decreases. The lack of moisture and the constant change from a hot to cold environment takes a serious toll on your skin. Tightness, redness, flaking, itchiness—we've all been there. Now is the time to call in the reinforcements and get back our healthy glow. Probiotics 101!
One of the best ways to defeat dry, stressed-out skin is by working probiotics into our skin care routine and diet. We have both "good" and "bad" bacteria in and on our bodies. Probiotics are the "good" kind that help maintain total body wellness, including keeping the gut healthy and improving our skin health.
Just as oral probiotics help balance the microflora in our digestive system, scientific studies have shown that applying topical probiotics can be hugely beneficial too. A yogurt facial once monthly will let you know the power of active bacteria! No fruit, no sweetners, just plain probiotic homemade yogurt!
Surprised? One of the ways probiotics repair and moisturize our skin is by helping produce hyaluronic acid (HA), which is a natural substance our body produces and is a major contributor to the elasticity, tightness, and strength of our skin. When the production of HA increases, our skin becomes more hydrated. In addition to preventing the loss of hydration, probiotics strengthen our skin so that it can act as a physical barrier to the negative effects of winter by keeping out pathogens, bad bacteria, pollution, and other toxins. This ALSO helps keep hydration in our skin so it doesn't evaporate. All of these benefits from probiotics will reduce the inflammation and redness that appear as a result of dry winter skin.
Want to keep that skin glowing? Keep the probiotics coming.
For those of you with high cholesterol levels, the LDL partical count is the most important number you want to know about yourself. High LDL partical counts can be the most important factor in determining heart health and heart disease prevention. Unfortunately, not all providers have received the most recent education on testing or how to decrease LDL-particle counts. Below is the new standard that is being discussed in medical school today and important knowledge to know about sooner than later.
The average adult is carrying between 3-5 pounds of microbes or bacteria! This makes your microbiome (or your gut) one of the largest organs in your body. In our entire body the microbial cells outnumber the human cells by up to 10:1. If we measure by DNA cells, each of us has about 20 thousand human genes but we are carrying some 100 trillion microbial genes.... so we are at least 99 -100% microbe!
Scientists are still sniffing out the productive purpose all of these 100 trillion microbes. For example, those on our skin don't necessarily exist for our benefit, but by taking up residence on us, they make it harder for other, nastier microbes to infect us.
We believe the intestines to be the largest and most important microbial community in the body. This is where most of the nutrients from your food are absorbed into the bloodstream. Because microbes work alongside your digestive system, intestinal microbes are the gatekeepers of our metabolism. They have the potential to influence what we eat, how many calories we derive from it, what nutrients and toxins we are exposed to, and how drugs affect us. Eventually, our microbes just slough off and pass right on out with our morning cup of coffee. But the more probiotic rich our diet, the better our body will work.
Confused about making Kombucha and how long it takes to make? It is quite interesting that in the summer months I can brew a gallon of Kombucha in 5 days but in the winter months it often takes me 3 weeks! The room temperature has everything to do with it. I have an area in my house that averages 85-90 degrees in the summer and the microbes in my brew eat like crazy and my SCOBY grows big in 3-5 days! It is really amazing to see and to taste the difference a few days make.
In the winter months I just make more Kombucha with each brew. I usually do a gallon and a half or 2 gallons while in the summer I keep to 3/4 gallon. This way I always have enough brew to take with me to work whenever I want. If my brew takes too long, I know I can always supplement with some store bought brew as needed and sometimes this is refreshing too.
The brand I typically supplement with is GTs Gingerade Kombucha and I find it at Costco. GTs has extra, extra fizz which is not really why I like to drink Kombucha but every once in awhile I enjoy a change. My homemade brew is much more tame in the fizz department which allows me to appreciated the delicious taste and tartness which makes me happy.