Health Regimen for Aging Adults-Part 1

Part 1: Diet and Health Screenings

First and foremost: Always consult your doctor or health care practitioner before changing your health regimen, including diet, supplements, and exercise. Second: The FDA requires the caution that this information is not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent, or cure any disease.

Now, with that said, some practices are suggested to help you improve and maintain your overall health. Each of these practices is supported with ample scientific research to make them credible. The information is not a complete set of daily recommendations. Instead, this information is meant to enhance what you already know you should be doing.

1. Two Supplements Worth Taking Daily

Many health concerns are either caused or exacerbated by inflammation. Type II diabetes, arthritis, breast cancer, neuropathy, joint pain, Alzheimer’s and many more conditions have a connection to inflammation. For this reason, daily supplements that help control or prevent inflammation may have broad-reaching benefits. Two supplements, in particular, have been shown to have this effect

Inflamed knee joint from calcium build-up

Inflamed knee joint from calcium build-up

MSM sulfur: Sulfur has two benefits. First, it promotes detoxification, basically helping the body remove harmful material. One of the most powerful antioxidants your body produces is glutathione, and sulfur is a key ingredient of glutathione.

Sulfur also seems to reduce inflammatory effects and resulting pain. But the benefits don’t stop there. Sulfur has positive effects on joint health by breaking up calcium deposits, thus assisting with arthritis problems. MSM sulfur is available in capsule form, but it is also available in protein-rich foods, such as eggs, fish, garlic, and kale. In supplement form, it can produce nausea symptoms if taken on an empty stomach, so you may wish to take it right after a meal.

Turmeric: The benefits of Turmeric are plentiful and well-documented. Turmeric contains curcumin, which has strong anti-inflammatory properties by lowering the levels of the inflammation-producing enzymes COX2 and 5-LOX. Among other effects, curcumin reduces or prevents the production of cytokines, which damage nearby cells and can lead to insulin resistance, estrogen receptivity, and a host of other problems.

Like MSM sulfur, curcumin is a great antioxidant, so it helps the body remove damaging free radicals. Obviously, you can get turmeric as a food spice, but what you really want is the curcuminoids in turmeric. Turmeric, with at least 95% curcumin is available in capsule form. It is not the least expensive supplement, but it is one of the best, with no normal side effects.

2. What You Eat Daily

Low fat: Here is startling information…a low-fat diet might not be as important as once thought, particularly in light of recent research into inflammation. But this doesn’t mean a high-fat diet is good for you, either! Fat stresses the body, including the liver and the heart. A “fatty liver” creates inflammation, which produces cytokines that lead to insulin-resistance and Type II diabetes.

A heavy body doesn’t circulate blood efficiently, thus straining the heart and reducing muscle strength. A fat-rich diet may lack essential nutrients. Just because research is showing that low-fat diets are less important that once believed, they are still beneficial in many ways.

Other than health benefits, low-fat diets will make you feel better and more energetic, and you will be more likely to get regular and better exercise. On the other hand, recent research tells us that we don’t need to make ourselves miserable following a low-fat diet. Just make sure you keep your intake of saturated fats low.

Inflammatory symptoms before and after using flaxseed oil compress

Inflammatory symptoms before and after using flaxseed oil compress

High omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are linked to lower LDL cholesterol, reduced cancer risk, improvements in ADHD, lower triglycerides, reduced heart attack risk, reduced inflammation, better brain functioning, and many other benefits. They also counter-balance omega-6 fatty acids. Your body needs omega-6 fatty acids, but most people have too much in their diet in comparison to omega-3 fatty acids (14–25 times more!), and studies link high levels of omega-6 fatty acids with heart disease, inflammation, and other undesirable effects. And this brings us back to inflammation.

Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation. Your body needs omega-3 fatty acids, but it can’t make them. Fortunately, you can get them from food sources. Flaxseed, in particular, is a great source and is easy to get and use, both as a food supplement and as a topical compress. Flaxseed is high in omega-3 fatty acids and contains other compounds that your body breaks down into even more omega-3 fatty acids. Whole grains, fish (particularly fatty salmon), olive oil, and garlic are other great sources.

One caution: some research suggests that more than 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids daily (about 3 servings of fish every day) may increase risks for arterial leakage, which can be dangerous. But this is well beyond what most people consume.

Raw garlic: If you can tolerate garlic-breath, raw garlic is very, very good for you. Raw garlic, when crushed, creates allicin. Allicin is antibacterial, antiparasitic, and antiviral. It helps kill E. coli bacteria and Salmonella. It helps lower blood pressure and reduces arterial hardening. Garlic, when applied to the skin, also seems to fungal infections. It’s that good.

But here’s the rub. It has to be raw and crushed. Cooked garlic doesn’t have the same level of benefit. When garlic is diced or crushed, it starts producing allicin, which is what you are after, but when cooked, allicin production stops. Thus, you can crush / dice it and let it sit before adding to cooking ingredients, which is what often happens, but if you add whole cloves or add crushed garlic immediately to cooking food, you don’t get the same benefits.

For the best benefit, crush it, let it sit for 15 minutes or so, and then eat it. (Make salsa.) You can also get garlic / allicin as a supplement, in which case, make sure it has an enteric coating so it dissolves in your intestines and not in your stomach.

3. Get Screened for Inflammation Regularly

Thermographic image of inflammation suggesting a dental infection

Thermographic image of inflammation suggesting a dental infection

Given all the negative effects of inflammation noted above, you need to ensure that you don’t have chronic inflammation. Thermal imaging, which detects heat from your body, is the most effective diagnostic tool for identifying inflammation, among other health conditions and risks, such as disease, cancer, intestinal disorders, and neuropathies.

Regular screenings every 3 or 6 months will help you find inflammation and monitor the success of treatments. Thermal imaging can assess the health risks of inflammation and help determine whether or not your daily regimen is increasing or reducing inflammation.

What Else Should I Do?

This month, we focused on the diet regimen. Next month, we will look at a daily regimen for behaviors, from getting outdoors to the benefits of being happy.

Resources

MSM

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/03/03/msm-benefits.aspx
http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-522-MSM%20(METHYLSULFONYLMETHANE).aspx?activeIngredientId=522&activeIngredientName=MSM%20(METHYLSULFONYLMETHANE)
https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/sulfur

Garlic

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265853.php
http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-300-GARLIC.aspx?activeIngredientId=300&activeIngredientName=GARLIC
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10594976

Turmeric

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=78
http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1012314
http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/turmeric
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21120596
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11855620

Alzheimer’s Disease and inflammation

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10858586

Low-fat diet

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/low-fat/
http://www.jci.org/articles/view/19451

Omega-3s

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids
http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil-alpha-linolenic-acid/background/hrb-20059372

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