Myth #1: If I limit my activity, I won’t fall.
Fact: Physical activity will increase your strength and range of motion, making you more independent.
Myth #2: Using a cane or walker will make me more dependent.
Fact: Canes and walkers help people maintain or even improve mobility and stability. With improved mobility comes greater independence.
Myth #3: I’m too old to exercise.
Fact: The British Medical Journal found that simple exercises improved the strength, function, and participation in daily life among people 70 and over.
Myth #4: Taking medication won’t increase my risk of falling.
Fact: Medications may increase your risk of falling by making you sleepy or dizzy.
Myth #5: There is no need to get my vision checked every year.
Fact: People with vision problems are twice as likely to fall as those without an impairment. Get your eyes checked every year and update your glasses, if necessary.
Melanoma is the deadliest of all types of skin cancer. Unfortunately, too many people delay treatment, even when they know they have a potentially life-threatening disease.
The lifetime risk of getting melanoma, according to the American Cancer Society, is about one in 40 for Caucasians, one in 200 for Hispanics, and one in 1,000 for African-Americans. The average age of people diagnosed with melanoma is 62, but it can begin at almost any age.
Melanoma starts with one cell or a small group of cells. The pathway that those cells take to ultimately become skin cancer is complex. Lots of things have to go wrong, but they can go wrong quickly (within months) or over a period of years. Though the average age of diagnosis is 62, the process of developing the disease may have begun as early as childhood.
Risk Factors Those in the high-risk category for melanoma are fair-skinned and sun-sensitive, although anyone can develop the condition. Redheads, blondes, and people with blue or green eyes are especially susceptible. The more moles, large moles, and unusual moles you have, the higher your risk. You are more likely to have the condition if your parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, or uncles have had a melanoma. Your chances increase if you have had a previous melanoma, a basal cell carcinoma, or a squamous cell carcinoma.
In addition, the events or conditions below also make you more likely to develop melanoma:
What Does It Look Like? The distinguishing characteristic of melanoma is uncontrolled growth of cells called melanocytes. These cells produce melanin, which is one of the body’s coloring agents. Most melanomas have a black or blue-black color, and they appear abnormal and unsightly.
How Is it Diagnosed? Early detection and treatment is key. The deeper a melanoma has penetrated, the deadlier it becomes. If it reaches beyond lymph nodes in the immediate area, the five-year survival rate is only 18 percent.
A medical history, biopsies, and imaging tests are used to diagnose melanomas. They are classified and treated according to stages of development. The American Society of Clinical Oncology provides these details about each stage of melanoma. Each of the four stages has subgroups, which further describe the melanoma’s status.
Stage 0: Melanoma cells found only in the outer layer of the epidermis.
Stage I: Primary melanoma is still only in the skin and is very thin.
Stage II: The melanoma is thicker than in stage I; extends through the epidermis and further into the dermis; slightly higher chance of spreading.
Stage III: The melanoma has spread through the lymphatic system, either to a lymph node located near where the cancer started or to a skin site on to a lymph node.
Stage IV: The melanoma has spread through the bloodstream to other parts of the body.
Treatment: Surgery Early-stage melanomas can be removed by simple procedures at a dermatologist’s office. In some cases, the entire area can be excised (cut out) during a biopsy without further treatment. Melanomas that have spread beyond the surface of the skin are more difficult to treat with surgery. In Mohs micrographic surgery—used for delicate areas, such as the nose, lips, and ears—the surgeon uses a microscope to examine the tissue and excises the growth layer by layer until only healthy tissue remains.
Treatment: Medications Chemotherapy, in pill or intravenous form, destroys cancer cells for several months, but the treatment does not yet have a record of curing melanomas.
The New England Journal of Medicine reported that a combination of ipilimumab (Yervoy) and nivolumab (Opdivo) improved more than 70 percent of melanoma patients and could change future treatment options.
Radiation Radiation can kill cancer cells, including those produced in melanoma, but it is not considered a cure because it is not always 100 percent successful. A common side effect is fatigue that usually subsides after treatment has been completed. The American Cancer Society lists the following uses of radiation in cases of melanoma:
There are more steps you can take to lower your risk of melanoma than for any other type of cancer, including: 1) using a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 to 50; 2) avoiding unnecessary exposure to the sun; 3) wearing clothes that protect your arms, legs, face, neck, and ears; 4) conducting monthly self-exams; and 5) scheduling an annual exam with a dermatologist.
Things are about to get real toasty.
Fact: Carbs aren’t bad for you. There, I said it.
Carbohydrates are one of the main types of nutrients and act as a principal energy source in our bodies. They provide the body with glucose, which is converted by insulin into fuel used to support bodily functioning and physical activity.
Carbs have gotten a bad rap in recent years, though, which is highly correlated with the upsurge in popularity of the ketogenic diet: a diet plan that emphasizes eating lots of high-fat foods and almost no carbohydrates.
But according to the U.S. News and World Report, a much smarter way to eat is to follow the Mediterranean diet. In fact, they named this regime (more like a lifestyle) the healthiest diet overall. The Mediterranean diet is characterized by consuming plenty of produce, fish, olive oil, and—drum roll, please—bread.
Of course, not all types of bread (and not all forms of carbs) are created equal. The healthiest breads are made from whole grains, meaning the kernels still contain the bran, germ, and endosperm. These components house most of the beneficial nutrients that we get from grains, like fiber, vitamin B, zinc, magnesium, iron, and copper. White bread and other loaves made from refined, highly processed grains are much lower in nutritional quality.
But under the whole grain umbrella, the specific style of bread that nutrition experts are flagging as being ahead of the rest nutrient-wise is sprouted grain. Sprouted grains are basically whole grains that have started to germinate, which makes nutrients in grains more readily available.
“The germination process has a direct impact on the nutritional attributes of the seed and grain, which means sprouted grain bread may have some unique benefits over traditional whole grain breads,” says Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN, the Plant-Powered Dietitian. “Germination increases the bioavailability of nutrients such as phosphorus, iron, zinc, calcium, manganese, potassium, magnesium, folic acid. It also increases the level of vitamins A, C and amino acids, fiber, and phenolic compounds. Basically, it makes the nutrients easier to digest,” she adds.
But before you run to the grocery store to stock up on sprouted grain bread, keep in mind that the term “sprouted grain” can be used as a marketing tool and isn’t regulated (plus it’s mega-trendy), so follow these key rules for finding an *actually* healthy loaf:
Still stumped? We’ve got you! These are a few of our favorite nutrient-rich sprouted grain bread breads you can buy.
This article originally appeared on Realsimple.com
Women who consumed two or more servings of strawberries and blueberries each week were able to avoid memory problems for an average of 2.5 years longer than women who didn’t regularly eat berries, according to a study published in the Annals of Neurology. Researchers attributed the beneficial effects of berries to flavonoids, antioxidants that are believed to combat the inflammation that has been linked to cognitive decline.
Women’s Nutrition Connection, Vol NC-18
We can do many things to help minimize the uncomfortable and often disabling effects of inflammation. A healthy lifestyle including diet, exercise, and good sleep habits are powerful tools in fighting swelling and other side effects.
Here are several ways from Dr. Wayne Andersen’s Dr. A’s Habits of Health book to refer to when trying to stave off inflammation.
I guess most people would agree that weekends are just too short! Whether a weekend activity list includes a few tennis games, mountain biking with the kids, yard work or reorganizing the garage, many of us pack in as much as we can- be it fun or chores or both. For everyone who likes to “work hard, play hard”, finding time for physical activity during the week can be difficult. And, packing it all in during those coveted two days can be a double-edged sword for many “weekend warriors”.
The good news is that the scientific literature is clear that physical activity, even if it’s reserved for the weekend, is health-promoting. But the key for the weekend warrior is to have a proactive plan to reduce the risk of injury.
According to a 2017 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, weekend warriors do reduce their risk of chronic illness compared to people who are sedentary. But it’s important to note that weekend warriors who do not exert themselves to the recommended level of 75 minutes of vigorous activity in the two days or 150 minutes of moderate activity in the two days, do not get the same health benefits, which indicates that intensity and quantity are significant.
On the other hand, several studies show that weekend warriors are at an increased risk of injury. Whether the weekend activity includes intense athletic sports or tackling a big DIY project, research clearly indicates that weekend warriors are at increased risk of all kinds of injuries that can be as simple as a sprain or strain or as extreme as a ligament tear or broken bones or worse.
Of course, the best advice is to be physically active throughout the week and not just on the weekends. But sometimes that’s just not easy. Here are some important tips for weekend warriors:
Warm up. Take at least 10 minutes before diving into that big activity to do some gentle stretching. Also, even if daily exercise isn’t in the cards throughout the week, stretching should be.
Be realistic. Taking on too much can be the path to injury. Set goals that make sense based on previous activity level. Don’t aim too high.
Be aware. People who pay attention to their bodies’ signals will be better able to avoid overexertion injuries.
Drink water. Staying well hydrated, especially during an active weekend, is important for overall health but it’s especially important for muscles and joints.
Eat healthy. Warriors who have a healthy diet and maintain normal body weight are less likely to be injured during their active weekend.
Dietary supplements. Daily dietary supplements can support healthy muscles and joints, but they can also help with recovery. Muscular pain and inflammation from occasional overuse can be addressed with proactive use of antioxidants, omega-3s, curcumin, boswellia, systemic enzymes and magnesium.* These key ingredients can be a helpful part of the plan for any weekend warrior!
O’Donovan G, Lee I, Hamer M, et al. JAMA Internal Medicine. 2017;177(3):335-342.
O’Donovan G, Sarmiento OL, Hamer M. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy
One of the reasons apples are so healthy is they contain both soluble fiber (pectin) on the inside and insoluble fiber (cellulose) in the skin. The soluble fiber helps remove cholesterol from your body, slow down the absorption of glucose, and promote healthy bacteria in the colon. The insoluble fiber helps prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticular disease. The fiber and phytonutrients in apples may have heart health benefits, too. One study showed that women who ate about half a medium apple a day were at 43% lower risk to die from coronary problems.
The Healthy Aging Diet by Timothy Cole
How can protein help you keep your independence? As you age you lose lean muscle mass. In fact, your muscles hit their peak mass when you’re in your thirties. Unfortunately, a reduction in the amount of muscle you have decreases your muscle strength. This muscle weakness can keep you from being able to carry out daily tasks and increases your risk of falling – two problems that often lead to a loss of independence. Recent research showed that people who ate the highest amount of protein – about 91 grams/day lost 40% less lean muscle mass than others who got only 57 grams of protein per day. Protect your strength and independence with a healthy diet including lean protein sources like chicken, turkey, pork tenderloin, and fish and seafood.
In addition to a healthy diet, strength training will help to improve your muscle strength. Regular exercise on the Choice Fitness circuit will keep your muscle strong!
The Healthy Aging Diet by Timothy Cole
Vitamin D is a vital nutrient shown to be beneficial to overall health. It helps strengthen the immune system and fend off infection.
When scientists reviewed results from a recent meta-analysis about the effects of vitamin D for bone health, they found interesting results. AT FIRST it appeared that Vitamin D had no real effect on bone health. However, when they took out the results of those people who admitted they didn’t actually take the vitamin, the results were dramatic. Those who took at least6 800 IU of Vitamin D daily had a 30% lower risk of breaking their hip. In addition, those taking between 700 and 1,000 IU daily were able to lower their risk of falling by 20%.
Health & Nutrition Letter from Tufts University
Vitamin D is both a nutrient we eat and a hormone our bodies make. Few foods are naturally rich in vitamin D, so the biggest dietary sources of vitamin D are fortified foods and vitamin supplements. Good sources include dairy products and breakfast cereals (both of which are fortified with vitamin D), and fatty fish such as salmon and tuna.
For most people, the best way to get enough vitamin D is taking a supplement, but the level in most multivitamins (400 IU) is too low. Encouragingly, some manufacturers have begun adding 800 or 1,000 IU of vitamin D to their standard multivitamin preparations. If the multivitamin you take does not have 1,000 IU of vitamin D, you may want to consider adding a separate vitamin D supplement, especially if you don’t spend much time in the sun. Talk to your healthcare provider.
The body also manufactures vitamin D from cholesterol, through a process triggered by the action of sunlight on skin, hence its nickname, “the sunshine vitamin.” Yet some people do not make enough vitamin D from the sun, among them, people who have a darker skin tone, who are overweight, who are older, and who cover up when they are in the sun.
Correctly applied sunscreen reduces our ability to absorb vitamin D by more than 90 percent. And not all sunlight is created equal: The sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays—the so-called “tanning” rays, and the rays that trigger the skin to produce vitamin D—are stronger near the equator and weaker at higher latitudes. So, in the fall and winter, people who live at higher latitudes (in the northern U.S. and Europe, for example) can’t make much if any vitamin D from the sun.
Lots of food companies tout foods made with “natural” sugar. The problem is that some “natural” sugars are NOT any better for you than plain old table sugar. That includes “natural” sugars like honey, brown sugar, and agave nectar.
But the natural sugar in fruit is a “good-for-you” way to eat sugar. The sugar in fruit takes longer to digest and does NOT cause the spike in blood sugar that processed sweets do. Think of fruit as Nature’s candy.
Consumer Reports The Answers to Good Health