I recall watching an advertisement on TV that was promoting a brand of milk that is enriched with calcium and vitamin D. The advertisement had a provoking animation of a woman, stooping gradually, as she gets visibly older. The message was that aging adults need higher intake of calcium and vitamin D to maintain strong and healthy bones – and their milk was the solution. Or is it? We know that our bones tend to become more fragile as we age. A proper name for this condition is called osteoporosis. But many of us are probably not aware that women are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis, compared to men.
When it comes to aging better, better nutrition is your better weapon because it gives the body the resources it needs while reducing intake of items that irritates and overwhelms. Better nutrition comes from making better not perfect choices more often. So what are those and how can you enjoy them – after all, with age we’ve earned enjoyment, right?!
Did you know that adults (~60-85) with dementia who had more frequent intake of persistent pesticides had worsening cognitive function? It makes sense – both for those with dementia and those seeking to avoid it – as these pesticides irritate, overwhelm and disrupt the body from efficient and effective work, daily. Overtime, eating foods or applying products that contain these pesticides or pesticide residues impact the body’s ability to function better. Thus, there is real value in assessing your diet, supplements, and skincare to see how you do on one of the core 4 principles of better nutrition: quality.
Years ago, I became a Qualitarian and according to research, aging adults should too! Being a Qualitarian means that you focus as much on the quality of what goes in and on your body most often as you do on the other nutrient factors as well as on the source. Here are a few key tips to help you improve the quality of your intake more often.
1. There’s No Perfect Nutrition
But there is better nutrition and it comes from making better not perfect choices more often. That means that you do not need every choice to be organic, but your top foods, supplements, and skincare should ideally be organic more often.
2. Whole Is Better Than Pieces & Parts
Today there are a lot of ways to get in nutrients but not all of them deliver better nutrition. For example:
- Packaged foods that are made of refined ingredients – pieces and parts like “flour” “protein isolate” “Nonfat” or “syrup” – that then have fortifications like minerals, vitamins, and probiotics present nutrients but not in the form or balance of nutrient found in whole, minimally processed foods.
- Packaged foods that have whole foods but also have added nutrients – those added nutrients are less likely to be in a form found in food, or presented in balance with other nutrients the way they would be in food.
3. Some Assembly Required
Let’s be real, we often need nutrition fast, but this doesn’t mean compromising on the nutrition quality. By assembling ingredients – like spreading almond butter on a pear, or popped corn onto which you add olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and toss in a serving of hemp seeds – rather than purchasing a ready to eat item like a fruit and nut bar or flavored pre-popped or microwave popcorn – you get better nutrient balance, can monitor quantity better, and can make your choices full of better quality nutrients from whole foods.
4. Get Enough Coq10
Read about this nutrient that is critical to healthy aging, including brain health and memory.
Want help making better not perfect choices more often to support healthy aging? Join The Better Nutrition Membership and get real support (from me) and unlimited access to exclusive members only content including tools to help you assess your current nutrition, keep what’s already working, and better tools to help you act better not perfect more often.
Originally printed on ashleykoffapproved.com. Reprinted with permission.
Ashley Koff RD is your better health enabler. For decades, Koff has helped thousands get and keep better health by learning to make their better not perfect nutrition choices more often. A go-to nutrition expert for the country’s leading doctors, media, companies and non-profit organizations, Koff regularly shares her Better Nutrition message with millions on national and local television, magazines and newspapers. Visit her website at ashleykoffapproved.com.
Meals and snacking patterns have changed over the past 40 years. You have undoubtedly noticed that many of us are eating fewer calories from meals and more calories from snacks. As a result, I get questions from both athletes and non-athletes alike about how to best fuel their bodies…
The foot is where movement begins, from the initiating of simple functional movements such as sit to stand or walking, to climbing stairs, to more complex dynamic sport movements such as playing soccer, football, rugby, and tennis. The ankle and foot complex require proper mobility in order for the body to initiate movement or change direction. In this article, we will review the anatomy of the ankle, common injuries to the ankle, functional assessments and training strategies to work with clients with previous injuries.
No one wants to get Covid 19. And if we do get it, we don’t want to end up on a ventilator with a slim chance of survival. But what can we do? Masks, hand washing, social distancing of course. Avoid crowds, sure, but what if we just get it anyway? Is there any way we can protect our immune system so we’re more likely to recover? Yes, there is. Improving your general health can greatly improve your chances. So as a certified Health Coach and Exercise Physiologist, I felt like I had to share some recent Covid 19 research with you. It’s both alarming and encouraging.
Knee pain is extremely common and can really make things very awkward and uncomfortable. Trust me I should know, only 8 weeks ago I tore my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in a freak accident that left me on crutches for 2 weeks and limping for the next 1-2 afterwards.
Knowledge is Power. Now our job is to prove this to the world. We so often want a crystal ball to gaze into our future. We have a number of crystal balls. These are crystal balls based on science and research, customized to our own unique DNA. I am referring to genetic testing, specifically BRCA testing.
As we continue to struggle to flatten the coronavirus curve by implementing different protective measures, another health crisis is brewing as we become more isolated and less mobile than before the pandemic. COVID-19 is having a ripple effect on various aspects of our well-being that aren’t specifically associated with contracting the virus. Moreover, we are facing the reality that the virus is not going to go away any time soon.
America is in bad shape. According to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), 60% of adults are living with one chronic disease and 40% have two or more.(1) Astoundingly, 12% of adults are living with 5 or more chronic conditions(2) including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, coronary obstructive pulmonary disease and hypertension. A concept people need to understand is that these diseases can be prevented, managed and even reversed with lifestyle choices.
Today, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown a bright light on how our level of health can literally be a matter of life or death. A study of thousands of patients hospitalized with the novel coronavirus in the New York City area found that 94% had one chronic disease and 88% had two or more. The most common conditions included hypertension, obesity and diabetes.(3) In May of this year, the CDC reported that people with an underlying chronic illness had six times the risk of being hospitalized and twelve times the risk for dying.(4)
Boost Health & Immunity
Now is the right time to take small steps to improve health and build immune resilience with daily lifestyle choices. While there isn’t one diet, exercise regimen, or stress-relieving technique that is good for everyone, there are principles to follow that can boost health and vitality at any age.
There is a huge misconception that our genes determine our health destiny. This simply isn’t true. The study of epigenetics shows that we have the ability to change the expression of our genes by the way we think, feel, move and eat.(5) Each of our daily decisions and choices can increase or decrease inflammation in the body, moving us towards disease or back to health.
Acute & Chronic Inflammation
Our immune system uses the ancient, biological pathway of inflammation to protect us against injury and infections.(6) When you cut your finger, immune cells are sent to kill invading bacteria and begin the process of wound healing. This is acute inflammation that goes away in days or weeks when the body is healed.
One the other hand, chronic inflammation lasts a long time, from months to years.(2) It’s basically an abnormal immune response that causes damage to cells, tissues and organs. Oxidative stress plays a big role; it occurs when more free radicals are produced within cells than the body can neutralize.(2) As you can imagine, when more damage occurs than can be repaired, health problems crop up.
It is now widely accepted that chronic inflammation is at the root of most, if not all, chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, cancer, arthritis and joint disease.(2)
The good news is that deliberate and healthier lifestyle choices can prevent, manage and even reverse chronic inflammatory disease, the most important cause of morbidity and mortality facing people today.(7) It’s empowering to know that if you have, or want to prevent a chronic disease, you can regain your health and vitality by choosing real whole foods, optimizing sleep, reducing stress, being social, and moving more.
You may be thinking, “How the heck can simple lifestyle decisions address the complexities of chronic conditions?” The body has an innate ability and intelligence to heal itself. You experience it each time you cut your hand; you wash the wound, put a bandage on and don’t have to think about it.
The research also supports it and I have lived it; by utilizing the power of lifestyle medicine I was able to restore my health from the ravages of chronic Lyme disease. You just need to provide the right environment for healing. This is not an easy task, but it can be done with time, effort and a plan.
Changing your lifestyle habits can feel overwhelming. To help you embrace this challenge, think about this analogy, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!” Any healing journey begins with awareness, learning and exploration; then gradually taking action, one small step at a time.
Start today by exploring lifestyle behaviors that decrease inflammation and can put your health back on track so you can live with less pain, more energy, and greater vitality. A lifestyle prescription to restore health includes:
- Reducing stress with deep breathing.
- Getting good quality sleep by going to bed and rising at the same time.
- Eating a plant-based diet rich in a rainbow of vegetables.
- Hydrating with filtered water in the morning and during the day.
- Nurturing relationships and engaging with positive people.
- Moving well with good posture when performing daily activities and exercise.
Be proactive, make one hour a week to learn more by reading books, researching on PubMed.gov, listening to podcasts, attending lectures and webinars so you can find the strategies and practices that work best for you. As you begin to feel better, you will naturally be motivated to continue learning and making better lifestyle choices because healthy feels so good!
Learn more about restoring health with lifestyle practices!
Register now for Cate Reade’s webinar on this topic. This webinar will give a basic overview of the principles and practices of why and how lifestyle choices can help prevent, manage and reverse chronic conditions.
Cate Reade, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian, Exercise Physiologist and Functional Medicine Practitioner candidate on a mission to improve functional mobility and health span utilizing the power of lifestyle medicine. She has been teaching, writing and prescribing healthy eating and exercise programs for over 25 years. Today, as CEO of Resistance Dynamics and inventor of the MoveMor™ Mobility Trainer, she develops exercise products and programs that target joint flexibility, strength and balance deficits to help older adults fall less and live more.
- https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/Novel_Coronavirus_Reports.html June 19, 2020