I am often asked for my list of the best foods to eat. People want to know which foods provide the keys to optimum health and longevity. They are searching for simple solutions to reach their ideal weight, achieve immunity to disease, and feel their best every day. The short answer is: Eat foods that contain the most micronutrients, phytochemicals, and other health-promoting compounds.
Finding ways to extend the human lifespan by observing certain diet and lifestyle regimens has been a centuries-old quest. Indeed, our average life expectancy has dramatically increased over time, at least in the wealthier parts of the world, due to improvements in hygiene, health care, and food supply. Yet science has still not been able to provide definite answers to what we can do to live longer.
More so than any other generation before them, today’s retirees have great expectations about what they will be able to accomplish after officially leaving the work force. There are many good reasons for that. People live longer, have a wider variety of skills and interests, are more mobile, and can take advantage of technologies not available only a short time ago. But in actuality less than one in five seniors manage to remain in the work force. Many retire even sooner than they had anticipated – in most cases not by choice.
The skin is the body’s largest organ, and because it is the most visible, it usually gets the most attention. Like every other part of us, our skin changes as we grow older, but nothing shows the signs of aging as much, perhaps with the exception of graying hair. In fact, we routinely judge not only a person’s age but also general state of health and vitality by the appearance of his or her skin.
Just as a healthy diet can help fend off chronic diseases, what we eat can help us keep our mental edge as we age. Approximately five million Americans over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia and a progressive disease that destroys brain cells. Second to Alzheimer’s disease is vascular dementia, which can occur when the blood vessels of the brain become damaged and adequate blood supply to parts of the brain is prevented. Studies have identified links between a heart-healthy diet and a healthy brain.
In their youth, baby boomers were well known for breaking taboos, especially with regards to sexual behavior. Easier access to birth control and changing moral values contributed to that. Now that this generation is approaching retirement age, it appears that some of these attitudes have survived and influence how sex among older adults is viewed today.
In our busy lives, getting enough rest can be challenging at any age. But for older people it becomes even more difficult, perhaps not so much because of stress-related sleep deprivation but because of changing sleep patterns. As we age, we not only need less sleep, we also don’t sleep as deeply and wake up more often during the night. While these changes are not always cause for concern, they can become problematic if they lead to persistent sleep disorders with potentially serious health effects.