You’ll Be Surprised by these Findings!

As a Baby Boomer, I’m excited when I see research announcing a specific dietary component that could be responsible for successful aging. We’re all looking for ways to age gracefully, keeping our independence and quality of life as long as possible.

Mom and dad need to eat foods in high nutrient density.

Fruits and vegetables provide valuable dietary fiber for successful aging!

So this 2016 study pointing to the benefits of a high-fiber diet published in the Journal of Gerontology caught my eye recently. The researchers were studying successful aging, defined as “absence of disability, depressive symptoms, cognitive impairment, respiratory symptoms, and chronic diseases (eg, cancer and coronary artery disease).” They followed more than 1,600 adults, aged 49 and over, for 10 years.

Of all the variables they followed, researchers found a high-fiber diet led to the highest chance of “reaching old age disease free and fully functional.”

This paper seemed to support a previous report, published in 2014. These researchers conducted analyses of 17 studies and concluded that for every additional 10 grams of fiber consumed, the risk of death decreased by 10%.

A Quick Primer on Dietary Fiber
Dietary fiber, also known as “roughage,” is the part of a plant we humans cannot completely digest and absorb. As a result, it passes through the GI tract relatively intact, and leaves the body.

Dietary fiber is only found in plant products, most notably whole grains, legumes and dried beans, nuts, fruits and vegetables. It is not found in meats of any kind.

There are two types of dietary fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber, found in oats, peas, beans, fruit and barley, dissolves in water. It binds with cholesterol and actually escorts the “bad” variety out of the body, lowering blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart attacks. Soluble fiber also helps lower the risk of diabetes; because it isn’t absorbed, it doesn’t cause spikes in blood sugar levels.

Insoluble fiber promotes the movement of food through your digestive system and adds bulk to the stool, helping relieve constipation. This type of fiber is found in whole wheat, wheat bran, nuts, seeds and some vegetables.

Many plant products contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.

High-fiber foods are more filling than low-fiber ones, and aid in losing weight.

How Much Is Enough?
The Institutes of Medicine recommends that men consume 38 grams of dietary fiber per day; the amount for women is 25 grams. Most Americans consume about half that amount, 15 grams per day.

Here are a few guidelines to help you get to your fiber numbers:

• First, read labels. For grain products such as bread, cereal or crackers, you want the first ingredient to contain the word “whole.” So you’re looking for whole wheat or whole grain. Then check on the Nutrition Facts for “Carbohydrates,” and look further down for “Dietary Fiber.” For a food to be considered a good source of dietary fiber, it must contain at least 2.5 grams per serving.
• Second, dried beans and peas are excellent sources of dietary fiber, many containing 10+ grams per cup.
• Third, whole fruits and vegetables with skin are also great sources, especially berries, pears, apples, artichokes and broccoli.

Important note: Ease slowly into a high-fiber diet. Consuming too much of this dietary component too quickly can lead to GI distress such as cramping and gas.

To discover other ways to improve your chances for successful aging, give me a call!

We can discuss some practical tips and discover if any of my programs or classes are a good fit for you.
If you’d like to schedule that call with me, just CLICK THIS LINK, and let me know in the message that you would like a 1-on-1 call with me right away and I will be in touch to schedule that – oh, and leave me your phone number in there too since email is not as reliable as it used to be! Thanks.

No More Excuses!

It’s getting hot in Southern California and I’m still trying to get my 10,000 steps in per day. If I don’t step out in the morning, I have to wait until after dinner due to the high temperatures. And if I’m not careful, I’ll find myself falling back on the same excuse the majority of Baby Boomers and older adults use for not exercising: I don’t have the time!*

You can continue burning calories long after you take off those shoes!

You can “make” time for exercise!

I say “excuse” because that’s just what it is. There are ways to make exercise happen, with planning and commitment. But unfortunately, less than half the adults gets the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week, according the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Don’t let yourself fall into this group; your life depends on it! Here are six strategies to help you carve out precious minutes for physical activity:

1) Put it on your calendar.
You “calendar” your meetings, your manicures, your phone conferences, so why not give exercise the same consideration? Commit to a specific day and time, record the appointment in a spot you’ll see on a regular basis, and schedule reminders as needed. As a result, you’re much more likely to get to these activities.

2) Exercise with a buddy.
Plan to be active with a friend or family member. You’ll coax each other along, and neither of you will want to let the other down.

3) You don’t need a 30-minute block of time.
Good news! You can break your physical activity into 10- or 15-minute increments. So no more excuses—if you’re working, you have 10-minute breaks every day! Keep your tennies under your desk, and walk instead of sitting or eating. Then look for a few minutes in the morning or evening to eek out other mini-exercise breaks.

4) Understand that any movement is better than none.
If you can’t find time for the recommended 150 minutes per week, don’t stress. Even a few minutes of exercise each day is beneficial.

5) Remember that all movement counts.  Brisk walking, walking your dog, taking the stairs, gardening and housekeeping are categorized as physical activity, along with the more traditional types.

6) And finally, track your activity every 30 minutes during one weekday and one weekend day. Don’t make a big deal out of this—use whatever method works best for you (paper and pencil, your phone, or a computer). The idea is to locate “down time.” You’ll be surprised how often you watch TV, chat on the phone, or catch up on Facebook. These pockets of time are golden when you’re looking to get more movement in your day.

*I use the flashlight on my cell phone if I get out too late, but I do get out!

To discover other ways to find more time for exercise, give me a call!

We can discuss some practical tips and discover if any of my programs or classes are a good fit for you.
If you’d like to schedule that call with me, just CLICK THIS LINK, and let me know in the message that you would like a 1-on-1 call with me right away and I will be in touch to schedule that – oh, and leave me your phone number in there too since email is not as reliable as it used to be! Thanks.

 

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