Category Archives: Aging

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The Benefits Of Playing A Musical Instrument At Any Age

Having the ability to play an instrument is a great gift; it also appears to improve your cognitive health in your later years, even if you’ve stopped playing according to a study in the journal Neuropsychology. We know music relieves stress and everyone recognizes that stress is terrible for both your physical and mental health. Beyond this, there’s plenty of science that supports the idea of music being good for you and there’s increasing interest among the medical community in keeping the brain as healthy and strong as the body.

The latest research in the area of music and the brain was conducted at the University of Kansas Medical Center and included 70 healthy (with similar fitness/education levels, and free of Alzheimer’s disease) adults who’d been recruited to participate. The subjects were from 60 to 83 years old and were broken into groups based on levels of musical experience from no musical training, one to nine years of music lessons, or at last 10 years studying a musical instrument.

Over half the subjects who had studied music were piano players, another quarter played woodwind instruments and the final quarter played string instruments, percussion or brass. The subjects were given a few cognitive tests, and not surprisingly, the musicians of the group performed better on these tests than those who had never studied or didn’t know how to read music.

When compared to the non-musicians of the study, those who had lots (10 years) of musical training had far higher scores on the cognitive testing. The benefits of musical training were still evident even in those who had stopped playing.

Intriguing that the brain function the team was measuring tends to go down with age.

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Fact: Poor Sleep Increases The Risk of Death/ Disease

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The Benefits Of Playing A Musical Instrument At Any Age Continued…

It may be that musical ability or learning stays with you and acts as a challenging mental activity that makes your brain sharper, more able to deal with the changes of aging. Learning an instrument takes years of study and practice, and might just create alternative connections in the brain that help to make up for cognitive declines that happen naturally as we get older.

But if you’re older, you can still get a number of health benefits from starting an instrument. Making music can lower your blood pressure, slow your heart rate, ease stress as well as anxiety and depression. There’s also more evidence than before that making music helps the immune response of the body.

As we’ve mentioned here recently, music has been used by therapists to help patients with dementia feel better. Music is familiar, evoking comfortable, happier memories. Music also has a close relationship with our unconscious emotions. It’s engaging and emotionally powerful and can have strong effects on the way we think, how we feel and even our physiology.

What’s great is that anyone, of any age or ability, can make music and get the benefit. You don’t have to be good or be a kid to take lessons. Musical study makes your brain work and this may be just the thing to help address the challenges of aging.

To your good health,

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How To Improve Muscle Strength In Later Life

Amazing news. A moderate exercise routine along with regular intake of oily fish fatty acids holds immobility at bay in elderly subjects according to a recent trial presented at the British Science Festival in Aberdeen.

Subjects over 65 who got omega-3 fatty acids gained nearly two times as much muscle strength after exercise than those who take olive oil. More work, larger this time, is planned to confirm the findings and understand more about just why muscle condition gets better.

As part of healthy aging, muscle size goes down by 0.5 to 2% each year. Known as sarcopenia, this natural loss can bring both frailty and lack of mobility as you age. Data for the United States suggests 25% of those ages 50 to 70 have sarcopenia, as many as half of people at 80 years old have the condition. Beyond the loss of independence and mobility of the patient, the need for and cost of constant care, there’s the cost of hospital admissions due to falls. Almost 1.5% of the U.S. health care budget is given to sarcopenia related medical costs.

Earlier work has shown that livestock fed omega 3 rich diets had more muscle. This was the finding that prompted the University of Aberdeen’s Dr. Stuart Gray to see if these fatty acids could help turn back the clock on sarcopenia in older people. In the first round of research, Gray demonstrated by MRI images that middle aged rats fed fish oil supplements lost less lean muscle mass than those fed a normal diet. The fish oil seemed to have anabolic and muscle building effects in the subject rats. Of course since rats aren’t people, this finding only meant so much.

The brought Gray and his team to recruit 14 females over 65 and ask them to undergo a 12 week exercise program that involved two 30 minute workouts using standard leg muscle exercises. Half the subjects were given omega-3 fatty acids known as EPA and DHA, the other half got an olive oil placebo. Leg muscle strength of the subjects was tested at the start and end of the study.

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How To Improve Muscle Strength In Later Life Continued…

The women who got olive oil upped their muscle mass by 11% while those taking EPA and DHA showed a 20% increase. That’s a statistically significant number.

But you must keep in mind that not all fish oil supplements have the right amounts of these fatty acids. The amount of EPA varies from product to product. Your best bet is to find the supplements that have the highest amounts of dietary EPA and DHA – or choose food sources such as a half serving of oily fish. When getting omega-3 from fish, the way it’s prepared has an impact – broiled or baked is best, fried cancels out the benefits of the fish oil.

Experts also know that men and women are different in how they synthesis protein and how they respond to exercise. Older women have similar protein synthesis levels as younger ones, but older men have lower levels of protein synthesis than younger men. Older men increase their protein synthesis in response to exercise, while women don’t do this to any extent, though their levels are higher naturally.

Can you change the rate of your own muscle loss? Yes, by making some simple lifestyle changes – being more active and eating a diet with more natural sources of proteins.

To your good health,

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You Are As Old As You Feel …

This study was unique that it looked at the benefits to health from
a positive attitude
; while earlier work has examined the health risks and declines linked to a negative outlook on life. We see, for the first time, that there might just be tangible health benefits to having a more positive outlook on aging.

To conduct the research, the team performed periodic surveys that included 589 subjects, 70 years old or older, on their views on getting older over a period of 11 years. The survey involved the subjects supplying the first five words or phrases that came to mind when they thought of older people. The responses were rated on a five-point scale as most positive or most negative. None of the subjects were suffering from any form of disability when the study began, but later, all of them reported at least a month when they needed help with everyday tasks like dressing, bathing or walking. Some disability was considered severe, other cases were mild.

People with positive visions of aging experienced health gains and better recovery as well as a reduction in health losses according to researcher Tara L. Steward, Ph.D. who is an assistant professor of psychology at Idaho State University. The findings were strongest for seniors who had the most severe forms of disability.

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You Are As Old As You Feel … Continued…

Naturally there are many things that impact how a patient recovers from a disability, and the study doesn’t prove that a positive attitude made the difference. Still our attitudes about aging do say a lot about how much we think our health is under our own control. If you see seniors as “spry” you may be more likely to do things in your own life that support this – eating well and exercising, keeping doctor appointments, taking medications and doing all you can to maintain your health. A more upbeat idea of what aging means may also impact how you handle stress, and may well put less stress on the heart.

And while there are losses associated with getting older, these years are also time to do things to improve your health or disability status, make choices that help you maintain hold of your independence. To live to please yourself. As the population ages, and baby boomers begin reaching their senior years (U.S. boomers account for 76 million people) attitudes about aging can, and likely will, be updated. New products and services are likely to be created as this generation is known to expect comfort, convenience and of course fun.

Going forward, more work will be done to see if people can reverse their attitudes about aging… focus on some of the positives of aging and reap the same benefits.

To your good health,

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7 Easy Ways To Boost Your Metabolism

Get this… even the little decisions you make about diet and exercise can make a very large difference in your metabolism. The thing to understand is that your metabolism isn’t fixed at one rate according to exercise physiologist Gary Ditsch, and you can make big changes depending on what you eat and how active you are.

Here are 7 smart ways to get your metabolism moving faster…

1. Weight lifting builds muscle, the more muscle you have the more calories you burn. What you might not realize is that the calorie burn keeps going long after the end of the workout. A research project at Southern Illinois University found that exercisers who did a 15-minute resistance routine burned 100 added calories a day for the next three days.

Why? Experts know that strength training causes micro trauma to the muscles, and your body will work to rebuild the tissue. It does this by burning added protein and carbs. To amp up fat burning, try 1 to 3 sets each of 5 resistance exercises (push-ups or squats) on three days a week.

2. Lift first, do cardio next as this combination will melt more fat. Exercisers who lifted weights for 20 minutes before cycling lost more weight than those who didn’t lift weights or those who waited longer between the periods of lifting and cardio. So go right from the weights to the treadmill, bike or stair climber.

3. Spice things up as this can up your metabolism by from 20% to 25%. The way hot mustard that comes with Asian food appears to boost production of hormones that burn fat according to Lori Shemek who is author of Fire Up Your Fat Burn. One suggestion is to try adding a teaspoon of spices to a typical vinaigrette.

4. Include intervals. Some recent Colorado State University found that cyclists who pedaled at an all out effort using a high resistance for five, 30-second sprints burned 200 calories. Recovering between intervals is also important, the participants in the study recovered with four minutes of slow pedaling with low resistance. Changing the intensity levels forces your muscles to work harder.

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7 Easy Ways To Boost Your Metabolism Continued…

5. Drink water, as it will keep your metabolism running when you’re just hanging around. According to a University of Utah study, participants who drank 8 to 12 glasses of water a day burned more calories at rest than those who drank only four glasses. You can also peel citrus fruits and freeze them, using them in place of ice cubes.

6. Snack after your exercise. Those who drank a 250 calorie shake with 24 grams of protein and 36 grams of carbs after a strength training workout lost about 4 pounds more fat, created one and a half pounds more lean muscle in 6 months than those who didn’t consume the shake after workouts. If you don’t care for a shake, try a banana with peanut butter. The key is to snack within 30 minutes after exercise.

7. Do a down dog as Yoga gets your metabolism going. In one bit of research, subjects who om’d their way through a 50 minute session saw a drop in levels of stress hormone cortisol, known to inhibit fat burning. You might consider starting with a 10-minute session and work up to something longer.

Experts know that metabolism involves a complicated network of hormones and enzymes that not only change food into fuel, but also impact how efficiently your body burns that fuel. It has a whole lot to do with how quickly we gain, and lose, weight. And not everyone burns them at the same rate. Metabolism is influenced by age, (slows about 5% a decade after your 40s), if you are male or female (men burn more calories at rest than women) and portion of lean body mass (the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism), though it seems heredity also plays a part.

To your good health,

Older_adult_exercise_with_tin_can.

7 Factors That Influence Your Lifespan

We all want to live longer, better lives… here are some smart tips to help you reach that goal. It’s true that some things that affect lifespan are under the influence of genetics and how our mother behaved during pregnancy, still there are other factors that we can control that also have an impact on our chances of enjoying a long, healthy life. Let’s look at both.

Understand that much of the research into aging has been focused on the part played by telomeres, the protective tips at the end of chromosomes. They safeguard the end of the chromosome, preventing the loss of genetic information as cells divide. Every time this happens, the telomeres get shorter and eventually are so short they stop cells from dividing. This is how we age. Research has found that longer telomeres are linked to living longer, and can be inherited by the next generation.

Everyone knows that even before birth a child’s health is impacted by the lifestyle choices (good or bad) made by its mother. There’s much research that’s found if an expectant mother is highly stressed this can impact the baby, so that they are less capable of handling stress in their own lives. Heavy drinking during a pregnancy can bring on foetal alcohol syndrome, which often results in physical issues and lifelong learning disabilities in the child. Smoking also effects a baby’s development, and even the diet a pregnant woman eats can up her unborn child’s risk of obesity by making changes in the baby’s DNA.

What’s more, having a happy childhood may also boost your lifespan. One study found that those who were unhappy in their younger years had a higher risk of heart disease as adults. Getting outside as a child, spending time in natural sunlight, gives every child a key source of vitamin D. Today one in four kids are deficient in this nutrient, needed to build strong bones, by helping the body absorb calcium and phosphorus from the foods we eat.

No one disputes the many benefits of regular exercise to the body and mind. Exercise has a direct impact on how long you live because it ensures you get a healthier heart, while also boosting good mental health and offering an effective stress management technique that works on anxiety and depression too. Another key benefit of regular exercise is that it helps you reach (and keep yourself at) a healthy weight, which cuts the risk of diabetes. Weight bearing exercises are especially good for helping with bone density and offering protection against osteoporosis.

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7 Factors That Influence Your Lifespan Continued…

As we get older, the strong bones of our youth are no more. People start losing bone density in their mid 30s as a normal part of aging. The good news is that you can fight back against natural bone loss/weakening by eating a diet rich in calcium and exercising as often as you can. Exposure to natural sunlight is also crucial as this helps your body produce more vitamin D.

One key to longevity in terms of diet is to limit or avoid certain foods and drinks. You know the ones, those with lots of calories that are loaded with salt, simple carbs (sugars) or fat that taste great but also pack on the weight. Trans fats are particularly bad for you, raising the levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and raising the risk of atherosclerosis, heart disease and even stroke. If you want to live longer, healthier, avoid these foods. Too much alcohol can also have serious consequences on your health – drinking more than is recommended over the long haul can cause damage to vital internal organs.

Smoking is also a well-known life shortener. Smokers have higher risk of over 50 serious, life altering health problems. Smoking is the cause of almost 90% of lung cancers, does damage to the heart and circulation, makes respiratory conditions worse and even effects fertility. If you want to live longer, stop smoking now.

Beyond eating right and exercising, drinking alcohol in moderation and not smoking, another key area that helps with longevity is to have friendships.

Research on loneliness has found that social isolation is linked to a higher rate of death in older adults. Loneliness may well prove to be the hidden, unacknowledged killer of older people. Research has also found that those who are married live longer than single adults do. The reason may be the improved social support networks
of spouses, which cuts down on the risk of isolation and loneliness.

To your good health,

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Detect Signs Of Nutrient Deficiency

Our bodies are amazing… they can sometimes tell us when something’s wrong before a doctor can confirm it with tests. If you start to see a change in your own body… in your hair, your nails, your skin or even your energy level… this could be a signal from your body that a vital nutrient is missing from your diet.

Some of the signs your body might give you…

Unhealthy looking nails

Healthy strong nails are a sign of good overall health and strong immunity. What you don’t want to see on nail surfaces are white spots (injury), raised ridges, an inward curve or nails that otherwise look less than healthy. Most often unhealthy looking nails are a sign you need iron (not zinc, that’s a popular myth) so try to include as many natural sources of iron (red meat, fish, poultry, lentils and beans) as you can in your diet.

Interesting that you’re not alone, according to the World Health Organization, iron deficiency is the leading nutritional disorder the world over.

Leg cramps at night

Cramps in your legs or calves at night are a sign that you’re lacking potassium, and essential nutrient. This can happen easily if you’re exercising hard during the day, losing both fluid and electrolytes and only replacing the fluid. Rehydrate with electrolyte rich drinks or try some potassium rich foods like bananas, spinach, broccoli or grapefruit.

And while healthy adults should get enough potassium from food sources, often we don’t. Your doctor may recommend a potassium supplement, or you might try upping natural sources for a time and see if this helps.

Numb hands or feet

If you feel like your hands (or feet) go numb or you get tingling or a prickling feeling in your limbs this can signal a low intake of B vitamins like B6 or B12 and folic acid. Deficiencies of B vitamins directly impact the peripheral nerve endings on the skin’s surface. You’ll want to eat lots of dark leafy greens like spinach and lean proteins like eggs, beans and poultry. Fortified whole grains are good too.

Again, deficiencies of this nutrient are surprisingly common, with about 15% of the general population affected by a deficiency.

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Acne

Small red or white acne like bumps on your skin (face, arms, even thighs) can signal a vitamin A deficiency. This nutrient helps to remove dead skin and unclogs pores to discourage the growth of acne bacteria. Veggies or other foods rich in beta carotene (a precursor to vitamin A) are key here.

Sadly vitamin A deficiency is a problem for more than half of all nations, especially in Africa and South-East Asia.

It’s important to realize that if you are deficient in one nutrient, based on your body signals, you are likely lacking others as well. It’s hard to believe that with the abundance of food in the developed world that nutrient deficiencies happen at all, but as you see, they are surprisingly common. Once you take steps to address them, you’ll be feeling and looking better than ever – a signal from your body that all is well.

To your good health,

geralt / Pixabay

7 Simple Signs Of Health Troubles

Turns out, you don’t need tarot cards or a crystal ball to predict the future… you can do this for yourself by relying on the observations of your own five senses. You might be surprised to learn that many health problems often begin with a physical change you might not think is anything to be concerned about, something so subtle you might not notice it at first. Yet these changes can be warning signs you’ll want to heed.

One of the most surprising links between the senses and chronic disease comes in the form of hearing loss. Hearing loss is more likely in those who have diabetes. The higher than normal blood sugar may also do some damage to the blood vessels in the ears themselves. If you notice a decline in hearing, have a full hearing evaluation, as well as a physical and blood work, to see where you stand.

Vision changes can be an early signal of cognitive decline. The veins in your eyes are very much the same as the ones in your brain, so larger veins in your eyes could indicate a decline in the health of your brain years before any signs appear. Your eye doctor will be able to examine you for this.

If your sense of smell is slipping, this has been shown to be a potential early sign of Alzheimer’s disease according to the latest studies in the area. The changes that come in smell may appear much sooner than those that happen I the rest of the brain. If you’ve noticed a decline earlier than age 70, talk with your doctor.

Bad breath is a well-known (and despised) sign of gum disease, but this unfortunate problem can also be linked to erectile
dysfunction.
Brush and floss daily and make sure you have regular dental exams and cleanings every year. If it persist despite your good dental care, talk with your doctor to look for other causes.

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7 Simple Signs Of Health Troubles Continued…

Your own reflection can tell you a lot about what’s going on inside your body. Those who look older than their age, with 3 to 4 visible signs of aging, have a higher chance of heart issues later on according to research. If you’re concerned by looking older, ask your doctor to check for any other heart disease risk factions and remember that you can change your risk by the choices you make going forward.

Your hairline can give clues to thyroid issues, and while thyroid issues affect many hormones in the body, one of the most visible is the hormone that is linked to hair growth. You might see your hair getting dry or coarse before it begins to fall out, you might also notice thinning of your eyebrows. Talk with your doctor about your concerns and have blood work done to check for thyroid hormones.

Smooth, spot free fingernails are a sign of good health. If yours have redness underneath this could be an early sign of lupus. You may also notice swelling and puffiness at the base of your nails or a rash on the backs of your hands and fingers.

If you have concerns about these, or any symptoms you are experiencing, talk to your own doctor. An honest discussion and careful evaluation by a trained professional will reassure you, and perhaps set you on the path to better health by making healthy choices about what you eat, and how active you are. Early intervention is also incredibly beneficial, often keeping you healthier, longer than you might be otherwise.

To your good health,

geralt / Pixabay

5 Things To Know About Sun Protection

The sun is wonderful, pleasing and feels great on bare skin, but those rays can also be dangerous if you aren’t careful about protecting yourself. So while all of us enjoy getting a little sun, soaking up the warmth and light, we need to be safe and smart about our exposure.

Here are of the most important reasons sunscreen is such a key part of protecting yourself from being damaged by the sun. Feel free to share with everyone you know.

1. Wear sunscreen, even on days that the sun isn’t out. You don’t need the sun to be shining from a clear blue sky for exposure to damaging UV rays. Even on a cloudy or partly cloudy day the UV exposure can be high enough to damage. Use sunscreen as an essential part of your daily routine to be sure you’re always protected.

2. Natural sunscreens work great, providing a physical barrier, rather than being absorbed by your skin. Using a product with zinc oxide or titanium oxide that’s fragrance free is the most natural option. There have been many Improvements in these products over the years, so you might be pleasantly surprised when you try them anew. Lastly, don’t forget to reapply every two hours you are out in the sun.

3. Using sunscreen prevents further skin damage. People get sunburned when our DNA is too damaged for the typical enzymes to repair, leaving our skin cells to die. Chronic sun damage has been linked to DNA mutations that can foster skin cancer growth. Recent research has found that a unique enzyme in the body (photolyase) is used for internal repair of sun damaged DNA.

Continues below…


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5 Things To Know About Sun Protection Continued…

4. Sunscreen does not have to cause deficiency in vitamin D. While sunscreen does block the natural ability of the body to make this important nutrient, you should also know that we really only need about 10 minutes each day in the sun to achieve healthy levels of vitamin D. And though the body gets vitamin D best through the skin, fortified foods are a good source too, so don’t forget them and the few natural sources, fish, eggs, milk, ricotta cheese, beef liver, mushrooms, out there.

5. Sun damage to the eyes is a serious problem. Long-term damage can bring cataracts, corneal sunburns and other growths, and those who are especially susceptible are people with lighter colored eyes, blues, grays and greens. Some are so sensitive that they can’t bear to be out on a sunny day without sunglasses. To choose shades that are most protective look for ones that block 98-99% of UV and UVB rays and are polarized to neutralize the glare coming from sources of light. Wrap around sunglasses are best of all as they reduce UV rays from all angles.

Now you know so much more about sunscreen and how it can protect you so that you can enjoy the sun, without worrying that you’re damaging your skin or putting yourself at risk for skin cancer.

To your good health,

Older_adult_exercise_with_tin_can.

Stronger Bones And Joints With These exercises

You’ve heard, over and over most likely, how good exercise is for the body. But if you’re not active right now, sitting comfortably on the couch (and happy that way) it’s hard to get up and get motivated. Experts suggest you ease into being more active; slow, steady progress over time is what you’re after. Forget the idea of measuring what you do against what another person is doing. The key is to get up, get started. Take that all-important first step.

One of the many reasons to exercise is what it does for an aging body. As we age, one of the many things we lose, is bone mass. There are exercises you can do that can slow (or even prevent) destructive diseases like osteoporosis, as well as many others. When it comes to your joints, experts suggest that the best protection is to have strong muscles around them.

Here’s more on the different types of exercises that are especially good for bones and joints, and how often you should do them.

Strength Training: 2 to 3 times per week

You can do this with hand held weights or resistance bands, set at an amount that will tire your muscle but not cause any pain in the joint. The best choice is to work each major muscle group (arms, legs, core) and give yourself a day off between strength training to let your body rest as your muscles actually get stronger as they recover. Don’t cheat yourself of this period.

Aerobic Workouts: 150 min. moderate activity a week, 30 min/5 days a week

Exercise that are considered weight bearing, like dancing, hiking, walking, climbing stairs can also be a smart way to build your bones and keep joints protected and in good shape. Workouts like swimming and biking aren’t considered weight-bearing activities, and though they are good for overall muscle tone, your lungs and heart, they aren’t a good choice if you’re looking strictly for bone support.

Exercises for flexibility: 3 days a week

Activities like stretching and yoga are especially good for your joints as you age because they help you hold onto range of motion. You’ll need to be careful that you don’t do too much stretching, and be sure to warm up for a bit first, you never want to stretch a cold muscle.

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Stronger Bones And Joints With These exercises Continued…

You might also want to add balance exercises to your workout three days a week. Just standing on one leg can help keep you from suffering a bone-breaking fall. Tai chi is another activity you might consider for improving balance.

When exercising it’s also important to do all you can to avoid hurting yourself. This is also where a personal trainer can be invaluable. These professionals can help you find the right workout, monitor your progress and celebrate with you when you achieve your goals. They also help you keep doing exercises correctly, which eliminates a leading cause of injury. Here are some other smart tips to injury proof any workout routine.

- Don’t just workout on the weekend, spread workouts over the whole week.

- Maintain good posture in any exercise you are doing.

- Avoid extreme positions (deep knee bends, crunches) that can harm your joints or put pressure on your spine.

- Work on exercises that target your back and abdominals to strengthen your core, a must for good body mechanics.

To your good health,

PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

Four Unexpected Benefits From Veggies

Like most Americans, you’re probably not eating enough vegetables. You know they’re natural. You know they’re good for your body, help to fend off diseases and perhaps support your efforts to drop a few pounds, but you just don’t reach for a vegetable when mealtime comes. To help motivate you (and ourselves) here are 4 great reasons to take in more good-for-you veggies.

REASON #1: Veggies fight ugly belly bloat. You might think that vegetables will give you a bloated belly, but in truth, the opposite is the case. Veggies are rich sources of natural fiber, and this flushes out waste and gastric irritants, prevents constipation because it keeps the digestion moving.

Veggies might also have you looking leaner because they counter the bloat that comes with taking in too much salt. Most Americans get almost two times the recommended intake of sodium in a typical restaurant meal or by eating an instant variety of soup. Veggies have lots of potassium and water, and this helps flush that excess sodium out of the body, restoring the natural fluid balance of the body.

If you find you have a bit of gas when you add more fiber to your diet, try steamed veggies instead of raw. The heat from cooking breaks down some of the fiber and this helps keep your gastric distress to a minimum as your body adjusts to the higher intake.

REASON #2: Veggies give you glowing, younger looking skin. Vegetables are a natural way to prevent the unwanted signs of aging, keeping skin young and supple. This is thanks to abundant phytonutrient vitamin C and high water content. In fact, many veggies are naturally from 85%-95% water, and this is what hydrates the skin and cuts down on the wrinkles.

The phytonutrients that are a part of all vegetables also guard against early aging by protecting against cell damage due to stress, sun exposure, pollution and other toxins that are in the environment all around us. Vitamin C helps form collagen according to more than one study.

The bright colors of red and orange veggies give you an added benefit – beta-carotene, and this protects against sun damage to the skin. The lycopene naturally in red veggies has also been found to act as a natural sunscreen.

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Four Unexpected Benefits From Veggies Continued…

REASON #3: Veggies reduce your stress levels. You know that stress can leave you feeling tired and out of sorts, and this does no favors for your ability to make good nutrient rich food choices. Emotional eating and binges are often the result. What happens to the body is that nutrients like vitamin C and magnesium are quickly depleted. Luckily, vegetables have the very nutrients you need, as well as B vitamins that are known to fight anxiety and depression and tension reducing omega-3 fatty acids.

Potassium and magnesium in some veggies can relax blood vessels and keep your blood pressure in the normal range according to studies. Plus, the natural fiber keeps your blood sugar levels stable, preventing you from experiencing dips in energy and the mood swings that come along with that.

REASON #4: Veggies help keep your bones strong. While you might think that dairy is all the bone protection you need, turns out that some veggies also have high levels of calcium and vitamin D as well as bone building vitamin K, magnesium, potassium and prebiotic fiber – tomatoes in particular have been shown to be connected to healthy bones. In fact, a recent study found that when you remove lycopene rich foods from the diet, a woman is at a higher risk of osteoporosis.

To your good health,