The struggle to maintain a healthy weight and dodge chronic health problems gets harder past age 50.
For that reason the October-November issue of AARP Magazine offers 50 helpful tactics for baby boomers and others for beating the top four health threats that accompany aging, which are cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Some of those tips include:
▪ Cutting back on sugar-sweetened soft drinks. A study in the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomakers & Prevention journal shows that people consuming two or more sugar-sweetened soft drinks a week are 87 percent more likely to get pancreatic cancer.
▪ Adding grapes or red wine to a diet helps prevent cancer by killing damaged cells before they replicate, a University of Colorado study reports. A morning cup of low-sugar grape juice also is good.
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▪ Avoiding plastic bottles is beneficial. One study noted that a third of bottled water brands had bacterial or chemical contaminants, including carcinogens at levels exceeding some standards. AARP recommends that people drink tap or filtered water.
▪ Grabbing Brazil nuts is beneficial. They contain selenium, an antioxidant, which lowers the risk of bladder cancer in women.
▪ Reducing television viewing time and exercising are among several noted tips that can help reduce the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer. “You need to pump up your heart rate until you’re perspiring,” the magazine notes.
▪ Working to shrink waist lines is important. Health risks rise for women when waist size goes over 35 inches and for men over 40 inches. One study in the journal Lipids says dietary supplements with coconut oil may help reduce belly fat.
▪ Laughing out loud and cuddling are two tips that help reduce stress and improve blood flow.
▪ Drinking more than two cups of coffee a day is tied to a 25 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
▪ Getting on a Mediterranean diet of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, fish and red wine is beneficial. Extra-virgin olive oil also helps.
▪ Eating oranges, grapefruits, lemons and other citrus fruits can slow glucose intake, helping to keep blood sugar levels under control.
▪ Getting at least seven hours of sleep a night helps long-term brain function.
After doing all of those AARP recommendations, it tops off the list by letting folks know that they can have a beer, which according to one report is a good source of the mineral silicon. That’s important for bone formation.