It’s already started. Someone came to Jazzercise with a noticeable tan after a weekend in Mexico. The instructor remarked how “healthy” she looked. We need to change our programming. Tans are not healthy. I know we’ve been trained to think so, but we’re capable of changing our thinking. When your skin changes color from the sun, it’s not a good thing.
Have you found yourself feeling forgetful, unfocused, scattered, or confused, especially when making decisions? Often erroneously chalked up to old age and the onset of dementia, according to studies of older adults, forgetfulness, attention lapses, and diminished mental sharpness are more closely related to mood and general health than to age or the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. These conditions may be the side effect of a medication, the result of an underlying medical condition, or most often the result of a sleep or mood disturbance or everyday stress.
Decongestants are readily available over the counter, but they lose their effectiveness with repeated use and may not be recommended for people with high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes. For relief of sinus symptoms, I like to irrigate with a Neti Pot. Learn more at WebMD or watch this demonstration. Be sure to boil and cool down your water first.
If so, please listen up and lighten up! New studies show that people who scored high when asked about their level of stress or how frequently they felt stressed suffered negative cardiac effects. In fact, “high perceived stress is as bad for the heart as a 50-point increase in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol” (Wellness Letter April 2013). Want some help de-stressing? Check out the wonderful services of Kebba and Anita, two local experts in the field.
Finally a study with good news! The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease reports that older people who did tai chi three times a week for 40 weeks not only showed increases in brain volume, they also scored better on memory and learning tests than those who didn’t exercise. It’s exciting to think that gentle forms of exercise can counteract normal age-related brain shrinkage.
(UC Berkeley Wellness Letter Winter 2012)
Ever wonder if the bags of greens in the front of the supermarket shelf that are exposed to the light are more nutrient-dense than the ones in the back in the dark? Me neither, but researcher Gene Lester did. He found that just 24 hours of light exposure enhanced the greens’ nutrients. He also discovered that baby spinach is more nutrient-rich than mature spinach. So go get your baby greens, from the front of the display, and eat up!
Want to eat less without struggling? Make small changes such as using a smaller plate; drinking from tall, narrow glasses; choosing plates in a color that contrasts the food; and avoiding distractions (television, electronics) while eating. Pay attention to unconscious cues to overeat, such as buffet foods served in large bowls or dining with people who eat large quantities.
Are you considering using probiotics? The Berkeley Wellness Letter does not recommend widespread use for several reasons including the large variation in product composition, reported discrepancies between labeling and actual content found by Consumer Reports’ testing, and possible safety concerns for some folks. Probiotics may be beneficial for you, but consult your doctor first.
According to the August 2010 Wellness Letter, “there is no convincing evidence that any ‘brain formula,’ plant extract, or vitamin will preserve memory.” However, a deficiency in B12 can cause confusion and memory loss. See your doctor for testing and treatment, if needed. Another supplement to consider is fish oil, which has been linked to a slowing of cognitive decline in healthy people. Currently, the results are mixed, but if the fish oil benefits your cardiovascular system, it may help your brain as well.
The thoughts we hold directly impact our results. One of the key shifts I had when I successfully lost weight was to begin asking myself, “What would a thin person do in this situation?” Shifting my thoughts to those of a thin person led to changing my behaviors to those of a thin person, and those changes ultimately affected my weight.