Kickstart your next 50 years with these six health tips
GUEST POST by Elizabeth Elaine Reed* Elly writes health articles for sites such as eleven-magazine.com and fitness-savvy.co.uk. Click here for disclosure statement.
Did you just enter your 50s? Can you say with confidence and truth that your health is the same as it was in your prime years?
As men age, their health needs also change. They are more likely to have chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. They also may have problems with their vision and hearing. But, getting older doesn't mean you're destined for an unhealthy future.
You can still do various things to stay active, fit, full of energy, and healthy past your prime years. To stay healthy, you need to pay attention to your lifestyle choices and make sure you are getting the screenings and vaccinations you need.
In addition, you can also do the following: consider if multivitamins are for you, cut back on salt, limit your alcohol consumption, exercise regularly, get regular check-ups, and ensure adequate sleep.
Protects your brain and reduces your wrinkles
We know about the immune-support properties of vitamin D, currently the subject of many studies examining its ability to help our immune system resist Covid19.
We know about the antioxidant effects of vitamin C, and vitamin E, both of which limit the impact of free radicals and reduce chronic inflammation.
(Antioxidants neutralise free radicals which are molecules that cause cellular damage when their levels become too high. Damage caused by free radicals is associated with numerous chronic conditions, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.)
Asparagus ranks as an excellent source of both vitamin E and vitamin C. It is also a good source of a vitamin which you have probably never heard of before - vitamin P.
In fact, vitamin C and vitamin E work synergistically to enhance the antioxidant effects of vitamin P.
And if you like Japanese food ...
Our body needs vitamin K to produce prothrombin, a protein and clotting factor that is important in blood clotting and bone metabolism, and for regulating blood calcium levels. That is how we usually pigeonhole vitamin K.
However, vitamin K's health benefits have been recently shown  to extend beyond blood and bone health and to benefit chronic low-grade inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, dementia, cognitive impairment, mobility disability, and frailty.
There is also interesting, though not definitive, evidence of a direct correlation between vitamin K levels and cognitive performance. Four human studies reported an association of low vitamin K intake or low blood concentrations of vitamin K with cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's Disease.
Science says they improve our sleep quality!
Ever flipped your pillow to the cool side? I have.
There's a reason we do it, and that's the reason that cooling pillows work. Not that I knew any of this until last week.
Our body lets us sleep best when the ambient temperature is about 16 to 18 degrees Celsius. A fall in body temperature due to circadian rhythms causes drowsiness and increases our propensity to want to go to sleep in the evening.
If we feel hotter, our sleep is disturbed, and we flip the pillow to seek cooling.
It was only one week ago that I discovered that such a thing as a cooling pillow existed. I was surprised, especially since I was not reading advertising but a research report. I had no inkling that such a thing existed (beyond marketing).
Your tendons help your brain understand how to balance
We rarely hear of the need to keep our tendons healthy. But we know that our balance gets worse as we age. The things we need to do to keep our tendons healthy also help us better sense the position and movement of our joints.
As we age, our ability to sense the position and movement of our joints degrades, even in very active older people. This loss is more severe in inactive people and leads to a less stable gait and more falls.
This is why it helps to think of regular daily exercise as a means of living longer better by avoiding falls - and also looking better longer with an upright posture. Your aim is not to build muscles and exhaust yourself; it is to improve your balance. In doing that, you'll need to build more muscle, but that outcome is a side-effect.
The best program to combat loss of balance is a combination of aerobic, balance and strength exercises. This combination keeps our tendons healthy, as well as our ligaments and muscles.
Six lingering after-effects that will devastate your old age
While research into the longer-term effects of COVID-19 is in its infancy, we know that they include fatigue, brain fog, palpitations, mood swings, kidney damage, blood clots, cognitive decline, and increased chronic inflammation. While these symptoms can severely affect older adults, they are recorded in all age groups, even the 18 to 35s.
And they may last forever.
The horror stories from COVID-19 survivors of their lingering impairment and suffering are only just coming to light.
In July, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report which found nearly a third hadn't returned to their usual state of health two to three weeks after testing positive for COVID-19.
"In contrast, over 90 per cent of outpatients with influenza recover within approximately two weeks of having a positive test result," the report's authors note.
Of this we can be sure - the long-term effects of COVID-19 on our health are pervasive and can be devastating. They are nothing like the rare damage caused by influenza.
Exercise and healthy food count but there's an unexpected twist
Scientists are increasingly discovering that the changes in the circadian rhythm as we age are associated with reduced longevity.
Normal, healthy aging is associated with a weakening of the circadian system. The first indication of damping of circadian rhythms with advancing age came from studies by Franz Halberg in the 1950s, on mice. We now know that circadian rhythm plays a vital role in health, and prolonged clock disruptions are associated with chronic diseases.
Knowing how to boost strengthen the circadian rhythm may yet turn out to be as important as strengthening our muscles, for longer life.
Reducing inflammation eases pain gets you mobile again
About three weeks ago, my shoulder suddenly locked up while I was brushing my hair. I was tremendously painful, so I researched all the ways that I might get it moving again. One way that was new to me was Red Light Therapy.
It seems to have helped a lot. It might help you if you have inflamed or injured muscles, tendons or joints - here's what I found out.
Lower blood pressure and more flexible arteries
There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that dietary nitrate may have a protective role in health, in particular vascular health, and in particular by lowering blood pressure.
Coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, and heart failure are three of the leading causes of death globally. Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) are responsible for a significant (typically about 25%) of premature deaths, and the risk substantially increases with age.
For such a major public health problem, it is perhaps surprising that by simply improved our diet quality - by eating more vegetables - we can substantially reduce the risk of dying early.
As long as you don’t do it before exercise
Doing simple stretches may improve blood flow throughout our body by making the arteries more flexible and able to dilate, according to a study in the July 1, 2020, Journal of Physiology.
More than 300 years ago, the great English physician Thomas Sydenham observed, "A man is as old as his arteries."
It's as accurate today as it was then. In fact you might consider that your health is only as good as your arteries since these blood vessels carry vital oxygen-rich blood to all of our body's tissues.
Since I was diagnosed at 50 with Type 2 diabetes I've been learning how to do bone-building fitness training which lowers my age. You can too. It's your choice. Walter