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Healthy Aging Research Digest

by Published On: Oct 28, 2011

There are 2 sure ways to improve your health and ensure that you’ll be in good physical shape for many years to come. 

  1. Choose healthy foods to include in your diet.
  2. Make healthy decisions about your leisure-time activities. 
Here are some tips, taken from the latest research on healthy aging, to help you feel your best for as long as possible. Check back often to read about additional studies on healthy aging. 

Food for Health

Cancer-Fighting Blueberries  

New research shows that eating blueberries may inhibit the growth and spread of difficult-to-treat Triple Negative Breast Cancer. The study, published in The Journal of Nutrition, found that blueberry extract exhibited tumor-fighting characteristics in vitro and that whole blueberry powder successfully slowed tumor growth in laboratory mice. The researchers note that blueberries possess “potent antioxidant potential” that may help prevent cancer.

Depression-Fighting Coffee  

A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that women who drank 2 to 3 cups of coffee a day reduced their risk of depression by 15%, compared to women who consumed only 1 cup or less per week. Those who drank about 1 cup of coffee per day also reduced their depression risk, although not by nearly as much. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health caution that more study is needed to actually prove that caffeine can protect women from depression.

Stroke-Fighting Chocolate  

Eating dark chocolate seems to lower a woman's risk of stroke, according to Swedish researchers. The study found that women who ate 2 bars of dark chocolate a week reduced their risk of stroke by 20%. Dark chocolate consumption has also been found to reduce blood pressure, to lower insulin resistance and to help keep the blood from forming dangerous clots. Dark chocolate is considered a healthier choice than milk chocolate because it contains more beneficial flavonoids and less sugar.

Dementia-Fighting Wine 

A literature review by researchers at Loyola University Chicago suggests that people drinking 1-2 glasses of wine per day are 23% less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Heaving drinking—defined as 3-5 glasses per day—was associated with a higher risk of cognitive impairment, however. A second study by researchers at the University of Barcelona suggests that drinking wine could help protect your skin from sunburn and even skin cancer.

Taking Action to Improve Health

Can’t Exercise for 30 Minutes? Try 15  

You will add 3 years to your life if you can exercise just 15 minutes a day, according to a 13-year study of from Taiwan’s National Health Research Institutes. After studying the health records and physical activity levels reported by 416,000 people, researchers concluded that dedicating just a quarter-hour a day to moderate exercises like brisk walking would benefit everyone, even people who are in poor health. Another study from the University of Colorado suggests that a small amount of physical exercise could protect the elderly from long-term memory loss following an infection, illnesses or injury.

Schedule Your Stress 

If stress is getting you down, researchers from the Netherlands have a suggestion. Set aside about 30 minutes a day to worry and try to solve the problems behind your worries. When that time is up, forget about those worries for the rest of the day. The Dutch study showed that by compartmentalizing worry, people can actually reduce their anxiety. 

On a Diet? For Best Results:

Stay Away from Diet Soda  

Think diet sodas are keeping you thin? Think again. Diet soda drinkers in a University of Texas study had a 70% greater increase in waist circumference than people who didn’t drink low-calorie products. Individuals who drank 2 or more diet sodas a day experienced waist circumference increases that were 500% greater than other study participants.  

Eat Yogurt and Peanut Butter  

A new study from Harvard University correlates successful weight loss with eating so-called “good foods” and avoiding “bad foods.” As expected, fruits and vegetables topped the list of good foods, while French fries and potato chips had a prominent place on the “bad food” list. But there were also some surprises. Study participants were more likely to lose weight if they ate milk, cheese, yogurt and nuts, including peanut butter. Apparently, these fat-rich foods made dieters feel full and slowed the return of their hunger. 


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