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The ‘juicy’ secrets and surprising benefits of juicing

As we get older, our bodies process food differently. We tend to have smaller appetites, chewing and swallowing can become more difficult, and preparing meals can become more of a challenge for a variety of reasons.

One trendy, healthy way to get added nutrients is through juicing. Whether you are a purist and press apples straight from the tree or rely on store-bought products to supplement your meals, juicing can be a healthy addition to your loved one’s dietary routine.

Eating whole fruits and vegetables is the best way to ingest nutrients as well as dietary fiber, but many older individuals are more likely to consume produce in inconspicuous liquid form. Best of all, vegetables like spinach, carrots, and kale can be incorporated into juice recipes without the consumer even tasting it. Flavors from the fruit you use typically overshadow those of the veggies.

If you struggle to get your loved one to fit produce into their diet, juicing is a healthy and palatable alternative. However, there are a few things to consider when choosing the healthiest juice possible.

Choose your ingredients wisely.

While there is no magical cure for all of the body’s aches and pains, natural nutrients in fruits and vegetables can be helpful in easing pain, reducing inflammation and bolstering immune system function. Certain varieties and combinations of produce can have both a targeted and overall beneficial effect on your body.

For instance, joint pain can be assuaged by juicing carrots, parsley, ginger, and leeks. Leeks and ginger are high in antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals that can help to reduce inflammation in the body. For a boost in immune and cardiac health, try a combination of pomegranate, orange, and garlic. Pomegranates lower cholesterol and blood pressure and increase the speed at which heart blockages (atherosclerosis) dissolve. With a little bit of research, you can find a healthy juice recipe for almost every ailment you can imagine.

Consider your juicing method.

There are a number of ways to produce your own nutrient-rich juices. Traditional or centrifugal processes use fast-spinning blades to pulverize produce. Heat and air are added during this process—two things that supposedly reduce the nutrients that actually make it into your glass.

Masticating or “cold-pressed” processes extract juice by pressing and grinding fruits and vegetables without adding heat. If you are looking for a ready-to-drink cold-pressed option, then brands like MUSE are a convenient way to reap the benefits without purchasing a machine and doing the work yourself.

Proponents of the raw food movement believe that cooking denatures important vitamins and minerals in food. It is true that some compounds like vitamin C are easily damaged by exposure to heat, air, and water. But, in some cases, cooking actually increases antioxidants and other beneficial components of certain fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, spinach, and carrots.

Depending on what you are trying to accomplish through juicing, it may not matter if your product is cold-pressed or made in a traditional machine.

Be careful not to juice everything.

Although most fruits and vegetables can be juiced, there are a few things to stay away from. This is especially important for seniors.

There is some disagreement over whether or not to peel fruits and vegetables before juicing, but it isn’t a black and white issue. Apples, grapes, cucumbers and even bananas can be processed and consumed without peeling. We waste a great source of nutrition by removing and discarding the skins and rinds of produce. However, there are a few items that are best consumed “naked.” Citrus fruits feature tough rinds that are still nutrient dense, but they also contain oils that can cause indigestion and stomach issues if consumed in large quantities. Try not to throw away the healthy white pith just underneath the rind, though. Mangos are best juiced without the skin as well since this part can cause allergic reactions in some individuals.

Many people like to add leafy greens like kale and spinach to their fruit juices and smoothies, but there are a few varieties that must be avoided or approached with caution. Rhubarb greens can be harmful and release toxic substances, so keep these out of your juicer. Carrot greens have received a bad reputation, but they are not actually poisonous. Some people may have a sensitivity to this part of the vegetable, so if you aren’t sure whether you or a loved one might have a reaction, then it is best to steer clear of them.

Purchase your produce wisely.

When juicing or making smoothies, especially when using whole ingredients with skins and greens intact, it is wise to opt for organic produce. Although fruit and vegetable peels are great sources of concentrated nutrients, pesticides tend to accumulate in the peels of conventionally produced fruits and vegetables and even on the green tops of root vegetables.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has pioneered a “Dirty Dozen” list that ranks produce items according to the amount of pesticide residue they contain. Apples happen to top the list as the worst offender, which is a shame since apple peels are extremely beneficial. If you plan to use conventional produce, be sure to thoroughly wash, and even peel certain items. Pesticides and insecticides can remain even if you take these precautions, so carefully consider purchasing at least some ingredients in organic form.

As we age, it’s even harder to treat your body right and get the nutrients you need, but diet has a significant impact on overall health and the proper function of the body. Juices can be used as a natural dietary supplement in lieu of processed vitamin capsules and tablets, or you can craft your own produce combinations to help improve specific areas of your health.

Achieving proper nutrition through real foods is better than opting for meal replacement shakes and pills, but it is important to approach juicing with common sense and do your research or consult with a physician or nutritionist if you have any questions.

This article was originally published on agingcare.com. It has been republished here with permission.

UTI: Can you feel the burn?

If you are experiencing burning while urinating it could mean one of two things: The toilet is, in fact, on fire. Or you may have a urinary tract infection.

What are some symptoms of a urinary tract infection?

Along with a burning sensation while urinating, symptoms for a UTI also include a frequent need to go to the bathroom, nausea, strong-smelling urine, itching, and muscle pains. In a nutshell, UTI’s are as unpleasant as they are common. But the burning question is what causes this infection and how can one prevent them from occurring?

What are some causes?

According to the Office on Women’s Health, some common culprits include delaying trips to the bathroom when the urge arises and improper wiping after a bowel movement. Older adults may experience a UTI due to diabetes, the reduced production of estrogen, and kidney stones.

They also estimate that about one in five women who get UTIs will get another one. It’s likely for some women to suffer from three or more UTIs in one year. If you are prone to UTIs, ask your doctor about your treatment options. Your doctor may ask you to take a small dose of medicine every day to prevent infection. Or, your doctor might give you a supply of antibiotics to take at the first sign of infection.

What are some proven forms of prevention?

In older adults, practicing good hygiene is the most reliable way to avoid getting a UTI or other undesirable infections. “Having good hygiene helps avoid urinary tract infections, said Jeremy Withers, Director of Nursing at River’s Edge Rehabilitation and Living Center. “Also, it’s important to keep your loved one as dry as possible, and the most critical aspect is hydration. Make sure your loved one is hydrated.” Women’s health recommends drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water per day to stave off infection.

Cranberries are berry good for you.

Despite changing trends in treatment, the go-to method for treating UTIs is antibiotics. However, some studies have found success with pure cranberry juice and supplements. “Cranberry supplements can help treat them or prevent them from happening as often,” said Jeremy. Once scrutinized as a new age trick, cranberry has emerged with a nod from some scientists as an effective method for treating and preventing urinary tract infections.

To better understand its effectiveness, it’s helpful to understand how infection settles in. “The bacteria responsible for more than 95 percent of urinary tract infections are a pathogenic strain of the same E. coli bacteria found in the lower intestine. If not for these fimbriae, the flow of urine would simply wash the bacteria away. But once they’re securely latched onto the urinary tract walls, they quickly start reproducing,” wrote livescience.com contributor Diya Chacko.

Experts admit cranberry juice is not strong enough to kill bacteria. But it does pack enough punch to prevent it from attaching to the intestinal walls. “Cranberries contain large amounts of a chemical called proanthocyanidin, or PAC. PAC functions almost like a shield as it forces the fimbriae to crumple so they can’t attach to the surface of the cells in the urinary tract,” wrote Diya.

So drink your water, and take your cranberry supplements. By taking preventative measures and seeking treatment should an infection persist, you can avoid getting burned by a urinary tract infection.

4 super foods that battle arthritis pain

“You are what you eat,” has been a motto from an early age. Now that you’ve aged, it’s time to put those words into action. According toEveryday Health, about 46 million adults in the United States, about one in five Americans, have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis. This number continues to rise and is expected to jump dramatically in the coming years. While there is no cure for arthritis, there are certain measures you can take, namely preventive foods, to help combat the chronic sickness. Take a look at the list below, and see what you need to add to your diet to help ease some of arthritic pain.

Omega-3 fatty acids

There are so many ways to introduce these essential fatty acids into your system that will help combat arthritis and alleviate some inflammation. Charles Serhan, Ph.D., director of the Center for Experimental Therapeutics and Reperfusion Injury at Harvard Medical School, found that omega-3s convert into compounds that aid in bringing the inflammatory response in the human body to an end.

There is no certainty to how much omega-3 is required, but if you’re not keen on adding some fish to your diet, be sure to get some omega-3 fatty acid supplements.

Broccoli

It’s time to go a little greener. Several lab studies have found that sulforaphane, a compound in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, may block enzymes linked to joint destruction and inhibit inflammation. Be adventurous with this vegetable. Make it a fun kitchen project to find the most delicious ways to cook this green giant of a vegetable.

Spice it up

Seasonings go beyond that extra little flavoring. It’s been shown that ginger and turmeric possess anti-inflammatory properties. Experiment a little. You can make turmeric tea as part of your nightly routine.

Strawberries

To round off a few foods to help ease arthritis pain, here is one for that sweet tooth. Not only is this delicious fruit perfect for a summer day, it can help lower blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a signal of inflammation in the body, which is helpful for arthritis pain.

So the next time you find yourself at the grocery store or out to dinner, consider the long-term effects of the foods you consume. Fill your plate or basket with things that can help you overcome chronic pains, like arthritis, that are also delicious. Don’t be afraid to try new things, you never know how much it could help you.

Demystifying menopause: Change in life doesn’t have to be life-changing

It doesn’t take many cobra poses or pickup games of basketball with your kids to realize that, as we age, we can’t do the things we were once accustomed to doing.

As a woman at the threshold of 40, it takes a little longer to catch my breath, to bend down to pick up a ball, or to recover from a particularly physical game. This week, I played a casual game of soccer with my family and was sore for three days. Even my 3-year-old was in better shape than I was.

One of the main concerns I have as I age is menopause. I have had friends enter this stage as early as 40 and as late as 55, and I have noticed many physical and emotional changes that accompany this very real condition. So, I sat down with Dr. David Young, an OBGYN and menopause specialist, to help demystify this part of the aging process.

What is menopause?

Menopause, very simply, is the time in a woman’s life when menstruation stops and she is no longer able to become pregnant. During this time our estrogen levels decrease.

“Ovaries tend to stop producing estrogen,” explained Dr. Young. “As the production of estrogen begins to decrease, it can affect our cardiovascular health and the way we feel. All of the hormones in our bodies are interrelated, so if one hormone has an issue the other hormones can be affected negatively.”

Although the average age for this gradual change is around 50 to 52 years of age, many women in their early 40s experience symptoms of peri-menopause and early signs of the menopause.

What are the symptoms of menopause?

Experts say that technically, menopause is confirmed when a woman has not had a menstrual period for one year. However, the symptoms and signs of menopause generally appear long before the one-year period ends. Symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, feminine dryness, weight gain and irritability, among others.

How can I manage the effects of menopause?

This is a natural process in the life of every woman. However, there are ways to control the lingering effects of menopause. Dr. Young is a big supporter of preventative care, particularly in preparing a woman for this often uncomfortable and discombobulating physical transformation.

He advocates regular checkups with your healthcare provider. “Seek regular mammograms starting at 40 or sooner if you have a history of breast cancer or other diseases in your family,” said Young. Incorporating regular exercise in your daily routine is also important.

Young suggests considering taking a supplement, as well. “When we are in our modern-day, fast-paced life, we don’t eat as well, we don’t eat healthy, and we eat out a lot. So supplementing with a brand that contains good vitamins and minerals is very important.”

Although few women openly discuss the onset of menopause with their peers, it is important to track the changes in your body. “Taking care of things before they become a problem is important. If you have something that you are concerned about, have it evaluated and don’t ignore it,” said Young.

In sum

By being proactive in eating right, getting regular exercise, quitting smoking and other harmful habits, and considering supplements, the process of menopause need not be the dreaded phase Grandma warned you about. Instead, it can be a transformative time where women say hello to a new life filled with newly defined freedoms and opportunities just waiting to be discovered.

Best exercise for older adults

Maintaining a healthy exercise routine is a fundamental part of life for all ages. Each age group stands to benefit from the advantages regular exercise can bring to one’s overall health. This is especially true for older adults who are 50 years and older.

Regular exercise combats all forms of disease by strengthening muscles, including the heart. This improves circulation which reduces the occurrence of high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Regular exercise along with a healthy diet reduces the risks of heart attack and stroke.

Yet not many 60 year olds can start a rigorous exercise routine without injury. Most need to practice an exercise routine that is challenging yet doesn’t provoke stress or cause injury.

The National Institute of Health points out that there are four general types of exercise that are necessary to maintain good health, particularly in older adults.

Strength training

By working with light weights or exercises that use one’s own weight to build muscle increases metabolism which keeps blood sugar in check.

Balance

According to NIH, 300,000 older adults are admitted to the hospital for broken hips each year. Oftentimes, medications can cause side effects such as dizziness or confusion that increase the likelihood of falls with older adults. Other older adults may be suffering from problems with the inner ear which can impede one’s depth perception. Also, impaired vision caused by poor lighting or other household hazards or diseases like cataracts makes it difficult for older adults to safely navigate around the house. Once you have cleared your exercise routine with your physician, you can experiment with various balancing exercises.

Doug Schrift of Eldergym.com describes this type of exercise as an opportunity to ignite your “internal spatial orientation.” For example, if you close your eyes and start raising your arm above your head, you should have a pretty good sense of the location of your arm because of your inner sense of feedback. Balancing exercises strengthen that sensation.

Those who play tennis on a regular basis improve their sense of balance. But sometimes all it takes is placing a strip of masking tape on the floor. With a chair close by for support, you simply practice walking on that line. Dancing, high knee marching, and high above-the-head reaching moves are all beneficial forms of balancing exercises.

Stretching

Encouraging and maintaining flexibility is an important part of good health. The Asian culture, particularly the Chinese community, have been practicing the art of Tai Chi for centuries. This series of movements are ideal in all aspects of exercise. It builds strength, trains on balance and encourages stretching while not creating a negative impact on the body.

Endurance

Strengthening the skeleton and muscles is important. So is strengthening the cardiovascular system. “The most underrated form of exercise out there is walking,” said Dr. Jeremy Osmond, Director of Rehabilitation at Orchard Park Post-Acute Rehab Center in Orem, Utah. “Everybody should be doing it. It’s the simplest form of exercise but it is so healthy and so good for you.”

Also, swimming, biking, low-impact hiking, even household chores increase the heart rate for an extended period of time. Start by exercising in five-minute intervals and build from that.

Exercise is something everybody needs to incorporate into their daily routine, and older adults are no exception. By investing a small amount of time every day for exercise, you can enjoy big rewards in maintaining good health.

5 reasons walking every day will change your life

What makes you feel good, look good, and only requires a pair of tennis shoes? Walking. We know exercise is important for a healthy lifestyle, but finding motivation to get active before or after a long day can be tough. This is why walking is a great option. It may be a less intense form of exercise, but walking offers so many health benefits, from improved mental health to chronic disease prevention. Read on to see why taking a few minutes out of your day to walk could be the best thing for your body.

Improved mental health

Whether you walk outside in the fresh air or on a treadmill while listening to your favorite tunes, walking is proven to improve mental health. A study from the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that people suffering from depression who regularly walked 30-45 minutes for three months showed signs of improvement when their medication didn’t cure their symptoms. Walking can give you energy, decrease anxiety and stress, improve your ability to focus, and give you a break from your to-do list.

Healthier Heart

Walking has been shown to improve cholesterol and blood pressure levels, as well as prevent diabetes—all of which can contribute to heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association recommends walking at a brisk pace for at least thirty minutes each day to receive these heart benefits. If you’re not quite in shape enough to do this, the American Heart Association suggests setting a fitness goal for walking a few minutes at a time and increasing this time as you get more in shape.

Prevent Dementia

Dementia is a growing concern among adults, but exercise is one of the best and proven ways to prevent it. According to a review of Archives of Medical Research, exercising regularly can decrease your chances of dementia by 50 percent. Walking not only helps your current health but can also keep disorders like dementia under at bay.

Improved bones and muscles

Walking also helps strengthen your bones and decrease arthritis symptoms. It can reduce fractures and symptoms of osteoporosis by preventing the loss of bone mass. Muscles and joints also benefit from walking, as the movement helps distribute pressure and nutrients for a healthier range of motion and increased strength.

“Walking is one of the best aerobic activities a senior can do,” said Mark Walker, director of therapy at Orem Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing. “We encourage everybody to do at least 20 to 30 minutes of walking activities per day. Walk to the mailbox, walk down the aisles of the grocery store, or go to the rec center. Walking would be a great addition to a daily routine.”

Weight loss

Maintain a healthy weight by walking regularly. It’s a great way to burn extra calories and lose weight over time. Due to it being a low-intensity and social exercise, you’re more likely to be consistent with making time for it versus other more extreme workouts.

So, whether it’s your heart or your mind that you’re looking to strengthen, consider taking a daily walk. Your body will be thanking you for years to come.

This article was originally published by Orange County Register. It has been republished here with permission.

3 things you should know about diabetes

Did you know at this very moment you could have diabetes?

In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, out of the 29 million Americans with diabetes, 1 in 4 don’t know they have the disease. But as thousands of new cases of diabetes are diagnosed each year, the prognosis is grim. A newly diagnosed diabetic faces a future of pills, vague fitness and nutrition plans and no real answers for effective treatment.

What if the medical community could eliminate diabetes from our families? What if there was a way to prevent diabetes? Better yet, what if there was a way to reverse it?

There is a way.

But it requires a greater understanding of the effects of diabetes on the body, the limitations of today’s healthcare and the empowering effects of looking at this disease differently.

The effects of diabetes on the body

What is happening in your body? Quite a bit. In a healthy body, energy is created when the hormone insulin pulls glucose cells out of the blood and passes through a receptor site to produce Adenosine Triphosphate or ATP.

But in a diabetic’s body, the receptor site doesn’t open for this molecule, so insulin and blood sugar have no choice but to convert to cholesterol, attach to your blood vessel walls and wreak havoc on your system with painful inflammation.

Today’s pharmaceutical companies have created drugs for every health condition. Often a diabetic is prescribed a cocktail of blood sugar, cholesterol, and high blood pressure medications and told to eat right and exercise, yet this generalized treatment plan doesn’t effectively reduce the symptoms of this disease.

The limitations of today’s healthcare system

At times it seems there is a disconnect between treating and curing disease. One pathway doesn’t typically lead to the other. It’s frustrating.

According to the World Health Organization, the US ranks 37 in overall health systems, barely edging out Slovenia and Cuba. Americans take 50% of the world’s medications yet make up a mere 5% of the world’s population. Our nation’s dependency on pharmaceuticals contributes to a healthcare system that focuses on symptoms rather than prevention. That can be frustrating for a patient struggling for answers.

Read: 7 surprising ways you’re destroying your health

The empowering effects of looking at diabetes differently

“Get busy living, or get busy dying.” —Andy Dufrensne, character from the movie “The Shawshank Redemption”

You have the power to reverse this disease, and there are tools to help you. This isn’t about turning your back on modern medicine. I recognize the use of drugs as an essential part of treatment for a number of illnesses, but I don’t view medications as a permanent solution.

A better approach would be for patients to free themselves from the confines of large quantities of medications and explore long-term solutions through customized treatment plans that profoundly improve quality of life.

If you hope to control diabetes, you must gain a greater understanding of this disease, understand the limitations of the present healthcare system and embrace a new knowledge of what can treat and ultimately reduce the negative effects of this disease. In this way, you are gonna “get busy living” every day.

Dr. Candice Hall is Chief of Staff of Next Advanced Medicine. She was awarded Physician of the Year in 2005 from the NRCC and has over 14 years of experience in Functional Medicine.

This article was originally published on Familyshare.com. It has been republished here with permission.