Is Technology the Key to Healthy Senior Living?

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By Karen Weeks

Please check out Elderwellness.net and contact her via karen@elderwellness.net

According to MarketWatch, there are over 47 million seniors in the United States, comprising approximately 14.9% of the U.S. population. Unfortunately, the majority of these people have at least one chronic health condition. On the upside, advances in technology have made it easier to manage these conditions and connect seniors with helpful resources and make sure they have access to broadband internet. Here, Dr. Stacey Naito’s Blog describes some of the latest products, gadgets, and apps that can make staying healthy easier as you grow older. 

Convenient apps can remind you to take your pills

At any age, it can be difficult to remember to take medication. This is particularly true if you have more than one prescription that you take daily. If you have trouble remembering to take your medicine, you might want to consider a medication reminder like Medisafe Medication Management.

This is a free app available for both Apple and Android, and while it can jog your memory to take your pills on time, the app also does more than that. Medisafe checks for drug interactions, connects you with coupons and even reminds you when it’s time to request a refill. 

Fitness trackers motivate you to move

Fitness trackers like FitBit and Garmin Venu are nothing new. The first Fitbit was released in 2009. At the time it was barely more than a steps tracker, but they have come a long way since then. Today, in addition to counting your steps, most fitness trackers and smartwatches detect your heartbeat, track your sleep, record your weight, and help you set health-related goals. These tools are a great way to not only make sure you stay active but also monitor changes in your health. 

Fall detectors give you peace of mind

As you age, your risk of developing osteoporosis increases. In fact, the National Osteoporosis Foundation explains 54 million Americans have low bone density or osteoporosis. Osteoporosis increases the risk of broken bones which can easily lead to a fall. Falls are serious and can lead to even more serious injuries. Falls are a serious threat to anyone, and sometimes seniors can suffer from balance issues. It’s easy to see how this can become the perfect storm for an older adult.

For those who are at risk, technology has answers in the way of fall detectors. For instance, the Lifeline fall detector can detect a fall and connect you to a central communication center. If they determine you need assistance they can call for help.

There are many other devices that can help in the event of a fall. In fact, the latest version of the Apple Watch comes equipped with fall detection. In the event of a fall, the watch will call for help and send a message with your location to your emergency contacts. 

Use online tools to book a getaway

There’s nothing quite like getting away for a short vacation or staycation to get a change of scenery. Better yet, booking a quick getaway in a vacation rental offers benefits like free wi-fi and having a fully equipped kitchen so you can cook healthy meals. Many rentals also have home gyms so you can get in a workout or two during your stay. Using a service like TurnKey is a premium choice, as you get your pick of distinctive homes, 24/7 on-call service, and other perks.

Online access to insurance helps you get the care you need

Each year, the open enrollment window for Medicare is October 15 to December 7. During this time you can choose the plan that’s right for you. The best way to get started is to visit medicare.gov. Here you can find information on how to sign up and examine your available options.

Since plans like Medicare Advantage offer things like dental and vision care, many seniors find they save money on out-of-pocket expenses by making changes in coverage. With that in mind, do some exploring to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.

Your health is important, but staying on top of it doesn’t have to be complicated. With technology, it’s easy to track your health and stay active. And the best part is, many of these services are easy to use and inexpensive or free. 

Dr. Stacey Naito’s Blog is home to a wide range of lifestyle and health topics (and more!). Read more interesting articles today!

Your Family’s Guide to Hassle-Free Healthy Eating

Photo Credit: Pixabay

By Karen Weeks

Please check out

Elderwellness.net and contact her via karen@elderwellness.net

These days, we’re surrounded by sodas, ice cream, and fast food restaurants. Those things can be fun and convenient. However, it’s also good to get into the habit of eating healthy foods, especially if you’re a budding entrepreneur and dealing with the potential for burnout of managing your business and employees. So if you want to help your kids and yourself eat better and feel better, here are some tips from Dr. Stacey Naito to help.

What Is Healthy, Whole Food?

You may be wondering what “healthy” really means when it comes to your family’s food choices. Most health professionals agree that the healthiest foods contain adequate micronutrients and are unprocessed. A better way to think about this is to aim to choose whole foods or natural foods that have not been processed.

For example, chicken breast, spinach, quinoa, yams, and nuts are all whole foods because they have not been processed. On the other hand, cereal, white bread and french fries are not whole foods. Try to incorporate more whole foods into your family’s diet and try to get more gut-healthy probiotics from surprising sources like garlic and onions in order to boost your family’s digestive and mental health, as well as their immune system. Also, make sure to fuel your family for the day with a nutritious breakfast.

Why Eat Whole Foods?

By eating foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and healthy fats, your family will be getting the energy they need to survive and thrive. By avoiding processed food that is high in sodium, sugar, trans fat, and saturated fats, your family will also be protecting themselves from the dangers of obesity, heart disease, and even tooth decay. In addition to the physical ramifications of a poor diet, eating highly processed foods can impact your family’s mental health and make them feel more stressed, depressed and anxious. 

In essence, what we eat affects brain function, biochemical pathways and even the size of certain areas of the brain that regulate mood and emotion. Foods high in unhealthy fats and sugars are also highly addictive; the more we eat, the more we want. If you want your family to be healthy (both physically and mentally), you can counteract these effects by encouraging a diet that is rich in whole foods. 

In addition to health benefits, eating foods in their natural or whole state cuts down on the environmental impact of plastic food packaging. When you eat a banana, there is no waste. The peel decomposes, leaving no trace behind. Adversely, the plastic bag carrying banana chips adds to the problem of packaging waste pollution.

How Can Families Get Started? 

One of the easiest ways to ensure your family is getting enough healthy whole foods is to prepare food at home. Get your entire family involved in cooking – not only is there an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables in season, but you likely also have more time to spend preparing meals. Plus, kids who cook tend to eat healthier as adults. 

Another way to ease your family into healthier habits is to add veggies to your favorite comfort foods. Avoid trying to trick your children into eating veggies and take the time to explain to your children why having zucchini with macaroni or spinach on pizza is good for them. Smoothies can also be an easy way to get kids into eating more fruits and veggies. Blend up bananas with leafy greens or even pineapple with cabbage. 

If you plan on taking a road trip, you have an extra chance to get your kids to eat healthy. Instead of stopping for fast food, try bringing some healthy snack options, like dried fruit, popcorn or low-sugar cereals. 

Finally, be patient as your kids pick up new healthy food habits. You may need to serve veggies alongside old favorites for a while, and don’t get discouraged if your loved ones go after the occasional indulgence. The process may be gradual but eventually, your entire family will begin to see the benefits of eating those healthy foods. 

Dr. Stacey Naito is a board-certified family practice physician, artist, and fitness model. Check out her blog for fitness and wellness tips, inspirational stories, and product reviews. 

What In The World Are Prebiotics, And Why Do You Need Them In Your Life?

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Prebiotics are quite different from probiotics, but they work in tandem with probiotics to have a synergistic effect. For this reason, prebiotics and probiotics are known as synbiotics.

While probiotics are live microbes, prebiotics are a type of insoluble fiber which probiotic organisms use as food. When you take prebiotics, you supply the probiotics you ingest with nutrients they need in order to thrive. These fiber sources (inulin and oligosaccharides) pass through the human stomach and small intestine without being broken down. When they reach the colon, they are fermented, producing short-chain fatty acids which are then consumed by the beneficial microbes which have set up house there.

Prebiotics are found naturally in the following foods:
– Asparagus
– Lentils
– Garlic
– Onions
– Leeks
– Oats
– Artichokes
– Bamboo shoots
– Bananas
– Honey
– Milk
– Mustard
– Rye
– Soybean
– Barley
– Wheat
– Tomatoes
– Sugarcane juice
– Sugar beet

Since the probiotics rely on the prebiotics for food, prebiotics must be taken prior to the probiotics.

Experts are now stating that by taking prebiotics, individuals can treat constipation and irritable bowel disease, immune deficiencies, and even prevent and treat different types of cancer. Other research has proven that consuming prebiotic-containing foods increases calcium absorption and bone mineral density in adolescents as well as post-menopausal women. Other studies suggest that probiotics can promote healthy body weight and optimize energy homeostasis.

Conclusion? It’s a great idea to incorporate either prebiotic supplements or prebiotic-containing foods in your daily regimen, along with probiotics, to ensure optimal gut health, support immunity, and protect against a myriad of disease processes.

Seasonal Probiotics Make Sense

I recently had the good fortune to try the innovative seasonal probiotics which Jetson sells. Seasonal probiotics? You bet. With a seasonal rotation, Jetson ensures that your gut is exposed to as many strains of probiotics as possible, which means the strains are fresh, delivered monthly to your door, and offer the best guarantee for optimal gut health. In comparison, most probiotics brands on the market only offer the same small handful every month, while Jetson delivers over 20 strains in a rotating pattern with their subscription program. Such diversity of good bacteria makes a tremendous difference in how well your gut can carry out essential functions.

Another great reason to subscribe to Jetson seasonal probiotics is that they are made in fresh batches and delivered to you every month, as opposed to sitting in a bottle on a shelf for many months, degrading from moisture and heat. In addition, Jetson uses a protective gel material in their capsules to prevent them from being broken down by highly acidic environment of the stomach. This means that the probiotic capsule reaches the small intestine unscathed, and can exert its beneficial effects.

Interestingly enough, right before I started taking Jetson Probiotics, I was having issues with abdominal bloating which I just couldn’t shake. About 3 days after I began taking Jetson probiotics, I noticed that my bloating decreased noticeably, which I definitely appreciated, especially since I was concerned about an upcoming photo shoot! I’m looking forward to subscribing to Jetson to see how my body responds to the expanded variety of probiotic strains. This is an especially good time to start thinking about improving gut health, since we all have to deal with holiday stress as well as holiday foods which we don’t usually consume during other times of the year.

Jetson offers more strains of probiotics on a seasonal schedule for optimal gut function.

Check out Jetson seasonal probiotics here:

https://wearejetson.com/

Drink Your Water!

Drink Water. Close Up Man Pouring Water Into Glass. Hydration

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What’s the big deal with drinking water every day anyway?

Well, it turns out that there are a myriad of health benefits which come from drinking water. After all, we are made up largely of water, which exists in our tissues, blood, bone, and organs. In addition, we lose fluid constantly through processes such as breathing, urination, defecation, and skin evaporation. You may not realize it, but proper hydration maintains blood pressure, flushes wastes from the cells in the body, regulates body temperature, and maintains humidity in the airways for optimal oxygenation.

When fluid intake is adequate, the natural process of digestion keeps humming along, and waste products which form are softened by the water content. One sure way to impede the natural process of digestion is to deprive your body of water, which will result in slow transit and constipation. Low water intake can also create an environment in which kidney stones are prone to form.

As if that wasn’t enough, adequate water intake actually enhances physical performance and lubricates the joints. If you have ever struggled through a workout when you haven’t been drinking enough fluids, you know how agonizing it can be to try to power through a routine when you are dry as a bone. And since water is so plentiful in the tissues of the brain, dehydration has a major negative effect on energy levels and concentration. If you’ve ever gotten a headache from dehydration, you know that it can be next to impossible to focus when your head is pounding.

The simple solution? Drink some water!

Lastly, water forms a protective barrier in the skin to plump it up and minimize the appearance of wrinkles. Proper hydration is a simple anti-aging secret which you can easily adopt.

So tell me again why you don’t like to drink water?

Perhaps you are one of those people who never drinks water. If you simply can’t deal with the “taste” of water, then try infusing water with fresh fruits such as lemon, lime, oranges, blueberries, cucumber, strawberries, kiwi, or watermelon. Another option for flavoring your water in a healthy way is to make herbal tea and drink it either hot or cold. You can also turn to foods which have a high water content, which will hydrate you, while also fill you up faster and aid in weight loss if that’s your goal. Most fruits and vegetables are high in water content, but you can also incorporate yogurt, soups or bone broth into your regimen to increase water intake.

Here are my top three guidelines to encourage you to drink more water:

1. Carry an attractive stainless steel or BPA-free plastic container with you everywhere you go. I generally suggest a 1 liter size (which is about 34 ounces), and I also recommend a container which has a sip spout for easy drinking, as well as a handle at the top for easy portability. Ideally, you will consume a full container of water in a day, preferably two. I honestly always have a drinking container with me which I take everywhere. It never leaves my side.

2. Drink a beverage every time you eat something. This way, you will get into the habit of consuming fluids with every food item, which will help wash down the food and will get you to your hydration goals more easily.

3. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Remember that fruits and vegetables have a high water content, and contribute to total water intake.

Review of Guy Gone Keto

Guy Gone Keto by Thom King is an excellent book and a must read for anyone who is seriously considering adopting the keto lifestyle. Whether you are interested in losing weight or just want to optimize your daily food intake, the keto lifestyle is a viable option, and Thom definitely breaks down the science behind keto into easily understood terms. Thom is the founder and CEO of Steviva Brands, and is well-versed in natural foods and has an extensive background in food science and “bio-hacking”, so he knows what he’s talking about.

I was able to read this book in one sitting on a weekend afternoon and found it amusing and well-written. I love how Thom adds his personal experiences to really underscore the fact that a keto lifestyle can transform your body and your life if you commit to it. He also includes a whole collection of keto recipes so that you can infuse variety into your new keto regimen. He includes recommendations on what supplements to purchase so you aren’t in the dark about what to get.

Thom King also has an expansive line of Guy Gone Keto products, including MCT Oil, Steak Sauce, BBQ Sauce, Ketchup, Teriyaki Sauce, Thai Chili Sauce, and KetoseSweet+. You can check out the line here:

https://shop.guygoneketo.com/

Pack Your Meals! Tips On How To Succeed

containers-stacked-for-storageAnyone who knows me well is aware of the fact that I am consistent about packing clean meals and toting them around with me throughout the day. It can be cumbersome to pack food, especially when I know I will be out of the house for most of the day, but by doing so I have peace of mind knowing that I will be able to stay on track with my meal plan no matter what. Competitors and fitness professionals practice this habit and can attest to the power of clean eating in maintaining a sculpted, muscular physique.


However, I realize that many of you who do not compete or have an involvement in fitness may be wondering if there is any point to packing meals if you are an average person. There are a multitude of benefits to be gained from packing meals for the day:

• Portion Control – If you measure and weigh your portions before placing them into containers, you will have full control over your intake.

• Cooking Method – Steaming, baking, boiling, grilling and poaching are easy cooking methods which also enable you to prepare food without adding unnecessary fat.

• Save Money – By purchasing food at the grocery store and preparing it yourself, you will save a significant amount of money.

• Maintain A Low Sodium Diet – Restaurants often add significant amounts of sodium to enhance the flavor of their dishes. If you are trying to keep your sodium intake low, you are better off preparing your own food.

• Accommodate Medical Dietary Restrictions And Food Allergies – Restaurant meals may add ingredients which are forbidden from your meal plan due to medical conditions or food allergies. Instead of taking a risk, you are better off preparing your meals and packing them with you.

When I worked the Arnold Sports Festival Expo in Columbus, Ohio earlier this month, I made sure to drink plenty of water, filling up my one liter container 3 to 4 times each day. I also brought my Hot Logic Mini with me (https://youtu.be/GQltYTRLTC4) and had meals from Icon Meals (https://iconmeals.com/) with me, and I made sure to consume a meal every 3 hours to keep my energy levels up. If you are committed to living a healthy lifestyle, you will find ways to stay in line!

I always recommend tempered glass storage containers over plastic, since heating up ingredients in most plastic containers carries a risk of deranging the plastic and releasing harmful chemicals into the food. I make an exception with BPA-free containers, and recommend the types which have locking lids to prevent leakage of food.
6-Pack-Bag_Details-small
The BEST meal packing system out there is made by Six Pack Bags:
https://www.sixpackbags.com/bags.html

By adopting the habit of packing your meals, you will be on the road to better health!

Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented beverage made from black tea and either sugar, honey or fruit, which has beneficial probiotic and antibiotic qualities. Once the solution is mixed, it is then fermented by a combination of bacteria and yeast better known as SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). There are numerous positive effects on the body, which are discussed here.

GUT HEALTH:

Kombucha is loaded with good bacteria (known as probiotics), as well as enzymes and yeast which assist in breaking down foods for enhanced absorption and digestion. Since the mixture is doing some of the work in digestion, your gut is better able to do its job without being overloaded. Kombucha also restores a healthy pH balance in the gut, and its consumption is highly recommended for individuals dealing with irritable bowel syndrome, Candida overgrowth, and many other digestive disorders.

The fermentation process involved in the production of kombucha also produces butyric acid, which has strong antimicrobial and anti-cancer features, protects the gut against yeast overgrowth, and destroys parasites which might be lurking in your gastrointestinal tract.

ALL THAT GOOD STUFF:

The fermentation process involved in making kombucha produces by-products such as acetic acid, which inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria, thus conferring a protective effect upon the body against infection. Kombucha also contains naturally occurring glucosamine, so chugging this fermented beverage can also aid in joint function and health. It is also chock-full of vitamin C and vitamin B, and truly helps to cleanse the liver and rid the body of free radicals.

I remember a roommate from 2008 who had begun drinking raw kombucha regularly, and he insisted that it was the most fantastic new health beverage. What I hadn’t realized then was that kombucha has actually been around for over 2,000 years, originating in China, then spreading to countries such as Korea, Japan, Russia, and India.

My roommate kept insisting that I try kombucha, even when I told him that the slimy sludge floating in the bottles made me want to gag. I finally did try a sip of kombucha in 2009, and found that I didn’t like the incredibly tart, vinegary flavor at all.

Despite my first unfavorable experience kombucha, I decided to try some of the newer brands, like Health-Ade, Synergy and Revive, last year. It turns out that kombucha has come a long way, with better flavor, and the SCOBY colonies are somehow less disgusting than what I remember from years ago. The fruitier versions are fizzy, refreshing, and quite tasty. Because of its acidity, kombucha should not be consumed in excess. My recommendation is to drink 4 ounces per day to obtain the probiotic benefits of this strange and popular beverage.