The Longevity Code: 9 Tips for Healthy Aging

Sporty woman eating apple

When 90-year-old William Shatner blasted off into space aboard Blue Origin, he became the oldest astronaut in history.

Ever thought about what you might be doing when you’re 90 years old?

In the cult-classic TV show Star Trek, Shatner piloted the U.S.S. Enterprise starship through space as Captain James Kirk. Maybe for just a few minutes during his recent flight, he thought about Dr. Spock’s famous words, “Live long and prosper.”

DID YOU KNOW…the average life expectancy in the United States is currently 77.8?1

That’s about 1.5 years lower than it’s been in nearly 20 years. And it’s the biggest decline in life expectancy in the U.S. since World War II.

Why? COVID-19 gets most of the credit for that, but chronic and preventable diseases play a part, too. For example:

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., claiming the lives of an estimated 659,041 people a year. But it’s largely preventable.
  • Obesity. An estimated 74 percent of all adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese. It’s a major risk factor for chronic diseases and early death.
  • Lack of exercise. Only 53 percent of adults are active more than 30 minutes a day. Only 23 percent do activities to strengthen bones and muscles.
  • Diabetes. An estimated 34 million people have type 2 diabetes. Left unchecked, it can cause nerve damage, poor circulation, vision loss, kidney disease, heart disease, and death.

Want to live longer, prevent disease, and enjoy a better quality of life as you age?

There’s no secret longevity code, Star-Trek-inspired phaser device or Fountain of Youth to help you live forever. But you can make healthy lifestyle habits to protect your health and live longer.

9 Lifestyle Habits for Healthy Aging

Research shows these nine healthy habits are the biggest factors for good health and longevity, and can help you live up to 10 years longer.2

If you’re already doing these things, keep up the good work. If you need to make some changes, now is always the best time to start…

1. Eat a healthy diet. Most of your food and snacks should come from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Eat fresh food, and drink plenty of water.

2. Exercise regularly. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day. It’s as simple as going for a walk. Exercises to strengthen your bones and muscles will help, too.

3. Maintain a healthy weight, or lose weight if you need to. Worried about the number on the scale? Keep it simple. You can lose 1 to 2 pounds a week by making small changes to your diet and exercise habits.

4. Avoid or limit alcohol. No more than 2 drinks per day for men. No more than 1 drink per day for women, zero if pregnant. Or don’t drink at all.

5. Don’t smoke, or quit if you do. Health benefits of quitting begin as soon as you stop. More Healthy Lifestyle Habits for Longevity While these five habits appear to have the biggest impact on health and longevity, there’s more you can do to age well.

6. Manage stress in healthy ways. Try yoga, meditation, or deep breathing. Keep a journal. Talk to a counselor or therapist. Make time for a hobby. Stress less.3

7. Get your Zzz’s. The optimal amount… 7-9 hours per night. Too little sleep, and even too much sleep, raises the risk for early death.4

8. Be positive. You might roll your eyes at the eternal optimist. But research shows people who see the “glass half full” manage stress better, have a lower risk for chronic disease, and live longer.5

9. Develop healthy relationships. Spend time with family and friends. Make a phone call, text, or plan a video chat. Write a letter. Be part of a social group. Research shows that people with healthy relationships and a strong social network are healthier, feel happier and live longer.6

You Hungry? The Truth About Cravings and Sleep

It’s 3 p.m. You’re tired and stressed. And you can’t stop thinking about chocolate, cheesecake, burgers, and fries.

Maybe your junk-food craving is so strong, it’s like you’re being pulled to the vending machine, drive-thru, or nearest quickie mart by an unseen force to get your fix, and munch your way through some high-calorie junk food.

Or maybe you manage your cravings during the day, but overeat when you get home, and top off dinner with snacks and dessert.

That ever happen?

The Hunger Games

Don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re not alone. Research shows that as your workday unfolds and your stress level rises, cravings go up.1

So how do you curb those less-than-healthy cravings?

More will power: I’m only going to eat fruits and vegetables when I get hungry.
A bare-bones diet: I’m going to cut calories to avoid overeating.
A regimented eating schedule: I’m going to eat three meals and two snacks, at the same time, every day. That’s it.
Deep breathing and meditation: I am in control of my mind and body. I am acknowledging my hunger, and choose to eat mindfully.

There’s nothing wrong with these strategies to help you curb hunger cravings. But the truth is, they often don’t work…especially if you’re sleep deprived.

Use Your Pillow to Curb Hunger Cravings

Managing stress in healthy ways can make a difference. But it’s not the only factor that influences food cravings.

“Another key finding showed how sleep helped people deal with their stressful eating after work,” according to researchers. “When workers slept better the night before, they tended to eat better when they experienced stress the next day.”

Want to curb junk-food cravings and eat healthier? Use your pillow.

Research shows that 7 to 8 hours of sleep is a good recipe for healthy eating.

Sleep helps reduce stress, improve your mood, and control cravings linked to hormones ghrelin and leptin.. Here are some ways to get a good night’s sleep:2

  • Keep to a regular sleep schedule 7 days a week.
  • Exercise daily. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity. Being physically tired at the end of the day helps people get to sleep sooner, and stay asleep longer.
  • Relax before bedtime (e.g., take a hot bath, read, meditate).
    Create a comfortable sleep environment. It’s best to make your room as dark as possible and eliminate distractions (e.g., outside light, a messy room, pets, room temperature) that could keep you awake.
  • Avoid media before bed such as watching TV or using your computer or mobile devices in bed.
  • Don’t eat a large meal or drink a lot of liquids late at night.
  • Don’t exercise or nap late in the evening.
  • Don’t drink alcohol right before bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine and nicotine for 8 hours before going to sleep.

These are ingredients for a good night’s sleep that will help you make better food choices and curb cravings.

5 Foods to Help Control Blood Sugar Levels

More fruits, vegetables & whole grains make a difference

How’s your blood sugar level?

If you’re anything like the typical American, there’s a chance it’s a little higher than it should be. Fortunately, what you eat can make a difference.

The trouble with high blood sugar

Higher than normal blood sugar levels can lead to diabetes. Over time, high blood sugar can lead to poor blood flow, organ damage, and vision loss.

Diabetes can raise your risk for heart disease or stroke. It’s also the leading cause of amputations and the 7th leading cause of death.

Think you don’t need to worry? Consider this. About 34 million adults in the United States have type 2 diabetes. Another 88 million have prediabetes, and many don’t even know it.1 Another way to look at this…1 in 3 adults has diabetes or pre-diabetes.

Is there anything you can do to lower your risk for diabetes and control blood sugar levels? Start with healthy lifestyle habits like:

  • Get regular exercise
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Don’t smoke, or quit if you do

And there’s at least one other lifestyle factor that has a lot to do with blood sugar levels…your diet.

5 foods to control blood sugar levels

Food is a big reason for higher-than-normal blood sugar levels.

Americans eat a lot of fast food, burgers, sugary drinks, cereals, and biggie-sized desserts. Sound familiar?

These “junk” foods are digested quickly. This, in turn, can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels.

Are you ready to improve your blood sugar level and reduce your risk for diabetes and other health problems? Eat less junk food and choose healthier options like:

1. Leafy greens
Try kale, broccoli, spinach, or chard. Leafy greens are high in fiber, magnesium, vitamin A, and other nutrients that can help control blood sugar. Perfect as a side dish, in a smoothie, or in a salad with vinaigrette or olive-oil dressing.

2. Brightly colored vegetables
Most adults should eat about 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day. But only 9 percent of adults eat enough vegetables.2 Try red bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, beets, and cabbage. Serve steamed, baked, grilled, or freshly cut on aControl Blood Sugar with food vegetable tray.

3. Low-calorie drinks
Skip sweetened drinks like soda and sports drinks. They’re loaded with empty calories that can lead to diabetes, weight gain, and other health problems.

Instead, drink water. It’s usually free and has zero calories. If you prefer a bit of flavor, add a squeeze of lemon or lime. Don’t like water? Then drink herbal tea or a low-sugar drink.

4. Berries
If you’re craving something sweet, you might be tempted to scarf down a candy bar. But that’s a recipe for a spike in blood sugar levels. Instead, try blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries. These fruits are sweet. But research shows berries can help control blood sugar levels.3

5. Whole-grains
Here’s one more food that should be part of your diet if you want to be healthier and manage blood sugar levels…whole grains.

It’s found in foods like whole-grain breads, pasta, cereals, and oats. The high-fiber content takes longer to digest and helps regulate blood sugar levels.

Want to keep your blood sugar levels under control to prevent or manage diabetes? Take a closer look at your diet, and eat more of these five kinds of foods.

30 Minutes a Day: 13 Easy Ways to Be More Active

Walking on treadmill

Move more & sit less to protect your health

Are you getting enough exercise?

If you are, keep up the good work. If you aren’t, you’re not alone.

Only 23 percent of adults meet the minimum guidelines for physical activity.1 Which means chances are pretty good, you know you could do better.

You know…go for a walk. Get to the gym. Watch less TV. If it’s been on your mind, now is always the perfect time to start.

You don’t need to do grueling workouts, run marathons, or train like a bodybuilder. But you can make simple changes to your day to exercise, get your steps in and improve your health.

Need a little boost of motivation to help you be more active?

Here are 5 fitness facts to help you get moving…

1. Burn baby, burn. Exercising increases your metabolism during AND after your workout. Which means it’s a great way to burn off that dessert.

2. Bone up. Regular physical activity improves bone density. The benefit: Stronger bones help prevent osteoporosis and fractures.

3. Track it. Keeping track of your weight, daily steps, miles or calories burned can motivate you to keep trying, work harder, and measure your success.

4. Mix it up. Running, lifting weights, and cycling count as exercise. But you don’t have to do a formal workout. Working the yard, playing with your kids, cleaning the house, and even walking through the mall or grocery store count as exercise. It’s called non-exercise activity thermogenesis…a fancy term for the calories you burn even when you’re not formally exercising.

5. Add up your exercise minutes. Struggling to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day? Don’t stress. Even short bursts of exercise count. Try taking three 10-minute walks.

What do you think? Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day doesn’t sound so bad now. Right?

Struggling to Find Time to Be Active?

“I don’t have time.” It’s the number one excuse for not being active..

Only about 53 percent of adults exercise for at least 30 minutes per day. The rest are active for about 17 minutes a day. And sometimes that’s in really short sessions, like walking from the parking lot to the store.

Are you really too busy to be active 30 minutes a day?

Maybe your schedule is packed with work, school, family, and other things. But take a closer look at how you spend your time.

  • Can you fit in a walk, gym/home workout, or fitness class?
  • Do you have 5 to 10 minutes of free time several times during the day?
  • Can you get more steps per day without making big changes to your routine?

The Clock is Ticking…

Think about it like this. Everybody has the same 1,440 minutes in a day. Can you find time to spend just 30 minutes a day on being more active? It’s worth the effort.

Research shows that people who are active at least 30 minutes a day are TWICE as likely to avoid:2

  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Certain types of cancer

When you’re active, you’re also TWICE as likely to feel happier and live longer, than people who aren’t.

10 Reasons to Be More Active

Still think 30 minutes is too much?

If you don’t have time for a gym workout or 30-minute walk, try being active in 5-10 minute sessions a few times a day. Take this for a test run and see how you feel. Research shows that physical activity can help:3

1. Improve sleep
2. Control weight
3. Improve strength and flexibility
4. Lower cholesterol
5. Improve heart health
6. Build stronger bones
7. Lower blood pressure
8. Boost mood
9. Reduce stress & anxiety
10. Lower body fat

Favorite Workout? Do Your Thing in 30 Minutes

Aiming for at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day is the goal. But don’t pick an activity you despise. You’ll be miserable, and you won’t want to keep doing it. The best workout is the one you’ll actually do. Pick an activity you enjoy, and start moving. Try:

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Running
  • Hiking
  • Dancing
  • Yoga
  • Gardening
  • Weight Lifting
  • Taking a fitness class

13 Easy Ways to Be More Active

Still wondering how you’re going to fit 30 minutes of physical activity into your day?

If you don’t have time for a 30-minute workout, here are some easy and creative ways to be more active that don’t require a formal workout or gym membership:

1. Take the stairs.
2. Host a walking meeting at work.Walking Meeting
3. Walk to deliver a message to someone (instead of yelling, calling, or texting).
4. Use a stand-up desk.
5. Take the dog for a walk.
6. Exercise during commercials (jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups, squats).
7. Clean the house…FAST.
8. Play in a park (swingset, playground, games, sports).
9. Use your home exercise equipment (cycle, treadmill, weights).
10. Park far away when you go shopping to get extra steps.
11. Speed walk through the store when you shop.
12. Work in the yard.
13. Walk around when you’re on the phone.

Now you know how to be more active, even if you’re short on time. Carve out time for a 30-minute workout, or break it down into bite-sized sessions of physical activity. You’ll feel better, be healthier and live longer.

The 7-Minute Mindfulness Practice

Start your day off right with just a few minutes of focus

If you wake up in the morning, grab your smartphone, and start scrolling through messages, you’re not the only one.

Maybe you get dressed, grab a cup of coffee, and dash out the door. Or maybe you feel stressed out, like every day is a battle to tick things off your to-do list.

That might be your morning routine. But it’s not the kind of morning routine that helps you be healthy, happy, and productive.

Take a different approach to the first few minutes of your day. Slowing down long enough to “smell the roses” can have a positive impact on your life in more ways than one.

How? Meditation helps lower anxiety and stress, according to a study by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.

Research also shows that being mindful can:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve mood
  • Help you relax
  • Improve sleep quality
  • Reduce pain
  • Promote creativity
  • Improve memory & thinking
  • Help you focus

If you want to do more than just react to the events of the day, a well-planned morning routine can help. And it doesn’t have to take long.

With just 7-10 minutes a day, you can change the way you think and feel to be happier, healthier, and more productive.Practice Mindfulness Daily Here’s how:

1. Read. Take 1-2 minutes to read about something that interests you. A book, article, or blog post, for example.

2. Be active. Go outside, weather permitting. Take a brisk walk. Jump rope. Or just stretch your muscles. This isn’t your 30-minute workout. Just be active for 1-2 minutes.

3. Meditate. Sit in a quiet and comfortable place. Some people use this time to pray. Others simply focus on breathing for 1-2 minutes.

4. Be mindful. Now focus on what you want to accomplish and habits you want to form for 1-2 minutes. (Start with a small goal you can track and measure. For example:

  • “I will eat more fruits and vegetables for a week.”
  • “I will exercise at least 30 minutes a day.”
  • “I will manage stress in healthy ways.”

5. Visualize. Now imagine yourself making these decisions throughout your day. For example, picture yourself eating a leafy-green salad, going for a walk, and calmly handling a stressful situation at home or work. Visualize for 1-2 minutes.

6. Write. Wrap up your morning routine by writing. Create an action plan for things you will do. Write down lessons you have learned. Or keep a list of things you’re grateful for. But keep it simple. This should only take 1-2 minutes.

What do you get out of a morning routine like this? You get a framework to improve your health, break bad habits, and create healthier ones. And it only takes 7-10 minutes. That’s the real benefit of a well-planned morning routine.

The New Rules of Grilling: 4 Tips to Make Healthier Food

Grilled Vegetable

You might be thinking about firing up the grill for a backyard barbecue or picnic. But don’t get the briquettes or propane burner flaming hot just yet.

Munching your way through char-grilled meat or fish isn’t the best way to go.

Why? Grilling beef, pork, fish, and poultry at high temperatures can cause an unhealthy reaction in the meat. It’s a recipe for heterocyclic amines (HCAs) linked to cancer.

Here’s what happens:

  • The fat drop. When fat drops down during grilling and burns, it goes back into the food.
  • Char time. This is how food gets charred during grilling.
  • The danger zone. It’s also how HCAs are formed.

But that doesn’t mean you have to forget about summer-season grilling.

Here are 4 ways to make grilling healthier:

1. Use a grill in the oven
If you want to grill something, use a grill in the oven where you can grill from above. Grilling from above helps prevent charring and HCAs.

2. Choose plant-based burgers
Use a barbecue grill. But instead of meat, try grilling plant-based burgers such as black-bean burgers or garden burgers. These are less likely to form harmful HCAs from grilling than meats.

3. Grill fruits and vegetables
Here’s another barbecue-friendly option. Make kebabs with your favorites fruits or veggies like:Grilled Vegetable

  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes
  • Potato wedges
  • Egg plant
  • Mushrooms
  • Pineapple chunks.
  • Or grill corn on the cob wrapped in foil.

Fruits and vegetables don’t form HCAs. Just cook at a moderate temperature and avoid burning or blackening of food.

4. Season foods with herbs and spices (instead of sauces high in calories)
Or marinate foods before grilling. Research shows this can help prevent HCAs from forming.

Discover the benefits of grilling at home
If you’ve been thinking about eating at home more often, give healthy grilling a try.

Research shows that cooking at home can help you eat healthier foods, control calories, lose weight, or maintain a healthy weight.

You hungry? Fire up the grill. Turn down the heat. Cook your food a little longer, and enjoy a home-cooked meal.

How to Walk 10,000 Steps a Day

Time to be active

Walk 10,000 steps a day. Chances are pretty good you’ve heard the advice before. Maybe you’ve even tried it. But what’s so magical about getting those steps in?

Walking 10,000 steps a day doesn’t unlock magical unicorn powers, reveal a pot of gold, or win you a dream vacation. But there are some important health benefits to putting on your shoes and making walking a daily habit.

15 Healthy Reasons to Get Your Steps for the Day

If you’ve been thinking about taking action to improve your health, walking is one of the easiest ways to start.

Why? It doesn’t require any special skills, a gym membership, or expensive equipment. Just lace up your shoes and go.

Research shows that walking can help you:

  1. Lower blood pressure
  2. Build muscle strength
  3. Improve balance
  4. Boost energy levels
  5. Develop aerobic or cardiovascular fitness
  6. Lose weight or maintain a healthy weight
  7. Sleep better
  8. Control blood sugar levels
  9. Improve cholesterol levels
  10. Reduce risk for heart disease and stroke
  11. Strengthen bones
  12. Lower the risk for certain types of cancer
  13. Decrease stress
  14. Reduce anxiety and depression
  15. Help you live longer

Change Your Habits…Change Your Life
Still on the fence about walking 10,000 steps a day? Think about this….

  • Tip the scale in the right direction. Walking 60 minutes a day for a year would burn about 146,000 calories or about 40 pounds.
  • Feel the burn. It would take about 30 minutes of brisk walking to burn off the calories in a donut.
  • Prevent disease. Walking can help reduce the risk for heart disease. It’s the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming the lives of an estimated 659,000 people a year. But it’s largely preventable.
  • How many steps per day do you get? Be honest. The average adult only gets 3,000 to 4,000 steps per day.3

How to Make Walking a Regular Part of Your Day
Want to hit the 10,000 steps per day mark? It’s not as hard as you might think. Aim for at least 30 minutes of walking each day (break it up if you’re short on time).

Here are some easy ways to add more steps to your day to improve your health:

Track your steps
A pedometer, wearable device, or mobile app can track the number of steps you take per day. Keep a record of how many steps you take. Monitor your activity throughout the day. Fit in an extra walk if you need to so you can meet your goal. Aim for at least 10,000 steps a day.

THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS YOU CAN DO TO REACH 10,000 STEPS PER DAY.

Take the stairs
Skip the elevator or escalator, and take the stairs. If you’re working at home with stairs, walk to deliver a message instead of yelling.

Park far away
Got a shopping trip planned? Forget about trying to find the closest spot to the front door. Park far away, and walk. You’ll add more steps to your day, and save time and stress trying to find a parking spot.

Schedule walk breaks
Let’s face it. We’re all busy. And if you don’t make time for walking, it’s easy to forget. So schedule it. Put it on your calendar. Your health depends on keeping this appointment. Take a morning and afternoon walk break. Fit a walk break in during your lunch hour. Or take a walk after dinner. Pick up the pace a few minutes at a time for added health benefits.4

Use a treadmill
If the weather stinks or you have other reasons for not walking outside, get on a treadmill. You might have one at home, the gym, the office, or even at a hotel when you’re on the road.

Walk and talk…without tech
At home you might yell from room to room. At the office, probably not. But you might send a co-worker an email or text. Walking in a group Either way, you’ll get more steps by taking a short walk to deliver the message in person.

Move more, sit less
Add more steps to your day by pacing around. Think about how often you’re sitting, when you could be moving: brushing your teeth, waiting for an appointment, on the phone, etc.

Walk with someone
It’s all too easy to hit the snooze button for an early-morning walk, or skip out because you’re “too busy.” But if you go with a friend or group, you’re a lot more likely to get your steps in. Social distancing rules may apply.

Host a walking challenge
Are you game for a little competition? Challenge your friends, co-workers, or family members to walk more, too. Keep track, and encourage each other to hit their daily steps goal. You could even share your progress on social media.

 

6 Tips to Protect Your Skin from the Sun

Protect you skin

It’s summer time. You work in the yard. You play at the beach or lake. Maybe you hike, bike, run or go for a walk. And with the long hours of daylight, there’s still time for a backyard barbecue or picnic.

But there’s something you need to know before you get another splash of sunshine: 1 in 5 people will get skin cancer.

If you’re going to be in the sun for longer than 15 minutes, you need to protect your skin. One in five people will develop skin cancer by age 70.1 But it’s largely preventable if you protect your skin from too much sun. But first…

Here’s What Not to Do: Take Sunscreen Pills

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently cracked down on companies selling these supplements.2

It’s true. Sunscreen lotion or sprays take time to apply. But they’re one of your best defenses from the sun’s harmful rays. And there isn’t a quick fix. “There’s no pill or capsule that can replace your sunscreen,” says FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb.

So what can you do to protect your skin from the sun? Here are 6 tips to help you be sun smart this summer:

1. Use sunscreen. When your skin is exposed to the sun it increases your risk for sunburn, skin cancer, and premature skin aging. But sunscreen can protect your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

2. Check the SPF rating. Pick up a bottle of sunscreen, and take a look at the label. You’ll see an SPF (= Sun Protection Factor) rating.

It’s a measure of how much ultraviolet light gets to your skin. The higher SPF rating, the more protection the sunscreen provides to a point:

SPF 30 blocks 93 percent of the sun’s harmful rays
SPF 50 blocks 98 percent of the sun’s harmful rays
Sunscreens with an SPF below 30 don’t protect your skin enough.
And sunscreens SPF 50 or above don’t provide much, if any, added protection.

Using sunscreen is an effective way to protect your skin from the sun when you’re outside. Use it properly and be sun smart by:3

3. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure. Make sure you apply a thin layer to any areas of exposed skin, including arms, legs, face, ears, necks, and feet if you’re going barefoot or wearing sandals.

4. Limit time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s rays are the strongest.

5. Wear clothing to cover skin exposed to the sun. For example, a long-sleeved shirt, pants, sunglasses, and a broad-brimmed hat.

6. Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours. More often if you’re sweating or in and out of water in a pool, lake, or ocean.

Think you don’t have time? Think about this…Having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for certain types of skin cancer. You can prevent it, and it only takes a few minutes.

Planning to spend some time in the sun for work, a vacation, or a day at the park? Take a little time to protect your skin from the sun to keep your skin healthy. Use sunscreen. Cover up. Find some shade. And you’ll reduce your risk for skin damage caused by too much sun.

Eat Fiber to Lower Risk for Diabetes

Fruits, vegetables & whole grains can help

What if making just ONE simple change to your diet could cut your risk for type 2 diabetes? Would you do it?

High Fiber Foods High Fiber Foods[/caption]

About 34 million people in the United States have type 2 diabetes?

Left unchecked, type 2 diabetes can cause nerve damage, poor circulation, kidney failure, and vision loss.

It can increase the risk for a heart attack or stroke. It’s the primary cause of all limb amputations. And it’s among the top 10 leading causes of death.

Sounds pretty bad, right?

Wait…there’s more. About 88 million people have pre-diabetes, but most don’t even know it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.1

But here’s the most interesting thing about this. Diabetes is largely preventable with smart lifestyle habits such as:

  • Maintain a healthy weight or lose weight if you need to
  • Exercise 30 to 60 minutes a day
  • Don’t smoke, or quit if you do
  • Avoid foods and drinks high in sugar and refined carbohydrates
  • Drink more water

And there’s at least ONE more thing you can do to prevent diabetes.

Eat. More. Fiber.

In two recent studies, researchers found that eating fiber-rich foods (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) significantly lowers the risk for developing type 2 diabetes.2,3

Research shows that eating fiber-rich foods…

  • Help you feel full sooner and longer
  • Keep your blood sugar levels lower
  • Slow down digestion, which gives your intestines more time to make the hormones that help you feel full.
  • Help you naturally maintain your weight.
  • Lower the risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and certain types of cancer

How much fiber do you need?

The American Heart Association recommends adults eat 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day. On average, most adults only eat about 15 grams of fiber per day. Which means…you can probably do better.

Feast on fiber: 15 food tips to help prevent diabetes

It’s easy to say you’re going to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fiber-rich foods. But if you’re not eating enough fiber right now, what can you do to change your eating habits? Here are some easy ways to eat more fiber:

1. Choose whole-grains…breads, cereals, and pasta instead of white bread and sugary cereals.

2. Leave the skin on potatoes, apples, and carrots. The outer layer is highest in fiber.

3. Go nuts. Snack on a handful of nuts, seeds, or raw vegetables instead of cookies or chips.

4. Add cooked beans and peas to pasta, soups, stews, casseroles, and salads.

5. Choose an orange or grapefruit instead of juice for breakfast. (Juice doesn’t have a lot of fiber.)

6. Eat fresh or dried fruit for desserts or snacks.

7. Make a smoothie with fresh fruit and toss in high-fiber foods like flaxseed, avocado, and leafy greens.

8. Choose high-fiber grains like brown rice, bulgur, quinoa, and couscous instead of white rice and white flour.

9. Puree vegetables and add to sauces and stews.

10. Replace white rice with chopped cauliflower (cooked).

11. Make pancakes with buckwheat flour instead of white flour or a packaged mix.

12. Add raw sprouts to sandwiches and salads.

13. Sneak in flaxseed meal with oats, smoothies, yogurt, and baked goods.

14. Drink plenty of water. The more fiber you eat, the more water your digestive system needs to break down food. If you don’t, you could end up with constipation.

15. Keep a food log and read food labels to track how much fiber you’re eating per day. Aim to eat 25 to 30 grams of fiber. Keeping track will remind you to choose food high in fiber.

Get used to eating more fiber to prevent diabetes

If you’re not getting enough fiber in your diet now, start by eating more fiber than you did yesterday. Then gradually eat a little more fiber each day. And keep track of how you feel.

Discover the Power of Kindness to Improve Your Health

40 ways to improve your mood & your health by helping others

Want to improve your mood and your health?

Kindness
Kindness

After more than a year of COVID restrictions, economic challenges, and isolation, chances are pretty good you could use a pick-me-up.

New research suggests there’s a surprising way to boost happiness, reduce stress, and improve your health WITHOUT medication, strenuous exercise, extreme dieting, or all the other health and fitness fads out there.1

It’s pretty simple: Practice kindness.

Maybe that sounds like woo-woo science. But research shows practicing kindness can have a positive impact on your health in more ways than one…

Increase happiness

Being kind to others can help you feel happier. In one review of 400 studies, acts of kindness for others had a positive impact on mood and happiness.2

It didn’t matter who: family friends, colleagues, community members, and even strangers. You can be kind to anyone and feel happy.

Live longer and boost brain health

But being kind does more than just help you feel good. One study tracked about 43,000 people for a year.

Researchers found that those who help others are more likely to live longer and have healthier brains.3

Doing good may also help reduce stress and inflammation linked to chronic diseases.

Control blood pressure
In a separate study, researchers followed about 7,000 people for 48 months.4 They found that people who volunteer at least 200 hours a year are less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who don’t volunteer.

And that’s important. High blood pressure has been linked to heart disease, stroke, and early death. Doing good matters.

40 ways to practice kindness

So how can you practice kindness? It’s simple. Look for ways to help others at home, at work, in your community, or when you’re out and about.

You can lend a hand by doing something simple like offering a compliment. Or, you can make an impact in other ways. Here are 40 ways you can practice kindness:

At home…

  1. Hug your kids
  2. Compliment your partner
  3. Write thank-you letters
  4. Mow your neighbor’s lawn
  5. Call or text a friend just to talk
  6. Do someone else’s chores for a day
  7. Be a good listener
  8. Invite a friend over for dinner
  9. Throw a party for someone
  10. Encourage laughter

At work…

  1.  Help new employees feel welcome
  2. Point out a job well done
  3. Take a co-worker to lunch
  4. Write a thank-you note to a manager or co-worker
  5. Fix problems when you can, even if it’s not your job

In your community…

  1. Donate blood
  2. Be a mentor to others
  3. Share your talents
  4. Donate to a food drive or charity
  5. Help out at your child’s school
  6. Serve on a council or board
  7. Help plan neighborhood or community events
  8. Take healthy treats to a friend
  9. Serve meals at a local shelter
  10. Adopt a road and pick up litter
  11. Offer pro-bono services
  12. Babysit for parents with young children
  13. Volunteer at a hospital, library or museum

Out and about…

  1. Let someone go ahead of you in line at the store.
  2. Pay for coffee for the person behind you
  3. Hold a door open for someone
  4. Return your shopping cart
  5. Share an umbrella
  6. Give directions to someone who is lost
  7. Let other drivers in front of you
  8. Help a stranded driver
  9. Compliment others
  10. Smile more
  11. Listen more
  12. Say thank you more often

Practicing kindness doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money. It’s something everyone can do. You might not be able to help everyone. But you can still make a difference.

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one,” Mother Teresa said.

Practicing kindness will help others, and it will improve your mood and your health.

6 EASY Ways to Drink More Water

Stay hydrated to protect your health

You thirsty? Chances are pretty good you’ve heard the advice before…”Drink more water.” But are you doing it?

If you’re not, you might be dehydrated. And that can lead to bigger problems than just feeling parched and thirsty.

Dehydration can cause headaches, constipation, kidney stones, and impaired circulation. In hot weather, poor hydration can also lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

The good news…when you do drink enough water, it can help:

  • Control food cravings
  • Regulate body temperature
  • Prevent fatigue
  • Improve physical performance
  • Support kidneys to remove fluid and waste
  • Control blood pressure
  • Support brain function
  • Improve digestion and metabolism

So if you’re not drinking water, what are you drinking?

Soda, energy drinks, sugar-sweetened beverages…maybe even nothing. In a recent survey, researchers found that:2

  • 7% of adults don’t drink any water
  • 36% of adults drink 1 to 3 cups of water a day
  • 35% of adults drink 4 to 7 cups a day
  • 22% of adults drink 8 cups or more per day

Are you drinking enough water?

At least 43 percent of adults aren’t. About 8 cups of water a day is recommended, more if you live in a hot climate or you’re exercising a lot. You can get water from fruits and vegetables, too.

If you’re not drinking enough water, how can you change that? It’s easier than you think.

6 EASY ways to drink more water

Want to get into the habit of drinking more water? Check out these six easy ways to get started.

1. Wake up with water. Drink a glass of water in the morning when you first wake up. Have a glass of water when you get home. And drink a glass of water before going to bed.

2. Hydrate for hustle. Drink before any physical activity such as walking, hiking, or biking. Drink at least every 30 minutes during moderate activity.

3. Use a water bottle. Keep a bottle of water beside your desk at work. Drink often throughout the day.

4. Drink water before meals. Water can help suppress your appetite if you’re trying to lose weight.

5. Freeze first. Fill a water bottle and freeze it. Take it with you for an ice-cold drink later in the day.

6. Add one glass of water a day. Drink water in place of caffeinated beverages, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened drinks. If water doesn’t taste good to you, filter it. Keep a pitcher in the fridge. Buy bottled water. Or add lemon, lime, cucumber, or berries to improve the flavor.

With a little effort, you can make drinking more water a healthy habit. It’s easy to do, and it’s inexpensive. Fill up a glass or your water bottle and drink to good health.

No Time to Exercise? Get Fit in Minutes a Day

Time For Action

Too busy to exercise? It’s easy to think you’re too busy. There’s a lot of things competing for your attention…work, family, hobbies, entertainment. And there’s only so many hours in the day…right?

So you skip a workout. You stop taking daily walks. You don’t go to the gym anymore. And pretty soon, other things fill your schedule. That ever happen?

At first, it doesn’t seem like a big deal. But things start to change in tiny increments…

  • You gain a little weight.
  • It’s harder to walk up stairs without breathing heavily.
  • Your risk for chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity go up.
  • Or maybe you just start to feel sluggish?

Sound familiar?

Find a little time for fitness

An estimated 77 percent of all adults don’t get enough exercise. But it doesn’t have to be that way, even if you’re short on time. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Check your calendar.
  • Check your schedule.
  • Check your to-do list.
  • Or just grab your phone.
  • And look for 10 to 30-minute blocks of time.

If you’ve got a half-hour window of time or less available, you can get fit in just minutes a day. And you don’t even need to hit the gym, buy equipment, or hire a trainer.

13 benefits of shorter workouts

You already know the number one excuse for not exercising: “I don’t have time.”

That ends now. Even 10 to 20-minute sessions of exercise can make a difference.1

But saving time isn’t the only benefit to shorter workouts. Exercising in shorter intervals can also help you:

  1. Lose weight or maintain a healthy weight
  2. Reduce body fat
  3. Build muscle
  4. Lower blood pressure
  5. Reduce risk factors for heart disease
  6. Control blood sugar levels
  7. Cut the risk for certain types of cancer
  8. Improve cholesterol levels
  9. Build stronger bones
  10. Improve mood and brain function
  11. Increase mobility
  12. Prevent injuries
  13. Live longer

Give these 4 fast workouts a try

Want to lose weight, get stronger, reduce your risk for chronic diseases, and improve your health?

Ten to 20-minute exercise sessions can help.2 All you need to do is pick an activity where you can exercise in short bursts, rest a little, and repeat, like this:

Walk it off

Go for a walk in your neighborhood, the store, the park, or in the mall.

  • Take a couple minutes to warm up.
  • Then walk as fast as you can for 1 to 2 minutes. You should still be able to have a conversation, but you’ll be breathing heavier.
  • Slow down for 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat, until you’ve completed your walk

Hustle at home

Want to work out at home? Maybe between commercials, early in the morning, or when you have 10-20 minutes of free time.

Pick a group of exercises. Perform each exercise for 1 minute. Rest briefly and repeat for 1-2 rounds. Here’s some exercises you can do at home:

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Burpees
  • Push-Ups
  • Curl-Ups
  • Bodyweight Squats
  • Jump Squats
  • Jogging in place
  • Plank
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Lunges

Hit the gym

If you like working out at the gym, you don’t have to sweat there for hours. Get in and get out with a quick workout. Try the:

  • Treadmill
  • Cycle
  • Elliptical trainer
  • Rowing machine
  • Or take a fitness class

Warm up. Hustle for 1 to 2 minutes. Rest briefly, and repeat, until you hit 20 minutes.

Exercise anytime, anywhere

If you’ve been making excuses about not having time to exercise, those days are over. You can exercise anytime, anywhere. The gym is great. But your living room, hotel, office, garage, or backyard will work just fine, too. Ready…set…GO!