Senior health

  1. Omega-3s protect the heart

    Protect your heart with fats

    Want to protect your heart? Forget aspirin... stop the statins... and don't even touch those BP meds.

    Fill your plate with delicious fatty fish instead -- and, while you're at it, take a fish oil supplement -- because the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish can do more to protect your heart than those meds ever will.

    That's true for anyone. But it's especially true for people who already have heart problems -- and in the new study, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil were shown to help the hearts of patients with metabolic syndrome in at least four different ways:

    First, it can improve your flow-mediated dilation. That's a measure of blood flow so critical to heart health that every 1 percent dip in FMD can increase your risk of heart problems by 12 percent.

    Second, those 2 grams a day can improve your pulse wave velocity, a key measure of arterial stiffness.

    Third, it can slash your levels of inflammation, causing your levels of the inflammation marker interleukin­6 to drop.

    And fourth, it can slash your triglycerides. You know I don't give a hoot about LDL and HDL cholesterol, but triglycerides are another story -- the higher they are, the higher your heart risk.

    But plain old fish oil can bring them down to where they need to be.

    Of course, you don't have to be suffering from metabolic syndrome yourself to get these and other benefits from fish oil. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can help protect your heart, brain, eyes and more -- and that's true whether you're trim and fit, or already fighting off the ravages of heart disease.

    Along with fatty fish, you'll find omega-3s in grass-fed meats and raw dairy.

    But to get what you really need, day in and day out, take a quality fish oil supplement from a maker you trust. Look for one that's been purified to remove sea contaminants such as mercury.

  2. Fight cataracts with these nutrients

    The key to saving your vision

    If your eyes feel like they need a defogger, then you've probably got cataracts.

    You're hardly alone. Some 20 million seniors -- and half of everyone over the age of 80 -- are peering through cataract haze right now.

    If you don't have them yet, let's keep it that way. You can start by boosting your intake of antioxidants, because new research finds these critical nutrients can slash your cataract risk.

    The healing power of antioxidants is built right into the name: they fight the damage caused by oxidative stress -- precisely the damage that leads to cataracts.

    As a result, the study finds women who get the most of these nutrients from diet have a 13 percent lower risk of the condition. (If the study bothered with men, I'm sure it would've found the same thing.)

    That sounds a little on the low side to me, and that's because it didn't look specifically at the best antioxidants for eye protection -- only total antioxidants. So if you REALLY want to make sure you don't get the condition, focus on the great granddaddy of all antioxidants: vitamin C.

    One major study found that every 1 mg/dl boost in blood levels of C will slash your cataract risk by more than a quarter.

    If you want to up your own intake, pass on the orange juice. It's more sugar than C. The best food sources of this vitamin aren't oranges anyway -- they're bell peppers, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

    To get what you really need, however, take a supplement. Shoot for at least 1,200 mg per day. If you find it makes you gassy, split the dose into 600 mg twice a day or 400 mg three times a day.

  3. Low B12 could lead to bone breaks

    Low levels of vitamin B12 could increase your risk of a potentially devastating fracture or bone break.
  4. Time to ditch your BP meds

    Finally a little common sense as new guidelines will take millions of seniors off blood pressure meds.
  5. Sex can keep you alive

    Sex can help fight the diseases of aging and help keep you alive longer -- at least according to a study on fruit flies.
  6. How diabetes can turn into dementia

    Diabetes can cause dementia as excess insulin wipes away the enzyme responsible for brain repair, according to new research.
  7. Dementia 'cure' not ready for prime time

    The so-called Alzheimer's cure making headlines has flunked every test so far. But you don't need a drug to protect your brain. Get the real answers here.
  8. How depression can speed aging

    You don't need help getting older -- but depression will speed the process, taking as much as six years off your life.
  9. How to stay sharp in your senior years

    Seniors who learn new things and take up new hobbies stay sharper than seniors who don't, according to a new study.
  10. Fish oil can beat dementia and extend lives

    A little fish oil can help fight off cognitive decline and even extend your life, according to new research.

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