Category Archives: Optimal Health

Heart Health: 3 Simple Steps to Healthy Living

Family hiking with dogs in the mountains
Enjoying a walk in the fresh mountain air with Francesca and our daughter Koral along with her two dogs Cosmos and Nala. Simple steps towards healthy living, such as these regular walks, allow us to be ready whenever the next adventure calls. Telluride, Colorado. 2019

 

Heart health is about taking simple steps to live healthy. And living healthier doesn’t have to be complicated. Besides, being in good health is the best form of prevention. The dividends it pays forward can keep you living a meaningful life even beyond 100 years.

And, speaking of the heart, it’s truly one of the most important organs in the body. Each day your heart beats around 100,000 times. So, it works around the clock, pumping blood through your cardiovascular system, carrying oxygen and nutrients to tissues while carrying away unwanted carbon dioxide and waste. It just keeps everything flowing.

What you eat can have a big impact on heart health. Tweaking your diet to be more heart healthy doesn’t mean you have to lose out on flavor. You can still enjoy delicious meals. Changing your diet isn’t the only thing you can do to support your heart health, but it sure is a good place to start. Here are three simple steps you can take.

Don’t smoke.

Smoking is tough on your heart. It chokes your entire body of life-sustaining oxygen. More than 7,000 chemicals are inhaled with each puff, damaging your heart and blood vessels and increasing the risk of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and more.

If you are a smoker, one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to become a non-smoker. You may need a few attempts to finally quit, but the reward is huge.

You don’t need to go it alone: join a group or team up with a friend and figure out a good plan to get it done. You’ll make your heart (and your loved ones) happy.

Exercise

Just like any other muscle, the heart will weaken and atrophy with little use. “Use it or lose it,” as the saying goes. It’s a big reason why exercise is so important for heart health. Plus, exercise helps lower blood pressure, decreases artery-clogging “bad” LDL-cholesterol and raises “good” HDL-cholesterol.

Regular exercise also helps you stay independent as you age so you can enjoy an active, vigorous lifestyle well into your senior years. I know it works for me!

And, let’s not overlook the simple joy of movement, and how effects of a good workout carry over into the rest of your day.

How much? Health experts suggest that getting at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week is an appropriate long-term fitness goal for just about anyone interested in a healthier heart. Choose something that you enjoy and can do regularly. Perhaps have a friend or spouse join you?

Pay closer attention to your diet.

Enjoying healthy, delicious foods doesn’t have to be a burden. Instead, it’s an opportunity to experience new worlds of flavor and texture that you may not have tasted before.

When it comes to heart health, there are a few foods that I especially like. You may want to add one or more to your menu. Here’s the breakdown:

Assortment of nuts on a white background
A handful of nuts makes for a heart-healthy snack.

Nuts and seeds contain heart healthy fats such as mono, poly and omega-3 fatty acids that can help support cholesterol already in the normal range.

 Salmon and other fatty fish such as mackerel, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and lake trout are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help support the health and structure of arteries and other blood vessels. If you’re not a fish eater, you could consider supplementing with Nutrilite™ Heart Health Omega to fill the gaps in your diet.*

 Dried beans are a rich source of fiber, particularly water-soluble fiber. This type of fiber not only helps support healthy cholesterol but helps balance blood sugar as well.

 Berries (particularly blueberries and strawberries) are rich in anthocyanins, a type of phytonutrient that provides antioxidant protection.

 Garlic has been shown to have heart-health benefits. Nutrilite™ Garlic Heart Care is an excellent option if you are concerned about garlic breath.*

Leafy Spinach
Leafy green spinach is good for the heart.

Dark leafy green veggies like spinach, kale, and broccoli are rich in phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals, especially folate. This B vitamin has been shown to help support a healthy heart.

Don’t forget: To really enjoy your meals, be sure to include lively conversation, good cheer, and perhaps a little indulgence now and again. After all, a little red wine, and dark chocolate—in moderation—have been shown to have benefits, too!

In the end, having a healthy heart, and a healthier life, shouldn’t be difficult. The simple steps you take each day will get you there. Stick with it!

Cheers!

* This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. 

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Living Beyond 100 Years

Living beyond 100 years is becoming much more commonplace, despite the global challenges we’ve faced recently. In fact, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average life expectancy in the United States reached an all-time high of 78 years.

The global pandemic will cause this number to decline in the short term, but it still means that more people are facing the reality of living much longer lives. The startling truth is that of the babies born in the United States today, as many as half can expect to celebrate their 100th birthday.[i]

Baby who may live beyond 100 years laying on a blanket with mother in the background.
As many as half of the babies born today will live to see their 100th birthday.

That’s why I was excited to learn about an intriguing new initiative that was launched late last year by The Stanford Center on Longevity called The New Map of Life. It outlines how our societies need to change to account for our ever-increasing lifespans.

A new way of living

I’ve been a lifelong champion of prevention and if we’re going to be around longer while staying healthier, we need to be preparing ourselves for a new way of living, living that isn’t only about our life span, but also about our health span.

If you want to extend your health span, simple habits are the shortest path to doing so. Your health span is about living more of your years in good health. To me, it’s a big deal because good health is where we get our energy and vitality to fully enjoy life’s adventures. It’s also where we find strength and resilience—both mental and physical—to overcome life’s challenges.

If we are going to be living longer lives, past 100 years, how we experience them becomes even more important. Especially if we want to improve our quality of life. What will we do with all that extra time? Luckily, The New Map of Life initiative provides guidance on how we might reshape our longer lives.  

Here are some highlights from the report that I think you will appreciate:

Stay curious and keep learning

Instead of only focusing on education early on in your first couple decades, look for learning opportunities beyond formal education. Be curious at every stage of your life and have a growth mindset.

Embrace life transitions

If you are living a 100-year-life, you should be resetting your direction often. There are multiple intersections throughout the decades of life that provide more opportunity for meaningful interactions across generations. Interactions where knowledge and wisdom will flow, improving everyone’s quality of life, no matter the age.  

Exercise regularly

Healthy older man standing on a snowy road with mountains in the background.
Hiking on a gorgeous winter day in Telluride, Colorado. Photo: Francesca Rehnborg, 2021

Americans over 30 years of age gain about a pound a year on average, and by 40 years they begin to lose muscle mass. Many health changes that we experience throughout life that were thought to be inevitable signs of aging can, instead, be attributed to disuse. Staying active – such as 30-minute walks five times per week and muscle-strengthening exercises twice a week – can help mitigate aging effects.   

Build a strong community of friends

Make an effort to emphasize friendship even during the busiest years of your life when it might seem harder to make time for relationships. A healthy social life with a handful of close friends is a strong predictor of health, and even the length of our life. 

See yourself living a good long life

Although we’ve added 30 years to our life expectancy, we shouldn’t just add them onto the end. Take advantage of those extra years throughout your life by thinking holistically about all 100 years. Find a new sport, go back to school, or even start a new career later in life. 

The human body is an amazing machine. Given the right nutrition and maintenance, it can keep going strong for a very long time. Well past 100 years. Healthy eating and taking Nutrilite™ products to fill gaps in my diet have been like extra insurance for me.

For starters, I consume enough high-quality protein every day because it is an essential building block to help regain muscle mass. Nutrilite™ All Plant Protein Powder can be a good protein supplement. And studies have found that supplementation of plant-based multivitamin supplements, like Nutrilite™ Double X multivitamin, provide antioxidant benefits on oxidative stress that are essential to support optimal health.* 

Making the most of our lives and improving the way we think about each stage of our growth will maximize our health spans. And a healthier world is a better place for everyone.

Cheers!

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[i] https://longevity.stanford.edu/ 100 Years to Thrive

*This statement has not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Blink for 6-Seconds to Reduce Eye Strain – And See the World More Clearly

Francesca and I recently enjoyed a beautiful day hiking on Carmel Beach where we could see all the colors more clearly.

There’s no debate that too much screen time can be hard on your eyes, leaving them tired, often irritated, and too dry. I talked about several ways to help protect your vision health and reduce this digital eye strain in a previous post . Things like adding more leafy greens to your menu, including a vision supplement in your daily routine, or resting your eyes using the 20-20-20 rule.

To me, these are the best kinds of tips. Why? They’re simple to do yet deliver serious benefits.

Because you really shouldn’t take the importance of vision health for granted. Investing in your eye health can help unlock your potential and wellbeing. Simply being able to see the world we live in more clearly can have significant impact on our overall wellness. Plus, we should think about the things that we’re not seeing.

For instance, a 2020 Dartmouth College studyi of nearly 180 volunteers found that most people can’t tell when color is removed from their peripheral vision.

Although humans have a field of vision that spans about 210 degrees (like stretching out both of your arms), 83 percent of the participants couldn’t tell when they were only seeing 32 degrees of color. Nearly a third of the study couldn’t tell when 95 percent of their vision lost color.

Researchers said participants were shocked to find out how much of the world they weren’t focusing on could be changed without them noticing it. The way we perceive the world around us is likely “incorrect” and mostly constructed by what’s in our minds. If our minds routinely fill the gaps in our vision, then we need to make sure that our brain is healthy, and our outlook is positive. Don’t you agree?

Another new research study adds a simple habit to help protect your vision health. Researchers call it blink exercises. You can call it soothing relief for tired eyes. It’s ideally suited for combatting the strain that too much screen time can have on your eyes.

For this study,ii researchers at the University of Auckland in New Zealand followed more than 40 men and women, ranging from 18 to 44 years of age. The study participants were asked to complete a 6-second blink exercise every 20 minutes during their waking hours for 4 weeks.

Alleviate your tired eyes with blink exercises and make sure you are getting the right nutrition to support your vision health.*

One blink session consisted of closing both eyes normally for two seconds and then open. Close both eyes again for two seconds, then squeeze eyelids together tightly for two more seconds before opening both eyes. The participants reported that they completed about 25 of these blink exercises, on average, every day.

The results were both surprising and expected. Not only did this 6-second blink exercise improve the participants blinking patterns, it also significantly improved their dry eye symptoms and the quality of protective tear film needed for eyes to feel comfortable.

If you’re feeling the strain of tired, dry eyes from too much screen time, I encourage you to add blink exercises to your daily routine and build on your healthy diet and supplement habits.

It could be the 6-second solution you need to take your vision health to the next level so you can enjoy more comfortable eyes no matter where you’re looking.

And when you think about it, healthy vision will move you one step closer to seeing your future more clearly.

Cheers!

Dr. Sam Signature

P.S. Don’t forget to subscribe to our RSS feed and have blog posts delivered right to your inbox.


i Cohen M, Botch T, Robertson C. The limits of color awareness during active, real-world vision. PNAS. 2020:117 (24) 13821-13827. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1922294117

ii Kim AD, Muntz A, Lee J, Wang MTM, Craig JP. Therapeutic benefits of blinking exercises in dry eye disease. Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2021;44(3):101329. doi:10.1016/j.clae.2020.04.014

* This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

The Real Reason Balancing Stress Matters

Enjoying my walk through the Echinacea fields. Getting outdoors in nature is a great way to slow down and destress. Trout Lake Farm West, Wash., 2014.

If you’re like me, you’re probably eager to move beyond the stress of the last few years. It seems balance has taken on a whole new meaning as we refocus on health, juggle work-life commitments, and navigate the uncertainties of today’s world. It can feel overwhelming. Even the toughest nut can crack under all this pressure.

The good news is, when you take a few simple actions, you can balance daily stress so you can see your life in a whole new light. We certainly don’t need to dive into the research to know that many people are feeling emotionally overwhelmed and stressed. We need only look around us, but the research is telling.

Consider one recent survey by the American Psychological Association about stress in America. Nearly nine out of 10 people surveyed said it feels like there’s been a constant stream of crises without a break in the last two years. No doubt, people around the world are feeling the same.

Stress is not necessarily bad. In fact, too little stress fails to motivate us. The culprit is too much stress. The trick is to find the right balance.

In many ways, balancing stress is like playing a violin. If the strings are too loose (too little stress), they moan and groan. Too tight (too much stress), and they screech. But with the right amount of tension on the strings (and in your life), the violin (and you) can play beautiful music.

Woman playing the violin. Stress is like the strings on a violin. Just the right amount of tension on the strings (and in your life), and the violin (and you) can play beautiful music.

3 Smart ways to make stress work for you

Don’t let stress do you in, instead, make it work for you. Here are three easy ways to get started:

  1. Set meaningful goals. Avoid making your goals too hard (you’ll probably give up) or too easy (you’ll probably be bored). Choose a goal that pushes you just outside of your comfort zone.
  2. Take regular breaks. My morning Pilates and daily nature walks go a long way to help me see things in a new light. Other activities may be better suited for your lifestyle like listening to music, deep breathing and even socializing. It all adds up to the much-needed breaks we all need for creative problem solving.
  3. Focus on your health. A healthy diet, regular exercise, restful sleep and other healthy lifestyle habits go a long way to help fortify your body (and brain) against too much stress. Don’t forget to fill any nutrient gaps with Nutrilite supplements.

Ready to de-stress and inspire others?

When you take care of yourself, you’re better prepared to help others around you who are feeling stressed. You may recognize this as being a “product of the product.” People around you will see your choice to be positive in your high energy, the sparkle in your eyes, and the smile on your face. More importantly, you can inspire others, especially when they are experiencing stress and uncertainty. And that’s beautiful music to my ears!


Now is a great time to take action to balance the stress in your life. After all, it could be just what you need to move closer to achieving your goals.


I’ll be cheering you on!

Dr. Sam Signature

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What ‘Keep it Simple’ really means

This resilient tree on The Nutrilite Brazil Farm is a gentle reminder of the simple beauty of nature.

Maintaining a positive mindset every day can be challenging. Especially during troubling times. But there are straightforward ways to keep ourselves in positive space, even when everything around us can feel so negative.

One way to do so is to keep it simple. That sounds kind of simplistic, doesn’t it? But it’s true. When you try to do too much, and overcomplicate your life, you might miss out on living it. Keeping it simple, doing a few things well, or even just doing a little bit each day, leads to greater levels of satisfaction and long-term wellness and sustainability.

That’s because believing in yourself is the starting point for good health and the positive mindset that comes with it.

So, don’t dwell on your weaknesses, but rather zoom in on your strengths. And use your strengths to improve the well-being of those around you. The satisfaction that comes from helping others is what creates purpose in our lives, it invigorates us.

Here are some tips to help you keep it simple and do more with less.

  • Take a simple approach to diet. Eat well, while eating less. A nutrient-dense, plant-based diet of whole foods will give your body the fuel it needs to function at its best. And supplement with Nutrilite™ products to fill the gaps in your diet.

  • Get ample amounts of sleep and then think about why you wake up each morning, give yourself a sense of purpose. If you are unsure of what your purpose is, connect more closely with your friends and social community and ask them for advice. They may understand your purpose even better than you might, simply because of the insights they’ve gathered from their relationship with you.
Lost in thought while taking a hike in the beautiful hills of Carmel, Calif. May 2020.
Photo: F. Rehnborg
  • Stay active every day. The world’s oldest people have daily lives with built-in activities such as walking or gardening, and their environment encourages movement. Take a walk if you are not sure which steps to take. A walk can help create the path you need to bring clarity to your thinking. Do you want to learn more about how I stay active? Here are the simple exercises I do each morning. And here is a blog post about my exercise routine.
  • Take a few moments each day to de-stress. Give yourself time to rest and reflect. That might mean taking a nap, simple breathing exercises, or even enjoying happy hour. However you choose to approach it, the goal is to cultivate regular habits that decrease the daily stressors that can lead to increased risk of chronic diseases and other health issues.

Taking responsibility for our health is what makes us more resilient. Because, ultimately, it’s up to you. How do you want to live your life?

Keeping it simple and understanding that less is more will help you stay positive. And your positive mindset will inspire those around you to live their lives to the fullest, too.

Cheers,

Dr. Sam Signature

P.S. Don’t forget to subscribe to our RSS feed and have blog posts delivered right to your inbox.