Tag Archives: Healthy living

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!

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

[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.

Tips on Healthy Living from Francesca

Sam and I at the Start to Park 10K. We are all smiles knowing we are supporting a good cause, the Power of 5 campaign which helps fight childhood malnutrition. Honolulu, Hawaii, 2017.
Sam and I at the Start to Park 10K. We are all smiles knowing we are supporting a good cause, the Power of 5 campaign which helps fight childhood malnutrition. Honolulu, Hawaii, 2017.

For this post, Sam asked me to share a few tips for healthy living. Like Sam, I have a passion for staying healthy, mostly so we can fully enjoy life’s adventures, big and small. It’s a bond we’ve shared over our 40-plus years of marriage. Staying healthy is priceless at any age, whether you’re in your 20s and just starting out, in your 30s and 40s and going after your goals with gusto, or in your 50s, 60s and beyond and enjoying more free time.

Continue reading Tips on Healthy Living from Francesca

Tap Into The Power of Sleep

Two feet peek out from underneath a pink and white comforter.
Two feet peek out from underneath a pink and white comforter. A growing body of research confirms the power of sleep for immune function, weight management, blood sugar regulation, brain function and much more.

I remember back during my graduate school days, we really didn’t understand the benefits of sleep, let alone the damaging effects from too little of it. It was just something we needed to do. The less of it, many of my peers thought, the better, as more could be accomplished during the waking hours. It was like an honor badge to get by on less sleep. The idea, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” thrived and resonated with those interested in achieving more each day.

Those days are long gone.

Whole body benefits

Today, we know better, thanks to the growing body of sleep research. Study after study points to sleep benefits for immune function, weight management, blood sugar regulation, brain function and much more. 

It’s the brain benefits of sleep that are particularly exciting to me, including a potential protective effect against Alzheimer’s disease.

In one preliminary study,  researchers asked 15 healthy, young men to come into a sleep lab where they spent one night of 7 to 9 hours of restful sleep and then another night deprived of a full night’s sleep, in no particular order. 

After just one night of sleep deprivation, the men’s blood level of tau — a biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease — increased by an average of 17%. By contrast, after the night of restful sleep, the tau level increased by only 2%. Results are published in the January 2020 issue of Neurology.

More research is needed to explore the potential link between blood tau level and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but this preliminary finding is certainly intriguing. 

It makes you wonder what would happen with chronic sleep deprivation? 

A cat sleeps soundly under a quilt. Of all mammals, only humans willingly forego getting enough sleep.
A cat sleeps soundly under a quilt. Of all mammals, only humans willingly forego getting enough sleep.

Only humans are willing to give up sleep

All mammals sleep. Only we humans are willing to forego sleep. In UC Berkeley Professor Mathew Walker’s best-selling book, Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams, he explains that animals sleep even though they are vulnerable to attack by other animals in this exposed state. 

Sleep is that important. Some people – about 1% of the population– are genetically predisposed to function on only 4 to 6 hours per sleep per night. The vast majority of adults, however, need a solid 7 to 9 hours of shut-eye each night, although older adults can get by with 7 to 8 hours.

Woman asleep on bed. No question about it night of restorative sleep is like gold, and makes you feel like you can conquer the world.
Woman asleep on bed. No question about it night of restorative sleep is like gold, and makes you feel like you can conquer the world.

Better sleep sets up your day for success

If you’re like me, you want to wake up in the morning feeling rested and alert, and that comes from a good night of deep sleep without interruptions.

Here are a few tips that may help:

Stick to a routine. Go to bed and wake up at the same time even during the weekends. This helps your body’s natural circadian rhythm. Whatever you do, avoid the temptation to make up for lost sleep by sleeping more on the weekend. It doesn’t work that way. Worse, you’ll have a harder time waking up during the week.

Keep electronics and LED lights out of the bedroom. Electronics and artificial lights emit blue wavelength light that can trick the brain into thinking it’s daytime, which can lead to sleep problems.

Avoid heavy exercise and meals before bedtime. Too much exercise, alcoholic drinks or heavy meals too close to bedtime can lead to a fitful night’s sleep.

Keep your bedroom dark and cool. Ambient temperature is one of the most important factors that affects your sleep quality. If the temperature is too hot or cold, it can affect your body’s core temperature, and that can lead to fragmented sleep. So before you go to bed, set your thermostat to around 65°F (18.3°C).

Limit beverages close to bedtime. If you wake up during the night with the urge to urinate, it can disrupt your ability to get a good night’s sleep. The folks over at sleepfoundation.org have a good tip to help you stop those midnight trips. Cut down on your beverage intake about two hours before you go to bed, particularly caffeinated or alcohol drinks that can have diuretic effects. Drink your normal amount of fluids, just do so earlier in the day. 

Journal before bedtime. Some people find that writing their thoughts down on paper before they go to bed helps them leave their worries behind and allows them to get to sleep faster. Take 5 minutes or so and write down what’s on your mind — tomorrow’s “to do” list, something amazing that happened during the day, or something your grateful for – and you just may wake up less stressed and more refreshed.

Woman wide awake in bed. If you have trouble sleeping, get out of bed and do a soothing activity that can help you get back to sleep.
Woman wide awake in bed. If you have trouble sleeping, get out of bed and do a soothing activity that can help you get back to sleep.

Tossing and turning all night long

If you find yourself unable to sleep, despite even your best of intentions, here are two things you can do that may help:

  1. Leave your bed. It can be tough when you feel nice and cozy, but you don’t want to condition yourself to be awake while in bed. Get out of bed and do a calm, soothing activity — read, meditate, listen to music — that can help you get back to sleep. 
  2. Press reset. When the morning arrives, get outside and let the sun’s rays work their magic to help reset your circadian rhythm.

Better sleep, better life, better planet

March 13, 2020 is World Sleep Day. This annual event promotes awareness about the importance of sleep. This year’s theme is Better Sleep, Better Life, Better Planet. It seems like a really good theme to me, and a familiar one.

For those of you who are familiar with the Nutrilite philosophy, you’ll recognize sleep as a foundational pillar of optimal health along with nutrition and supplementation, exercise and positive attitude. Not only is this the best way to prevent disease, it’s the best way to enjoy life to the fullest.

Imagine, it can all start with a good night’s sleep!

Don’t you agree? Be sure to leave a comment, I would love to know what you think.

Cheers,

Dr. Sam Signature

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Success in the New Year Starts Here

Today’s next generation of Nutrilite™ Double X™ food supplement. Health-conscious people around the world have been reaching for Double X™ supplement for nearly 70 years as part of their resolution to achieve and maintain optimal health. 2017.
Today’s next generation of Nutrilite™ Double X™ food supplement. Health-conscious people around the world have been reaching for Double X™ supplement for nearly 70 years as part of their resolution to achieve and maintain optimal health. 2017.

Judging by all the online polls, it looks like getting healthy and living life to the fullest continue to be popular New Year’s resolutions, which I certainly applaud. If you’re among the millions who make this annual list, I hope you’ll add one more resolution: be more successful. What do I mean by success? The answer lies in a childhood lesson from my father.

Continue reading Success in the New Year Starts Here