“I want to look that good when I grow up.” No need to fantasize about your state of health as you grow older. Stay on top of your health in your younger days and you too can age gracefully by looking and feeling good. While the World Health Organization (WHO) projects by the year of 2050 our elderly population will increase from 524 million in 2010 to nearly 1.5 billion in 2050 worldwide, we must learn how to age and not ail. The three leading chronic diseases that affect our aging population are heart disease, stroke and cancer. The burden of managing chronic diseases can be taxing, especially to the pocket due to the financial load of health care costs. The doctors’ visits, pharmacy expenses, urgent care and ambulatory expenses can be burdensome on top of the chronic disease or illness.

Dementia, decrease in bone density, obesity and diabetes are other conditions that challenge the aging population. It has been projected that by the year 2015 115 million individuals will live with Alzheimer’s disease/dementia. Regular exercise can reduce the risks of Alzheimer’s disease. Reduce the onset of the disease by 50% with a regular exercise regimen. Exercises like yoga are great for flexibility, balance and coordination. Be social and avoid constant isolation with social gatherings, joining an organization or group, volunteer work, dates with friends and engage in social activities. A healthy diet can help in reducing the risks by eating foods like fruits and vegetables, especially papayas, dark green leafy vegetables, such as kale, amaranth, turnip greens, okra, dandelion greens, romaine and arugula lettuce and watercress. Indulge in salmon (not from the Atlantic), Atlantic/Pacific mackerel, lake trout and seaweed. Keep the brain active and stimulated by reading, crossword puzzles, and memory games with the grand or great grandchildren, learn a new subject or pick up a new hobby. Grandparents tend to love to knit, sew or cook. In today’s society use phones or tablet games and applications to connect with others. CBD oil is a great for reducing inflammation of the brain tissue; in which brain inflammation occurs in the degenerative process of Alzheimer’s disease, combats memory loss, cognitive functioning and behavior changes. CBD is the non-psychoactive ingredient in the marijuana plant. So yes, get yourself a medical marijuana prescription. Check your state laws and enroll in the available programs. In Washington, DC a patient can receive a medical marijuana prescription with the recommendation of a DC licensed physician.

The number one cause of injuries to the aging population is falls. American Hospital Association (AHA) outlines that more than one-third of adults 65 and older fall each year. Out of that 20-30% suffer modest injuries, such as, hip fractures. As you age and post menopause you lose bone density. During this period the arches to the foot become less prominent and resultant of height decreases. Due to mineral loss the bones of the arms and legs become fragile; the joints grow stiffer and less flexible; hip and knee joints lose cartilage and lean body mass decreases due to the loss of muscle tissue. As a result you will observe falls, fractures, bone breaks, reduction in mobility and flexibility and loss of balance. Bone density loss is inevitable but we can strengthen our bones to the best of our ability. Calcium and Magnesium are essential for healthy bones, teeth, and proper function of the heart, muscles, and nerves. Since our bodies can’t produce these minerals we must consume them in our diets. Not just any food but diligent selections from alkaline foods, such as, dark green leafy vegetables and nuts, such as, hempseeds, Brazil nuts and walnuts.

A supplemental hidden gem is Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM. This supplement will aid in stimulating the body to produce more cartilage and ward off pains of arthritis and osteoarthritis. Be cautious when taking Glucosamine because it may increase blood sugar and glucosamine and chondroitin may interfere with blood thinning medications. Exercise on a routine basis, because exercise can slow or prevent problems with bones, joints and muscles. Again, yoga is a great exercise, walking, very light weight lifting in the beginning, swimming, arm raises, squatting, leg raises, toe stands using a chair and stretching to name a few.

A healthy balanced diet is super important in slowing down or preventing the degeneration of the mind and the body. Eat more alkaline foods and lessen and eliminate acidic forming foods from your diet. Couple that with exercise and you can start to age more gracefully.

Health Neurotics, LLC is an emerging health promotion firm in Washington, D.C., offering health promotion consultation products and services. Health Neurotics specialize in diet and physical activity aspects of health promotion and health education for adolescents using health literacy standards and cultural competence to targeted demographics.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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