Red and processed meats (lunch meat, sausage, hot dogs or bacon) are a straight shot to heart disease, some cancers and memory loss. In addition to artery-clogging, inflammation-boosting saturated fats, they contain nitrates, heme iron and certain carcinogens that form as a result of high-temp cooking (broiling, pan frying or grilling). The stuff is old age on a fork.
So guys, listen up: Here’s another reason to say “humbug” to hamburger. Men who eat one and a half servings (about a 5-ounce burger) of fried meat a week increase the risk of advanced prostate cancers by 30 percent. Chow down 8 ounces of the stuff and your risk jumps to 40 percent.
That’s why smart guys — and gals (red meat fires up her risk for disease, including breast cancer) — switch to fish and skinless chicken; a veggie-rich diet (cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, watercress, arugula, cauliflower); and protein from 100 percent whole grains and beans. If you do grill, reduce carcinogens by marinating food in canola or olive oil and balsamic vinegar for 15 minutes or more before cooking over medium heat.
Worried that years of eating red meat have already done damage? Take at least 1,000 IU a day of vitamin D-3. Also, take algal supplements that deliver 900 milligrams of omega-3 a day, and consider taking purified omega-7 and omega-9 (found in olive oil).
Seeing is believing: Cataract surgery
Most cataract surgery is done on folks older than 65 (almost half will have it), and being able to see clearly again (the procedure is more than 90 percent successful) prevents falls and hip fractures. Another benefit: After the operation you will be a better driver — getting into fewer accidents and avoiding bumps and bruises (or worse). And all this good stuff comes from a 10-minute outpatient procedure to remove a clouded lens and replace it with an artificial one.
But the latest and greatest discovery: For people with early-stage Alzheimer’s, cataract surgery triggers a huge improvement in quality of life and cognitive abilities. They can read again, recognize friends and family, and navigate through their daily tasks much more easily. And they sleep better, because there’s less stress and anxiety.
As caretakers, it’s easy to miss the signs of reduced vision in someone with dementia. But if you suspect your loved one with Alzheimer’s has cataracts, have a doctor check it out. You may enhance the precious time you have to enjoy one another’s company.
It’s no yolk!
Turns out eating more than two or three egg yolks a week is almost as damaging to your blood vessels as smoking. The saturated fat in those yolks clogs arteries and increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.
So, who can eat egg yolks, and how often can you have them? If your total cholesterol level is below 200 and your LDL is below 100, you can enjoy an egg almost every day. But make sure you boil, poach or scramble it; frying is a no-no. That high-protein breakfast is a much better way to control your appetite than eating a refined carb like a bagel with the same number of calories.
But what if you have borderline high LDL (or worse)? Your absolute max: two yolks a week. And always use three egg whites to one yolk to get max protein and minimum fat and cholesterol.
Each yolk delivers 1.6 grams of saturated fat. We recommend that everyone aim for almost no saturated fat and no (zero, zed, zip) trans fat in their diet. And what about eggs from chickens eating only omega-3 fats (usually from ground flaxseed)? Well, right now there just isn’t enough data, but these may be the smartest eggs in the basket.
Houseplants clear the air
Three bad-boy culprits that plants can filter out of your environment are benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene. Benzene seeps out of paints, furniture wax, glues and detergents, not to mention cigarette smoke. It stops bone marrow from making red blood cells and damages your immune system. Formaldehyde is a carcinogen that’s in everything from carpeting to wrinkle-resistant clothing (you knew that was too good to be good for you!) and plywood to pressboard. Trichloroethylene is found in adhesives, rug cleaners, paint removers and strippers. That can cause respiratory problems and foster cancer.
So get out the potting soil. NASA discovered the most powerful plant filters (at least in closed chambers): English ivy took 90 percent of benzene and 10 percent of trichloroethylene out of the air; Gerbera daisies scrubbed 68 percent of benzene, 35 percent of trichloroethylene and 50 percent of formaldehyde; and varieties of dracaena sucked up all three chemicals.
Other important steps in keeping the air in your home healthy:
• Keep rooms well-ventilated so you don’t hold in pollutants.
• Don’t overwater plants. Mold can thrive in the potting soil — and that’s an allergy trigger.
• Keep air filters in humidifiers, air conditioners and central heating and cooling systems clean.
• Use a do-it-yourself test to check indoor radon levels: It’s the No. 2 cause of lung cancer. If levels are high, have a specialist install a radon ventilation system.
According to the report Too Fat to Fight, 27 percent of young Americans are physically unfit to enlist in the armed forces. How’s that possible? Well, if 70 percent of American adults are overweight or obese ...
We think it’s time to declare physical inactivity a disease: No-Go-itis. Only 25 percent to 45 percent of you report even 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobics or strength-building exercises twice a week. (And we suspect those estimates are a bit self-inflated.) But by calling inactivity a disease, maybe our pleas for get-up-and-go will be seen as medical treatments, not suggestions, and will be taken more seriously.
What are the symptoms of No-Go-itis? Everything from depression and arthritis, to diseases of every organ system and premature aging. Who’s at risk? You — if the last time you walked 30 minutes was when Bill Clinton was president, or if you gained more than three pounds this year.
What’s our recommended treatment? First, commit to making yourself younger! Then...
• Start walking. Your goal? Take 10,000 steps a day. Wear a pedometer from the time you get up to when you go to sleep.
• Watch TV while moving. Replace the couch with stationary bikes or treadmills. And stand, don’t sit, whenever you can: Standing burns 30 percent more calories than sitting.
• Get active at work: Once an hour, do 30 seconds of exercises with 2-pound hand weights. Take a 10-minute break every two hours to walk up and down two flights of stairs and around the office.