1. Book review: The Easy 5-Ingredient Pescatarian Cookbook
  2. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 02-15-2020
  3. Vegan Chickpea Walnut Tacos
  4. Permission to Love Yourself, Too
  5. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 02-08-2020
  6. Lovely Meals Lately
  7. Tart Cherry Orange Pistachio Bread (Gluten-Free!)
  8. Top 6 Sodium Culprits
  9. Fasting and You
  10. Drool-Worthy Healthy Lunch Recipes You Need in Your Life
  11. Cherry Orange Pistachio Bread (Gluten-Free!)
  12. The Truth About Plastics
  13. Heartfelt Foods
  14. BPA Explained
  15. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 02-01-2020
  16. Savvy Spending with Nicole Lapin
  17. 5-Ingredient Peanut Butter Chia Balls
  18. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 01-25-2020
  19. Can neurogastronomy save the world?
  20. Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole
  21. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: 01-18-2020
  22. Pantry 2020 Basics
  23. Top 10 Tips for Cooking Dried Legumes
  24. What I Ate Wednesday + Day In the Life
  25. Brussels Sprout Kale Caesar Salad with Rosemary Croutons
  26. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 01-11-2020
  27. Eat for your Dosha
  28. Keep it Moving
  29. No-Bake Chocolate Almond Butter Oatmeal Bars
  30. Apple Cider Vinegar for Digestion
  31. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 01-04-2020
  32. Mediterranean Vegetable Pasta with Chickpeas
  33. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 12-28-2019
  34. Get Well, Not High
  35. 21 Fabulously Festive Vegan Holiday Treats
  36. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 12-21-2019
  37. Vegan Lasagna Soup
  38. Sweet Potato Rounds with Goat Cheese, Roasted Grapes, and Pecans
  39. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 12-14-2019
  40. Vegan Peanut Butter Cup Cookies (Gluten-Free!)
  41. Kid-approved vegan eats
  42. Fudgy Avocado Walnut Brownies
  43. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 12-07-2019
  44. Amazing Vegan Ginger Molasses Cookies
  45. 2019 Holiday Gift Guide For Her
  46. Herbal Inclusions for Dishes and Drinks
  47. 4 Diabetes Game Changers
  48. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 11-30-2019
  49. Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes with Garlic and Cream Cheese
  50. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 11-23-2019
  51. Wedding Planning: The Ring, Our Vendors, and More!
  52. Instant Pot Vegan Cream of Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup
  53. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 11-16-2019
  54. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 10-26-2019
  55. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 11-02-2019
  56. Roasted Potato, Mushroom, and Lentil Kale Salad
  57. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 11-09-2019
  58. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  59. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  60. What I Wednesday: FNCE in Philly!
  61. Potato, Mushroom, and Lentil Kale Salad
  62. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  63. Unearthing Evidence-Based Integrative Remedies to Stress
  64. Scribble Anxiety Away
  65. Best Hostess Gift Ever
  66. What I Ate Wednesday: Fiancé Edition!
  67. Pumpkin Walnut Burgers with Chipotle Yogurt Sauce
  68. Favorite Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes
  69. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  70. Vegan Chili Cornbread Casserole
  71. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  72. Orca Conservation
  73. Fall’s Functional Foods
  74. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  75. Healthy Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip
  76. Simple Swaps for Your Zero Waste Journey
  77. Lessons on Food and Farming in Monterey, California
  78. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  79. Quick and Easy-One Pan Veggie Red Curry
  80. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 09-21-2019
  81. Here’s How to Live a more Colourful Life
  82. Cooking with CBD
  83. Eco-friendly Food Storage
  84. Bento Box Recipes
  85. How to Make Sushi Sandwich
  86. Healthy Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Dip
  87. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 09-14-2019
  88. 5 lunchbox ideas
  89. 17 Free and Easy Ways to Be a Self-Care Expert
  90. Fluffy Vegan Pumpkin Muffins
  91. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 09-07-2019
  92. 33 Mouthwatering Healthy Vegetarian Recipes for Dinner Tonight
  93. What I Ate Wednesday
  94. The Best Apple Cider Vinegar Salad Dressing
  95. VOTE TODAY!
  96. Veggie Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce
  97. Twilight Time: Reading With Kids
  98. Keep your cool
  99. Tart Cherry Crumble Pie
  100. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  101. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  102. Your brain on… air pollution?
  103. Brain Boosters
  104. MCT oil Coconut’s healthful gift
  105. Hot right now
  106. Cupcakes for breakfast?
  107. Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
  108. What is CBD? A Guide to Health Benefits, Usage, and More!
  109. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  110. Hummus Toast – 4 Ways!
  111. What I Ate Wednesday
  112. Fluffy Vegan Blueberry Banana Muffins
  113. Advances in Colorectal Cancer Research
  114. Advances in Breast Cancer Research
  115. Cleft Palate With Cleft Lip
  116. What is CPR?
  117. What Is Dementia? Symptoms, Types, and Diagnosis
  118. Cushing Syndrome (For Parents)
  119. Do Memory Problems Always Mean Alzheimers Disease?
  120. Manganese
  121. Study Shows that Disrupted Gut Bacteria May Contribute to the Spread of Breast Cancer
  122. She Faced Breast Cancer At 16 With Little Help From Doctors. Now She’s Speaking Out On Behalf Of Black Women
  123. What Do We Know About Healthy Aging?
  124. Participating in the Arts Creates Paths to Healthy Aging
  125. Setting Goals to be More Active Slows Memory Decline in Older African Americans
  126. Study Shows Music Eases Pain and Other Symptoms for Patients Undergoing Breast Cancer Treatment
  127. 49-Year-Old Breast Cancer Patient Grateful She Didn’t Wait Until 50 for a Mammogram
  128. Teen’s Innovative “SMART Armour” Protects Breast Cancer Patients from Radiation
  129. New Drug Improves 3-Year Survival by 50% for Young Women with Stage IV Breast Cancer
  130. Young Mother’s Life Tragically Taken by Breast Cancer After She Refused Traditional Treatments
  131. NIH Study Tracks Exercise with Mobile Apps to Improve Heart Health
  132. Lion With Skin Cancer Has Received Radiation Therapy In Hospital
  133. 3rd Grader Writes Note for Teacher Battling Breast Cancer to Read Right Before Treatment
  134. Skin Care
  135. Have Back Pain? These Are the Basic Spinal Structures You Need to Know
  136. The Final Word on Whether Alcohol Actually Has Any Health Benefits
  137. New One-Time “Seed” Treatment for Breast Cancer Being Used in Philadelphia
  138. Julia Louis-Dreyfus Talks About The Side Effects of Chemotherapy
  139. Teacher on Leave for Breast Cancer Treatment Forced to Pay for Her Own Substitute
  140. 27-Year-Old Thought She Was Injured Falling Off A Horse, But Then She Learned She Had Breast Cancer
  141. Should Surgery And Radiation Be The Standard Treatment For DCIS? The COMET Study Is Finding Out
  142. Judge Rules That 3-Year-Old Child With Leukemia Must Get Chemo Against Parents’ Wishes
  143. This Charcoal Powder Drastically Whitens Teeth Without Any Chemicals
  144. These Black Cherry-Flavored Shots Help Accelerate Weight Loss
  145. Olivia Newton-John Talks About How She Stays Positive Amid Cancer Battle
  146. This Army Captain Mom Was Diagnosed with Breast Cancer When She Was Just 8 Weeks Pregnant
  147. High-Deductible Health Plans Linked to Delayed Diagnosis and Treatment of Breast Cancer
  148. Antibiotic shortages are putting Aboriginal kids at risk – The Conversation AU
  149. Cuddle beds bringing some physical comfort to end-of-life patients – ABC News
  150. People who skip breakfast are five times more likely to die after a heart attack – Daily Mail
  151. Yale researchers revive cells in dead pig brains – Yale Daily News
  152. Scientists revive cellular activity in brain of dead pigs: report – Fox News
  153. High-Deductible Health Policies Linked To Delayed Diagnosis And Treatment – NPR
  154. After Breast Cancer Diagnosis, Technology Professor Teaches Computers to Read Mammograms
  155. Fact or Fiction: What to Know About Smoking Cessation and Medications
  156. If Soap and Water Are Not Available, Hand Sanitizers May Be a Good Alternative
  157. Autism: Beware of Potentially Dangerous Therapies and Products
  158. One side of your brain might be giving you nightmares – Cosmos
  159. What Personality Tests Tell Us About Ourselves – NPR
  160. Having a resting heart rate of 75 beats per minute DOUBLES your risk of an early death – Daily Mail
  161. Wear protective goggles to play badminton
  162. Herbal drug kratom linked to almost 100 overdose deaths, CDC says – USA TODAY
  163. Ability to lift weights quickly can mean a longer life – EurekAlert
  164. Climate change is making allergy season worse – CNN
  165. 11 Unexpected Ways You Can Relieve Headaches – HuffPost
  166. New Jersey preschoolers have highest autism rates in the nation, researchers say
  167. Auburn gymnast who suffered severe injuries: My pain is not your entertainment
  168. A four-day work week could improve our health and cut carbon emissions
  169. Promising treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome fails large trial
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
  1. Book review: The Easy 5-Ingredient Pescatarian Cookbook
  2. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 02-15-2020
  3. Vegan Chickpea Walnut Tacos
  4. Permission to Love Yourself, Too
  5. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 02-08-2020
  6. Lovely Meals Lately
  7. Tart Cherry Orange Pistachio Bread (Gluten-Free!)
  8. Top 6 Sodium Culprits
  9. Fasting and You
  10. Drool-Worthy Healthy Lunch Recipes You Need in Your Life
  11. Cherry Orange Pistachio Bread (Gluten-Free!)
  12. The Truth About Plastics
  13. Heartfelt Foods
  14. BPA Explained
  15. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 02-01-2020
  16. Savvy Spending with Nicole Lapin
  17. 5-Ingredient Peanut Butter Chia Balls
  18. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 01-25-2020
  19. Can neurogastronomy save the world?
  20. Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole
  21. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: 01-18-2020
  22. Pantry 2020 Basics
  23. Top 10 Tips for Cooking Dried Legumes
  24. What I Ate Wednesday + Day In the Life
  25. Brussels Sprout Kale Caesar Salad with Rosemary Croutons
  26. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 01-11-2020
  27. Eat for your Dosha
  28. Keep it Moving
  29. No-Bake Chocolate Almond Butter Oatmeal Bars
  30. Apple Cider Vinegar for Digestion
  31. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 01-04-2020
  32. Mediterranean Vegetable Pasta with Chickpeas
  33. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 12-28-2019
  34. Get Well, Not High
  35. 21 Fabulously Festive Vegan Holiday Treats
  36. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 12-21-2019
  37. Vegan Lasagna Soup
  38. Sweet Potato Rounds with Goat Cheese, Roasted Grapes, and Pecans
  39. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 12-14-2019
  40. Vegan Peanut Butter Cup Cookies (Gluten-Free!)
  41. Kid-approved vegan eats
  42. Fudgy Avocado Walnut Brownies
  43. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 12-07-2019
  44. Amazing Vegan Ginger Molasses Cookies
  45. 2019 Holiday Gift Guide For Her
  46. Herbal Inclusions for Dishes and Drinks
  47. 4 Diabetes Game Changers
  48. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 11-30-2019
  49. Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes with Garlic and Cream Cheese
  50. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 11-23-2019
  51. Wedding Planning: The Ring, Our Vendors, and More!
  52. Instant Pot Vegan Cream of Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup
  53. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 11-16-2019
  54. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 10-26-2019
  55. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 11-02-2019
  56. Roasted Potato, Mushroom, and Lentil Kale Salad
  57. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 11-09-2019
  58. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  59. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  60. What I Wednesday: FNCE in Philly!
  61. Potato, Mushroom, and Lentil Kale Salad
  62. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  63. Unearthing Evidence-Based Integrative Remedies to Stress
  64. Scribble Anxiety Away
  65. Best Hostess Gift Ever
  66. What I Ate Wednesday: Fiancé Edition!
  67. Pumpkin Walnut Burgers with Chipotle Yogurt Sauce
  68. Favorite Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes
  69. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  70. Vegan Chili Cornbread Casserole
  71. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  72. Orca Conservation
  73. Fall’s Functional Foods
  74. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  75. Healthy Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip
  76. Simple Swaps for Your Zero Waste Journey
  77. Lessons on Food and Farming in Monterey, California
  78. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  79. Quick and Easy-One Pan Veggie Red Curry
  80. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 09-21-2019
  81. Here’s How to Live a more Colourful Life
  82. Cooking with CBD
  83. Eco-friendly Food Storage
  84. Bento Box Recipes
  85. How to Make Sushi Sandwich
  86. Healthy Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Dip
  87. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 09-14-2019
  88. 5 lunchbox ideas
  89. 17 Free and Easy Ways to Be a Self-Care Expert
  90. Fluffy Vegan Pumpkin Muffins
  91. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan: Week of 09-07-2019
  92. 33 Mouthwatering Healthy Vegetarian Recipes for Dinner Tonight
  93. What I Ate Wednesday
  94. The Best Apple Cider Vinegar Salad Dressing
  95. VOTE TODAY!
  96. Veggie Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce
  97. Twilight Time: Reading With Kids
  98. Keep your cool
  99. Tart Cherry Crumble Pie
  100. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  101. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  102. Your brain on… air pollution?
  103. Brain Boosters
  104. MCT oil Coconut’s healthful gift
  105. Hot right now
  106. Cupcakes for breakfast?
  107. Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
  108. What is CBD? A Guide to Health Benefits, Usage, and More!
  109. Healthy Vegetarian Meal Plan
  110. Hummus Toast – 4 Ways!
  111. What I Ate Wednesday
  112. Fluffy Vegan Blueberry Banana Muffins
  113. Advances in Colorectal Cancer Research
  114. Advances in Breast Cancer Research
  115. Cleft Palate With Cleft Lip
  116. What is CPR?
  117. What Is Dementia? Symptoms, Types, and Diagnosis
  118. Cushing Syndrome (For Parents)
  119. Do Memory Problems Always Mean Alzheimers Disease?
  120. Manganese
  121. Study Shows that Disrupted Gut Bacteria May Contribute to the Spread of Breast Cancer
  122. She Faced Breast Cancer At 16 With Little Help From Doctors. Now She’s Speaking Out On Behalf Of Black Women
  123. What Do We Know About Healthy Aging?
  124. Participating in the Arts Creates Paths to Healthy Aging
  125. Setting Goals to be More Active Slows Memory Decline in Older African Americans
  126. Study Shows Music Eases Pain and Other Symptoms for Patients Undergoing Breast Cancer Treatment
  127. 49-Year-Old Breast Cancer Patient Grateful She Didn’t Wait Until 50 for a Mammogram
  128. Teen’s Innovative “SMART Armour” Protects Breast Cancer Patients from Radiation
  129. New Drug Improves 3-Year Survival by 50% for Young Women with Stage IV Breast Cancer
  130. Young Mother’s Life Tragically Taken by Breast Cancer After She Refused Traditional Treatments
  131. NIH Study Tracks Exercise with Mobile Apps to Improve Heart Health
  132. Lion With Skin Cancer Has Received Radiation Therapy In Hospital
  133. 3rd Grader Writes Note for Teacher Battling Breast Cancer to Read Right Before Treatment
  134. Skin Care
  135. Have Back Pain? These Are the Basic Spinal Structures You Need to Know
  136. The Final Word on Whether Alcohol Actually Has Any Health Benefits
  137. New One-Time “Seed” Treatment for Breast Cancer Being Used in Philadelphia
  138. Julia Louis-Dreyfus Talks About The Side Effects of Chemotherapy
  139. Teacher on Leave for Breast Cancer Treatment Forced to Pay for Her Own Substitute
  140. 27-Year-Old Thought She Was Injured Falling Off A Horse, But Then She Learned She Had Breast Cancer
  141. Should Surgery And Radiation Be The Standard Treatment For DCIS? The COMET Study Is Finding Out
  142. Judge Rules That 3-Year-Old Child With Leukemia Must Get Chemo Against Parents’ Wishes
  143. This Charcoal Powder Drastically Whitens Teeth Without Any Chemicals
  144. These Black Cherry-Flavored Shots Help Accelerate Weight Loss
  145. Olivia Newton-John Talks About How She Stays Positive Amid Cancer Battle
  146. This Army Captain Mom Was Diagnosed with Breast Cancer When She Was Just 8 Weeks Pregnant
  147. High-Deductible Health Plans Linked to Delayed Diagnosis and Treatment of Breast Cancer
  148. Antibiotic shortages are putting Aboriginal kids at risk – The Conversation AU
  149. Cuddle beds bringing some physical comfort to end-of-life patients – ABC News
  150. People who skip breakfast are five times more likely to die after a heart attack – Daily Mail
  151. Yale researchers revive cells in dead pig brains – Yale Daily News
  152. Scientists revive cellular activity in brain of dead pigs: report – Fox News
  153. High-Deductible Health Policies Linked To Delayed Diagnosis And Treatment – NPR
  154. After Breast Cancer Diagnosis, Technology Professor Teaches Computers to Read Mammograms
  155. Fact or Fiction: What to Know About Smoking Cessation and Medications
  156. If Soap and Water Are Not Available, Hand Sanitizers May Be a Good Alternative
  157. Autism: Beware of Potentially Dangerous Therapies and Products
  158. One side of your brain might be giving you nightmares – Cosmos
  159. What Personality Tests Tell Us About Ourselves – NPR
  160. Having a resting heart rate of 75 beats per minute DOUBLES your risk of an early death – Daily Mail
  161. Wear protective goggles to play badminton
  162. Herbal drug kratom linked to almost 100 overdose deaths, CDC says – USA TODAY
  163. Ability to lift weights quickly can mean a longer life – EurekAlert
  164. Climate change is making allergy season worse – CNN
  165. 11 Unexpected Ways You Can Relieve Headaches – HuffPost
  166. New Jersey preschoolers have highest autism rates in the nation, researchers say
  167. Auburn gymnast who suffered severe injuries: My pain is not your entertainment
  168. A four-day work week could improve our health and cut carbon emissions
  169. Promising treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome fails large trial

Get Moving: Exercise and Physical Activity

SneakersSome people love it, some people hate it, but regardless of your personal feelings, exercise and physical activity are good for you—period. In fact, exercise and physical activity are considered a cornerstone of almost every healthy aging program. Scientific evidence suggests that people who exercise regularly not only live longer, they live better. And, being physically active—doing everyday activities that keep your body moving, such as gardening, walking the dog, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator—can help you continue to do the things you enjoy and stay independent as you age.

Specifically, regular exercise and physical activity can reduce your risk of developing some diseases and disabilities that often occur with aging. For instance, balance exercises help prevent falls, a major cause of disability in older adults. Strength exercises build muscles and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Flexibility or stretching exercises help keep your body limber and give you the freedom of movement you need to do everyday activities.

Living longer. Living healthier? infographic icon. Click through for full text.
Read and share this infographic to get information and tips about living longer and healthier.

Exercise may even be an effective treatment for certain chronic conditions. People with arthritis, high blood pressure, or diabetes can benefit from regular exercise. Heart disease, a problem for many older adults, may also be alleviated by exercise. Scientists have long known that regular exercise causes certain changes in the hearts of younger people. These changes, which include lowering resting heart rate and increasing stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped with each heartbeat), make the heart a better pump.

Evidence now suggests that people who begin exercise training in later life, for instance in their 60s and 70s, can also experience improved heart function. In one study, researchers with the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) observed a decreased risk of a coronary event, like a heart attack, in older male BLSA participants who took part in high-intensity, leisure-time physical activities like lap swimming or running.

In addition to benefits for the heart, studies show that exercise helps breathlessness and fatigue in older people. Endurance exercises—activities that increase your breathing and heart rate, such as dancing, walking, swimming, or bicycling—increase your stamina and improve the health of your lungs and circulatory system as well as your heart.

There are many ways to be active. You can be active in short spurts throughout the day, or you can set aside specific times of the day or specific days of the week to exercise. Many physical activities, such as brisk walking or raking leaves, are free or low-cost and do not require special equipment.

For more information about how to get started and stick with an exercise and physical activity program, visit Go4Life, NIA’s exercise and physical activity campaign for adults 50+.

Pay Attention to Weight and Shape

Three rocks of increasing size balanced one on top of the otherWeight is a very complex issue. For older people, the health problems associated with obesity may take a back seat to problems associated with body composition (fat-to-muscle ratio) and location of fat (hip or waist) on the body.

Many health problems are connected to being overweight or obese. People who are overweight or obese are at greater risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, some types of cancer, sleep apnea, and osteoarthritis. But data show that for older adults, thinner is not always healthier, either. In one study, researchers found that older adults who are thin (a body-mass index or BMI of less than 19) have a higher mortality rate compared with those who are obese or of normal weight. In another study, women with low BMI had an increased risk of mortality. Being, or becoming, thin as an older adult can be a symptom of disease or an indication of developing frailty. Those are possible reasons why some scientists think maintaining a higher BMI may not necessarily be bad as we age.

Red apple and green pearBody-fat distribution, specifically waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio, can also be a serious problem for older adults. We know that the “pear” shape, with body fat in peripheral areas such as the hips and thighs, is generally healthier than the “apple” shape, with fat around the waist. Being apple-shaped can increase risk for heart disease and possibly breast cancer. With age, the pattern for body fat can shift from safer peripheral areas to the abdominal area of the body. BLSA researchers examined 547 men and women over a 5-year period to observe body measurement changes. They found that men predominantly shifted in waist size, while women showed nearly equal changes in waist and hip measurements. The men developed a more dangerous body-fat distribution, even though women carried more total body fat. This may help explain why men generally have a higher incidence of certain diseases and a shorter lifespan.

So, is there a “normal” weight range or pattern for healthy aging? For older adults, one size does not fit all. Although we have learned a lot about patterns of weight and aging, watching your weight as you age is very much an individual matter. Talk with your doctor about any weight concerns, including decisions to lose weight or any unexplained weight changes.

Learn more about maintaining a healthy weight.

Healthy Food for Thought: Think About What You Eat

Vegetables on a cutting boardFood has been shown to be an important part of how people age. In one study, scientists investigated how dietary patterns influenced changes in BMI and waist circumference, which are risk factors for many diseases. Scientists grouped participants into clusters based on which foods contributed to the greatest proportion of calories they consumed. Participants who had a “meat and potatoes” eating pattern had a greater annual increase in BMI, and participants in the “white-bread” pattern had a greater increase in waist circumference compared with those in the “healthy” cluster. “Healthy” eaters had the highest intake of foods like high-fiber cereal, low-fat dairy, fruit, nonwhite bread, whole grains, beans and legumes, and vegetables, and low intake of red and processed meat, fast food, and soda. This same group had the smallest gains in BMI and waist circumference.

Scientists think there are likely many factors that contribute to the relationship between diet and changes in BMI and waist circumference. One factor may involve the glycemic index value (sometimes called glycemic load) of food. Foods with a low glycemic index value (such as most vegetables and fruits and high-fiber, grainy breads) decrease hunger but have little effect on blood sugar and therefore are healthier. Foods like white bread have a high glycemic index value and tend to cause the highest rise in blood sugar.

Another focus of research is the relationship between physical problems and micronutrient or vitamin deficiency. Low concentrations of micronutrients or vitamins in the blood are often caused by poor nutrition. Not eating enough fruits and vegetables can lead to a low carotenoid concentration, which is associated with a heightened risk of skeletal muscle decline among older adults. Low concentrations of vitamin E in older adults, especially in older women, is correlated with a decline in physical function. Compared with other older adults, those with low vitamin D levels had poorer results on two physical performance tests. Women with a low vitamin D concentration were more likely to experience back pain. These studies support the takeaway message: the nutrients you get from eating well can help keep muscles, bones, organs, and other parts of the body strong throughout life.

So, eating well is not just about your weight. It can also help protect you from certain health problems that occur more frequently among older adults. And, eating unhealthy foods can increase your risk for some diseases. If you are concerned about what you eat, talk with your doctor about ways you can make better food choices.

Learn more about healthy eating and smart food choices for healthy aging.

Participate in Activities You Enjoy

Granddaughter and grandfather gardeningSure, engaging in your favorite activities can be fun or relaxing, but did you know that doing what you like to do may actually be good for your health? It’s true. Research studies show that people who are sociable, generous, and goal-oriented report higher levels of happiness and lower levels of depression than other people.

People who are involved in hobbies and social and leisure activities may be at lower risk for some health problems. For example, one study followed participants for up to 21 years and linked leisure activities like reading, playing board games, playing musical instruments, and dancing with a lower risk for dementia. In another study, older adults who participated in social activities (for example, played games, belonged to social groups, attended local events, or traveled) or productive activities (for example, had paid or unpaid jobs, cooked, or gardened) lived longer than people who did not report taking part in these types of activities.

Other studies have found that older adults who participate in what they see as meaningful activities, like volunteering in their community, reported feeling healthier and happier.

Learn more about participating in activities you enjoy.

The National Institute on Aging’s Baltimore Longitudinal Study on Aging (BLSA) is the longest-running longitudinal study of aging in the world. BLSA researchers, participants, and study partners have contributed immeasurably to our understanding of healthy aging. Learn more about the lessons from the BLSA.

For more information on healthy aging, search our A-Z Health Topics.

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