Tag Archives: Clark’s Nutrition

Cured GERD Preferred

Clarks-Header-WEB

 

 

 

 

Courtesy of C. Doussett MPH, RDN of Clark’s Nutrition

The meal is a gourmand’s fantasy, the drinks are mixed perfectly, and the leather chair fits like a glove. Everything seems idyllic, yet slowly a burning sensation, accompanied by pressure, starts to radiate from the middle of the torso extending upwards into the chest. An uninvited guest in the form of recurrent heartburn snakes its way past the upper stomach, through the normally closed cardiac sphincter, and into the esophagus.

This stranger in a strange land occurs at least once monthly to 60 million Americans and daily to 15 million. While occasional heartburn may not raise any immediate red flags, chronic heartburn has the potential to become something much worse: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This condition occurs when the contents of the stomach (gastro), including its acid, back up into the esophagus on a regular basis. This backwash (reflux) can create an environment whereby the esophagus may become more susceptible to damage. This damage, although not usually life-threatening, may lead to “Barrett’s Esophagus” (a condition wherein stomach and intestinal cells translocate to the esophagus in 5 percent of sufferers) or may even become precancerous.

Frequent heartburn can lead to vomiting, difficulty swallowing, unexplained weight loss, and interfere with activities of daily living (ADL), in these circumstances it is imperative to inform one’s doctor. Meanwhile, there are many things that can be done to lower one’s risk of experiencing heartburn or to support a diagnosis of GERD.

What to avoid:

  1. Alcohol
  2. Fried, greasy, and spicy foods
  3. Caffeine
  4. Carbonated sodas
  5. Citrus, peppermint, raw onions and tomatoes
  6. Smoking

It may be beneficial to keep a food diary and track which foods (or situations) lead to the occurrence of heartburn. Trigger foods may worsen the effects of heartburn when mixed or at certain times of the day; unfortunately, more than 80% of day-time heartburn sufferers also report poor or compromised sleep quality. This may manifest itself in difficulty falling or staying asleep, frequent awakenings, and coughing fits.

What to emphasize:

  1. Smaller more frequent meals
  2. Melons, red apples, mangos, and bananas (low-acid fruits)
  3. Lean meats and fish
  4. Egg whites
  5. Potatoes and rice
  6. Plenty of vegetables of all colors

While foods play a large role in the occurrence of heartburn, so too can the judicious use of supplements. The following supplements may be beneficial in mitigating the effects of heartburn:

  1. Calcium (acid buffer) – supplemental or as found in dairy products
  2. Digestive enzymes – food lingering too long in the stomach may give rise to prolonged acid-secretion periods
  3. Ginger tea – soothing and reparative to intestinal gastrointestinal mucosa
  4. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) – may improve function and integrity of stomach lining
  5. Melatonin for sleep

Enjoying sumptuous meals and elaborate drinks does not have to be completely off limits, yet heartburn in millions of people is not just a sign of a few rich indulgences. There may be structural or chemical issues present that require a period of evaluation and abstinence. If you experience heartburn more than twice weekly, schedule an appointment with your doctor, and in the interim, utilize the suggestions herein to reduce its effects. As always, “Carpe Salutem”!

Clark’s Nutrition and Natural Foods Market is open every day from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. They have a location in Chino, Loma Linda, Rancho Mirage, and Riverside. See their ad on page XX for more information. 

 

Cured GERD Preferred

Courtesy of C. Doussett MPH, RDN of Clark’s Nutrition        

The meal is a gourmand’s fantasy, the drinks are mixed perfectly, and the leather chair fits like a glove. Everything seems idyllic, yet slowly a burning sensation, accompanied by pressure, starts to radiate from the middle of the torso extending upwards into the chest. An uninvited guest in the form of recurrent heartburn snakes its way past the upper stomach, through the normally closed cardiac sphincter, and into the esophagus.

This stranger in a strange land occurs at least once monthly to 60 million Americans and daily to 15 million. While occasional heartburn may not raise any immediate red flags, chronic heartburn has the potential to become something much worse: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This condition occurs when the contents of the stomach (gastro), including its acid, back up into the esophagus on a regular basis. This backwash (reflux) can create an environment whereby the esophagus may become more susceptible to damage. This damage, although not usually life-threatening, may lead to “Barrett’s Esophagus” (a condition wherein stomach and intestinal cells translocate to the esophagus in 5 percent of sufferers) or may even become precancerous.

Frequent heartburn can lead to vomiting, difficulty swallowing, unexplained weight loss, and interfere with activities of daily living (ADL), in these circumstances it is imperative to inform one’s doctor. Meanwhile, there are many things that can be done to lower one’s risk of experiencing heartburn or to support a diagnosis of GERD.

What to avoid:

  1. Alcohol
  2. Fried, greasy, and spicy foods
  3. Caffeine
  4. Carbonated sodas
  5. Citrus, peppermint, raw onions and tomatoes
  6. Smoking

It may be beneficial to keep a food diary and track which foods (or situations) lead to the occurrence of heartburn. Trigger foods may worsen the effects of heartburn when mixed or at certain times of the day; unfortunately, more than 80% of day-time heartburn sufferers also report poor or compromised sleep quality. This may manifest itself in difficulty falling or staying asleep, frequent awakenings, and coughing fits.

What to emphasize:

  1. Smaller more frequent meals
  2. Melons, red apples, mangos, and bananas (low-acid fruits)
  3. Lean meats and fish
  4. Egg whites
  5. Potatoes and rice
  6. Plenty of vegetables of all colors

While foods play a large role in the occurrence of heartburn, so too can the judicious use of supplements. The following supplements may be beneficial in mitigating the effects of heartburn:

  1. Calcium (acid buffer) – supplemental or as found in dairy products
  2. Digestive enzymes – food lingering too long in the stomach may give rise to prolonged acid-secretion periods
  3. Ginger tea – soothing and reparative to intestinal gastrointestinal mucosa
  4. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) – may improve function and integrity of stomach lining
  5. Melatonin for sleep

Enjoying sumptuous meals and elaborate drinks does not have to be completely off limits, yet heartburn in millions of people is not just a sign of a few rich indulgences. There may be structural or chemical issues present that require a period of evaluation and abstinence. If you experience heartburn more than twice weekly, schedule an appointment with your doctor, and in the interim, utilize the suggestions herein to reduce its effects. As always, “Carpe Salutem”!

Clark’s Nutrition and Natural Foods Market is open every day from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. They have a location in Chino, Loma Linda, Rancho Mirage, and Riverside. See their ad on page XX for more information. 

 

“To De or Not to De”….Tox that is!

Courtesy of Clark’s Nutrition

Much of the information and misinformation surrounding the concept of detox diets and supplements could only be murkier and more perplexing if it was written by William Shakespeare in unrhymed iambic pentameter. This may be due, in part, to the knowledge gaps that exist in the literature regarding how detoxification processes work in concert to keep us from acute toxicity. The science certainly doesn’t exist in large enough quantities to justify the hype. It may also be due to the lack of one dedicated detoxification “system”, like the muscular or cardiovascular system, further allowing speculation and “marketing,” with efforts to appease an impatient population with imprecise and “sciency” sounding jargon. Or it may be that the aversion one feels towards a word (CrossFit, Vegan, Paleo, Yoga, Microbrew, or Manscaping) creates an antipathy that blinds one from exploring beyond first sight or sound. In any case, the desire to detox, to effectively assist the body’s efforts to gain or remain healthy is not a futile or fruitless endeavor. It is however an effort that must be governed with safety, prudence, and a boost in health literacy. To this end, the following questions must be asked:

  1. Can we assist or speed up detoxification through supplementation and elimination diets? Here it is imperative to note that the toxins being targeted are from outside (exogenous) sources, including chemicals found in foods (fertilizers, pesticides), cleaning products (dyes, softeners, and preservatives), and household wares (chemicals used to treat carpets, leather, and composite materials).
  2. Can we approach a “detoxified” state and is this state desirable above normal (read: healthy) levels? The goal of a well-thought-out detox may be more about what we remove (toxic burden) than what we include.
  3. Is “detox” a much-maligned buzzword employed to avoid the use of trite words such as ‘resolution’, ‘goal’, ‘diet’ or ‘dedication’? Would we be better off using these words and making small and lasting changes to our diet (spoiler alert: Yes! This is the best way to achieve lasting health.)

Now that our health literacy has been boosted, what supplements are worth our time? Aloe-Vera, Senna, Red Clover, Milk Thistle (unless allergic to ragweed), and insoluble fibers in powder form can be used judiciously. While these are the least harsh and safest “detoxifiers” on the scene, always seek the advice of your doctor and inform them of any and all supplementation.

Detoxification efforts receive the majority of their benefits from the following:

  1. Increasing fluid intake (to cleanse kidneys, bladder, skin, and fat cells);
  2. Increasing fruit and vegetable intake i.e., increasing levels of antioxidants, phytochemicals, and fiber (digestion and colon health);
  3. Secondary emphasis on grass-fed and organic meats and reducing consumption of processed carbohydrates;
  4. Tertiary emphasis on reducing food sensitivities, allergies, and trigger foods that feed the stomach but starve the brain.

Detoxification diets are fads in the classical sense; i.e., the science has not caught up with the marketing machine which includes word-of-mouth and inspiring testimonials. Yet it is vital to remember that many commonplace approaches to life started out as a fad; e.g., high fat diets have now been shown to improve the symptoms of epilepsy in children and insulin sensitivity in Type II diabetics, and high-complex carbohydrate diets are standard for some liver disorders. The goal is to engage in a behavior that is healthy, safe, sustainable, and above all eliminates deficiencies in lieu of creating them.

Start New Year, New You at Clark’s

Staff Reports

CHINO – When it comes to health and nutrition, one size does not fit all. Just ask your neighborhood’s health and nutrition market, Clark’s Nutrition and Natural Foods Market who strive to make lives better one customer at a time.
Clark’s equates success not with size but with integrity, responsibility and service.

“The cornerstone of Clark’s market position is to provide reliable scientific information for the consumer’s benefit in making educated and informed decisions resulting in vibrant health,” Clark’s website states.

Spanning three generations, Clark’s Nutrition and Natural Foods Markets was founded in 1972 in Riverside by the Clark family patriarch, Jim Clark, whose vision of healthy living grew into what is today a 60 billion-dollar industry.

Today’s, Jim’s grandchildren have taken over the reins of Clark’s Nutrition and Natural Foods Markets. Grandson Jeff Clark is president, his brother Bruce Clark is vice president of retail development, and their sister Tracy Clark is the director of finance.
Their newest location in Chino, 12835 Mountain Avenue (at corner of Mountain Avenue and Riverside Drive), boasts a large selection of organic, gluten free, grass-fed beef, vitamins and raw foods. They also carry an extensive collection of health and beauty production including, celebrity Suzanne Somers’ skin care and cosmetic line, “SUZANNE Organics.”

Clark’s puts an emphasis on connecting with the community through various in-store and local events.

With locations in Loma Linda, Riverside, Rancho Mirage, and now Chino, Clark’s Nutrition lives up to their motto, “Live Better …We Can Help!”They provide regular free lectures on various health related topics and make-up tutorials with professional make-up artists.

Customers will appreciate their knowledgeable and helpful staff. Clark’s employees undergo a comprehensive in-house training curriculum, and continuing their education “which is now accredited”.

So, for all your health and nutritional needs, look no further than Clark’s in Chino or any of their other I.E. locals. Clark’s is open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. Stop by for yourselves and experience Clark’s great customer service, knowledgeable staff, and affordable pricing. Whatever your health goals, Clark’s can help! Visit www.clarksnutrition.com.

Busy Lifestyle? You Need Vitamin C

Courtesy of Clark’s Nutrition

Keys, wallet, phone, mints, lip balm . . . vitamin C? If you live a busy lifestyle and are always on the go (who isn’t these days?), vitamin C should be an everyday essential. We all know that modern-day life can get hectic. Vitamin C is one of the first nutrients to be depleted by stress, yet it’s one of the most critical vitamins for overall wellness.
In order to stay healthy and capable of handling everything that life throws your way, it’s critical to make vitamin C a part of your daily routine. Fortunately, vitamin C may just be the most convenient vitamin ever — since it’s available in a variety of forms, it’s easy to toss some vitamin C in your purse, laptop bag, and desk drawer.
It’s not likely that life will slow down, so here are the top reasons you need vitamin C handy wherever the day takes you.
1. You’re stressed out. Running around and juggling family, work, and life in general can make even the mellowest among us feel stressed sometimes. Stress creates an oxidative environment in the body, which can lead to DNA damage, setting the stage for disease, premature aging, and more.
Antioxidants work to mitigate this damage by stopping the disease-causing chain reaction that the free radicals started. Vitamin C, the ultimate antioxidant, stops the chain reaction before it starts. The body uses vitamin C to neutralize free radicals and restore health and balance.
2. You’re too busy to be sick. Stress has a major impact on the immune system — it not only suppresses immunity but, over time, the immune system doesn’t adapt to stress but continues to wear away. Stress weakens immunity and leaves us vulnerable to disease and infections.
A hectic lifestyle can also leave you feeling exhausted, and we’ve all had times when it’s difficult to turn our brain off at bedtime. Exhaustion and lack of sleep are also linked to depressed immunity, which can lead to colds, the flu, and other ailments.
Vitamin C is crucial for a well-functioning immune system. It is required for the production of white blood cells, T cells, and macrophages that form our defense against viruses and bacteria. When vitamin C levels become depleted, the immune system cannot mount an effective response to defend our health.
3. You need to stay on top of your game. Vitamin C is best known for its role in supporting healthy immunity, but it really supports overall wellness. Feeling your best is important whether you’re always on the go or enjoy a more laid-back lifestyle.
Vitamin C is essential in so many ways: it supports healthy skin, joints, and vision; it’s critical for maintaining heart health; it has potential to protect against cancer and Alzheimer’s disease; and it can even help relieve allergies and asthma.
The body cannot manufacture vitamin C, so it must be obtained from the diet. If you’re on the go, chances are you’re not getting enough of the fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C, like spinach, citrus, peppers, and berries, making a daily supplement essential.
Vitamin C is available as capsules, tablets, chewables, liquids, and powders. All forms are equally effective, which makes supplementing with C extremely convenient. Try a variety of forms, and add vitamin C to your mental list of things you can’t leave home without. If you forget to take a capsule in the morning, be sure to have powdered vitamin C on hand to add to your water bottle during the day. If you keep vitamin C in your laptop or travel bag, you’ll be more likely to see it and then take it.
Having plenty of options available is an easy and convenient way to get your vitamin C — and there’s no excuse not to stay well when life gets hectic.

Snack Attack

Courtesy of Clark’s Nutrition

What are your favorite snacks? Do you snack to stay healthy or are snacks becoming extra calories that ruin dinner and make structured eating implausible? According to scientists, the most consumed snacks are chips, chocolate, and cheese with fruit coming in a distant fifth. Snacks are comfort foods that help us to deal with stress and provide a respite from the monotony of our days and continuous pursuit of balanced meals. Yet they can also sabotage our fitness goals and create a cycle of dependency on foods that have too much sodium, sugar, and unhealthy fats.
Snacking is a tool just like all other tools, it can lead to controlling calories and help with weight loss and maintenance, or it can become an exercise in calorie overindulgence and wreak havoc on fitness goals. An hour in the gym can be overwhelmed by two minute of gorging on calorie-laden snack foods. The healthiest version of snacks should contain fruits, veggies, and nuts, and occasionally real fruit drinks. The ubiquity of juicing establishments can also be very beneficial in ensuring we get enough fruits and veggies in our diets. While it is better to eat an apple than juice an apple, it is certainly better to juice an apple than consume any other man-made snack. This goes for all fruits and veggies! Juicing bypasses chewing which may be a boon to individuals that cannot chew crunchy foods. For those that can transport fruits and vegetable and have no issue chewing, chew away! This mastication process, wherein we chew and macerate foods to enable them to pass through our digestive system, helps with providing satiety and joy in consuming foods.
While there is no perfect design for weight loss on an individual level, there are some guidelines that may be beneficial (and backed by science) in helping to meet and exceed fitness goals. If an individual is overweight, eating three to five solid meals may contribute to the thermic effect of food (the heat produced from burning calories) and assist in the reduction of bodyweight. For individuals that are at a lower bodyweight and want to put on mass, larger & less frequent meals, two to three may be more beneficial to achieve those goals, with one or two high-calorie snacks added in. While the above recommendation may be beneficial, it must always be remembered that food choice comes first, and then meal frequency can be manipulated.
It seems whether an individual eats three times a day or 10, the overall amount of food must remain the same if the goal is weight loss or weight gain. In other words, the foods (and total calories) we put in or bodies are more important than the frequency or arrangement. Do not worry about food combining or frantically scrambling to fit in a certain “macro” set; rather, ensure that the meals contain a variety of colorful foods, mostly plants, and that the meals do not cause you to become sluggish or too tired to perform the day’s activities.
What we eat is more important than how frequently we eat, and the way we go about eating healthy foods is very individualistic and subject to great variance. Clark’s Nutrition and Natural Foods Market is the perfect one-stop-snack shop. Every department has a multitude of choices to ensure snacking becomes a partner to your fitness, health, and longevity goals.

Clark’s Helps You Live Better!

Staff Reports

CHINO – When it comes to health and nutrition, one size does not fit all. Just ask your neighborhood’s health and nutrition market, Clark’s Nutrition and Natural Foods Market who strive to make lives better one customer at a time.
Clark’s equates success not with size but with integrity, responsibility and service.

“The cornerstone of Clark’s market position is to provide reliable scientific information for the consumer’s benefit in making educated and informed decisions resulting in vibrant health,” Clark’s website states.

Spanning three generations, Clark’s Nutrition and Natural Foods Markets was founded in 1972 in Riverside by the Clark family patriarch, Jim Clark, whose vision of healthy living grew into what is today a 60 billion-dollar industry.

Today’s, Jim’s grandchildren have taken over the reins of Clark’s Nutrition and Natural Foods Markets. Grandson Jeff Clark is president, his brother Bruce Clark is vice president of retail development, and their sister Tracy Clark is the director of finance.
Their newest location in Chino, 12835 Mountain Avenue (at corner of Mountain Avenue and Riverside Drive), boasts a large selection of organic, gluten free, grass-fed beef, vitamins and raw foods. They also carry an extensive collection of health and beauty production including, celebrity Suzanne Somers’ skin care and cosmetic line, “SUZANNE Organics.”

Clark’s puts an emphasis on connecting with the community through various in-store and local events.

With locations in Loma Linda, Riverside, Rancho Mirage, and now Chino, Clark’s Nutrition lives up to their motto, “Live Better …We Can Help!”They provide regular free lectures on various health related topics and make-up tutorials with professional make-up artists.

Customers will appreciate their knowledgeable and helpful staff. Clark’s employees undergo a comprehensive in-house training curriculum, and continuing their education “which is now accredited”.
So, for all your health and nutritional needs, look no further than Clark’s in Chino or any of their other I.E. locals. Clark’s is open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. Stop by for yourselves and experience Clark’s great customer service, knowledgeable staff, and affordable pricing. Whatever your health goals, Clark’s can help! Visit www.clarksnutrition.com.

Winning The Holidays!

Courtesy of Clark’s Nutrition

The holidays are that special time of the year where every indulgence is neatly packaged, socially encouraged, and conveniently available. Pumpkin-spiced, chocolate-dipped, rum-soaked, caramel-topped “megatreats” are found everywhere, from the checkout stand to the drive-thru to school fundraisers. And while the odd confectionary indulgence certainly does not make a bad diet, the holidays have become a seemingly endless parade of pies, sweets, drinks, and culinary inventions of bacchanalian proportions. So what to do if your desire is to enjoy the holidays yet still maintain workout, weight, and longevity goals? The first thing to do is be realistic. Setting a goal to drop 20 pounds is setting oneself up for failure. A more realistic goal would be to maintain one’s weight throughout the holidays whilst allowing for plenty of shared festivities and a few indulgences. Here are a few suggestions that will help in the battle to win the holidays:

-Remember there is always strength in numbers. There is nothing wrong with letting others know of your goals and surprisingly, you may find others who have similar goals

-Prepare and bring healthy snacks to school or work

-Portion-Portion-Portion. Try and use smaller plates and cups (bring if necessary)

-Drink a 12 ounce glass (think soda can size) of water before sitting down at the holiday table

-Offer to bring a healthy dish to parties (what host would say no to eggplant parmesan or grilled cucumber and hummus wraps?)

-Have a healthy snack before going to the party or dinner and once there, plan your meal in your head. Lastly, savor every bite.

-Remember to wait 20 minutes before going for seconds (better to skip them altogether)

Remember that the holiday season is strategically followed by the “New-Years Resolution” season. Making better choices during the former means making easier choices during the latter. Also, having a bite of something sweet now is better than a having 10 bites later. Oftentimes, willpower can dissolve later in the night when our bodies start to wind down. It is possible to wipe a good workout off the map with a few mindless spatula-fulls of pumpkin cheesecake. Being active and even ramping up workouts is a very effective way to make those extra calories work in your favor. Try making some personal record (PR) goals during this time of year. A cupcake-fueled sprint or latte-energized bench press may be your best attempt all year.

  • Plan group activities that are not centered on food, like going on walking tours of decorated homes (also, volunteering opportunities are everywhere during the holidays as needs rise drastically)
  • Be the life of the party! Mingle, move, and burn more calories
  • Let your brain, not your stomach do the choosing. Showing up to functions hungry means being mostly defenseless against overindulgence.
  • Be picky. Take a moment to think about what indulgences are worth your extra work.
  • Get a high-quality digestive enzyme. These supplements can mean the difference between burping and “Burpees”. By assisting digestion, enzymes help
  1. Extract vital nutrients from foods
  2. Shuttle undigested foods through our digestive system
  3. Reduce gas and bloating

The holidays do not have to be an automatic “lose my gains and gain weight” season. It can be a time of intense satisfaction when we prove to ourselves that planning really does lead to success. Plan time to be mindful of your goals and increase your holiday cheer.

Forty Barrels of Cola

By Clark’s Nutrition
100 years ago, the US government sued the “Most Refreshing Beverage on Earth”, stating the inclusion of caffeine, marketed as a headache tonic, was an adulteration and misbranding that was both harmful and deleterious. The product that was sued was Coca Cola, and while the government lost its case, outside pressure created some few changes in the beverage industry governing additives and claims. Little changed until the 1950s when the proliferation of the new “fast food craze” witnessed the rise in demand for ‘on-the-go’ caffeinated beverages. Since then, the number of products has risen every year and consumption rates of drinks containing caffeine is skyrocketing. This has led to the creation of thousands of caffeine products and tens of billions of dollars in profit every year. This rise is not without its caveats, as the number of hospital visits has increased due to overconsumption of these types of super-drinks.
Now, manufacturers are adding exotic and little known herbal ingredients that can compound the effects of caffeine and create unwanted side effects. The caveat to this story is one of caution and moderation. While enjoying caffeinated beverages can help increase mental acuity, work output, and athletic performance, there is, like most things in life, a smart way of using them and a less-than-smart way. Most individuals would do well to keep their caffeine intake below the 400 milligram mark. This means no more than four to five cups of coffee daily or no more than one or two energy drinks. But it is not as easy as that, as energy drinks containing Ginkgo Biloba, Ginseng, and the amino acid Taurine can prolong and heighten the effects of caffeine. Caffeine also acts as a mild diuretic and increases urine production which can lead to dehydration in times of increased activity or heat. One smart guideline would be to consume two to three cups of water to every caffeinated beverage. This would eliminate the propensity towards dehydration and would help to self-regulate caffeine consumption.
Energy drinks are here to stay, as there is too much demand and too many advances in taste formulation for them to go away, yet the effects that the increased use of these drinks are having needs to be addressed. As new drinks come on the market, they have to stand out in terms of both marketing and envelope-pushing formulations. This comes in the form of more stimulants, less concerns over public safety, and more marketing to younger consumers. The research is starting to show that the many side effects of energy drink consumption such as insomnia, risk taking, and hypertension are very real and need to be addressed as the market is inundated with colorful, yummy, buzz-inducing drinks. At the rate at which the market is saturating, it is not unreasonable to believe that the amount of caffeine consumed will increase as people become desensitized.
In the case of the Herculean-sized super cans, most consumers still view a can as a serving size and many of these drinks can have two and a half servings per can which has the amount of caffeine found in five cups of coffee. The best way to consume these products safely is to limit their use, cycle on and off to avoid adrenal fatigue and desensitization, always include water in between drinks, and ensure that the reasons for consuming them always outweighs their side effects.

Growing Older Better!

Courtesy of Clark’s Nutrition

 

By Craig Doussett MPH, RDN

Is it possible we are killing the elderly with kindness? Are we missing opportunities to live longer when we let others help us? Certainly showing kindness and allowing ourselves to be helped can’t be too influential a factor in how we age?! Or can it?

Researchers are discovering how our lifestyles affect the two types of known aging.  The first is called “eugeric” and the other is “pathogeric”.

Eugeric aging is the normal aging process that happens as we grow older and it becomes harder and harder for us to regulate our homeostasis. This type of aging is experienced as hearing loss and reduced eyesight. This occurs from healthy cell division and is a normal part of the circle of life.

Pathogeric aging – which means we age in the presence of disease (heart disease, bone loss, etc.) – is not a normal or healthy process. This type of aging is worsened by a reduced physical activity load and can affect anyone at any age; it just happens to affect the elderly more.

A 20-year old person that decides they are going to sit for a week instead of work, get physical activity or exercise will not only have more fat in their blood, they will have a diminished ability to metabolize sugar. In the elderly, this diminished capacity from a lack of physical activity can result in bone loss, brain fatigue, muscle tone decrease, and a weakened immune system. And while we all vary greatly in our aging processes, there is much that can be done to assist the elderly and ourselves to remain personally independent instead of needing to rely on skilled-care later in life.

Use the following as a starting point and look for new and unique opportunities to get active:

  • Get and plan as much physical activity with loved ones as they are comfortable with.
  • “Social” age tells us we should let the young and healthy carry the groceries, that we should look for escalators whilst avoiding stairs, and park as close to entrances as possible – yet these are all opportunities to reduce pathogeric aging. Avoid the “social” norms by walking more, lifting our own loads, and taking the scenic route.
  • Plan activities into social gatherings and avoid making overeating and sitting the main activity.
  • Encourage participation by everyone throughout activities (i.e., let mom, dad, and grandparents help with the dishes and straightening up).
  • Keep a ball or Frisbee close by and periodically engage in a game of catch.
  • Don’t forget to dance!

There is much we can do to encourage our elders to remain physically active and promote longevity in ourselves as well. Along with this heightened physical activity, there are foods and supplements that can be beneficial to support eugeric aging and avoid pathogeric aging.

  • Take calcium and vitamin D for healthy bones, immune system, and hormone health.
  • Get a strong B vitamin complex for liver health, red blood cell production and to assist in our energy processes.
  • Eat foods high in antioxidants: fruits and vegetables in season are best.
  • Eat plenty of colorful foods and try to vary the menu to encourage maximum nutrient exposure.

Aging is an inevitable process hoped for by all and welcomed by none. If we are lucky enough to have a long life, we will have to be vigilant if we want that life to be free of lifestyle diseases. Remaining physically active, encouraging the same in our loved ones and those who need our help, is the best approach to being healthy and independent throughout life.