Posted on Mar 28, 2014
When thinking about wellness, many mistakenly consider physical health to be a totally separate entity of wellness. In fact, some rarely link physical health with cognitive health. We can no longer afford to separate physical health from mental well-being.
A Mayo Clinic study titled “Association of type 2 diabetes with brain atrophy and cognitive impairment,” published in the journal Neurology, and posted in ScienceDaily, gives credibility to the link between diabetes and the risk for the development of cognitive impairment. Another study, linking overall cardiovascular health and cognition, is known as the “Cardiovascular Health and Cognitive Function: The Main-Syracuse Longitudinal Study.” The study’s findings shows improved cardiovascular health is associated to higher cognitive outcomes. This 38 year research study started at the University of Syracuse and is currently at the University of Maine.
Many baby boomers, and older adults, are aware of the tight grip nutrition has had on both their physical and cognitive health. In addition to lifestyle and nutrition, seniors need to be mindful that family history may also influence their risk for developing certain illnesses.
As we get older nutritional needs change. Nutritional modifications often take place due to age-related health concerns, or because of the onset of chronic illnesses.
Sometimes, we end up pairing our age-related nutritional changes with our family medical history. I did just that.
A few year ago I stopped adding sugar to my coffee because I wanted to learn how to discern different types of coffee. In fact, I did not want anything to mask my cup of freshly brewed coffee. Perhaps, this small change may have been for the best. At the same time, I discovered my father was pre-diabetic, and there was a maternal family history of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, along with heart disease.
I started considering the foods I was eating, itemizing each under two separate lists, which included the positive and negative health drawbacks of various foods. Like other middle-agers, I looked forward to not giving diabetes a chance. The goal was to lower my overall sugar intake. Once I made these changes, I also started limiting my red meat consumption.
Creating a productive nutritional plan is not difficult. With the availability of online sources, and a much needed physician’s input, we can make some constructive changes. I’ve been lucky to have local physicians who have encouraged the inclusion of some following features in my wellness plan: a heart-healthy diet, physical activity, minimize environmental risk factors, know “my heart numbers,” monitor glucose levels, and continue to pursue new and challenging activities.
Sources to Help You Get Started on a Heart-Healthy and Low-Sugar Diet
If you want to incorporate a heart-healthy and low-sugar diet, you need to consult with your own physician before starting. Meanwhile, check the following sites for nutritional tips, and recipes:
- If you are concerned about your glucose levels, speak with your physician and/or specialist. Meanwhile, check some legitimate online sources, such as the American Diabetes Association. This site has an informative section titled Diabetes Meal Plans and a Healthy Diet.
- Food serving portions should be reduced. Do we know the difference between serving size and portion size? The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has some great tips on reducing the portion size of food served.
- Read food nutrition labels carefully. Some food nutrition labels may be changing soon. The FDA has some importance label changes.
We may not be able to control family medical history, but we can make productive choices to lessen health risks.
At Senior Helpers of Orlando, we encourage seniors to follow well-thought out wellness plans that help them age in place safely and securely. Should you have any questions about our home health services, do not hesitate to call us at 407-628-4357.
Also, if you happen to be visiting friends or family in Torrance, California, please stop by and visit the local Senior Helpers office.
Ana P. DeLane
Senior Helpers of Orlando Team