Client in our facility in Irvine, CA come here to make changes in their life that boost their health, slow the aging process and build their strength, endurance and flexibility. The pattern of healthy eating and exercising regularly positively impacts many different systems. One of those is the DNA and has to do with lengthening telomeres. If you don’t know what telomeres are, they act like aglets on shoelaces—those little plastic tips that prevent the shoelaces from unraveling. Only in the case of telomeres, they’re preventing the gene damage.
The chromosomes shorten every replication.
If there were no telomeres, cells would only be able to replicate a few times before there was DNA damage or the cells would die. However, instead of the chromosomes shortening, damaging the DNA, the telomeres shortens, so the rest of the chromosome remains intact. Luckily, the telomeres are the disposable part whose whole job is to protect the rest of the chromosome, allowing it to continually replicate without damage to maintain youth and good health.
Telomeres don’t just get shorter and then disappear.
If you want to live a long life, you definitely want long telomeres. However, the body is changing every day with new cells. We’re actually regenerating. While there’s a lot of estimates about getting a whole new body in a certain number of years, many scientists believe that some cells, like the heart cells, don’t replicate quickly, only about one percent per year. Aside from those slowly regenerating cells, there’s an estimate that it takes between 11 and 15 years to regenerate all the cells in the body. If you have longer telomeres, that regeneration takes place and you remain young and healthy. If they’re shorter, you either have damage at the cellular level and get disease or show signs of aging. You can do something to keep them longer.
You can lengthen your telomeres or prevent them from shortening.
If you had a car and the manufacturer said that all you had to do was put a certain type of oil in it and drive it over fifty miles an hour at least three times a week and it would last five, ten or twenty years longer, you’d do it wouldn’t you. That’s the same for your body and telomeres. Studies show you can do several things to lengthen the telomeres you have or slow the shortening process. Chronic stress, for instance, shortens telomeres, so eliminating the effects of stress helps keep them longer. Working out is the real stress buster as many of you know. Making sure you have exercise on a regular basis can help in other ways, too. In fact, studies show that people workout have longer telomeres and the more time spent exercising, the longer the telomeres were.
Scientists identify telomere growth by the amount of telomerase, an enzyme that lengthens telomeres. However, it lengthens the telomeres in both cancerous and healthy cells, so increasing it by chemical means could play havoc. Only by boosting all the systems, including the immune system, through lifestyle changes, can you have the best and healthiest outcome.
Learning meditation, yoga or some other relaxation technique can boost your telomere growth.
Eating healthy is also a way to encourage healthy telomere growth. One study showed a vegan diet and other lifestyle changes actually helped reverse the shortening of telomeres.
Foods that are high in nutrition and antioxidants are important. While you might take a supplement, it won’t provide all the phytonutrients that whole foods provide.
If you’re wondering what angiogenesis, all you have to do is break the word apart and identify the meaning of each part. Angio relates to the blood vessels and genesis is a suffix that means the beginning or development of something. Put them together and they mean the study of how blood vessels develop. Throughout your life, capillaries grow and diminish, based on the need at the time. If you have a wound, more capillaries grow to help it heal. That’s caused by a release of chemicals that induce the growth or splitting of blood vessels to create more.
When you don’t have enough blood vessels, you have a potential for heart disease.
Angiogenesis is neither bad nor good. If you have cancer, you have too many blood vessels being created, however, if you have heart disease, it may be because there’s not enough blood vessels being developed. The process needs to be balanced and when it gets out of whack, you have disease. That perfect balance makes it more difficult to treat. There are cancer treatments that block the development of blood vessels that feed the cancer, but stifling the growth of blood vessels too much can lead to other problems like valvular heart disease.
The dilemma continues, but what can you do.
I wouldn’t be a personal trainer if I didn’t believe in the positive and healing effects of a healthy diet and regular exercise. It’s not that I don’t believe in modern medicine and choose alternatives instead, but rather I believe the two can work together to boost the body’s health and maintain a more youthful body. One of the biggest problems with modern medicine is that everyone is different and has different needs. Dosage, specific medications and body chemicals are all different, too. It means there is no ONE magic bullet that works for every disease, even if it’s the same disease in a different person.
Until science finds a way to customize each and every treatment, you can help by making healthy lifestyle choices.
Ironically, increased angiogenesis not only can feed cancer, it can also cause obesity. When your body can’t cut out excess blood vessels or grow enough, it causes illness or negative changes in the body. Cancer cells require a blood source to survive, just as fat cells do. The more blood vessels you have, the more cancer cells can grow and the more fat you have. Eating the right foods can help get your body back to the perfect balance of producing enough to avoid stroke, heart disease and neuropathy, but not so many you have cancer, obesity, endometriosis and blindness.
- Foods that help regulate angiogenesis by slowing the process include red grapes, green tea, kale, nutmeg, turmeric, parsley, berries of all kinds. garlic and artichokes.
- Studies show that strawberries and red grapes can help inhibit abnormal angiogenesis. It’s the resveratrol in the grapes and ellagic acid in the strawberries that can inhibit abnormal growth by 60 percent or more.
- The phytonutrients in food work in synergy to boost the effect of individual nutrients found in the each food.
- The same foods that help prevent excessive angiogenesis, also promotes the appropriate development of blood vessels, making them good whether you have heart disease, cancer or any number of diseases caused by angiogenesis that’s out of balance.
Some people exercise to shed pounds and look better, while others may just love the boost of energy they get and feeling good. No matter what the reason you workout, you get the same results, exercise improves your health. It builds your energy and makes changes to your body that can add years to your life. Your body has five systems that when functioning properly, keep you healthy. They’re microbiome, angiogenesis, stem cells, immune system and DNA protection. Exercise helps all those areas.
What’s your microbiome system?
The simple answer is gut bacteria. Your body has more microbes than cells. In fact, there is an estimate that they outnumber human cells by ten to one, but they’re far smaller than human cells, so they are only five pounds or less of our body weight. The microbiome live in the gut with most of them in the large intestine. They aid in digestion, boosting immunity, keeping bad bacteria at bay and producing nutrients, such as B and K vitamins. Diseases as different as inflammatory bowel syndrome, diabetes and mental health issues come from an imbalance. Exercise can boost the health of gut bacteria and that after just six weeks of working out, the composition of microbes changed to a healthier grouping.
Your body continues to make stem cells after you’ve reached adult age.
Exercise boosts how stem cells behave. Exercise encourages stem cells to produce muscle tissue rather than revert to fat. That means even age related muscle loss can be reversed. Orthopedic specialists often encourage patients to exercise to increase the number of stem cells in the body. The more active you are, the more stem cells are produced. Stem cells can become any type of cell in the body, so there’s a potential for reversing aging. More research is necessary to see the extent of change.
Exercise increases DNA protection.
DNA protection comes from the telomeres on the chromosomes. Telomeres act like the tips of shoelaces, preventing the chromosomes from unraveling and destroying the DNA. When your cells replicate, some of the chromosome is lost. The telomere is the dispensable part of that’s shortened, to protect the DNA. When you workout, you lengthen the telomeres so cells can continue to replicate without damage or cell death
- Angiogenesis is the process of maintaining just the right amount of blood vessels. An excess or insufficiency is bad and can cause cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other maladies. Exercise promotes normalization of the process.
- Exercise also boosts your immune system. It helps boost antibodies and normalizes white blood cells, improve gut bacteria, burns off the hormones of stress and increases the production of antioxidants.
- While exercise is important, you can’t ignore the importance of the role food plays in your health. There’s a whole new area in the medical field studying the potential for food to be medicine to fight disease and keep people healthier.
- You’ll have improved circulation, a stronger fitter body and more energy when you workout, but you’ll also boost your feeling of well being. When you feel happier, studies show you live longer.
If you’re experiencing a gnawing sensation that something is wrong, but ignore it or can’t quite figure out why you’re having that feeling, you aren’t tuned into your body. There’s a lot of reasons to get in touch with the messages your body sends you. It could be it needs something to remain healthy or get healthy. It could be a warning to investigate issues before they become too advanced to handle or help in losing weight. Those are just a few situations that learning more about your body can help and exercise can help you tune in to your body. I’ve heard it many times from clients in Irvine, CA. Once they begin the program of exercise, they are more aware of what and when they eat and when to take action if they start to feel ill.
You may not recognize you’re out of shape if you’ve never been in shape.
Seriously, most of my clients are amazed at how good they feel after they work out for a while. They never knew how good they could feel, because they’ve never been in shape or it’s been so long, they’ve accepted feeling bad as part of their normal. One of the biggest way exercise helps you get in touch is to help you find what your real “normal” should be. It shouldn’t be dragging out of bed and always tired. It should be feeling energetic and since exercise improves your mood, feeling great about the day.
Exercise helps you get in touch with your body and with your appetite.
As you workout, you’ll start recognizing specific muscles in the body that either hurt or don’t hurt anymore. You’ll notice that you aren’t as hungry as you were before you started a program of working out after a few months. That’s because you’ve come to identify that sometimes you weren’t really hungry, just filled with stress and eating was a way of stuffing that stress back down inside so you wouldn’t be bothered by it. Exercise helps burn off the stress and the stress hunger or stress eating disappears.
The more in touch with your body you are, the more you’ll learn what the body needs.
Eating should be a pleasure, but for most people, it’s simply an act of putting food—any type of food available—into their mouth, chewing a few times and swallowing. There’s no pleasure in it. It’s a habit and often doesn’t entail eating healthy foods, but quick junk food that’s readily available. When you’re in touch with your body, you’ll be more mindful when you eat and find you not only eat less and healthier, you’ll enjoy savoring the flavors of whole natural foods.
- Exercise helps you sleep better at night. The more in touch with your body you are, the more you’ll recognize its need for adequate sleep. That helps you be more productive and eat less.
- Exercise helps eliminate the effects of stress in your life that can cloud your thinking. You’ll be more aware of what’s actually causing problems and whether the effect was caused by emotional pain or real physical pain.
- The body is constantly informing the brain of everything that’s taking place and sending valuable information on your state of health. When you clear out all the trash and stress from the outside world, you’ll be able to hear what it’s telling you.
- Knowing when to act on the messages the body is sending is important. When you exercise and become fit, you’ll have a benchmark to help you do it.
There’s a reason to improve oxygen supply to cells. It helps boost your energy level, improves your cognitive functioning and also helps you look and feel better. Improved oxygen levels can improve your breathing, help prevent headaches and that dizzy feeling. However, there’s more than it can do than just that. It improves your overall energy level, too. Today, there’s even skin boutiques that offer oxygen inhalation therapy to improve the condition of the skin and prevent premature skin aging.
Make some dietary changes to improve your oxygen levels.
Diet does play a role in oxygen levels. In fact, without iron in your diet, your blood can’t absorb the oxygen to transport throughout the body. Foods rich in iron include green leafy vegetables, fish, red meat, poultry and legumes. If you have iron deficiency, work with your primary care provider to overcome the problems. Make sure you have foods like broccoli and kale and a well balanced diet, as daily. Skip the junk food!
Get plenty of exercise.
When you exercise, you work your lungs and your heart. Both are necessary to provide more oxygen into the cells. The lungs actually bring it in, while the heart sends it throughout the body. The harder you work your muscles, the more oxygen is used and the more carbon dioxide released. It increases your breathing dramatically and causes the heart to pump faster to bring more oxygen to the cells. You’ll be improving the muscle use of the oxygen, lung capacity and oxygen delivery system with exercise.
Get plenty of fresh air and have plants in the house.
There’s nothing more refreshing than fresh air. It also can boost your oxygen intake. Luckily, it’s relatively nice year around and you can open windows and air out the house frequently. If you live in a colder climate, you’d have a narrow window between turning on the furnace and keeping the windows shut and turning on the A/C, also keeping the windows shut. If you can’t air out the house as often as you’d like, keep plants in your home. They improve the levels of oxygen by using the CO2 in the air and releasing oxygen.
- The more you increase your body’s oxygen levels, the more you improve your concentration. Low levels of oxygen are responsible for headaches, mental confusion and poor memory.
- The American Lung Association, COPD Foundation and federal health agencies all recommend exercise to boost oxygen levels for people suffering from lung disease.
- Improved oxygen levels not only help detox the body and cleanse the blood, it also helps with recovery after an injury.
- Learn breathing techniques to improve your oxygen levels. Studies show that breathing techniques, like diaphragmatic breathing, boost oxygen levels.
Sometimes, it’s almost impossible to go to the gym or maybe you’re simply not ready. Some people find they’re so out of shape that you simply can’t start a workout program. The good news is that there is cardio you can do at home to get you started on the path to fitness. It’s also a great way to supplement a program of working out or fill in on those days when you can’t make it for your regular workout.
Grab a jump rope or a hula hoop.
You don’t have to get complicated to get the benefit of a cardio workout. If you’ve ever jumped rope for any length of time, you know it can be extremely wearing. It doesn’t take to long before you to be out of breath if you’re not in good shape. Just ten minutes can boost your cardio endurance. A hula hoop, especially a weighted hula hoop, can also be part of your cardio program. Hula hoops, like jump ropes are inexpensive and fun to do.
Jogging in place can add to your endurance.
You can warm up by jogging in place and add some moves that really boosts your endurance like marching and lifting your knees high while moving your arms, jumping jacks, squats and lunges. The key is to do them fast with little rest in between. You’ll be sweating and breathing hard quickly, so pace yourself enough to get in a ten minute workout at least.
Try a HIIT workout.
You don’t have to use a specific exercise, even walking can be a HIIT workout. HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. It means you do an exercise at top intensity for a while, then drop back to a recovery or slower level for that same length of time or longer and back to high intensity. HIIT workouts are the quickest way to get back into shape and you can even use walking for the exercise. That makes it easy for anyone wanting to get into shape.
- Get strength training and a cardio workout at the same time. If you have weights or resistance bands at home, by using a circuit training technique for strength training, you can get a cardio workout.
- Do you have steps in your home? Running up and down a flight of stairs provides a great workout for your cardiovascular system. If you have clothes to take to a lower level laundry, run a few items at a time down and get two things done at once.
- Jumping up on a box or slightly higher area can provide a workout. Either jump with both feet together or omit the box and do a lunge jump landing on the opposite foot.
- Flatten your tummy and get a cardio workout by doing mountain climbers and other bodyweight workouts. Even a plank can boost your cardiovascular endurance.
Getting good nutrition for life has two meanings, both are right. There are ways to get good nutrition and maintain it for a lifetime, is one way to interpret the phrase. It’s true. The other way to interpret it is that if you have good nutrition, your life will be longer and healthier. That’s also true. What exactly is good nutrition? The first thing to identify is what to avoid to ensure you’re eating healthy. Food with additional sugar added is the first thing to eliminate. Sugar has a huge negative impact on your body. Even worse, it’s additive. Don’t be fooled by the term “natural” sugar, like high fructose corn syrup. It may come from natural sources, but it’s even worse than traditional cane sugar.
Avoid processed food.
Highly processed foods not only are low in nutrition, they contain many additives and chemicals. If you want to see an entire population change from robust good health to one with life threatening illness, find one that changes from its traditional foods to a Western diet. Additives to increase shelf life are added to processed foods, just as extra salt, sugar or refined, bleached flour. Many foods were created specifically to increase consumption with extra doses of sugar, salt and fat that our bodies have been programmed to desire for survival. Of course, that was survival when men lived in caves. Today those cravings only lead to obesity, heart disease and bad health.
Healthy protein is important.
Don’t forget protein. You need protein to build muscle tissue, hair, nails, enzymes, hormones and chemicals for body functions. Protein is used for tissue repair and a basic building block for skin, cartilage, bones and blood. You don’t have to get protein from meat. Healthy protein comes from poultry, eggs, nuts, beans and fish. Protein will make and keep you feeling full, help you shed pounds and build muscle tissue.
Stick with fresh fruits and vegetables and make it colorful.
Fruit and vegetables have varies colors that are created by phytonutrients, such as anthocyanins, which give vegetables and fruit the purple, blue or deep red color. These are powerful antioxidants. You may already have heard of resveratrol found in wine and grapes. It helps relax the artery walls and improve circulation. Those are in purple fruits and vegetables, too. Carotenoids give an orange color, which changes to vitamin A. Chlorophyll gives veggies the green color and boosts your immune system too. Each color has different nutrients, so to maximize your intake, you need a colorful plate.
- Keep your drinks simple. There’s nothing wrong with a cup of coffee or green tea, but you don’t really need milk or fruit juice. Of course, sugary soft drinks are out of the picture, too. Water is best.
- Healthy fat is important. Avoid trans fats and hydrogenated fat, but adding avocado or fatty fish to your diet will actually improve your overall health and help you lose weight.
- When you add grains to your diet, make sure they’re whole grains. Better yet, sprouted grains add a new dimension to healthy eating.
- Don’t forget about regular exercise. While a healthy diet is the foundation of a healthy body, regular exercise is the framework to keep you healthier longer.
If you’re feeling bloated because you simply can’t go, you might consider exercise, diet and adequate hydration for constipation. Taking pharmaceutical aids and cures in a bottle can help occasionally, but to conquer the problem permanently, you need to make changes in your life. Frequent use of laxatives can create a dependency on them and cause other physical problems. Making lifestyle changes is the only way to permanently change it or make it far less frequent. First, you need to identify exactly what constipation means.
How often should you go between bowel movements before you’re constipated?
There’s no specific number of bowel movements or specific number of days between them that constitutes constipation. Some people go three times a day while others go only a few times each week. However, if you’re straining on the toilet with the feeling of being bloated and only small hard pellets or nothing comes out, you’re probably constipated. It’s about how you feel, not a specific number of days.
Eating fibrous whole foods can help solve the problem.
Whole foods, like fruit and vegetables, contain fiber. Increasing the amount of whole foods you eat, especially fibrous ones, can help prevent constipation. There are two types of fiber. One adds bulk and one helps absorb fluid to keep your waste softer. There’s an estimate that approximately 77 percent of those with chronic constipation can benefit from extra fiber. Insoluble fiber, the type that adds bulk, comes from eating whole grains, bran and vegetables. Soluble fiber, the type that absorbs fluid and keeps the stool soft, comes from nuts, lentils, peas, oat bran, barley and some fruits and vegetables.
Drink more water.
Often dehydration can cause constipation. People are often mildly dehydrated and simply don’t realize it. Drinking 8-eight ounce glasses of water each day may be all you need to avoid constipation. Carbonated water may work faster if you’re in need of a quicker fix. Studies show sparkling water is more effective than plain tap water, even for those that have chronic constipation or IBS—irritable bowel syndrome.
- Exercise can help you go by working the muscles and helping the bowels move the waste through your system. Simply going for a walk may get you going again.
- A cup of caffeinated coffee can help get you going on those days when you need a little boost. The caffeine stimulates the muscles that push the waste through.
- Probiotic foods can also help relieve chronic constipation. Some studies show that people with chronic constipation have an imbalance of gut bacteria that aggravates the problem.
- Some of the best foods for constipation include rhubarb, berries, raisins, plums, grapes, apples prunes and whole grain. Avoid rice, white flour and processed foods when you’re constipated.
The original food pyramid started back in the 1990s by the USDA, but unfortunately, they got it wrong. Why? Nobody is quite certain. Part of the problem may have come from lack of knowledge known today, while another reason may have been from powerful lobbying groups that altered the outcome. Either way, food and nutrition guidelines for healthy kids is one of the most important goals for parents here in Irvine and institutions like schools. Knowing how to start kids out on a healthy track can establish a lifetime of healthy eating.
Nothing is wrong with boosting your vegetable and fruit intake, but don’t count potatoes in that group.
One of the biggest problems with the new MyPlate, is that they count starchy vegetables the same way they count healthier ones. While there’s nothing wrong with a few potatoes a week, they are actually somewhere in between refined carbohydrates and whole grains when it comes to nutrition. A healthy diet for a child should include more colorful vegetables, with far more greens, red, purple and yellow. Make sure your child gets approximately—based on their age and weight—2 cups of varied vegetables with most of them colorful and 1 ½ cups of fruit.
Should dairy be emphasized?
There’s a lot of controversy about having dairy in the diet. Besides the fact that dairy can create digestive problems for some people, there’s no need for more than one or two servings of dairy a day. Those opposed to dairy say it causes respiratory problems, which can come from digestive upsets and acid reflux. There’s also evidence that high milk consumption actually increases the potential for bone fractures, heart disease later in life, some forms of cancer and anemia. There’s no need to have milk with every meal, plus cheese, yogurt and other milk products in between meals.
Fats are an important part of a healthy diet, but are still not given their due.
One problem with using the food pyramid or MyPlate is that neither one identifies the type of fat to include in a diet or gives fat the importance it deserves. While fat is loaded with calories, it also fills you up quickly. Healthy fat is essential for a child’s body development and growth. It’s necessary to create hormones, absorb fat soluble vitamins like A, K, D and E and to create insulation for the tissues of the nervous system. Without enough in a child’s diet, their nervous system and brain growth may not have normal development. The brain is 70% fat. There are three types of fat, saturated, unsaturated and transfats. Transfats and hydrogenated fats have no place in a diet, while adequate amounts of the other two are necessary.
- Even though MyPlate suggests some of the fruit can come from juice, your child is better off eating the fruit and drinking water. Fruit juice is high in calories, without the fiber that aids the digestive system.
- There’s nothing wrong with the recommendations for vegetables and fruit in the government MyPlate, but emphasis should be placed on using the ones with various colors and keeping potatoes to a minimum.
- You don’t have to serve only beef, chicken or pork to get the right amount of protein in your child’s diet, nuts, eggs and beans are a few other sources that should be included.
- Choose water as a drink of choice for your child. If you’re feeling guilty, like less of a parent by serving water, make it bottled water.
How many times have you started dieting, lost your weight and then gained it all back within a few weeks or months of ending your diet? How many times have you dieted and in one horrible evening, ended the diet and all the progress by stuffing your self with the diet’s forbidden foods. Diets always fail, but making lifestyle changes don’t. Making lifestyle changes means learning to eat healthier and make smarter choices when it comes to food.
Whether you’re counting calories or carbs, eating a “special, magical food” or following a guru’s recommendation, diets don’t work.
You’ll feel deprived and often hungry when you diet. There are often a plethora of do’s and don’ts that you must follow or the diet end. When it end, you not only go back to old eating habits, you also regain the weight you lost and sometimes even more. Nothing has changed. You still crave that candy bar at three in the afternoon and buy a few boxes of cookies at the grocery. It’s no wonder you regain the weight.
A change in lifestyle means eating healthier and making permanent changes.
Lifestyle changes means changing habits and making smarter choices. You’re not really making any kind of permanent change when you go on a cabbage soup and lemonade diet—or whatever kind of crash diet you chose. That’s because these were not meant to be used for longer periods. They’re not nutritionally balanced and they’re extremely boring after a short period. Learning to make smart substitutions, such as having healthy snacks available, like an apple, to offset that hunger mid afternoon so you don’t look for a candy bar. Even making small changes, like substituting brown rice for white rice also adds more nutrients with fewer calories.
Lifestyle changes mean learning to cook differently.
How you cook your food is as important as what you cook. If you’re breading and frying everything, you’ll benefit from learning how to steam, grill or bake your dishes. Changing a recipe may be in order. Consider using applesauce to substitute for sugar or oil in cakes or muffins. Filling up on vegetables with more servings per meal is also part of a healthy diet.
- Do you have to give up some of your favorite dishes? You can still eat them, just in smaller portions and not as often.
- A program of regular exercise also is part of a healthy lifestyle. It not only burns calories and builds muscle tissue, it can also help prevent serious conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
- Adequate hydration is also part of a healthy lifestyle. The body requires approximately 8-eight ounce glasses a day.
- While you might get sample meal plans at first, until you learn how to eat healthier. Once you understand a healthy way of eating, you can eat anywhere. Even if you overeat one day, you simply go back to normal eating the next.