Does Hydration Hold the Key to Healthy Aging?
If you’re looking for the fountain of youth, look no further than your kitchen faucet. That’s because drinking plenty of water may not only prevent disease, but it may also slow down the aging process. A recent analysis of 15,792 middle-aged adults showed that high sodium serum levels—caused by not enough fluid intake or too much fluid loss—increase the risk of chronic disease by 39 percent and the risk of dying prematurely by 21 percent. A hydration deficit can also mean a 50 percent higher chance of having a biological age older than your chronological age. So stay youthfully ahead of your years by downing plenty of pure H20 every day. How much is enough? The Institute of Medicine recommends men drink about three liters of fluid and women drink a little over two liters daily.
Dmitrieva NI. Middle-age high normal serum sodium as a risk factor for accelerated biological aging, chronic diseases, and premature mortality. EbioMedicine. 2023;87:104404.
EVOO Boosts Brain Function
Here’s a quick tip for improved cognition: consuming just two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil every day can improve mental performance, particularly for those with a mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Recent evidence published in the journal Nutrients shows that downing a daily ounce of extra-virgin olive oil enhances brain connectivity and reduces blood-brain barrier permeability, a key facet of Alzheimer’s disease. And after six months of consistent EVOO intake, this can translate into improved dementia rating and behavioral scores for MCI patients. But remember that not all olive oils are created equal. Make sure to choose “extra-virgin” olive oil, not “light” or “pure” oils, which are typically refined and much lower in brain-benefiting compounds. Also, check the harvest or use-by date for freshness—and always buy EVOO in dark glass bottles.
Kaddoumi A. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Enhances the Blood-Brain Barrier Function in Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2022;14(23):5102.
Loneliness Linked to Heart Failure
When it comes to cardiovascular health, being the owner of a lonely heart may not be good for you. In fact, feeling lonely and socially isolated may actually lead to a higher likelihood of heart failure. In determining this, researchers evaluated the health outcomes of more than 400,000 middle-aged and older adults. They found that loneliness and isolation increase the risk of hospitalization or death from heart failure by 15 to 20 percent, regardless of genetic risk. Interestingly, the data also suggests that even if you’re not isolated but still feel alone, you may reap the negative effects of loneliness just the same. This emphasizes the importance of not just making and maintaining social connections but finding the joy and happiness in them.
Liang YY. Association of Social Isolation and Loneliness With Incident Heart Failure in a Population-Based Cohort Study. JACC: Heart Failure. 2023.
Eat and Drink Your Way to Hip Health
Each year, more than 300,000 seniors, age 65 and older, are hospitalized for hip fractures—with women making up three-quarters of those cases. Fortunately, reducing your hip-fracture risk can be as simple as tweaking your diet. According to findings published in Clinical Nutrition, an increase in dietary protein can bring significant improvements in hip-fracture risk. For every 25 grams of protein eaten per day, participants saw a 14 percent lower risk of hip fracture. And for every additional cup of coffee or tea each day, the risk of hip fracture was lowered by four percent.
Webster J. Foods, nutrients and hip fracture risk: A prospective study of middle-aged women. Clinical Nutrition. 2022;41(12);2825–32.
Less Sleep Linked to Higher Disease Risk
Not getting enough sleep doesn’t just make you tired the next day; it can actually make you more susceptible to disease. Though burning the midnight oil every now and then won’t hurt, 50-year-olds consistently sleeping five hours or less every night are 20 percent more likely to have already been diagnosed with a chronic disease compared to those sleeping up to seven hours a night. Even worse, those consistently shortchanging their shut-eye are 40 percent more inclined to be diagnosed with two or more chronic diseases over the next 25 years. That’s why it’s critical to focus on good sleep habits, especially as you age. For optimal sleeping conditions, create a quiet, dark, and comfortable bedroom environment before turning in—unplug from disruptive electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime.
Sabia S. Association of sleep duration at age 50, 60, and 70 years with risk of multimorbidity in the UK: 25-year follow-up of the Whitehall II cohort study. PLoS Med. 2022;19(10):e1004109.
Some Heart Supplements Are More Effective Than Others
It can be a challenge to figure out which supplements will give your heart the targeted benefits it needs. But thanks to an exhaustive review of 884 randomized, controlled intervention trials covering 27 micronutrient types, researchers found that certain nutrients showed stronger evidence for reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors than others. In particular, omega-3 fatty acid supplementation decreased CVD mortality, heart attack, and other coronary heart disease events. Curcumin reduced systolic blood pressure and fasting blood insulin levels. Melatonin lowered total cholesterol. And CoQ10 supplementation decreased all-cause mortality events.
An P. Micronutrient Supplementation to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2022;80(24):2269.
More than 1 out of every 3 Americans will get sunburned this year.
Office of the Surgeon General. “Skin Cancer: Quick Facts from the Surgeon General.” Last reviewed August 8, 2014. HHS.gov.
1 in 8 Americans age 50 and older show signs of addiction to highly processed foods.
Gearhardt A. Addiction to Highly Processed Food Among Older Adults. University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging. January/February 2023.