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Health Tips
Stay healthy by reading wellness advice from our top specialists.

While eating protein-rich foods such as meat, poultry, fish, dry beans and peas, eggs, nuts, and seeds supply many nutrients, it may also be associated with 33 per cent high risk of heart failure among middle-aged men, finds a study.The results showed that middle-aged men with a higher intake of dairy protein like milk, butter and cheese had a 49 per cent of higher risk of heart failure. However, proteins from fish and eggs were not associated with the risk, the researchers said.

Consumption of animal protein was found to increase the risk by 43 per cent, while eating plant protein raised the risk by 17 per cent. “Higher intake of protein from most dietary sources was associated with slightly higher risk. Only proteins from fish and eggs were not associated with heart failure risk,” said Jyrki Virtanen from the University of Eastern Finland-Kuopio. “Earlier studies had linked diets high in protein – especially from animal sources – with increased risks of Type 2 diabetes and even death,” Virtanen said.

The study, published in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure, included 2,441 men, aged between 42 and 60 years who were examined over a period of 22 years. The participants were divided into four groups based on their daily protein intake and the higher protein consuming group was compared to the lower. The results showed that for the 334 cases of heart failure cases diagnosed during the study, 70 per cent of the protein from animal sources and 27.7 per cent from plant sources were accountable.

The American Heart Association recommends a dietary pattern that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, beans, non-tropical vegetable oils and nuts; and limits intake of sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages and red meats.

Men, take note. If you are suffering from low bone density or frequent pain in your spine due to ageing, then milk, yogurt and cheese may help you achieve a positive outcome, says a study led by an Indian-origin researcher.

The study found that a higher intake of dairy foods is associated with higher volumetric bone mineral density and vertebral strength at the spine in men.

The associations were most beneficial in men over age 50, and continued to have positive associations.

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“The results of this study highlight the beneficial role of a combination of dairy foods upon bone health and these beneficial associations remain irrespective of serum vitamin D status in a person,” said Shivani Sahni, Associate Scientist at the Institute For Ageing Research in Boston.

For the findings, published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Density, the team included 1,522 men and 1,104 women from the Framingham Study, aged 32 to 81 years.

ALSO READ | Eating muesli in breakfast may help combat arthritis

They examined quantitative computed tomography (QCT) measures of bone to determine associations with dairy intake.

However, no significant results was observed in women, except for a positive association of cream intake in the cross sectional area of the bone.

A previous research, presented at the Endocrine Society’s 100th Annual Meeting in Chicago, revealed that consuming a Mediterranean diet — rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, potatoes, olive oil, seeds, fish, low saturated fat, dairy products and red meat — may boost bones and muscle mass in postmenopausal women.

Fitness, weight loss, dieting or a mix of these - can these help a person live a 100 years? Or at least have a reasonably long and healthy life? A study conducted among people over the age of 90 years in a few Italian villages showed they had certain traits in common, like stubbornness and resilience.

The study, published in International Psychogeriatrics, got the response of 29 villagers from Italy’s Cilento region on subjects such as migration, traumatic events and their beliefs.

But apart from these, there are lots of factors one needs to look into, to live a long life. Diet forms a very important part of the scheme.

With respect to diet, we spoke to a few experts and they gave us 4 dietary things we need to take note of:

Fat balance

“There are good and bad fats. We need a regular dose of good fats, also known as unsaturated fats, in order to burn more fat. These are natural energy capsules which help improve your energy levels,” said Dr Manoj Kutteri, wellness director at Atmantan, Pune.

If you are on a workout schedule, good fats pump more energy into your performance by increasing your endurance levels. To increase your consumption of good fats, have foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids including salmon, fish oil, olive oil and nuts.

More fresh food

The primary principle of living a healthier life is to eat fresh food. It will immediately reduce your body exposure to chemicals found in processed foods, some of which we are not even really aware of.

“By relying on a processed food diet, we risk our lives to chronic inflammation. In other words, we risk our immunity response, thus allowing inflammation, which increases the risk of diseases like cancer. So, you should eat fresh fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water,” advises Dr Kutteri.

Fewer meals

Eating fewer meals promotes healthier ageing since it protects your body’s cells from any harmful effects or deterioration. It also reduces the risk of cancer, according to some medical studies.

“Eating less may not appeal to many people, but having fewer, smaller meals in a day might work perfectly by increasing the level of cell cycling and cellular repair mechanisms in your body. Through continuous cell recycling, nutrients are effectively fed and reused in your body, thus making for a healthier and longer life,” says Ramesh Gajria, founder of TranMe app.

If your grandparents are struggling with isolation, showing them how to use Facebook may help as researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have found that social networking sites offer tools and activities that may help older adults feel more empowered and less lonely.

Facebook and similar social networking sites could play a critical role in easing isolation and making them feel like they are part of a large community, said the study published in the journal New Media and Society.

“This is important, especially for older adults who might be aging in place, because they have mobility constraints that limit their ability to socialize,” said study co-author S. Shyam Sundar, Professor at the Pennsylvania State University in the US.

For the study, the researchers recruited more than 200 participants who were 60 years and older and used Facebook for at least a year.

The researchers “friended” the participants on Facebook so they could count the number of times they used the various tools in the site during the past year.

The participants were also asked to respond to a questionnaire that captured the gratifications they obtained from Facebook.

Older adults who posted a lot of personal stories on Facebook felt a higher sense of community, and the more they customised their profiles, the more in control they felt, Sundar said.

The researchers also suggested that commenting on and responding to them gave older users a feeling of social interaction.

Sundar added that using social media is not a uniform experience that is either all bad, or all good, but offers multiple functions for diverse users.

Older adults are increasingly adopting social media, in general, and are a growing number of Facebook’s total membership, said Eun Hwa Jung from National University of Singapore who worked with Sundar.

Facebook is considered the most popular social network among older adults, the researchers added.

The researcher also emphasised that developers of social media networks should consider the needs of this growing group of users. For example, they should create features that enhance the identity of older adults while simultaneously protecting their privacy.

Someone has rightly said, 'healthy eating begins with you.' Nourishing your body with the right nutrients and maintaining a healthy weight can help you stay active and independent even as you age. The definition of eating healthy while you are growing old changes significantly. As you age, your metabolism slows down, because of which you require fewer calories per day. Your body needs sufficient amount of nutrients that you may not have needed while you were young. Ageing is inevitable, but to stay healthy and lead a fit lifestyle is our job. Let's look at how dietary changes are important as you age and what does your body require when you are growing old.Age-related changes can affect how your body processes food that further influence your dietary needs and affects your appetite. Here are some changes every elderly will experience as s/he ages.

1. Your Metabolism Slows Down

This is a natural process; however, it becomes more pronounced if you are not active enough or haven't exercised enough. When your metabolism slows down, your body doesn't burn as many calories, which clearly means that you need to eat less to stay at a healthy weight.

2. You Are Susceptible To More Health Conditions
No matter how fit you are, your immunity system goes for a toss, which may make you susceptible to different health conditions. Some of the most common health conditions may include diabetes, cataract, macular degeneration, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, et al. In some cases, you may delay them but not stop them.

3. May Have Concerns Related To Your Oral Health

Some elderly people suffer from dental problems, which is why they aren't able to chew food properly. It is best to choose soft and light foods that people can eat easily.

4. You May Also Become Emotionally Affected

Sometimes lonely people may fall into depression and, in turn, lose interest in eating. In some cases, emotional issues may also cause some people to eat more and gain unwanted weight. Either way, it is harmful.

5. Your Appetite May Change

There are various factors like heavy medications and health issues that may change a person's appetite. Therefore, one has to keep a watch on the diet elderly people take on a daily basis.

Here are some tips suggested by the United States Department of Agriculture that one should follow:

1.Obtain nutrients needed by the body such as potassium, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, minerals and dietary fibre.

2. Add flavour to foods with spices and herbs instead of salt and look for low-sodium packaged foods.

3. Add sliced fresh fruits and vegetables to your meals and snacks.

4. Drink, at least, three cups of fat-free or low-fat milk throughout the day. Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

5. Consume foods with vitamin B12 like yogurt, soy milk, seafood, et al. Deficiency of B12 may lead to fatigue, anaemia and memory issues among others.

It is always good to consult a dietitian who can help you make a proper diet plan. Remember, you can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old. Happy and healthy ageing!

Dr. Anushree Bhonde
Dr. Anushree Bhonde
BPTh, Physiotherapist, 11 yrs, Pune
Dr. Sheetal Jadhav
Dr. Sheetal Jadhav
BAMS, Ayurveda Family Physician, Pune
Dr. Akash Kadam
Dr. Akash Kadam
BDS, Dentist Oral Medicine Specialist, 4 yrs, Pune
Dr. Mahesh Gupta
Dr. Mahesh Gupta
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Ayurveda Family Physician, 4 yrs, Pune
Dr. Vinay Shankar Gupta
Dr. Vinay Shankar Gupta
MS - Allopathy, Dermatologist Family Physician, 40 yrs, Shimla