Got your heart set on a salmon dinner tonight? Eating as little as one serving a week of your favorite finned food can cut the risk of losing your sight by a darn important 42 percent, compared with folks who eat fish only once a month.
This simple menu change could keep you from joining the 9 million U.S. adults over 40 who already have some vision loss from age-related macular degeneration. Nothing else (except quitting smoking) does more to prevent or slow the onset of this sight-stealer. So go fish! Even if it’s just in your grocery’s seafood department.
What’s the fishy ingredient? Bet you already know. Yep, DHA-omega-3s. These good fats shield your vision in the same ways that they protect you from heart disease, colon cancer, stroke and allergies: They reduce inflammation and rev up your immune system. They also protect the nerves in your eyes that are critical for sight.
How to reel in top benefits:
1. Pick the winners. The fish highest in healthy omega-3s and lowest in mercury are salmon and trout. Canned tuna is a good, handy, affordable source, too.
2. Think threes: While one serving of fish a week is good, more is better. We eat at least three fist-sized servings of omega-3-rich fish per week.
3. Be sure. Food may not supply enough omega-3s, so take an algae-based supplement that’s high in DHA omega-3s, the best type. Why algae? It’s where fish get their omega-3s. Go to the source! Aim for 900 mg a day.
Memo to all the guys out there: Quit walking to the kitchen every time those bone-health commercials come on. All the talk about osteoporosis is not for women only.
Twelve million men have bones that are getting thinner and brittler each day. Fortunately, we’ve got some irresistible ways to keep yours safe, strong and young.
How about a beer? Ah, now you’re paying attention! The bone-saving secret in brewskies is silicon, a chemical that stimulates collagen production. What’s collagen? A protein that makes your bones denser and your joints more flexible. Brews with the most hops and malted barley are the richest in silicon. Not a big beer guy? Bananas and brown rice are also silicon-packed.
Anyone for Chinese food? Great! Many dishes (non-fried, please!) are full of broccoli, bok choy and edamame (soybeans), which means they’re bursting with bone-strengthening calcium. Go easy on the soy sauce; salt flushes out calcium.
Buff up those biceps. Weight-bearing exercises like push-ups (yes, the ones in bed count), hiking and carrying your sweetie’s groceries toughen bones as well as muscles.
Munch zinc-rich dark chocolate, peanuts or walnuts, and take your vitamins. Men with osteoporosis are often low in zinc, used in the bone-building process. If you don’t eat these zinc-rich foods, consider a 15 mg zinc supplement. Add a bone-strengthening combo supplement of 600 mg calcium plus 1,000 IU vitamin D-3 and 200-300 mg of magnesium. We take one daily.
If you love hitting the hay early — and have no problems resisting the late-night lures of Jay, Conan or your Facebook updates — you’ll love this news: Getting a good night’s sleep does even more than protect against diabetes, weight gain and cranky mornings. Clocking seven to eight hours also reduces your risk of colon cancer by 50 percent, heart attacks by 48 percent and strokes by 19 percent, compared with night owls.
That’s a stellar return on an investment that requires only a commitment to bed time, comfy pajamas (or nothing at all; your call) and a dark room (more on that in a sec).
What if you’re a chronic sleep-skimper? The shifts in body chemistry linked to late nights and early wake-up calls are enough to keep you up even later. Short sleep can throw off your two appetite-regulating hormones (ghrelin and leptin) in ways that make you eat more, gain more and get more blood-sugar problems, which boost heart attacks and strokes. Missing too many ZZZ’s also increases bodywide inflammation, which gunks up your arteries and fuels cancer too. Could it get worse? Yep. Ignoring your body clock messes with the sleepytime hormone melatonin, which doubles as a cancer deterrent while it’s making you yawn.
Giving your body the gift of great sleep can be as simple as sticking with a regular lights-out schedule, nixing caffeine three hours before bed, being physically active (not too close to bedtime), silencing electronics an hour before shuteye and closing the curtains. A dark room will get your melatonin moving, and maybe your partner, too.
The YOU Docs, Mehmet Oz and Mike Roizen, are authors of “YOU: On a Diet.” Want more? See “The Dr. Oz Show” on TV (check local listings). To submit questions, go to www.RealAge.com.