Diabetic Walking Shoes Can Help You Live Longer With Diabetes

If you’ve followed along with my long running series on diabetes with my recent posts: how to increase insulin naturally, normal blood sugar range, and The Insulin Resistance Diet then you probably know that diabetes is one of the leading causes of death and it is growing ever more prevalent with each passing year.

Looking at the most recent year’s statistics Diabetes is number 7 on the list taking sole responsibility for 2.9 percent of all deaths nationwide however the statistics are more sobering when you consider the fact that diabetes is a main contributing factor in heart disease and stroke because many of the problems that lead to the development and worsening of type-2 diabetes also contribute to the development of these other conditions which act much faster when they attack.

Additionally diabetes is often diagnosed in people who are overweight, in those who do not eat a well balanced diet in the correct proportions, and in people who do not exercise enough. Unfortunately for most people with diabetes the condition is preventable until it sets in but once it’s there it’s something you have to live with. Fortunately however it is possible if you are diligent and disciplined.

How Diabetic Walking Shoes Can Help You Live Longer

I’ve spoken a lot on this blog about how people with insulin resistance should be taking the time and energy every day to exercise because it helps improve insulin sensitivity and can help in managing blood sugar level better than just about any single action or medication you can take. Clinical research has shown over the year quite conclusively that exercise is the number one way to manage diabetes and insulin resistance but what is often left unsaid is how to get that exercise in when your feet are suffering from a diabetic condition.

You see what happens when you develop diabetes your body slowly starts getting damaged by the effects of chronically high blood sugar levels in your blood stream. In some people the pancreas is able to produce more insulin to help offset the insulin insensitivity but this too can cause long term damage to the blood vessels.

As a result from all this damage the smaller blood vessels such as the capillaries and some large vessels in the extremities and feet begin losing circulation and in turn begin losing their ability to circulate oxygen to the region, heal wounds in that part of the body, and fight off infection. What this results in is an area of the body extremely prone to wounds and an area of the body that has difficulty in healing the wounds that do happen.

When a diabetic person, especially one that has been diabetic for a long time, begins exercising the pressure put on the feet cans sometimes be too much for the foot. Pressure points from walking and running or whatever activity is taking place begin to take a toll on the foot and foot ulcers can begin cropping up. These wounds can be very painful but can also go unnoticed especially if neuropathy of the nerves has set in. If the wound is bad enough and infection spreads it is entirely possible to lose tissue and sometimes the bone altogether.

This obviously is bad and could be an obvious reason why someone with diabetes may have a shorter life span however it shouldn’t be an excuse for not exercising. Diet alone is not enough to manage diabetes and insulin resistance you have to get active and treat the condition with physical activity and the best was to do that is to practice the best foot care you can by washing your feet, keeping them dry and moisture free, inspecting them for small cuts or sores, and minimizing irritation put on them by the shoes and socks you wear.

When you exercise you have to wear the right shoes, you simply cannot afford not to. People with diabetes are always going to have a shorter expected life span and it’s because the condition contributes to both heart disease and stroke and because it can end up causing people to go lame and/or blind.

If you follow a sound diet, wear the best diabetic shoes you can afford when you go exercising, and make sure to monitor your body for physical changes or abnormalities you should be much more likely to live a longer life.

If you have diabetes and want to learn how to live a longer life with diabetes, simply do what you need to do and be thankful that your health is in your control.

For related reading you may also want to see my older post on walking after eating or this handy post on the best anti aging products… since you should be taking the right steps to live longer anyway.

Maca Root Extract: A Medicinal Plant That Promotes a Longer, Healthier Life

The following is a guest post by by Joy from An Apple A Day.

While I want to live far into old age, one of my biggest fears is to find myself old and alive, but not well. I dread the idea of living long enough to watch my grandkids grow up, but being unable to happily interact with them and impart my hard-earned life lessons.

So I’m constantly looking for things that extend life, while also promoting vitality. Living longer itself is great, but living longer in a vital, energetic way is even better.

Recently, I’ve come across a medicinal plant called maca that research has shown to contain a vitalizing and life-extending cocktail of chemicals. The plant has long been a traditional herbal remedy and food staple in the Andes mountains of Peru. Warriors of old are said to have eaten large amounts of it before going into battle. As new studies come out, science is backing up the herbalists’ claims that the plant has anti-cancer, hormonal balancing, and virility-bringing powers.

Scientists have studied the chemical makeup of maca and have shown that it’s full of antioxidants. If you read How to Live a Longer Life often, you’re familiar with the anti-cancer properties of antioxidants.

Oxidation of the cells is what causes our cells to age; sometimes oxidation can cause regular cells to go into massive replication, creating cancerous tumors. Free radicals are the cause of this oxidation, and antioxidants act as free radical scavengers. They absorb the free radicals and keep them from hurting cells. Maca’s array of antioxidants is the scientific basis for its anti-cancer and life-extending properties.

Maca also balances out hormones in both men and women. The root has been used traditionally to ease menopausal symptoms, and researches have found a scientific basis for these claims.

In animal studies, maca kept female animals from developing post-menopausal osteoporosis, which is caused by estrogen deficiencies. Beyond these bone-helping properties, balancing estrogen levels can ease the mood swings associated with menopause and lead to feeling more emotionally and mentally balanced. 

For men, as mentioned before, maca acts as a virility booster. Doses of maca have increased sperm count and testicle size in animals. If you’re having trouble conceiving, or simply want to take a natural aphrodisiac, consider getting some maca.

Maca root extract is relatively cheap and can be bought online in both pill and powder form. Buying it in powder is more economical; a one-pound bag can be purchased for around $20 from herbal and nutritional stores.

The recommended dose is 500-1000 mg three times daily, so be sure to take this into account when you’re buying pills. An upside of the pills is that the powder has a strong, earthy odor that some might not like. I usually take the powder in a glass of orange juice or some other very flavorful beverage, and this mostly masks the smell. If you don’t have a scale, 1000 mg of maca is approximately half a teaspoon. 

While people will shell out hundreds of dollars for prescription drugs to increase virility or ease menopausal symptoms, maca acts as a “neutraceutical” with similar effects, at a fraction of the price. And, there are no known side effects. And it also has life-extending properties.

So, mix that powder into your orange juice, ignore the earthy odor, and enjoy your old age.

Joy Paley is a blogger for An Apple A Day and a writer specializing in phlebotomist careers for Guide to Healthcare Schools.

Is The GNC Acidophilus Supplement The Best Probiotic Complex

This week I was recommended by my doctor to try taking probiotics. I had never even really head about probiotics before and didn’t know the difference between acidophilus supplements or any of the other many types and strains of probiotics so this was all new ground for me. This may be too much information but I’ve been feeling like I’ve had poor digestion lately and I’ve been burping a lot more than normal and he suggested that this might help.

Research In Probiotic Supplements – Align Probiotics

In actuality my doctor prescribed an over the counter probiotic supplement called Align seeing as though it had been thoroughly studied in clinical settings with placebo and double-blind research. The Align probiotic in these studies was shown to have statistical significance in decreasing the symptoms of IBS in women.

Obviously I’m a man and the study was on women but still the doctor thought this may help and would be the best shot over the other potential probiotics which had not shown any clinical evidence either due to research which showed no help or due to a lack or research.

In any event I went home and researched probiotics and found the research study performed on the Align Probiotic complex, which you can read here in abstract form, and I learned that probiotics are a little hocus pocus right now because there are so many different strains of probiotics that one strain may be helpful whereas another could be a waste of money and with a lack or clinical research in the field it can be almost impossible to identify the probiotics which can help and which will do nothing.

What Is The Best Probiotic Complex

The Align probiotic vitamin supplement study even showed that the number of CFU in probiotics could be deceiving. One would expect that the higher the CFU the better the results. The price is even higher for higher CFU so this would make sense however the high CFU dose of Align in the study didn’t show improved results with IBS it was the middle ground CFU that showed results. This goes to suggest that a particular probiotic supplement that is the right strain and combination of probiotics may still not help much unless the CFU is in the right zone.

Quickly it’s become obvious to me that taking probiotics for my digestive issues may be an exercise in futility seeing as though I haven’t been diagnosed with IBS nor am I a woman. Even further making this a crap shoot I couldn’t even find Align probiotics in the store. I went to a few stores actually and because I couldn’t find it I decided to buy a different probiotic complex as a way of comparing two types on my own. I decided I would take the GNC Acidophilus Supplement, a probiotic complex with 4 billion CFU consisting of 40 percent acidophilus, 40 percent bifidum, 10 percent helveticus, and 10 percent thermophilus.

GNC Acidophilus Supplement vs. Align Probiotic Vitamins

Now I’m still pretty new to this but I felt this was a good baseline acidophilus supplement to compare to the Align probitotic supplement which my doctor recommended. And since I couldn’t find the probiotic complex my doctor recommended in the store I figured I’d pick it up on Amazon and compare the two by taking the acidophilus supplement for the month of September and then the Align probiotic for the month of October and deciding for myself which is the best probiotic complex for my personal situation.

Will my results be applicable to anyone else? I’m not sure. If I find that the acidophilus supplement is the best probiotic supplement then that may be simply the best probiotic complex for me and my situation alone as I’m learning that this is really a hit or miss area without the testing completed to backup health claims. I’ll have to report back here with my personal findings.  And speaking of which I still need to report back on my experience with the men's face moisturizer I purchased a week ago to help with sunblock and anti aging.  I'm only 30 but it never hurts to start early I guess.

If you have experience with probiotic supplements I’d love to hear your thoughts down below.

Align Research Source - http://www.nature.com/ajg/journal/v101/n7/abs/ajg2006294a.html

Whats The Best Face Moisturizer For Men With SPF

I started shopping today for the best face moisturizer for men with SPF. I didn’t start this week thinking I would need a good moisturizer for men but the wife looked at me a couple days ago and peered deeply into my forehead and informed me that she didn’t like the growing tan line or discoloration that was slowly appearing near my hairline which was most likely caused by sun damage.

Taken aback with surprise I looked into the mirror and what do you know; she was right – I did have a noticeable line. And now that I’m 30 I should probably start caring a little more about my skin and my appearance… especially after crafting such a fine post on the best anti aging products on the market today. Why am I not following my own advice and taking care of my skin.

The wife ended up telling me she wanted me to start wearing sunscreen on my face and I am happy to please her – so thus started my search for various face moisturizers for men which were both oil free, natural, would help with anti aging attributes, and were generally the best moisturizers for men that money could buy.

Finding The Best Men's SPF Moisturizer

I started my search by simply browsing through the top selling products at Amazon because frankly I’ve written a bit about anti aging creams but haven’t researched men’s products specifically. What I found was a lot of claims that Nivea for men moisturizer was one of the best however I quickly realized that it was simply a cheap men’s moisturizer and little more. Upon doing a little more digging however I stumbled upon the Neutrogena Men Age Fighter Face Moisturizer which I quickly realized was on my wish list.

This facial moisturizer for men is fragrance free, oil free, all natural, and uses retinol (vitamin A) to work to moisturize the skin and reduce lines and wrinkles. It also packs SPF 15 for all day protection against skin damage and should be a great way to spend al little more money on skin moisturizer to get more benefits than the cheapest but less expensive than the top of the line. In my mind this is the best facial moisturizer for men as it is affordable but very beneficial – much more so al least over the cheapest kinds.

Is the Neutrogena Men Age Fighter Face Moisturizer really the best skin moisturizer for men? I don’t know but it appears to be the best moisturizer for my money. I has what I value and at a price I can afford and feel good about paying and recommending others to buy.

If you want to give it a try or have any thoughts about Neutrogena or any other related products I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Did I make the wrong choice? Let me know and tell me what men’s moisturizer is better. I’d love to know.

You can take a look at the product I purchased here on Amazon and give it a try for yourself - Neutrogena Men Age Fighter Face Moisturizer.

How To Boost T Cells

Over the past year a few posts I’ve written on how to boost T cells have become rather popular. Despite the fact that this blog is about longevity and anti aging topics I can’t help but want to feature these posts as a group so that they can be referenced on occasion as a collection.

In the future I will likely write a little more on the topic of boosting T cells and improving your immune system and when those posts go live I’ll update this page to reflect the added topical information.

Of course T cells, white blood cells, and the immune system is a very complex subject and probably more scientific in nature than I could ever fully represent as a simple blogger. For that matter I would hope that every post on the subject not be taken as scientific fact but rather be analyzed by you the reader and placed in better context as applicable to you and your knowledge.

My posts in order of publication are:
Obviously if you are having trouble with your T cell levels your doctor should be guiding your treatment process. These articles are merely informational and should not replace any information or opinions expressed by your doctor. The task of boosting T cell count is ultimately in his court and rightfully so.

The Best Anti Aging Products On The Market Today

Being the author of a longevity blog I was curious what the best anti aging products on the market were. Personally I don’t use product on my skin or eyes, or any other area of my body but my wife has started too and she has been encouraging me to start. After all, I just turned 30 and we don’t want to age too quickly to fast.

As a man, this is kind of a weird subject because not many men care enough to use anti aging products, creams, masks, and serums. Many of us do work our hardest to stay healthy and in shape. And like myself many of us want to live a longer life full of health and happiness so I guess it makes sense that if I plan on living on this earth for many more decades I might as well try to look good while I’m doing it.

Last year, I took the time to investigate the differences between various types of anti aging creams. If you missed that post, let me encourage you to go back and review it. I learned a lot doing that research. To expand a bit on it however I did some more research and selected what I consider to be a decent list of the best anti aging products on the market. Of course my opinion is biased towards simplicity and cost-effectiveness. I shy away from high priced formulas and potential scams; but I suppose that many of these products are just fine assuming you don’t rely on them entirely.

---UPDATE - I've recently posted a review of Stem Cell Therapy Cream - this cream is designed to help speed up the regeneration of skin cells and help your look younger. Check it out.---

My methodology in these selections is not an exact science. I’m merely looking at the top selling anti aging products by product type which I identified in the previous post and hand selecting what I consider to be a good choice for someone just starting to dive into the products.

Best Idebenone Anti Aging Product

Idebenone, as I previously stated, is designed to prevent damage to the skin from occurring. As opposed to other anti-aging products which try to repair damage and make you look younger this type of product actually try’s to slow aging by preventing damage. This places this type of product high in my opinion as I really value prevention.

Click here to see the best selling Idebenone products on Amazon or you can just look into my favorite of the product group: Idebenone Anti-aging Anti Wrinkle Face and Skin Care Serum from Bathouse Naturals. This is my favorite because I believe that the active ingredient is all that really matters so why get a complicated formula for way too much money. Just get the Idebenone and use it with your favorite moisturizer.

Best Anti Aging Moisturizer

In my opinion the best anti aging moisturizer is an affordable moisturizer containing Retinol. Retinol is an antioxidant found in Vitamin A. Applying it directly to the skin is a much more efficient mechanism than consuming it in our foods. Because most people use moisturizers anyway make sure to use one with Retinol to help decrease skin damage and to help maintain collagen production in the skin.

Amazons list of top selling retinol moisturizers are here but I suggest the Skincare LdeL Cosmetics Retinol Day Cream from Skincare LdeL Cosmetics as it is not too fancy or expensive but also includes SPF 20 for more protection. You can easily add the Idebenone right into the mix and kill two birds with one stone.

Best Anti Aging Peptide Night Cream

Lastly I recommend a quality yet inexpensive night cream moisturizer based on a peptide complex. Peptides help boost collagen production and are thus a good at preventing lines and visual effects of aging due to a loss of collagen production. When used in conjunction with retinol and Idebenone this trio of products should be the best combination of affordable anti aging products you will ever need.

Here is a list of Amazon’s top selling peptide creams but I suggest you just pick up a cheap, simple, and affordable bottle of Olay’s Olay Regenerist Daily Regenerating Serum, Concentrated Amino-Peptide Complex and apply nightly before bedtime.

Combined these three products will cost you less than $50, which is far less expensive than certain individual products and should give you a perfect combination simple anti aging protection.

As for me; I’ll continue thinking about starting my own regimen using products like this. My wife has long been suggesting I at least start with a basic moisturizer, Vaseline for men anyone? I suppose it will be worth it as I continue to age. Let me know your thoughts below and give me some motivation to get over my manliness and start taking care of my skin. :)

Stop Heart Disease – Leading Cause of Death In America

Heart disease is well known to be the leading cause of death in America and it has been so for a long time. Over the years previous leaders like infection and influenza have been overcome by modern medicine while other leaders have emerged such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Despite the changes over time however, heart disease is easily the current leader in American and it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere soon.

If you want to live a longer life then you have to take steps to minimize your risks for developing heart disease and prepare yourself to recover from it should it form despite a healthy lifestyle.

Causes of Heart Disease

Heart disease is caused for a number of reasons but most predominantly it is due to genetics, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices. Of these three, lifestyle choices account for the vast majority of heart disease cases and should be the starting point for any program designed to prevent heart disease.

Heart disease is caused primarily due to plaque buildup in the arteries and arterial plaque build up is caused mostly due to poor cholesterol levels, obesity, and hypertension. Digging a little deeper you may want to read about the leading causes of hypertension, how to lower cholesterol levels, or learn a bit about what are normal blood sugar levels, as this contributes to metabolic syndrome and heart disease.

Another one of the leading causes of heart disease is smoking and the related affects of it. People who smoke consistently have a shorter life span than people who don’t and the quality of life in the end is almost always worse off.

Why Heart Disease Is The Top Cause

So why is heart disease a leader? The answer can be simplified or discussed in thesis form but as this is merely a blog I’ll say this. Tobacco is a habit that can lead to heart disease and many people started smoking well before this was known or before they cared to understand.

Additionally fast food quickly gained in popularity at a time that was unique in American history. The women’s movement allowed many mothers to exit the home and enter the workforce causing the demand for convenience food to soar. This alone is not a problem but the convenience food found in fast food restaurants contributes in a major way to the development of heart disease because it is often loaded with sodium and fat; which makes the food cheap and allows it to last a long time.

To compound the problems that have allowed heart disease to inflate over the decades is the rise in popularity of soda and sweetened beverages. Many people do not realize it but drinking sodas, sweetened teas, and juices adds an amazing amount of calories to our diets which in the past would have been occupied by water. These calories add to our waist lines and cause obesity which increases the likelihood of developing heart disease.

Lastly, because modern medicine has nearly eliminated or minimized many of the conditions that were so significant in the past we all live longer today than ever before. This allows conditions like heart disease to develop over a lifetime. In the past people didn’t live long enough to have heart disease in abundance but now as life expectancy is much higher these diseases of long life become more apparent.

How To Prevent Heart Disease

So how do you prevent heart disease? It should be clear. Each of the above mentioned causes are lifestyle choices we all make. If we are expected to live so long and more than a quarter of us succumb to hart disease then preventing this condition by not smoking, not eating fast food, not drinking soda, and not developing obesity seems only natural. If you want to improve longevity and quality of life in your extreme old age then all you have to do is be a little proactive.  Eat right live longer and live a healthier life.

How To Increase Insulin Production Naturally

One theme that has proven to be routinely visited on this blog is diabetes, insulin, and blood sugar… and for good reason. Diabetes has long been tied to most every major condition and is quickly climbing the ranks of the leading causes of death in America.

Of course most people don’t just have diabetes, they bring it upon themselves with their diet and lifestyle. The exception to this being Type-1 diabetes however type-2 is far more common in America.

For those with pre-diabetes these are two fundamental problems to deal with. Pre-diabetes means your fasting blood sugar levels are too high and insulin production must be higher than normal to bring blood sugar levels back under control. Unfortunately insulin resistance tends to make this more difficult and causes the body to require an increase in insulin production above and beyond what normal healthy individuals require before lowering insulin levels back to normal after blood sugar levels decrease.

Naturally you can assume that reducing insulin resistance is key to improving your health however increasing insulin production is also high on the list. If your body can produce more insulin then in theory your blood sugar levels should return to normal levels quicker resulting in less damage to your body. This begs the question of how to increase insulin production naturally and preferably with food or exercise.

There are actually not many foods that directly increase insulin production. Most insulin producing foods actually have the effect of managing blood sugar levels more efficiently or keeping blood sugar levels from climbing to fast or high rather than actually increasing insulin levels. This allows normal levels of insulin to work a little bit better however recent research by a group of medical scientists have identified in laboratory settings a unique finding when it comes to increasing insulin production with food.

Increasing Insulin Production Naturally With Red Cherries

Reported in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry a group of scientists led by Muraleedharan G. Nair, PhD found that a chemical called anthocyanins found in red cherries was able to increase insulin production by roughly 50 percent. The study authors were quick to point out that eating a lot of cherries would not necessarily help a person lower blood sugar faster because of an increase in insulin production because of the sugar content in cherries however a cherry extract might just do the trick.

If you are fighting the symptoms of pre-diabetes or insulin resistance then maybe picking up some cherry extract to have with your meals may help. You surely can’t rely on just doing this alone to get healthy but assuming you are changing your diet and improving your exercise regimen naturally increasing insulin production sure can’t hurt.

Other Ways To Improve Insulin Production

There are of course numerous ways (in addition to supplementing with red cherry extract) to help improve natural insulin production. If you want more structured guidance on how to do it take a look at this post on reversing type 2 diabetes naturally and improving insulin insulin sensitivity with the right foods and lifestyle choices. You could increase the amount of insulin your body produces or you could fix the underlying problem in the first place. Check it out.

Cherries can help but there are other things you can do to naturally reverse pre-diabetes. Drop your email in the box below to find out more.

How To Lower Cortisol Levels Naturally

Reduce Cortisol

A while back I had my cholesterol levels checked as well as my blood pressure and fasting blood sugar levels checked. Actually I wasn’t fasting at the time so my readings for that test were obviously high. A normal blood sugar range is a level below 100 and mine was somewhere around 140 at the time… which is in the normal range for a healthy person who has just had breakfast.

Anyway, the nice lady who tested my blood was slightly concerned about my blood pressure as it was the only thing that she could latch onto as a potential problem. My weight and cholesterol levels were amazing but my blood pressure was around 125 over 80. She asked if I drank coffee and a happily responded with a resounding yes. Even the thought of coffee makes me happy; I'm such an dork.

To my surprise she told me that I shouldn’t drink coffee at all because it raises my cortisol levels and also plays a role in my elevated blood pressure.

Now, I know caffeine raises blood pressure (see my post on the leading causes of hypertension for more triggers) and it should be a place to cut back on if a blood pressure problem starts cropping up but I figure 125 over 80 isn’t that bad... but what is this business about my cortisol levels being too high, especially since she didn't even test them?

Doing some research I’ve found out a bit about this hormone but admittedly, I’m still a little short on full understanding of this hormone in it's entirety.

What Is Cortisol

Cortisol as it turns out is a hormone that “is produced by the adrenal cortex in the adrenal gland and is one of the primary factors in the body’s stress response… it raises blood pressure during times of stress.”

I’m not going to go into this too much as a lot of my info is simply regurgitated from other people who know about this topic that I do. TestCountry.org has this to say about what Cortisol does:

“The body needs cortisol in order to function properly. And there is quite a complex system in place in charge of regulating this substance. Basically, the hypothalamus releases CRH, which then triggers the pituitary gland to release ACTH. ACTH then encourages the adrenal cortex in the adrenal glands in the body to produce more cortisol. When you are highly stressed, pregnant, depressed, very athletic, an alcoholic or suffer from a panic disorder, you will have high levels of cortisol.

As you can see, it is all about balance when it comes to cortisol in the body. And when that balance is thrown off, serious problems can arise.

If you have too much cortisol you may end up with Cushing’s Syndrome, which can manifest itself by means of obesity in the upper body and very thin limbs. Or, if you do not have enough cortisol, you may end up with Addison’s Disease, a very serious condition caused most often by tumors on either the pituitary or adrenal glands.”

From additional research I’ve learned that the cortisol hormone essential evolved as a survival mechanism. When stress levels got high our ability to deal with the immediate stresses or threats were raised. This is kind of like the increase in adrenaline when we get excited. The problem is however the high levels of cortisol for prolonged periods of time can be dangerous to our long term health. I did touch on this concept in a post last fall on symptoms of anxiety predicting lifespan.

This is actually quite consistent with all the posts on this blog in which I’ve described the formula for living a longer life. Check out my recent post on how to live to 100 years old for more info. In populations and groups of people who live extremely long lives, they tend to do very well with keeping stress levels low. In fact centenarians as a group almost universally have low levels of stress and have always had lifestyles that supported stress relief either through social interaction, physical exercise, or a combination of the two.

How To Lower Cortisol Levels Naturally

So then, "how to lower cortisol levels" naturally seems to be a pretty easy question to answer. Without doing much research one would surmise that simply eliminating and treating stress in your life is the best way to reduce cortisol levels naturally and safely. In fact lowering cortisol levels probably goes hand in hand with simple exercise and staying active socially… so long as you don’t overwork yourself that is.

Of course many people struggle mightily with stress and reducing it in their lives and no matter how easy it is to tell someone to exercise and relax a bit it's never that easy. If you need a structured plan to attack the stress in your life this guide to managing and beating stress in your day-to-day life may help.

You can also see my recent article on how to reduce cortisol levels with your diet to see how cutting inflammatory foods can help keep your cortisol levels lower.

In the future I want to explore this topic a little more. There actually appears to be a number of ways to lower cortisol levels but I want to take some time to review the scientific literature and medical studies that support the many claims before sharing them here on this site. In the mean time, lower your cortisol levels by lowering your stress levels. Reserve this stress hormone for your survival instinct only and you should be doing pretty good.

Update - If you haven't checked out my guide to reducing cortisol by eating anti-inflammatry foods check it out.  Thanks.

Eat Right Live Longer – It’s Easier Than You Think

I’ve been doing a good deal of reading lately and a lot of it has to do with finances; I’m not going to lie. In fact a little over a month ago I posted on Money And Longevity and a while before that I posted an article titled: Can You Afford To Live To 100 where I brought up the topic of longevity and finances and the problems longevity can create when you don’t plan on living so long.

What is strange is that financial planners actually advise people to plan on living to around 90 or so but rarely do they advise you to protect your financial future beyond that because the statistics shown few people live that long. Unfortunately the statistics also show that centenarian are the fastest growing demographic in American and are expected to double and triple in size in just a matter of a few years.

Why is this? They follow a simple mantra than many people are following today.

Eat Right Live Longer

Today we know more about nutrition and how it affects the body, much more in fact than we did many years ago when TV dinners and fast food became popular. Unfortunately we have two distinct groups of people forming in our modern society, the group that eats right and will longer and healthier lives and another group who eats cheap convenience food. For more on this phenomena check out this fabulous guest post from not too long ago titled: Can Watching TV Make You Fat and this older post titled Americans Eat Way Too Much Sugar.

The simple fact of the matter is this. If you eat poorly and stay relatively inactive throughout your life your financial planner is probably right. Planning on not making it to 90 is probably safe but with advances in modern medicine those people who stay active and eat right will likely live longer. I’d venture to say that the odds are probably more in our favor of living past 90 and close to if not into your 100s.

Personally, I’m still in my 20’s and I expect the chances of me living into my 100s to be pretty high. I follow the mantra eat right, live longer and I feel that it’s a valid and legitimate expectation considering the next 70 years of medical advancement.

For this reason it is probably safe to plan for extreme longevity and you should probably have your finances adjusted accordingly. Longevity insurance is a product that has always been available and it may be something to look into but for those who are young it’s time to start looking forward to our future. Expecting a productive life of extreme longevity is something we all need to adopt.

In the future I’m going to post a bit more about longevity insurance, as I think it’s a valid subject we should think more about and also I plan on reading the book titled Eat Right Live Longer as I am curious what it can add to the discussion. As always I do recommend the books, Longevity Made Simple and The Blue Zones which I’ve previously reviewed. Expect an eventual review of Eat Right Live Longer here on How To Live Longer in the near future.

Library, here I come.

Increasing Taxes On Soda – Will It Help?

In case you missed my post on Does Soda Cause Alzheimer's Disease or the recent guest post on Does Watching TV Make You Fat, new research has been released showing that indeed people will curb their drinking of soda if we simply tax it.

The following reports from the NY Times reported on finding from the American Medical Association:

"The American Journal of Public Health released a study this afternoon finding that when the price of soda goes up, consumption goes down." Additionally, "the 45-cent price increase on regular soda was associated with an increase in the sales of diet soft drinks. Coffee sales also increased." Notably, "consumers did not increase their purchases of juices and sugary snacks -- such as cakes and cookies -- when they slowed their purchases of sugar-sweetened soft drinks."

And also, from the LA Times:

"researchers at Harvard implemented a temporary soda tax in the cafeteria of the school's Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Then they waited to see whether actual people changed their drinking habits." They found that "during a four-week period when the price of a 20-ounce bottle of soda went up by 45 cents -- which amounted to a 35% price increase -- sales fell by 26%. Meanwhile, sales of bottled diet soda rose by 20%."

Benefits Of Taxing Soda
I’ve been saying this for a while now (see my post: American's Eat Way Too Much Sugar), soda is the bain of our existence and we all drink too much of it. It has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and even to Alzheimer’s disease. Anything we can do to encourage people to stop drinking so much soda should be done.

Ironically we are not only contemplating taxing soda but we should also be considering getting rid of the farm subsidy on corn as this is what makes the manufacturing of corn-syrup, the main sugar in soda and juices, so cheap. It is silly to subsidize the manufacturing of corn syrup and then tax the final product… ahh, but that’s the government for you. Ridiculous.

Resveratrol Jarrow Supplements – An Alternative To Red Wine?

I’ve talked a lot on this blog over the past year or so about healthy living and how eating right and living an active lifestyle is how you follow the path to living a longer life.  However, nutritional supplements always come into question when you start getting into the nitty-gritty of getting optimal nutrition.

Resveratrol is one such supplement which I’ve talked about a long time ago in my post Longevity And Resveratrol Supplements which you may have missed. It is found in abundance in red wine and is the primary reason why red wine is considered good for longevity. In addition it contains a lot of antioxidants, as do other alcoholic drinks, and it allows you to lower your stress levels. All of this is well documented at helping people live longer healthier lives.

Resveratrol specifically doesn’t have to come from wine and many people who do not drink alcohol for personal reasons tend to get it via nutritional supplements. The compound works in the body the same way so it really shouldn’t make any difference how you get it except in popping a pill you won’t get the stress relief or frankly the enjoyment of sipping on a glass of wine.

Resveratrol Jarrow Supplements

One popular Resveratrol supplement is Resveratrol Jarrow Supplements. Jarrow makes a wide variety of supplements and is respected in their quality so I figured they were a good candidate to take a look at. As I noted in my past post on Improving Longevity With Juvenon Supplements, not all branded supplements are a good buy.

Jarrow Resveratrol however looks to be a decent product although a bit of a premium in price compared to the raw ingredients.  Just like the Juvenon product, the difference in this being that many of the secondary components are a little less easy to find on their own making this a viable bundle supplement.

According to their label Resveratrol Jarrow supplements contain 100mg of Resveratrol as well as vitamin C, grape seed extract, grape skin extract, and green tea extract. Vitamin C obviously is pretty easy to find but I’ve never owned grape seed or grape skin extract before.  Both of these seem like they would be fitting for a Resveratrol supplement however, in actuality they are not required at all outside of their individual antioxidant value.

Overall the price is not bad either as a bottle of 60 Jarrow Resveratrol capsules can easily be found for less than $20 and the best price I can find doing a quick search for plain Resveratrol on Amazon is for a 60-count bottle for around $11. This is definitely a noticeable price difference but in this case I think the added benefit may be worth it because Resveratrol can vary in price by so much.

Personally, I’m going to continue having my wine on a near nightly basis and be done with it, but that’s just me.

Do you have any thoughts on Resveratrol? Any supplements stick out in winners in your book?

How To Live To 100 Years Old

There’s so much scientific literature out there these days on living to 100 years old that it’s hard to sift through it all. People are living to 100 and beyond with much greater frequency than in any time in our history.

Living To 100
In fact centenarians are the fastest growing demographic group in America slated to grow double many times over in the next 20 years. Their growth is even puting a strain on finances as I highlighted in my post on Money and Longevity.  I also highlighted an awe inspiring TED talk back in April on how we can avoid aging and live longer and this TED talk is along those same lines.

Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones (you can see my The Blue Zones Review here) gave this talk back in September of 2009 and was published on the web in January of 2010. Dan and his team have identified pockets of longevity around the world and identified the traits that seem to cause the longevity in the population at large.

He then compared the different regions to identify common characteristics (as well as characteristics that could be combined) that would help increase longevity – essentially he identifies simple and effective ways that we can implement to live a longer life.

I’ve obviously written a lot on this blog about how to live a longer life and this talk covers a lot of the longevity tips that I’ve already highlighted but you can’t beat a great TED talk for driving a point home. Enjoy Dan Buettner’s talk on how to live to 100 years old.

How To Live To Be 100 Years Old

For New Readers
If you are new to this site let me invite you to subscribe.  I always try to provide quality information on how to live long and healthy lives.  Not all posts are on longevity and aging but if the topic interests you then I hope you stick around and leave a comment from time to time.

Lower Your Age Related Macular Degeneration Risks At Dinner

Reduce Age-Related Macular Degeneration Risks With Kale

Here’s a random macular degeneration stat for the day.

A recent study from the The National Eye Institute found that you can decrease your risk for blindness due to Age-Related Macular Degeneration by 35% by ingesting more of the carotenoids Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which can be found in abundance in both eggs, spinach, and kale among others. 

Unfortunately I don't know if this pertains to dry macular degeneration or wet macular degeneration or both... but hey, it can't hurt to eat more kale.  Not only does kale help in this regard but it also contains lots of Vitamin K which helps with managing insulin levels among many other positive associations.

You may also want to catch up on some of the many benefits of eating leafy green vegtables in a post from deep in the archives that you may have missed.

More On Eye Care
…and related to eye care and decreasing your risk for long-term eye damage, remember that if you have glaucoma stay clear of situations where your eye pressure is increased such as wearing goggles when exercising.

The National Eye Institute
Macular Degeneration Suppot - http://www.mdsupport.org/library/lutzean.html

Insulin and Alzheimer’s

The following is a guest post from Marty, a friend and reader who writes for the Amazing Aging Mind.  It is a personal story to her.

It is amazing how, in the search for longevity, one finds a very logical conclusion: if you want to live longer, do what it takes to avoid disease. This may seem like a no-brainer, but we often put the cart before the horse. We wait until we have a disease, then try to fight it in order to live longer.

A smoother road to longevity is paved by avoiding disease in the first place. This blog already points to insulin imbalance as the root to the killer Diabetes, but it turns out insulin imbalance may also be responsible for cancer growth and even Alzheimer’s—two other major killers in our current understanding of human health.

I have been researching the connection between Alzheimer’s disease (a disease associated with aging) and Diabetes in an effort to understand the possible causes of my mother’s dementia and to see if I can help stem or even reverse her mental decline.

In the course of this research, I found ample evidence for a connection between Alzheimer’s and the same insulin issues related to Diabetes. Here are some examples:

From the Mayo Clinic:
Many people who have Alzheimer's disease also have a condition called prediabetes, in which their bodies have become resistant to insulin, a hormone necessary for cells to absorb glucose.
From the USC Health Magazine:
Brain insulin disappears early and dramatically in Alzheimer’s disease. And many of the unexplained features of Alzheimer’s, such as cell death and tangles in the brain, appear to be linked to abnormalities in insulin signaling in the brain.
And a piece on Diabetes of the Brain
Proper insulin function in the brain appears necessary to the formation and maintenance of memories. And, crucially, a lack of insulin or insulin resistance is connected both to amyloid protein regulation and to the modification of tau proteins, which can cause tangles.
You can read these articles and more for further details on the connection between insulin and Alzheimers.

Bringing this knowledge home, a recent development in my mother’s condition makes me wonder if we accidentally aided her cognitive improvement by unknowingly targeting the insulin levels in her body.

Because my mother suffered most of her adult life from recurring bladder infections, we decided to cut her sugar intake as much as possible in hopes of reducing these infections. Also, because my mother was so frail, we wanted to boost her caloric and nutritive intake. The product that fit both these purposes was Glucerna—a supplement developed specifically for people with diabetes (read the science behind Glucerna).

We have been giving Mom a Glucerna shake every morning at the start of her day. This has been going on for almost three years. Today Mom is showing not only a stabilization of her previous cognitive decline, but noticeable improvement, as listed in my post on Alzheimer’s and Regression.

Of course I find this amazing and beyond hopeful. And though anecdotal evidence is not scientific proof, given the scientifically proven link between insulin and Alzheimer’s Disease, it is worth looking into the practical solutions to insulin imbalance as a means of preventing the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s and ultimately, of a shortened lifespan.

Here are some more tips on insulin management from the archives:

Thanks Marty! You can read more over on the Aging Mind over on her blog.

Improving Longevity With Juvenon Supplements

Is Juvenon Really A Powerful Anti-Aging Supplement?

Have you ever heard of Juvenon? I write a blog on how to increase longevity and I hadn’t heard of this supplement before a few days ago. Now this should not imply that any you have or have not heard of it either but for me the reason I haven't heard of it before is because I tend to not consider supplements a valid method of extending life. I put more emphasis on diet and lifestyle choices but hey; science has brought us this far; maybe it’s got more to offer us.

Despite my personal belief I thought I’d investigate this supplement a bit and see what it is and why it has been glorified as a longevity secret recently made available to the public. According to the company’s website Juvenon is essentially a mixture of two chemicals normally found in the body. The supplement is made of acetyl-L-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid. It’s also got a couple other nutrients in small degree which are clearly displayed on the label. If you are unfamiliar with either of these two chemicals then see these write-ups on the chemicals published by the University of Maryland Medical Center: acetyl-L-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid.

Looking at the label we see that each “serving” the anti-aging supplement Juvenon contains a gram of acetyl-L-carnitine and about 400 mg or .4 grams of alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), which by the way is very different from the fatty acid ALA. The Juvenon supplement is also touted to be sold in a bottle of 30 servings (60 tablets) for roughly $34-$40 per bottle. This got me thinking. Even if this combination of natural chemicals has the ability to improve longevity and the health of our cells, can’t we just buy these two supplements separately and join them together on our own?

Sure enough, heading over to Amazon.com I found with virtually no effort a bottle of 60-count 400mg Alpha Lipoic Acid tablets for $13 and a 100-count bottle of 500mg acetyl-L-carnitine for only $10. Combined, this gives you roughly 50 doses of the combination of chemicals found in the Juvenon supplement for a little over $20. Run the math and you are look at roughly a 50-75% savings over buying the branded supplement from Juvenon directly.

Does The Juvenon Supplement Actually Help With Anti-Aging?

So anyway all the above goes to show you that buying supplements can be a huge waste of money if you go about it the wrong way but it doesn’t touch on the validity of the anti-aging compound. Does Juvenon actually help you live longer?

I dug into the archives of Newsweek for a story they ran on the supplement back in 2005 when the studies by the company were fresh and Juvenon was just going into production. Newsweek had this to say about how the longevity supplement worked:

In studies published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2002, Ames and his colleagues fed older rats two chemicals normally found in the body's cells (and also sold as nutritional supplements): acetyl-L-carnitine and alphalipoic acid. Not only did the rats perform better on problem-solving and memory tests, but they moved around with more ease and energy.

Researchers determined that the combination of chemicals had improved the function of mitochondria, organelles that serve as a cell's main energy source. Ames formed a company called Juvenon to license the combination of cell-rejuvenating supplements (also sold separately at several health stores). The company plans to begin human trials soon to evaluate the cognitive effects of the dual supplements. In the meantime, Ames, who chairs Juvenon's scientific advisory board but gets no proceeds from the company, is overseeing lab research on human cells in tissue culture. In one study, Berkeley researchers found that lipoic acid protected the cell from oxidation when iron or hydrogen peroxide was added.

Now he hopes to replicate those results in human subjects. Other studies have already linked unhealthy mitochondria to Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, type 2 diabetes and other degenerative diseases, so reversing or repairing decay in mitochondria could help to stave off the age-related diseases. "I'm hoping we can add a few years to people's lives," says Ames, who's 76. "I think we can."

And from the Juvenon company website:

Research has shown that an important factor in aging is the decay of the mitochondria- the organelles within the cell that convert amino acids, fatty acids and sugars into energy. Research performed by Juvenon scientists and others has demonstrated that as we age, the efficiency of the mitochondria diminishes, as does their quantity per cell. The effect is a body operating at one-half to one-fourth the energy it had at youth.

Basically Juvenon believes that this combination of chemicals can slow or reverse the decay of the mitochondria and can thus slow aging and increase energy as we get older. As far as I can tell however research studies have not yet concluded on humans to see if this is the case.

Right now it seems the company is relying on the observations of rats tested in the 2002-2005 time period. Considering the supplements show some promise in animals and have little risks to humans in these quantities then I guess it’s not that big of a deal to try supplementing with these yourself but I’m not convinced yet. I think you’re going to be doing much better at improving longevity by simply enjoying a glass of wine with dinner, staying active, and limiting portion sizes at meal time… but that’s just me.

Newsweek - http://www.newsweek.com/id/48238
Juvenon Company Overview - http://juvenon.com/science/overview.htm

How To Lower PSA Levels Naturally

I'm sure a lot of men relate to concerns over elevated PSA levels. Prostate cancer is one of the leading cancers affecting men in America and high PSA levels are one of the markers for the early stages of this condition. A PSA level reading is a standard test your doctor does on you as part of your regular prostate cancer screenings.
Update: Do to popular demand I've just posted: How To Shrink Your Prostate Naturally. Check it out.
Many doctors will check the prostate "manually" in addition to checking PSA levels in the blood but even when both are done consistently it is no guarantee that problems with the prostate will be avoided or that a prostate cancer diagnosis will actually lead to immediate treatment. This is because prostate cancer is a slow growth cancer which often doesn’t metastasize after first diagnosis for months and sometimes years.

What is considered smart is in treating high PSA levels naturally with diet, nutrition, exercise, and supplementation while you wait for further medical observations to conclude. The longer you can maintain low PSA levels and discourage further prostate cancer growth the longer you can comfortably live with this condition.

The next most obvious question after how to screen for prostate cancer is how to lower PSA levels naturally before the doctor begins formal treatment for the condition. Doctors will often not treat prostate cancer until the condition has progressed for months to years down the road. This is because early stage prostate cancer is not dangerous and treating it too early can be troublesome and often make it worse. Luckily there are a few answers to this question that have been shown promise in clinical studies and research.

How To Lower PSA Levels Naturally

  1. Does aspirin lower PSA in men? It can sure help. Low does aspirin has been shown to help with lowering PSA levels in men who take the drug routinely and have enlarged prostate. Aspirin in low dose form has long been known to help the heart and now studies shown that it may be effective in keeping PSA levels lower.
  2. Foods that help with prostate cancer prevention can also help with its advancement and possibly with managing lower PSA levels. Tomatoes and Broccoli consumed in the same meal has been shown to do just that though researchers still don’t know why.
  3. Eating cruciferous vegetables has been shown by researchers to be particularly helpful in lowering risks for developing aggressive prostate cancer. If you have elevated PSA levels and want to decrease your risks then make sure to eat plenty of these types of PSA lowering foods.
  4. Lowering cholesterol levels have long been shown to positively influence your body in just about every way imaginable. There are various studies that have linked high cholesterol levels to high PSA levels and thus lowering PSA levels might be possible with a cholesterol friendly diet.
  5. Pomegranates have also been shown in very recent studies to be effective in helping to manage high PSA levels. A study concluded in 2006 showed that the antioxidants in the fruit may be the cause of the benefits but until further research is conducted the results are tentative yet promising.
Remember, lowering PSA levels naturally is basically as simple as living and eating more healthy. Make sure to emphasize in your diet specific foods to lower PSA readings like those mentioned above. None of the above methods should be considered a cure for prostate cancer nor are they a means of preventing it but they are good ways to help manage your PSA until your doctor feels it’s time to take medical action.

Treatment For Elevated PSA

Obviously you shouldn't rely solely on your diet to manage your prostate health. Even slightly elevated PSA levels should always be monitored through examintaion by a doctor.

And if you want to take additional steps to managing better prostate health and improving your your diet alone is not something you can reliably count on on a daily basis you may want to try taking a quality prostate health supplement to fill in the gaps. One good option is the Saw Palmetto Prostate Formula by Real Health Laboratories but, as always, follow the advice of your physician first.

Do you know any more ways how to get a low PSA reading? If you have any further ideas on reducing PSA levels naturally while you are in the “wait-and-see” treatment phase share them in the comments or drop me an email. I’ll add them to this list.

Money and Longevity

I just came across another excellent piece on human longevity published over at Smart Money. The premise behind the article is money and how centenarians are financially as a group and how they perceive their wealth status.

I wrote a bit about money and longevity a few months back in my post Can You Afford to Live To 100 and I’d encourage you to check that out but also to read this article on Smart Money as they reference quite a few studies on aging and longevity, many of which conclude some of the basic things I’ve preached about over the past year on this blog such as this recent post on how to increase longevity.

Longevity and Financial Security
According to the conclusions of the author’s research many centenarians are living below the poverty level due to various reasons. They have either out lived their savings, never had any, or they gave it away for tax reasons. Despite this however the centenarians as a group feel extremely optimistic about their financial situation and 96 percent of them feel they are better off than their peers.

A full 95 percent [of centenarians] said they had enough money to meet their needs, while 76 percent reported they had “enough to buy extras.” Overall, a staggering 96 percent of 100-year-olds said they were doing better than or the same as others of the same age. These expert survivors, the researchers concluded, have managed to adapt successfully to a ripe old age, and they perceive themselves to be better off than their peers—when clearly objective resources reveal quite the opposite.

Longevity and Health Status
Additionally it is noted that centenarians, the worlds oldest people, are proving that aging to extreme lengths does not mean that you have to live for decades in poor condition. They conclude that people who make it to 100 are models of health and they live with few disabilities and little sickness until only the very end of their lives.

As a group, 100-year-olds aren’t 80-year-olds who have tacked on 20 years of physical and mental decline. Instead, centenarians typically don’t suffer the chronic illnesses associated with age—such as Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular trouble or diabetes—until shortly before dying. In fact, they often escape them altogether, according to studies of centenarians in Georgia and New England. Of people who make it to 100, more than 90 percent were physically and mentally healthy into their 90s, and about half still live either on their own or with families. “Centenarians disprove the perception that ‘the older you get, the sicker you get,’” says Thomas Perls, associate professor of geriatrics at Boston University School of Medicine and director of the New England Centenarian Study. “They teach us that the older you get, the healthier you’ve been.”

Lessons From Centenarians
If this tells you anything about living a longer life it is that centenarians are likely the people we all should be modeling our lives after. They are happy and optimistic. They live healthy and active lives. They exemplify the meaning of coping with life’s struggles and rolling with the punches. They don’t get too stressed out and they only worry about what they have power over. And regarding money and longevity… money is a means for them but not an end. So long as their basic necessities are met they remain happy and content. This should be a lesson for us all.

Smart Money - http://www.smartmoney.com/personal-finance/retirement/why-centenarians-are-so-content/

Longevity and Fertility

I came across an interesting article today on the relationship between human longevity and fertility, obesity, and gender. The article noted a a few interesting distinctions in longevity trends which I haven’t really covered very much on this site.

For one the author notes that species tend to have increased longevity when they are less fertile:

Similar factors also affect humans, for example women in countries hit by famine... When there’s a famine, women often stop ovulating and lose reproductive condition. For women whose bodies find a way to remain fertile, they produce more babies but tend to have shorter lives than others.
The author also notes that women tend to be more obese when they are poor in wealthy nations and rich in poor nations:

We may think that the high obesity rates are a disease of wealthy nations – but you’ll find that the people who are most at risk for obesity are the poor women in wealthy countries and the wealthier women in poor countries,' Professor Brooks says. 'Although one of the reasons is that these women can afford only enough high energy food to get obese, but not enough food with high protein, we also found that far more women are obese than men.
This seems to indicate that women who are either poor in wealthy nations or rich in poor nations are at a disadvantage when it comes to their expected levels of longevity due to their likelihood of becoming obese.

Obesity also affects fertility and women who are obese usually are less fertile and thus this does help to offset the loss of life expectancy but obviously not entirely and not in every case.

If anything, all of this is just interesting food for thought. For more on increasing longevity check out this handy list of longevity tips I prepped a while back and if you want to check out the complete article it can be found at Red Orbit.

Can Watching TV Make You Fat?

The following is an exellent guest post by Matthew Denos, PhD and author of Weight Loss Triumph.

How much time do you spend watching TV? Television viewing is ranking third, after work and sleep, in the list of the most time-consuming activities in the US. With the average US household watching about 8 hours TV a day, Americans are watching more TV than ever before [1].

At the same time, the incidence of obesity has risen sharply in the last 10 years. No wonder we are being called a couch potato-society! But is there an association between these two trends? Is the time you spend in front of the screen increasing your chances of gaining weight? Is it hindering your chaces of living a longer life?

The Association Between TV Viewing And Obesity

Research has shown consistently that TV viewing relates positively to body weight. Passive entertainment through television has been suggested as a contributing factor to the alarming rise in obesity. Risk for overweight is substantially higher among families who watch TV 6 or more hours a day. Even at modest levels of TV watching (1 hour a day) an association with obesity is still noted [2].

The Nurses’ Health Study, which analyzed the sedentary behavior of 50,000 women aged 30 to 55 years, provided strong evidence that prolonged TV watching is directly related to obesity. For each 2-hour/day increase in time spent watching TV, the risk of these women becoming obese increased by 23% [3]. Many studies have confirmed a positive association between TV viewing and body mass index in both children and adults.

Does Watching TV Make You Fat?

Ok, research shows that people who watch TV tend to be overweight. But does this infer causation? Which came first, the obesity or the TV habit? In other words, is it the very act of watching TV that somehow increases your chances of becoming overweight or is it certain aspects of the specific lifestyle of the average heavy TV viewer (i.e unhealthy diet, reduced physical activity) that account for the observed TV-obesity association?

Well, a number of very plausible explanations have been proposed in favor of TV viewing having a causal effect on obesity. First of all, the TV-obesity relation is observed even among people who exercise and lead an overall healthy lifestyle. Stated differently, when diet and exercise habits are factored in, the association between TV viewing and obesity still remains. Therefore, although it is true that those who watch more TV tend to engage in lower levels of vigorous activity, this by itself cannot explain the link between TV viewing and obesity.

How Can TV Sabotage Your Weight Loss Efforts

Here are some mechanisms by which TV viewing can impact on your weight, which do not rely upon TV viewing “displacing” your physical activities.

You Eat More

Eating in front of the TV increases your meal intake especially of sweet, high fat snacks. In a sample of 78 mostly female undergraduate students, eating behavior was compared between days when meals were consumed with the TV on and days when TV was off while eating [4]. Participants ate more often on days when they ate with the TV on—one extra meal—resulting in higher calorie intake, specifically of fat and sugar. The amount eaten was proportional to the time spent in front of the TV.

In a similar study, 48 women were served 4 lunch meals and were instructed to eat two of them in a quite room and the other two while watching TV [5]. The subjects ate 13.4% more calories in the presence of TV. But why is it that you tend to eat more when eating with the TV on?

First, food is widely portrayed on TV. In a typical 1-hour TV segment, you are exposed to approximately 11 food and beverage appetizing commercials. The most heavily promoted foods are high in fat and sugar, a pattern that contradicts the recommendation of the Food Guide Pyramid. In contrast, healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates, are rarely featured.

Second, the attention paid to the TV distracts you from your concurrent eating behavior. It prevents you from listening to your “internal processing food cues” and “exerting your habitual dietary restraint”, researchers note.

You Have A Lower Metabolic Rate

Studies show that when you watch TV you spend less energy than when you rest. If two people were to do nothing but either watch TV or rest without watching TV for a whole day, the one who watches TV would spend 211 fewer calories [6]. Television viewing has a lowering effect on metabolic rate. In fact, when you watch TV you spend almost as much energy as you spend while sleeping.

You Eat More At Subsequent Meals

A recent study showed that the effects of television on food intake extend beyond the time of TV watching to affect later consumption. Specifically, television watching during lunch time increases afternoon snack intake [7].

The participants, 16 normal-weight young women students, consumed a meal either watching a 10 minute video clip played on a TV or in the absence of the clip. The lunch was the same in both situations. Two and a half hours later the participants were given cookies as an afternoon snack and were asked to eat as much as they wished. None of the women were alerted to the purpose of the experiment.

Participants ate more cookies in the afternoon snack following the lunch with TV than following the lunch at which they had not watched TV. Why is it that watching TV while you eat can make you consume more food at a later meal?

Researchers believe that the distraction of your attention away from the meal while watching TV makes it more difficult for you to recall this meal. So, why is that important that you remember your last meal? Studies have shown that how much we eat at a certain meal depends on the information we have in memory about the most recently consumed meal. This also explains why amnesiacs overeat compared to normal people when offered multiple meals.

In the above experiment, the participants were asked to rate how vividly they could remember the lunch that they ate. Interestingly, the women who ate their lunch watching TV had lower vividness of lunch recall than those who ate in the absence of TV.

How Can You Avoid The Fattening Effect of TV Viewing?

Become more active – Reduce TV viewing. The Nurses’ Health Study suggested that 30% of people who are on a trajectory to becoming obese can avoid that by watching less than 10 hours a week TV and taking a brisk walk for a minimum of 30 minutes a day.

Ways to limit TV viewing include removing televisions form your bedroom and kitchen and using devices to limit access. As an adult, by simply substituting 30 minute of TV viewing with slow-paced walking, you will expend energy equivalent to 6.6 lb weight loss over the course of a year.

Avoid Eating While You Watch TV. Separating the acts of television viewing and food consumption will diminish the stimulus effect of TV viewing on eating. Consuming your meal undistracted by TV raises awareness of what is eaten and will make you more sensitive to inhibitory satiating factors. It will also better register the eating event in your memory and help you control later snack intake.


Energy intake has the tendency to increase with longer television viewing. A repeated consumption of meals in the presence of TV can lead to excessive food consumption over a long period of time, and facilitate development of overweight. Reducing the time you spend watching TV, can help you in your weight loss effort by decreasing your overall daily food consumption.

About The Author

Matthew Denos, PhD, is a biology scientist and writer who is concerned about the obesity epidemic. His articles, based on peer-reviewed journals, touch on practical issues related to daily life. His blog, devoted to weight loss program reviews, can be visited at WeightLossTriumph.com.



1. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2008/11/americans-now-w.html

2. Altering TV viewing habits: an unexplored strategy for adult obesity intervention? Foster JA, Gore SA, West DS. Am J Health Behav. 2006 Jan-Feb;30(1):3-14. Review.

3. Television watching and other sedentary behaviors in relation to risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus in women. Hu FB, Li TY, Colditz GA, Willett WC, Manson JE. JAMA. 2003 Apr 9;289(14):1785-91.

4. Television viewing is associated with an increase in meal frequency in humans. Stroebele N, de Castro JM. Appetite. 2004 Feb;42(1):111-3.

5. Non food-related environmental stimuli induce increased meal intake in healthy women: comparison of television viewing versus listening to a recorded story in laboratory settings. Bellisle F, Dalix AM, Slama G.

6. Effects of television on metabolic rate: potential implications for childhood obesity. Klesges RC, Shelton ML, Klesges LM. Pediatrics. 1993 Feb;91(2):281-6.

7. Television watching during lunch increases afternoon snack intake of young women. Higgs S, Woodward M. Appetite. 2009 Feb;52(1):39-43. Epub 2008 Jul 23.

Leading Causes of Death

Heart Disease is easily the leading cause of death in America. One of the major contributors to heart disease is cholesterol. See the following posts for more on lowering your risk for heart disease:

How To Lower LDL Cholesterol Levels Naturally

Welcome to How To Live A Longer Life! This site focuses on human longevity and shows you how you can live longer by improving health and nutrition and by preventing disease. If you want to learn how to live longer then consider subscribing.