Staying Healthy

I was reading a copy of Bottom Line Health (May 2008), and an article by Michael F. Roizen, MD caught my eye. Titled “Drink Coffee…Eat Chocolate…& Other Suprising Ways to Live Longer”, Dr. Roizen discusses various ways to stay healthy using what might seem like unorthodox means to do so.

For instance:

2) Enjoy your coffee. Many people assume that assume that coffee–unlike green tea, for example–isn’t a healthful beverage. But that’s not true. Studies have found that caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee are a main source of antioxidants in the average American’s diet.

Research has shown that caffeinated coffee decreases the risk for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases by 30% to 40%–health benefits that are largely attributed to the beverage’s caffeine. (Decaffeinated coffee does not offer these same benefits.) The caffeine in coffee also is good for cognitive health. Important: Caffeinated coffee may cause several side effects, such as blood pressure spikes, abnormal heartbeat, anxiety and gastric upset.

My recommendation: If you do not experience any of these side effects, and you enjoy drinking coffee, have as many cups of caffeinated coffee as you like. If you do experience side effects, you may prefer to drink decaffeinated coffee. Even though it does not have the health benefits previously described, studies show that decaffeinated coffee may help fight type 2 diabetes.

6) Eat Some Chocolate. The powerful antioxidants known as flavonoids in dark chocolate increase levels of the body’s nitric oxide (NO), a gas that dilates arteries (to help prevent blockages) and can help reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension.

This is particularly helpful for people over age 50, because age-related buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries (atherosclerosis) reduces natural levels of NO.

My recommendations: Eat one-half ounce of dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) twice daily. Don’t overindulge in chocolate–it is high in calories.

Other good flavonoid sources include brewed black or green tea…red wine…dark grape juice…strawberries, cranberries, and apples…and brussels sprouts and onions.

(And my favorite)

8) Have more sex. Men and women who have sex (that results in orgasm) an average of twice a week have arteries with greater elasticity (which helps prevent hardening of the arteries). Overall, those who have sex twice a week have lower rates of mortality and a Real-Age that’s about two years younger than their calendar age. Men and women who have sex daily, on average, are biologically eight years younger than those who have it once a week.

Thanks Doctor! Time for a cup of coffee, a bite of dark chocolate and bed!

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