Why 50 Is The New 40

older black man(BlackDoctor.org) — Being middle aged just ain’t what it used to be.  Health care knowledge and technology have come a long way, and we’re not talking facelifts and Botox.  Preventive medicine and a greater understanding of the impact of diet and exercise can help you extend the prime years of your life.  Studies show that less than 20 percent of your lifespan is determined by genes and the rest is up to you, so take advantage of the information we have today that was told to your parents and grandparents a little differently.

A Healthy Heart

Then
It was all about cholesterol. If cholesterol levels were normal there was nothing to worry about. If it was a bit high then a low-fat diet would do the trick.

Now
Even people with normal cholesterol levels can have heart disease. A CT coronary artery scan can detect and measure calcium accumulation in the arteries even when all other tests appear normal.

An active lifestyle combined with a diet low in sodium, trans fats and high in omega-3’s, fruits and vegetables can help keep heart disease at bay.

Good Vision

Then
Doctors believed age-related macular degeneration could not be prevented.  Only time would tell.

Now
Vitamins including C, E, zinc and beta carotene can decrease vision loss by about 25 percent for those with early signs of degeneration.

Belly Laughs

Then
Experts believed sense of human was a genetic trait. Some people are just more prone to laugh than others.

Now
Laughing is a great way to relieve stress, which can increase risk of many diseases.  Penciling in time to laugh can help improve immune-enhancing hormones, and has some similar benefits to physical activity.

Stable Blood Sugar

Then
A diet high in complex carbs such as whole grains, nuts and vegetables was essential to prevent diabetes.

Now
The focus has shifted to total calories.  If you’re overweight, losing weight is one of the most important things you can do to prevent type-2 diabetes.  We also now know that being African American and a lack of physical activity increase the risk for diabetes.

Sharp Hearing

Then
The only way to protect hearing, many thought, was to avoid constant loud noises and loud music.

Now
The antioxidants found in vegetables and fruits may help protect the ear’s tiny hair cells from long and short term damage.

Relationships

Then
It was all about family.  Relatives, children and a spouse were the most important emotional bonds a person could have.

Now
Research shows that friendships save lives.  A Harvard School of Public Health study of more than 2,800 women with breast cancer found that those without close friends were 4 times more likely to die than women with 10 or more friends.

Strong, Healthy Bones

Then
Drinking lots of whole milk ensured a good supply of vitamin D and calcium would help keep those bones strong.

Now
As many as 75 percent of African American women are lactose intolerant, so eating vitamin D and calcium fortified cereals and other foods is particularly important. We also now know that protein in addition to calcium and vitamin D are crucial to keeping bones strong.

Vaccinations

Then
Immunizations were for kids.

Now
Adults get protection against many diseases including the flu, shingles and pneumonia.
Tetanus-diphtheria boosters are recommended every 10 years. Staying current on shots and asking your doctor about vaccinations can save lives.

 

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