These Health Facts Aren’t As Clear Cut As You Might Have Thought

The health world is a very complicated place. What’s in one minute can be out the next and with little to no warning, you might feel like you have to completely uproot your everyday routine. There are a number of health tips out there, however, that seem to be grounded in fact, having been put in place for a number of years. What we know is always subject to change and as new developments are unearthed each day, so are new insights on the healthy tips we had been living by. These health facts might seem set in stone but in fact, they aren’t as clear cut as you thought they were. Sometimes, myths are called myths for a reason.

Milk Is Good For You

While you do need a certain amount of dairy in your diet, it can be found in a whole variety of different foods. By drinking milk in addition to the dairy that you’re eating naturally, you can put your health at additional risk, leading to all sorts of problems in the future. Research into milk consumption has shown that going in too heavy with the stuff can be a problem for both men and women, after having been associated with a higher mortality rate. Drink milk from time to time, of course, but don’t gulp down at every meal.

Chocolate Gives You Acne

If you’re an acne sufferer, you’re probably more than aware of the one that says you shouldn’t be eating chocolate as part of a healthy diet. Chocolate has long been associated as a cause of acne, with professionals believing that it caused clogged pores and oily complexions. It turns out, however, the facts might not be quite as concrete as we had thought. Recent research has unearthed the fact that chocolate has no effect on acne, neither contributing to nor increasing its presence. Eating chocolate from time to time won’t affect your skin in any way, even if you already have acne.

Vitamins Will Keep You Healthy

The vitamin industry is huge, founded on the fact that by taking daily supplements, you can help to keep your overall health in better knick. Things might not be as simple as that, however. Recent scientific research into the subject has unearthed the fact that vitamins might be virtually ineffective at preventing any kind of disease, potentially bringing about more harm than good. In fact, too-high doses of vitamin E, A and beta-carotene can lead to accelerated death rates when taken over a significant period of time.

Sugar Is Addictive

The case against sugar has never been more active than it is at this point in time. Does the anti-sugar campaign have all the facts, though? Research into the subject is still in its infancy but everything that has been discovered so far has not shown anything nearly as dramatic as the health world would have you think. While sugar does indeed light up the same areas of the brain as drugs like cocaine, there is no evidence to support the fact that it has addictive properties. A need for sugar might be down to other lifestyle factors, such as stress and an existing poor diet.

High Sugar Intake Causes Diabetes

We are so often told that by eating high quantities of sugar, we put ourselves at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, in which our bodies cannot control our blood sugar levels. In reality, diabetes is a hugely complex disease, put in place by a number of intricate reasons. High weight gain and incessant sugar consumption do have a correlation with diabetes but eating sugar in general will most likely not put you at risk. You can continue to eat small amounts of the stuff without the risk of developing diabetes in later life.

Cracking Your Knuckles Gives You Diabetes

An old wives tale practically as old as time itself, this health related fact has been making the rounds all over the world. Despite its popularity, however, there is nothing to suggest that it is based in fact. Research posted by the Journal of the American Board of Medicine has unearthed no link between cracked knuckles and arthritis, showing even the oldest of knuckle crackers had no signs of developing the condition.

Age Well Through Exercise

 

Exercise is a fundamental component of a healthy lifestyle at any age. But as good as exercise is for children, teens and young adults, it grows more and more important with each passing year.

“Multiple studies have demonstrated the benefits of regular exercise for health in older adults,” says Nathan Wei, MD, clinical director of the Arthritis Treatment Center in Frederick, Md. “Beneficial effects occur in the brain, heart, and muscles.  Sarcopenia [muscle loss] is retarded.  Plus, exercise increases endorphin production, leading to less perception of pain.”

Expert Advice on Exercise: Make it a Habit

The key to reaping the benefits of exercise as you age is to develop a regular, consistent exercise habit. “Consistency trumps intensity when it comes to exercise,” says Joseph Barry, MD, an internist and geriatrician at SignatureMD in Camillus, NY. “If you push too hard, the likelihood of injury increases. If you aren’t consistent with your exercise, like a daily walk, you won’t develop the habit and you won’t keep at it.”

Wei also recommends exercise consistency, as well as variety. “Exercise regularly – I mean every day – and incorporate cardio, resistance, and stretching or yoga,” he advises.

What the Science Says About Exercise and Aging

Here are the top 5 reasons to keep exercising as you age, and the research behind them:

  1. You’re less likely to injure yourself by falling.

Falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults, according to the National Council on Aging. Maintaining a steady exercise routine as you age could decrease your risk of falling and hurting yourself. Yale researchers found that regular physical activity, including moderate walking and exercises to increase flexibility, strength and balance, resulted in fewer injuries from falling in older men.

  1. Your brain will look younger.

Americans spend millions of dollars each year to maintain the youthful appearance of their faces, bodies and skin. But most never worry for a second about how old their brain looks.

It might be time to start. Normally, as you age, the volume of the gray matter in your brain decreases. With MRI imaging, scientists can assess the age of your brain based on the volume of its gray matter. The lower the volume, the older the brain looks.

A recent study shows that climbing stairs has an impact on the volume of your brain, and consequently how young or old it looks. Researchers from Concordia University’s Montreal-based PERFORM Centre found that the more flights of stairs a person climbs, the more youthful his or her brain appears in MRI images. For every flight of stairs climbed in a day, the age of the brain decreases by 0.58 years.

  1. You’ll cut your risk of Alzheimer’s in half.

The decrease in brain volume that usually occurs with age increases your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. A study from UCLA Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh indicates that you can drastically lower your risk of Alzheimer’s through aerobic exercise.

Study participants, with an average age of 78, performed a variety of aerobic activities, such as dancing, gardening, walking, and riding an exercise bike. The researchers discovered that increased physical activity was associated with larger volumes in the frontal, temporal, and parietal lobes of the brain. Those who experienced these higher brain volumes due to exercise were 50% less likely to suffer from dementia due to Alzheimer’s.

  1. You’ll lower your chances of developing other age-related conditions too.

One of the reasons people develop various health issues as they age is a process called cellular senescence, in which cells lose the ability to replicate. When senescent cells build up, they contribute to age-related diseases and conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and osteoporosis.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic recently looked at the impact of diet and exercise on the process of aging in mice. They found that the mice that exercised gained less weight, had less body fat, and were protected against the accumulation of senescent cells. This slower rate of cell senescence led to a decrease in the development of age-related conditions in the more physically active mice.

  1. Exercise eases pain and improves mobility in arthritis sufferers.

Approximately half of adults 65 years and older suffer from arthritis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Arthritis causes achiness, pain, stiffness, and swollen joints. Many sufferers avoid exercise, thinking it will exacerbate their symptoms.

Not so, says Linda Russell, MD, a rheumatologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York. “People believe that if you have arthritis you shouldn’t exercise, but appropriate exercises actually help decrease pain,” she said in a news release from HSS.

HSS offers a low-impact exercise program in senior centers throughout New York City. In a survey of 204 program participants, many reported that they experienced less pain and were able to perform their daily activities more easily.

 

Article sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Arthritis-Related Statistics”

Joseph Barry, MD, board certified in Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, member of SignatureMD, Camillus, NY

Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR, Clinical Director, Arthritis Treatment Center, Frederick, MD

National Council on Aging: “Fall Prevention Facts”

News release, Concordia University

News release, Hospital for Special Surgery

News release, Mayo Clinic

News release, University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

News release, Yale University