5 Ways to Keep Your Body Strong and Healthy
1. Protect Your Brain
Everyone loses brain volume as they age, but the stress hormone cortisol speeds the decline, say McGill University researchers. Help your mind unwind with a houseplant: Washington State University research shows that simply being in the presence of plants can stem stress. Buy a spider plant or a snake plant; both are difficult to neglect to death.
2. Shield Your Heart
Old-man arteries are stiff with age, inhibiting bloodflow and increasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke. However, Irish researchers found that supplementing with 500 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C daily significantly improves arterial flexibility. Spike your morning OJ with juice made from acerola cherries (store.amigofoods.com). One ounce has 480 mg C.
3. Save Your Face
Do your face a favor and commit to sleeping 8 hours a night, says David Bank, M.D., director of the Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic and Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, New York. While you’re asleep, your body produces collagen and elastin, two proteins that help your skin stay smooth. One note: Turkish researchers report that stomach sleepers can develop facial wrinkles due to years of friction between bedding and skin. If that’s your slumber style, switch to satin pillowcases.
4. Preserve Your Vision
We won’t sugarcoat it: Refined carbohydrates can raise your risk of age-related macular degeneration by 49 percent, according to a Tufts University study. “When the sugar load exceeds a cell’s ability to use it, proteins in the eyes become damaged,” says study author Allen Taylor, Ph.D. Fortunately, even a single swap, such as whole-grain for white bread, can slash your risk. For more exchanges, go to menshealth.com/swaps.
5. Guard Your Hearing
To dodge deafness, start scrambling . . . eggs. Yolks are a top source of phosphatidylcholine, a key component of the cell membranes in your ears. In a study from the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, rats fed this fatty acid were protected from age-induced hearing loss. “We’re confident it works in humans as well,” says study author Michael Seidman, M.D. No time to cook? Hit a convenience store for two hard-boiled eggs.