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January 24, 2013

The real 'quick silver'

Nutrition tips for seniors on-the-go

McALESTER — Today’s seniors are leading active lives, filling their time with travel and new experiences. While staying active is great for one’s general well-being and happiness, continuous travel provides many challenges to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Good nutrition and regular exercise can keep you feeling great and reduce your risk for diseases such as prostate cancer, diabetes and hypertension. And, as we age, our risk for developing these diseases increases, so it’s especially vital for aging men and women to protect their overall health.

Next time you take a trip, don’t let your health go on vacation too. Here are some wellness tips that will travel as well as your wrinkle-free shirts:

• Maybe it’s all that waiting, but something about airports makes people hungrier. Packing food may be your best bet for a wholesome meal. If you do buy airport food, you may want to couple it with a little exercise. Explore the terminal’s options before settling on the first fast food joint you see. Salads, low-fat sandwiches and smoothies abound, these days. And instead of snacking on high-sodium pretzels or crackers on your flight, opt for an immunity-boosting piece of fruit instead.

• On road trips, pack a cooler filled with fresh vegetables, homemade sandwiches and water. If you do stop along the way, try and wait until you can find a rest stop with plenty of healthy food choices.

• Incorporate cancer-fighting foods into your daily meals. Evidence from several studies suggests that fish can help protect against prostate cancer because they have “good fat,” particularly omega-3 fatty acids. Likewise, a lack of vegetables in the diet is linked to a higher risk of aggressive prostate cancer, according to experts at the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

• A buffet can derail a diet quickly. When possible, skip the all-you-can-eat food fest and opt for individual menu items instead. When you can’t resist a buffet, eat an entire plate of salad before hitting the main dishes. Just be sure to go light on cheese and dressing and heavy on vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. After the salad, stick with grilled, lean meats and whole grains. Keep the amount of fat you get from red meat and dairy products to a minimum.

• When you’re cooking for yourself, you know exactly what’s in your food. Don’t give up that knowledge just because someone else is doing the cooking. Ask how your meals are prepared to avoid certain no-no’s like trans fatty acids, which are found in margarine.

• Remember to exercise each day, whether it’s exploring a new location on foot, or taking a swim in the hotel pool. Beyond burning calories, endurance exercises are particularly effective at increasing the body’s natural levels of antioxidants, eliminating inflammatory molecules that drive cancer.

• Relax and enjoy your trip. Reducing stress can lead to a longer, happier life.

More wellness tips can be found at www.PCF.org.

Just as you would never forget your itinerary at home, don’t leave town without your good habits.

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