Six Weeks to a Younger You: Week 5

September 7, 2011 at 1:02 pm , by

This week I’m filling in for Julie on our blogging project. Even though she’s on vacation in the sweltering (but still lovely) Dallas, Texas, I’m sure she’s still sticking with her Younger You habits. Are you?

I’ve been following along all month, so I’m happy I get to share. This week, we turn to the letter F, which I noticed stands for all four of our topics today: floss, phones, fat and friends. Okay, I cheated a little on the second one, but “the four F’s” sure makes our homework easy to remember this week!

THE MOUTH-BODY CONNECTIONhandsfreeme2
You know you need to floss to keep your teeth healthy and your smile pretty. But did you know that the health of your gums could affect not only your mouth, but also the rest of your body? That’s right, recent research suggests periodontal disease—caused by an overgrowth of bacteria that leads to inflammation in your gums—can up your risk of heart disease, diabetes and respiratory problems. And to really rid your mouth of gunk, you have to get between the teeth with floss.

Showering, dealing with my hair and applying makeup takes up enough of my time in the morning, but there’s really no excuse to skip flossing at night. I’ve always flossed before bed. Oddly, this makes it easier for me to fall asleep—my mouth feels so clean! (Also, humble brag: I’ve never had a cavity. I think my commitment to flossing has a lot to do with it.) Instructions on how to floss, straight from the experts at the American Dental Association, found here.

GO HANDSFREE
My Blackberry is my life, so this one is difficult. I use it for everything from making calls to answering e-mails. I also don’t have an alarm clock, so I’m sad to admit that I’m one of those millennials that sleeps with her phone in her bed. But the risk is scary enough to make me re-think my habits. Even though the World Health Organization’s latest study on cell phone use and brain tumors was inconclusive, they still found enough evidence of possible harm to classify the devices as “possibly carcinogenic.” More studies need to be done, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt me to invest in an alarm clock and use the handsfree device that came with my phone. Experts say this should keep my exposure to any radiation at a minimum. (That’s me, above, chatting on my handsfree device. It doubles as headphones, often making me look like a crazy person while I talk and walk down New York City streets. Anything for my health!)

Read on for the next two F’s.

FATTEN UP
Huh? Yes, we are asking you to eat more fat. But we’re not talking about cheeseburgers and ranch dressing. The “good” fats found in olive oil, fish and nuts, though, those are fair game, especially if you substitute them for saturated fats (meat and dairy).  Olive oil and nuts are rich in unsaturated fat, which can help lower your cholesterol.  Some nuts, especially walnuts, also contain omega-3 fats, but fatty fish, like salmon, are the best way to get that kind of healthy fat. That’s why the American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of fish a week. For more than a few good reasons to get your omega-3s, just read this list.

I’m what I call a “cheating” vegetarian. I rarely eat meat, but I will on special occasions. I get the recommended three to five servings of fruits and vegetables every day, and I get plenty of protein and fiber from all the legumes I eat. But I also eat a lot of fatty cheese. And I never eat fish. So even though I’m a full-blown nut-aholic and I exclusively use olive oil for cooking, this week I’m going to choose healthy fish dinners over my regular cheese sandwich or rice and beans. Fish tacos count, right?

MAKE CONTACT, IRL
Did I mention that my Blackberry is my life? Well, I’m also a big fan of Facebook and Google Chat. And even though text messaging, IM’ing and wall posts keep me in near-constant communication with the important people in my life, all this pales in comparison to actually having a real conversation with friends over dinner. Don’t you agree? In-person interaction is the only way to keep your relationships strong, which research shows can cut your risk of dying prematurely in half. So no matter how busy you are this week, pencil in some face time—a girls’ night, dinner with your hubby, or a long overdue outing with the whole family—ASAP!

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