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Thursday, Aug 28, 2014
Health & Fitness

Don’t give in to unresolved stress


Published:

King Features Syndicate

Everyone knows that when the Incredible Hulk feels stress, he turns into a raging green monster. But when you worry about money, work, relationships, family responsibilities or health problems, you’re more likely to get headaches, gut troubles and/or fatigue, as well as see flares of anger and impatience — all symptoms of day-in, day-out unresolved stress. And those physical responses come with a pretty stiff price tag: Half of all deaths in folks younger than 65 are stress-related.

So if you’re stressed (about 25 percent of you report dealing with extreme stress), sit down, take a deep breath and try these two surprising stress-reduction techniques.

Put stress-reducing foods on your plate. Certain foods reduce your levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and that will help protect your cardiovascular system and nerves. Calming foods include: spinach, for its cortisol-controlling magnesium; white beans, barley, mackerel and cod, for their phosphatidylserine, a component of cell membranes that can calm nerves and help you sleep; citrus fruit’s vitamin C helps slow cortisol production; and salmon and ocean trout are packed with inflammation-quelling DHA omega-3s that may reduce stressed-out feelings.

Give yourself a massage. We suggest Ayurvedic self-massage for its immune-modulating, pleasure-producing benefits that can reduce anxiety, tummy troubles, headaches, insomnia, even TMJ. After you get out of the shower, using a light oil, rub each body part from the top of your head to your toes with a firm, gentle, circular motion. You also can use roller-bars, hand-held massage sprayers and rolling balls on legs, back and feet.

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What do Sammy Sosa and Arnold Schwarzenegger have in common with Oliver Stone and Dixie Carter? They’ve all admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs to maintain a youthful vigor and appearance. But a new report from the Endocrine Society says it’s not just superstar athletes and celebs who are frequent abusers of anabolic-androgenic steroids, human growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor-1 and other body-building substances.

Around 3 million regular fitness buffs pop or inject these drugs. Most aren’t aware of their potentially lethal side effects or their association with infertility, sexual dysfunction and violent or suicidal behavior. So here are some safer ways to truly achieve a younger RealAge.

Do strength-building exercises plus aerobics: Use weights or resistance bands in three weekly sessions of 10 to 20 minutes; focus on core muscles. Walk 10,000 steps or do other aerobic activities daily (one minute of aerobic exercise is equal to 100 steps).

Eat muscle-friendly foods: Drinking a glass of skim milk after exercise and eating fish soon after strength-training increases muscle mass. And don’t overdo protein (that post-workout whey powder may be too much); balance it with nine servings of fruits and veggies daily.

Take supplements daily: 1,000 IU of vitamin D-3 (1,200 IU if you’re over 60); 25-100 micrograms of vitamin B-12 if you’re 65-plus and it isn’t in your multivitamin; and 600 milligrams algal oil DHA omega-3 or 900 milligrams if you’re 60-plus. (The alternative is three servings of salmon a week.) Also, talk to your doc about taking two low-dose aspirin with half a glass of warm water before and after.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.

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