weekly blog--one for the ages
A new study by investigators from Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that for older men, a better overall healthy diet was strongly associated with decreased odds of physical impairment, including a 25 percent lower likelihood of developing impaired physical function with aging. The researchers also concluded that greater intake of vegetables and nuts, and lower intake of red or processed meats and sugar-sweetened beverages each modestly lowered risk of impairment.
Consuming garlic helps counteract age-related changes in gut bacteria associated with memory problems, according to a new study conducted with mice. The benefit comes from allyl sulfide, a compound in garlic known for its health benefits. The researchers observed that the older mice receiving the garlic compound showed better long- and short-term memory and healthier gut bacteria than the older mice that didn’t receive the treatment. Spatial memory was also impaired in the 24-month-old mice not receiving allyl sulfide.
As we get older, changes in our bodies can lead to food allergies. Aging can cause your stomach to produce less gastric acid, resulting in deficiencies in nutrients like zinc, vitamin D or iron. This can lead to an alteration in the immune system. In addition, there is a higher usage of antacids and alcohol, both of which can change the pH (acidity) of the stomach over time leading to food allergies. (study conducted by Northwestern Medicine and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital)
About one in 10 people have food allergies, and half develop them as adults. And half of adults with numerous food allergies developed at least one of them as an adult. A food allergy is an immune system response to a food, causing itching, hives, swelling, low blood pressure, anaphylactic shock or a respiratory reaction that can be life-threatening.
The most common allergen people develop as adults, according to the Northwestern Medicine study, is shellfish, affecting 7.2 million adults in the U.S. Other common adult-onset food allergies are to milk, peanuts, tree nuts, fin fish, eggs, wheat, soy and sesame. It’s not uncommon for a health care professional to mistake food allergy symptoms in an older adult for problems with a medication, sleep issues, viruses, autoimmune diseases, general aging or gastrointestinal problems like irritable bowel syndrome. The longer a person continues to eat the allergen, the more serious the reactions can be, a particular concern in people with other health issues.