Healthy Aging Gracefully


    Many of us grow old before our time.  The worries of this world overwhelm us.  We are always aspiring for something worldly that is far reaching.  It takes us away from our true focus, Almighty Allah.  One hundred years ago, the life expectancy for men was 48 and for women 52.  Today, we outlive our ancestors because life isn’t as hard.  Years ago people walked long distances, which of course, kept them in shape.  Today, we walk very little.  As our bodies change, so do our organs inside.  Our heart rate becomes slightly slower, and our hearts may even become bigger.  Our blood vessels and arteries also become stiffer, which causes the heart to work harder.  Often times, this leads to hypertension and other cardiovascular problems. What can we do to improve our aging and get the best quality of life as well?  

    Understanding how your body works is a step in the right direction.  Let’s look at an overview of how the body works.

    Our Cardiovascular System, bones, joints and muscles

     A healthy heart needs oxygen, and the best oxygen is obtained through breathing deeply.  Exercise such as walking, running, stepping in place, playing catch and throwing the ball over your head are all activities that force you to breathe deeper, if done long enough.  Healthy foods play their part also.  Wild salmon, blueberries, spinach, cumin, cinnamon, sweet potatoes, green tea, and nuts are all good foods for overall aging.

    When we age, the bones tend to shrink in size and density, which weakens them and makes them more susceptible to fracture. You might even become a bit shorter. Muscles generally lose strength and flexibility, and you might become less coordinated or have trouble balancing. To promote bone, joint and muscle health:

    • Get adequate amounts of calcium. For adults ages 19 to 50 and men ages 51 to 70, the Institute of Medicine recommends 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium a day. The recommendation increases to 1,200 mg a day for women age 51 and older and men age 71 and older. Natural sources of calcium include organic dairy products, almonds, broccoli, kale, wild salmon, parsley, sage, basil, dark leafy vegetables, thyme and fresh sardines.

    • Get adequate amounts of vitamin D. For adults ages 19 to 70, the Institute of Medicine recommends 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D a day. The recommendation increases to 800 IU a day for adults age 71 and older. When using supplements, make sure they are of vegetable sources.  Many people get adequate amounts of vitamin D from sunlight, this might not be a good enough source for everyone. Other sources of vitamin D include oily fish, such as tuna and sardines, the herbs horsetail, nettle, alfalfa and parsley, egg yolks and vitamin D-fortified organic milk.

    • Include physical activity in your daily routine. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, tennis and climbing stairs, and strength training can help you build strong bones and slow bone loss.

    Our Digestive System

    Constipation is more common in older adults. Many factors can contribute to constipation, including a low-fiber diet, not drinking enough fluids and lack of exercise. Medications such as diuretics and iron supplements and certain medical conditions such as diabetes and irritable bowel syndrome may also contribute to constipation.  To prevent constipation:

    • Eat a healthy diet. Make sure your diet includes high-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Limit meats that are:  high in fat, dairy products and sweets, which might cause constipation. Drink plenty of water and other fluids.

    • Include physical activity in your daily routine. Regular physical activity can help prevent constipation and is important for your overall health.

    • Don't ignore the urge to have a bowel movement. Holding in a bowel movement for too long can cause constipation.

    • Use Herbal supplements such as;

       A mixture of the following herbs brewed into a tea

    • 3 tsp.  powdered psyllium husk

    • 2 tsp.  dandelion root

    • 2 tsp.  senna pods crushed

    • 1tsp.  ginger root

    • 1tsp.  licorice root

    Our Bladder and Urinary Tract

    Loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence) is common with aging. Medical conditions, such as diabetes, might contribute to incontinence — as can menopause, for women, and an enlarged prostate, for men.

    To promote bladder and urinary tract health:

    Losing weight is a very good beginning.  Getting enough magnesium in the diet (peppers, bananas ALL ORGANIC), vitamin D from sunlight and cutting out the caffeine.  You will be surprised to learn that caffeine is in energy water drinks.  Pure drinking water is your best choice.  Staying hydrated is a must throughout life and especially in you.our later years,. drinking more water and staying hydrated.  A few herbs that are helpful are saw palmetto, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed oil, and extract.

    Our Memory

    Memory tends to becomes less efficient with age. It might take longer to learn new things or remember familiar words or names. To keep your memory sharp:

    • Eat a healthy diet. A heart healthy diet might benefit your brain. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose low-fat protein sources, such as fish, lean meat and skinless poultry. What you drink counts, too.  Herbs to help are ginkgo biloba, st john’s wort, and alfalfa.

    • Include physical activity in your daily routine. Physical activity increases blood flow to your whole body, including your brain. This might help keep your memory sharp.

    • Drink pure clean water, there is no replacing it.  It is easier to dehydrate when you are older.  Make a point of drinking lots of good clean water.  Avoid bottled water as much as possible.  There are a ton of harmful chemicals in the water and the plastic.  It is most often tap water in a bottle.  It is important to have a pure water source.  It affects healing and good health in general.

    • Stay mentally active. Mentally stimulating activities help keep your brain in shape.  Read Holy Quran and listen to it.  Play games with your grandchildren.  Crochet, knit, grow a garden, paint or do crossword puzzles. Take alternate routes when driving.

    • Be social. Social interaction helps ward off depression and stress, which can contribute to memory loss. Look for opportunities to get together with loved ones, friends and others.  Open up and share your life with others.

    Finally, there was a study done on 678 elderly nuns between the ages of 74- 104.  During this study, which ended barbarically (because they did autopsies on all of the deceased), they found that these women were extremely energetic and looked younger than their actual ages. Here are their findings;  AD stands for Alzheimer’s Disease.

    • High linguistic ability in early life seems to protect against AD.

    • Lifestyles can affect one's chances for a mentally healthy old age.

    • A positive attitude and spirit, involvement in community, and faith contribute to health and longevity.

    This is no secret.  Living a healthy, happy life can be obtained by doing your daily worship rituals.  These poor women were used as guinea pigs for the pleasure of demented scientists.  Fast food is the killer of many, as we now know.  Stay away from all processed foods.  Love your community and work for it.  Play with your grandchildren, take an interest in their Islamic education – they are our future.  Stay active in your community, learn new things and help everyone who needs your help, solely for the Sake of Allah.  Learn to love, and be loved in return.

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