Stay sharp with these health tips

Some of you may have heard us say once (or 20 times) that it’s as vital to walk every day as it is to sleep every night. You wouldn’t skip your ZZZs; don’t skip your strides. Yep, walking is that critical to your health and well-being.

We YOU Docs had a jones for walking long before we wrote our  first “YOU” book six years ago (Six years? How did that happen!). But we’ve now got another new reason to walk forever and to get your mom, uncle, pop-pop and great-aunt Tillie to go with you. Turns out that the older you are, the more important it is to walk. Because the more you walk, the happier you are. And the happier you are, the more you walk, which means the healthier you are.

What specifically does walking do for older family members? The same things it does for you: Within three months of hitting your stride, all of you will have boosted blood flow to your brains by 15 percent (hello, smarty pants) plus lowered your blood pressure and heart rates about 5 percent (goodbye, heart disease).

For a last bit of motivation, buy everyone a pedometer. When you track your steps, they’ll mysteriously increase.

FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT DIABETES
As type 2 diabetes continues to spread faster than jokes about Gov. Rick Perry’s memory, we YOU Docs have one comment, and it’s no joke: Fight, fight, fight diabetes.

If you’ve got it, reverse it — type 2 is a disease you almost always can kick to the curb. If you’ve got pre-diabetes, treat it like a bulldog teaching a new chew toy who’s boss would. If you think you’re headed for the big D (find out, below), make a YOU-turn now. The No. 1 key: Lose some weight — avoid added sugars, simple carbs, saturated fats. You can do it.

What’s got us yelling “Fight!” is news that diabetes doesn’t just do in your body (eyes, heart, kidneys). It also attacks your brain. It restricts circulation and creates so much damaging inflammation that the brain shrinks 15 percent. The most affected areas? Your ability to talk, make decisions, handle tasks and remember what you just said.

How to know if you’re speeding down the type 2 diabetes highway at 80 mph? Answer three questions:

1. Does type 2 diabetes run in your family?

2. Are you 55 or older?

3. Are you clinically obese? Meaning, is your body mass index above 30? If you don’t know, use the BMI calculator at www.RealAge.com or do this: Measure your waist at belly-button level, sucking in. If your waist measurement is more than half your height, you’re at risk.

If you answered yes to all three, odds are 1 in 5 that you’ll have diabetes within five years unless you do you-know-what: Fight, fight, fight.

COLONOSCOPY FOR WIMPS
Everyone out there who watched one of us (Dr. Oz) prepare for his colonoscopy on TV, kvetching all the way, knows the colonoscopy isn’t the tough part. That happens the day before. First, you can have only clear liquids and Jell-O, which can make you cranky and lightheaded (well, that and the nervous anticipation). Second, you have to chug quarts of what humorist Dave Barry called a nuclear laxative. (“You eliminate everything. Then you start eliminating food you haven’t eaten yet.”)

He’s right.

So what good news could there be about this doozy of a process? The clear-liquids-only thing may be history.
OK, you can’t dive into a bowl of chicken, tomatoes and whole-wheat pasta in walnut pesto sauce the night before (have it the night after).

What difference did diet make? Zip. The docs’ ability to spot polyps was the same. The average colonoscopy time was the same: 27 minutes.

And here’s the thing: If you’ve got diabetes, eating more normally could help keep your blood sugar steady. Talk to your doc.

The YOU Docs, Mehmet Oz, host of “The Dr. Oz Show” and Mike Roizen of Cleveland Clinic, are authors of “YOU: Losing Weight.” For more information go to www.RealAge.com.

New day-before-colonoscopy menu

Eating light might save you from that clear-liquid laxative blast:

Breakfast
– Oatmeal, juice and coffee

Lunch
– Pureed carrot soup, custard and soda
– Afternoon milkshake

Dinner
– Greek yogurt in tomato soup, eggnog and cocoa

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