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Overcoming Loneliness

Feeling lonely can be unpleasant, but did you know that it can also reduce your lifespan? According to some reports, loneliness can shorten your life as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Some studies have also shown that being lonely is worse for your health than being obese, and can raise your risk for early death by about 30 percent. Luckily, researchers have also been able to shed light on ways that people overcome feelings of loneliness.

But before we get to how to combat loneliness, you might be wondering how it can have such a significant effect on your health. Well, there are a couple of theories. 

The Behavioral Theory

Some researchers have said that it could be related to behavioral changes. This theory says that as people feel more lonely, they are more likely to neglect their healthy habits and adopt more risky behaviors like drug abuse.

The Immune System Theory

A more popular theory is that loneliness causes stress in the body that weakens the immune system. This is because we are social animals. We evolved to live with others. When you’re around other people, it provides safety and security, so your body relaxes.

But when you’re feeling alone and lacking the safety of other people, your body goes on defence. Subconsciously, you become more aware of possible threats around you. It triggers a stress response so you’re ready to deal with danger. 

This stress response causes a release of hormones, increased heart rate, muscle tension, and other changes. Over time, these changes can take a toll on the body and its immune function, increasing the risk for a range of health conditions.

Dealing With Loneliness

Research has shown that feelings of loneliness don’t always match the level of social interaction. There are some people who have active social lives but still feel lonely, and others who don’t see anyone often but don’t feel lonely at all.

This means that loneliness can be more about a person’s state of mind then their social circumstances. 

In addition, a recent study of older adults living in a senior housing community highlighted some characteristics of people who overcome feelings of loneliness. Those characteristics included acceptance of ageing and good social skills for making new friends.

It also found that compassion was one factor that helped with overcoming loneliness. The study participants who focused on helping others were better at dealing with their own feelings of loneliness. 

Mind and Body

There are many ways your mental state affects your overall health. Loneliness is just one example. 

So dealing with mental health issues like stress, anxiety, and depression can not only improve your quality of life, it can help you live longer. If you think you are experiencing any of these conditions, you should talk to your doctor, as there are many options for mental health support and treatment.

woman looking young

Anti-aging health tips

Scientists are making some exciting advances in anti-ageing therapies. Recently, researchers made a breakthrough where they were able to extend the life of roundworms by 500 percent, which would be the equivalent of a human living for 400 or 500 years.

But until they invent an anti-ageing pill that works like magic, there are some simple measures you can take to help slow the ageing process.

Sleep Well

Getting enough sleep is essential to your health. It gives your body and brain a chance to repair wear and tear, and will help your mind stay sharp. In addition, it can reduce your risk for a variety of health issues, ranging from high blood pressure to depression.

The latest sleep recommendations are that adults aged 24 -64 need 7-9 hours a night, and people who are 65 or older need 7-8 hours.

But just going to bed earlier isn’t enough. That’s because to get all the benefits of sleep, it needs to be good quality sleep. That means you should be enjoying a deep sleep, without spending a lot of time just tossing and turning in bed.

Some ways to get better quality sleep include:

  • Go to bed at a regular time
  • Do something relaxing before bed
  • Get more exercise
  • Choose a good quality pillow and mattress

Improve Your Diet

There are some simple changes you can make to your eating habits that will go a long way towards helping you maintain your health.

That includes adding more colour to your diet. So ensure you’re getting enough fruits and vegetables, and opt for fresh, unprocessed foods. In addition, foods that are high in antioxidants such as tomatoes, spinach, and green tea can help fight the ageing process.

If you are looking to go further, consider getting help from a nutritionist. They can help you create a diet that suits your particular health needs.

Learn something new

One of the major signs of ageing is reduced cognitive ability. As you age, your brain’s ability to process new information decreases. However, if you exercise your brain by continuing to learn new things, it improves brain plasticity. That means your brain will have a better ability to deal with both new and old information.

Studies show that certain “brain training” games like puzzles can improve memory, but actually learning a new and challenging skill is more effective at keeping your brain working properly.

Manage your stress

Stress causes a number of changes in your body. It can increase your heart rate, constrict your blood vessels, and release adrenaline. If you feel stressed frequently or for long periods of time, these changes can have a real effect on your health.

The result is an increased risk for issues including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

To avoid these risks, you should try out some different relaxation techniques and see what works best for you. That can include things like breathing exercises, massage, meditation, and yoga.

And if you don’t think those techniques are doing enough to curb your stress, consider getting some help from a mental health professional. 


This list of anti-ageing health tips would not be complete without mentioning how important exercise is in maintaining your health. The benefits it offers affect all aspects of your health and wellness, but to name just a few: 

  • Cardio exercise will reduce your risk for heart disease
  • Strength training can help you avoid injuries as you age
  • All types of exercise will improve your mood, reduce chronic pain symptoms, and help you maintain a healthy weight.  

If you find it difficult to make it to a gym, remember that any kind of physical activity can help, such as taking frequent walks.

So start putting these tips into practice to live longer and enjoy a better quality of life!

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Drinking tea may help fight depression

Recent research suggests that older adults who drink tea tend to live longer and are less likely to be depressed. These findings come from several separate studies, and add to the long list of health benefits that may come from drinking tea.

Tea and Depression

Researchers in China recently published a study that showed a strong connection between drinking tea regularly and lower rates of depression.

There have been some previous studies that suggested this connection exists. However,  researchers weren’t sure if the benefits come from the tea itself or from the increased social interaction that’s often involved with drinking tea. 

But even when accounting for social engagement and other health factors, this recent study found the connection between tea drinking and lower rates of depression was  “virtually universal”. So, researchers suspect that some property of tea is able to help the brain stay healthy.

The study’s authors said it appears that drinking tea is most beneficial during the early stages of health deterioration. They also found that the benefits were most significant for consistent tea drinkers (who drank tea almost every day since age 60). 

Green Tea and Life Expectancy

Another study tracked 100,000 Chinese adults and found those who drank green tea at least three times a week were less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke

It also showed that green tea drinkers tend to live slightly longer than those who don’t drink tea regularly. This study builds on previous research that has suggested that green tea can lower your risk for heart disease and certain cancers.  

The Many Benefits of Tea

Green tea has high levels of a powerful antioxidant called EGCG. This antioxidant may benefit your health in many ways including reduced risk for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and liver disease.

But black tea also offers its own benefits. Some include protecting your cells from damage by free radicals, reducing the risk of plaque in blood vessels, and it may be useful in obesity management by promoting the breakdown of fat.

And no matter what type you choose, there’s evidence that the health benefits of tea can include:

  • Reduction of bad cholesterol
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improved cognitive ability
  • Improved mood

So consider pouring yourself a cup, and have a drink to your health!


Diabetes treatment options

Latest Research Shows New Ways To Prevent and Treat Diabetes

The conventional wisdom on type 2 diabetes says that the main risk factors include obesity, lack of exercise, and family history. To reduce the risk of developing diabetes (or to help control the disease) many people put their efforts into improving their diet and staying active.

That’s a great start because experts say that even a modest amount of weight loss can noticeably improve the overall health of diabetic patients. But the latest research suggests there’s a lot more that can be done.

New Findings

In recent years, studies have shown that the causes for type 2 diabetes are more complex than you might think. These findings could eventually lead to new developments in how to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes.

But in the meantime, here are some of the risk factors that the latest research points towards—and what you can do about them!

In the Mind

One study showed personality traits like hostility and low optimism are linked to diabetes. The study used data from almost 140,000 women and looked at their risk for type 2 diabetes. It found:

  • Women with the lowest levels of optimism had up to 12 percent increased risk
  • Women with the highest levels of hostility had up to 17 percent increased risk

Experts say these personality traits lead to higher levels of stress which cause harmful hormonal changes. And these hormonal changes contribute to diabetes.

What This Means

Mental health therapy should play a role in diabetes treatment. Talk therapy can be a great way to manage your stress levels. In addition, It can also provide you with techniques for managing feelings of hostility and pessimism.

If you don’t think you have the time to get therapy with your busy schedule, consider using a virtual health service. These services are offered by some healthcare providers to enable you to get mental health support and advice via video chats or texts on your phone or tablet. 

In the Gut

There’s also research that highlights the importance of gut health. This research shows that in an obese person, the gut produces lower levels of a certain immune cell. This immune cell creates an antibody that’s needed to neutralize harmful types of gut bacteria. Researchers say the lack of this antibody may contribute to diabetes.

What This Means

This finding reinforces the importance of having a healthy and balanced diet because that can affect gut bacteria and immune cells. To get help with choosing the right foods and planning your meals, you should speak to your healthcare provider or consider getting help from a specialist like a nutritionist.

In the Womb

Other experts are pointing to the importance of prenatal care. Research shows that stressors on a mother during pregnancy (such as poor-nutrition) can make the baby more likely to develop diabetes at some point in its life.

Interestingly, this connection first came to light following the Dutch Hunger Winter in 1944-1945. Women who were pregnant during the famine had children that developed obesity and diabetes at higher rates than normal.

In addition, gestational diabetes (when the mother has diabetes during pregnancy) is another risk factor. 

What This Means

This research highlights the importance of proper nutrition during pregnancy. And if you’re pregnant and suspect you have gestational diabetes, you should speak to your doctor. 

Holistic Healthcare

When you look at all of these new findings together, it shows the benefits of a holistic approach to treating diabetes. That means looking at the body as a whole and working to improve your overall health and wellness. 

This doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when it comes to diet and exercise. Those are still considered major risk factors and one of the best ways you can manage the disease. But it does mean that your diabetes treatment plan should involve a lot of different aspects.

That can include nutritionists to help with meal planning, physiotherapists to help with exercise programs, counsellors to help with mental health, and more.

And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, some healthcare providers offer diabetes education programs to help you make sense of it all. Remember: there’s no cure for diabetes, but it can be controlled. With a comprehensive diabetes management plan, you can reduce your health risks and start enjoying a better quality of life.