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Anti-Aging Travel Tips

May 9, 2012 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

If you’re a frequent traveler, you know how challenging it can be to remain on a healthy diet. Often times you don’t have control over what time you eat, where you eat or your dining companions. Changes in time zones, exposure to recirculated air on planes and the general stress of being in unfamiliar circumstances and locations add to the pressure many business travelers experience. In short, travel can contribute to the aging process and lower your defenses, unless you prepare a game plan ahead of time that will help you cope with the uncertainty of life on the road.

A traveler’s diet can counter the effects of aging and compromised immunity by incorporating a few basic principles. The first step is to eat daily sources of omega 3 fatty acids, such as cold water fish. On my most recent trip to London and Paris, this meant eating smoked salmon for breakfast and locally sourced fish at dinner or lunch. Current studies reveal that maintaining higher levels of omega 3 fats in your system: a) discourage the formation of beta-amyloid, a peptide that contributes to the characteristic brain plaques found in Alzheimer’s disease; b) protects against cardiovascular damage caused by exposure to air pollution; c) supports greater “functional capacity” and muscle strength that can be increasingly elusive as we age.

Drinking red wine with meals and opting for berries for desert are two other anti-aging tools to use when traveling. A just published study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that red wine confers a prebiotic effect previously unreported. Prebiotics are a special class of fermentable carbohydrates that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Aging is believed to reduce the number of these health promoting “probiotics” which are necessary for robust immune function. Other research has found that similar sources of colorful antioxidants, such as blueberries, may also possess prebiotic potential. As a bonus, ongoing investigations point to the probability that eating low glycemic fruits, including blueberries and strawberries, could very well slow down age related cognitive decline.

My final tip is to be mindful of what you drink. The simple act of replacing fruit juice or soda with plain water can have a profound impact on blood sugar control. In fact, scientists at Harvard Medical School now report that this common sense strategy may reduce the long term prospect of type 2 diabetes by up to 8%. It’s generally accepted that diabetes increases the risk of certain cancers, heart disease and premature mortality. However, avoiding blood sugar imbalance may have even greater implications than ever before. Emerging evidence connects diabetes and pre-diabetes to “accelerated decline in brain size and mental capacity”. This is all the more reason why anyone interested in aging more gracefully should avoid concentrated sources of starches and sugar.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 – Nutrient Intake and Plasma β-Amyloid (link)

Study 2 – Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation Appears to Attenuate Particulate … (link)

Study 3 – Fish-Oil Supplementation Enhances the Effects of Strength Training (link)

Study 4 – Influence of Red Wine Polyphenols and Ethanol on the Gut Microbiota(link)

Study 5 – Effect of Prebiotics on the Human Gut Microbiota of Elderly Persons (link)

Study 6 – Six-Week Consumption of a Wild Blueberry Powder Drink Increases (link)

Study 7 – Dietary Intakes of Berries and Flavonoids in Relation to Cognitive (link)

Study 8 – Berry Fruit Enhances Beneficial Signaling in the Brain (link)

Study 9 – Plain-Water Intake and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Young and Middle … (link)

Study 10 – Science Daily: Diabetes Shrinks Elderly Brain (link)

Exercise + Omega 3s Reduce Body Fat

Source: Nutrients. 2010 Dec;2(12):1212-30. (link)

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Posted in Diabetes, Food and Drink, Nutrition

3 Comments & Updates to “Anti-Aging Travel Tips”

  1. JP Says:

    Updated 07/20/15:


    Ann Nutr Metab. 2015;66 Suppl 3:26-30.

    Increasing Water Intake of Children and Parents in the Family Setting: A Randomized, Controlled Intervention Using Installation Theory.

    On average, children and adults in developed countries consume too little water, which can lead to negative health consequences. In a one-year longitudinal field experiment in Poland, we compared the impact of three home-based interventions on helping children and their parents/caregivers to develop sustainable increased plain water consumption habits. Fluid consumption of 334 children and their caregivers were recorded over one year using an online specific fluid dietary record. They were initially randomly allocated to one of the three following conditions: Control, Information (child and carer received information on the health benefits of water), or Placement (in addition to information, free small bottles of still water for a limited time period were delivered at home). After three months, half of the non-controls were randomly assigned to Community (child and caregiver engaged in an online community forum providing support on water consumption). All conditions significantly increased the water consumption of children (by 21.9-56.7%) and of adults (by 22-89%). Placement + Community generated the largest effects. Community enhanced the impact of Placement for children and parents, as well as the impact of Information for parents but not children. The results suggest that the family setting offers considerable scope for successful installation of interventions encouraging children and caregivers to develop healthier consumption habits, in mutually reinforcing ways. Combining information, affordances, and social influence gives the best, and most sustainable, results.

    Be well!


  2. JP Says:

    Updated 07/20/15:


    Am J Public Health. 2015 Aug;105(8):e113-8.

    Prevalence of Inadequate Hydration Among US Children and Disparities by Gender and Race/Ethnicity: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009-2012.

    OBJECTIVES: We evaluated the hydration status of US children and adolescents.

    METHODS: The sample included 4134 participants aged 6 to 19 years in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2009 to 2012. We calculated mean urine osmolality and the proportion with inadequate hydration (urine osmolality > 800 mOsm/kg). We calculated multivariable regression models to estimate the associations between demographic factors, beverage intake, and hydration status.

    RESULTS: The prevalence of inadequate hydration was 54.5%. Significantly higher urine osmolality was observed among boys (+92.0 mOsm/kg; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 69.5, 114.6), non-Hispanic Blacks (+67.6 mOsm/kg; 95% CI = 31.5, 103.6), and younger children (+28.5 mOsm/kg; 95% CI = 8.1, 48.9) compared with girls, Whites, and older children, respectively. Boys (OR = 1.76; 95% CI = 1.49, 2.07) and non-Hispanic Blacks (odds ratio [OR] = 1.34; 95% CI = 1.04, 1.74) were also at significantly higher risk for inadequate hydration. An 8-fluid-ounce daily increase in water intake was associated with a significantly lower risk of inadequate hydration (OR = 0.96; 95% CI = 0.93, 0.98).

    CONCLUSIONS: Future research should explore drivers of gender and racial/ethnic disparities and solutions for improving hydration status.

    Be well!


  3. JP Says:

    Updated 07/20/15:


    Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2015 Jun;40(6):543-9.

    Effects of blueberry supplementation on measures of functional mobility in older adults.

    Limited functional mobility in older adults has been associated with declines in tests of motor, psychomotor, and executive function. Animal studies have demonstrated reversals in indices of motor and psychomotor function via supplementation with polyphenolic-rich foods such as blueberries. The purpose of this study was to examine whether 6 weeks of daily consumption of 2 cups of frozen blueberries affects functional mobility in older adults. Pre- and post-intervention assessments of grip strength, simple reaction time, adaptive gait, and executive function were completed for older adults (age >60 years) partially randomly assigned to a blueberry (BB) supplementation or a carrot juice drink control (CAR) group. Paired t tests were used to assess within-group effects for outcome variables in each supplementation group, and a mixed-model analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to determine group (CAR vs. BB) differences. Mixed-model analysis indicated that the BB group demonstrated significant improvements relative to the CAR group in performance (i.e., number of step errors) of a challenging dual-task adaptive gait test that were independent of differences in gait speed. Within only the BB group, significant improvements were also seen in 3 other measures (i.e., usual gait speed; number of step errors during single-task adaptive gait; and gait speed during dual-task adaptive gait). These preliminary findings support the hypothesis that blueberry supplementation may provide an effective countermeasure to age-related declines in functional mobility and serve as justification for an expansion to larger trials to more fully assess this nonpharmacologic approach to maintaining optimal mobility and independence.

    Be well!


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