TIME Aging

Signs You May Be Aging Too Fast

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Klaus Vedfelt—Getty Images

Your body is a masterpiece, so you need to take care of it. With proper restoration, it can be an ageless classic

Your body is like a machine—it wears down over time. But with proper maintenance, you can add years and quality to your life. Here are the numbers you should aim to beat.

Age 27: Muscle Mass May Start to Decline

After this age, men can lose 3 1/2 pounds of muscle per decade, according to a Portuguese study.

Protect Yourself: Twenty grams of whey protein after lifting can boost muscle gains 49 percent, say U.K. researchers.

More: Is your workout burning flab—or just burning up your time? Don’t fall for these 5 fat-loss myths.

Age 35: Crow’s-Feet Emerge

Your skin’s collagen is breaking down—from either smiling or squinting. If it’s the latter, watch out: “There’s a good chance that people with premature crow’s-feet from squinting in sunlight are headed toward future facial skin cancer,” says Neal Schultz, M.D., a Manhattan dermatologist.

Protect Yourself: Wear sporty wraparound sunglasses during outdoor activities like hiking or yard work, says Joel L. Cohen, M.D., a dermatological surgeon based in Colorado. “And apply sunscreen daily, even for your commute.”

Age 43: Words Become Blurry Up Close

Hold this page out at arm’s length. If you’re over 40 and need to squint to read it, you may have presbyopia, a condition resulting from the loss of elasticity in your eyes’ lenses, says Dennis Levi, O.D., Ph.D., a professor at UC Berkeley.

Protect Yourself: Again—wear shades. Sunglasses rated to block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays and absorb UV up to 400 nanometers can help prevent eye damage. And if you’re struggling on your computer, increase the font size. Every 2.8-point jump makes tasks seem 8 percent easier, say UC Berkeley scientists.

More: 6 sneaky cancer culprits

Age 45: Age Spots First Appear

Look at the back of your left hand, which receives extra sun while you drive. See brown or white patches? Those indicate damaged pigment-producing cells, which are reproducing too much, says MH dermatology advisor Adnan Nasir, M.D., Ph.D.

Protect Yourself: Whether you see age spots or not, apply an SPF 30 product every morning to all your exposed skin—even your arms—to help prevent skin cancer. If you want to lighten existing spots, use a product with kojic acid, like La-Roche Posay Mela-D Serum ($53, soap.com).

Age 65: Joint Pain Sets In

If your hands, knees, or hips hurt after exercise, you may have osteoarthritis, the breakdown of cartilage between bones.

Protect Yourself: Hit the gym. Overweight or obese people are nearly three times as likely to have osteoarthritis in the knee, the most common spot for older people. Already in pain? Try unloaded exercises, such as seated knee extensions. Japanese researchers found that these may be best for reducing joint pain.

Age 69: Hearing Needs Assistance

The high frequencies that sharpen speech drop out first, so people with hearing loss tend to think others are not speaking clearly, says Pamela Souza, Ph.D., CCC-A, a professor at Northwestern University.

Protect Yourself: Keep headphones below half volume. Listening to an iPod nano for an hour at just 50 percent can temporarily damage your ears, Belgian researchers found.

More: Whether in your 20s, 30s, 40s, or 50+, you can still live great at any age.

 

This article was written by Julie Smith and originally appeared on MensHealth.com

TIME

5 Juices With More Sugar Than Soda

That "health" drink is anything but

Lovers of bottled fruit juices may have to rethink their infatuation. A new report from researchers at the University of Glasgow in the U.K. equated your glass of fruit juice to your can of soda—just with a few more vitamins. And your perception of how healthy juice actually is can be way off as well. When researchers polled more than 2,000 adults, people underestimated the sugar content in juice by a whopping 48 percent.

If you’re trying to cut extra sugar from your life, keep in mind an 8-oz serving of soda contains about 26 to 31 grams (g) of sugar. If your “healthy” juice tops that, then be suspicious. (Here are some not-so-sweet foods that are surprisingly packed with sugar.)

Follow this guide to make smart juice picks at the grocery store.

1. Ocean Spray 100% Cranberry Juice

Sometimes you have to ignore the label on the front because the ingredients on the back tell a different story. This is one of those times. Though it boasts “no sugar added,” the juice is sweetened with grape and apple juice concentrates, contributing to 36 g of sugar per cup. Instead, try Lakewood Organic Pure Cranberry: It’s made with only cranberry juice to keep sugars low at 9 g per cup and nearly half the calories—75 compared to 140. (Use these cutting-edge strategies that diminish the impact any food has on your glucose levels—and on your body’s ability to burn fat.)

2. Tropicana Berry Punch

With only 5 percent juice in the blend and high fructose corn syrup listed as the second ingredient, this juice drink will add 29 g of sugar to your day in just one cup. Go for R.W. Knudsen Just Black Currant. If you want a berry flavor, go for this 100 percent juice, which packs only 15 g of sugar per cup.

3. Minute Maid Enhanced Pomegranate Blueberry

Contains 29 g of sugar per cup from a blend of five fruit juices from concentrate: apple, grape, pomegranate, blueberry, and raspberry. The juices are listed on the ingredients list in that order, too, which tips you off that there is more apple and grape than blueberry and pomegranate—kind of kills the buzz for why you bought it. Instead try Eden Foods Organic Apple Juice. Apples are full of powerful antioxidants, too—and sometimes it pays to go back to basics with juice. This one packs an impressively low 12 g of sugar per 8 oz.

4. Jamba Juice Kale Orange Power

It can be a smart pick, considering that it’s made with OJ, banana, and kale. However, the juice is made with more OJ and banana than the green stuff, and the sugar content is 40 g per 16 oz cup. Instead, try Evolution Fresh Essential Greens with Lime. If you’re going with a green juice, pick one that packs mostly vegetables—kale, celery, romaine—and a hint of fruit (lime) to keep sugars low. This one packs less than 12 g of sugar per 15.2 oz bottle. (Here are 7 underrated, nutrient-packed vegetables you’re not eating—but should be.)

5. Welch’s Essentials Orange Pineapple Apple Juice Cocktail

The label boasts “no high fructose corn syrup” and that’s true, but it also contains added sugar for a total of 31 g per cup. Opt instead for Simply Orange Juice with Pineapple. Contains nearly one-quarter less sugar because it’s made with only orange and pineapple juice. (For more great ways to lower your sugar consumption, follow these 6 strategies to curb your habit.)

This article was written by Jessica Girdwain and originally appeared on MensHealth.com

TIME

6 Things Your Tongue Tells You

It's more than the doorman for your throat—it's a diagnostic wonder tool

There’s no need to wait until you’re in a dentist’s chair to open wide. Regularly inspecting your tongue in a mirror can help you detect issues in your mouth—and other parts of your body—before they become more serious. Stick it out and give yourself a quick health check.

More From Men’s Health: 7 Dental Problems You Can Fix Yourself

The sign: Swollen grey/white balloon under your tongue.

What it means: You could have a clogged salivary gland. When this occurs, something is blocking the tiny ducts so they can’t drain saliva, causing swelling, fluid build-up, and pain. One of the most common causes of a clogged duct is a salivary stone. “It’s a calcium deposit similar to a kidney stone,” says Mark Woff, D.D.S, chair of cariology and comprehensive care at New York University College of Dentistry. If it doesn’t go away on its own within a few days, make an appointment with your dentist—the deposit may need to be surgically removed.

The sign: Sores with a halo around them.

What it means: A healthy tongue is pink and relatively smooth with no lumps or bumps. If you notice any red or whitish patches, a spot with a red ring around it, white areas with a lace-like pattern, or an unhealing sore, alert your doctor or dentist—it could signal cancer. While rates of other types of cancer are on the decline, the incidence of oral cancer has increased approximately 25 percent over the past decade, possibly due to the rise in human papilloma virus (HPV), a risk factor for the disease.

The sign: Thick red tongue.

What it means: Check your diet—you could have a vitamin deficiency. Your tongue is one of the first places a vitamin B12 deficiency appears. The vitamin is essential for creating healthy red blood cells, and subpar levels can lead to anemia. With that disease, your tongue may feel sore and is sometimes said to appear “beefy.” If you eat a typical U.S. diet, you’re probably getting enough vitamin B12 since it’s mostly found in meat, poultry, milk, fish, and eggs. However, if you’re a vegetarian or vegan or have a digestive disorder such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease, you may not be getting enough. Taking a multivitamin and eating fortified foods like cereal can help.

More From Men’s Health: 7 Weird Signs Of Health Troubles

The sign: Black, hairy-looking tongue.

What it means: Did you recently take antibiotics? A course of the drugs can disrupt the normal bacteria in your yapper, causing an overgrowth that builds up on tiny round projections on your tongue called papillae. Instead of sloughing off like they normally do, the papillae can grow and give your tongue a hairy appearance. The good news: For the most part, it’s harmless and should go away on its own. However, the bacteria can cause bad breath and affect your ability to taste. “Brush your tongue really well with a toothbrush and toothpaste each day and you’ll help the normal flora return,” Dr. Wolff says.

The sign: Swelling.

What it means: Of all the symptoms to watch for, this requires the most immediate attention, since you could be having an allergic reaction. “It isn’t actually so much swelling of the tongue that occurs, but swelling of the airway behind the tongue that pushes the tongue forward, making it appear larger,” Dr. Wolff says. Without quick treatment, swelling in your mouth can block your airway and become life-threatening, Dr. Wolff adds. Seek medical attention right away.

The sign: Dry, white glossy tongue.

What it means: Dry mouth, or xerostomia, occurs when the mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva. This can cause uncomfortable dryness on the tongue and affect the balance of bacteria, which may cause a change in your tongue’s color and appearance. When left untreated, dry mouth can increase your risk of gum disease and tooth decay—normally, saliva deposits minerals that help keep your teeth healthy—and it may also increase your risk of oral infections. Drinking plenty of water and using a humidifier if you live in a dry environment can help. If dry mouth is a chronic problem, medications you take for allergies, high blood pressure, asthma, and other conditions may be to blame. Talk to your doc about switching prescriptions. You can also treat dry mouth with over-the-counter mouth rinses, which work like an artificial saliva substitute.

More From Men’s Health: 5 Things That Can Do Lasting Damage To Your Mouth

This article was written by Paige Fowler and originally appeared on MensHealth.com

 

TIME

10 Ways for Men to Prevent Cancer Today

Athlete preparing work out
Getty Images

Sweat Daily

In a University of Vermont study, the fittest men were 68 percent less likely to develop lung cancer and 38 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancers than the least active men—and those who developed cancer had better outcomes if they exercised regularly. Cardio and resistance training help control inflammation and hormone levels—and they keep your immune system strong to fend off wayward cells. (Turn up your muscle gains outside the gym. These 18 Ways to Build Muscle All Day will help you shed fat, sculpt muscle, and accelerate recovery.)

Skip Anything Fried

Guys who eat french fries, fried chicken, fried fish, or fried doughnuts once or more a week have up to a 37 percent higher risk of prostate cancer, according to a new study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Oil that’s heated to high temperatures develops carcinogenic compounds in food. (You might not know you’re missing vital nutrients, but here’s how to get them by learning these 6 New Food Rules to Follow.)

Sip Pomegranate Juice

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin at Madison found that pomegranate juice may stunt lung cancer growth. Plus, previous studies also show it delays prostate cancer in mice and stabilizes PSA levels in men who’ve been treated for the cancer. Sip about 16 ounces of the juice per day, which is rich in polyphenols, isoflavones, and ellagic acid that may team up to fight cancer.

Get Screened

If there’s a screening for a type of cancer and you’re eligible for it, get it. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that if everyone over 50 had regular colon cancer screenings, 60 percent of deaths from the disease could be prevented. Talk to your doctor about screenings for colorectal, prostate, testicular, skin, and lung cancer. (Discover 8 stealth strategies to Cancer-Proof Your Body.)

Snack on Blueberries

The fruit is brimming with a compound called pterostilbene that may slash precancerous lesions in the gut that, left unchecked, could lead to colon cancer, Rutgers University researchers say. Aim for a cup and a half of blueberries per day—pour them over your cereal, snack on them fresh, or dump them into a daily smoothie.

Befriend Fiber

People on a high-fiber eating plan—about 17 grams per 1,000 calories—had a 19 percent decrease in kidney cancer risk compared with those who took in the least, a study in the journal Clinical Nutrition found. Fiber may block cancer-causing toxins from traveling from your intestines to your kidneys, the study reports. (Here are more foods with amazing—and scientifically proven—health benefits: Check out the 50 Foods with Superpowers.)

Get Help to Stop Snoring

People with severe sleep apnea—snoring is the main symptom—are almost five times as likely to die of cancer as those who snooze more soundly, according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. With sleep apnea, levels of oxygen in your blood dip. This can cause small existing tumors to grow new blood vessels, giving them fuel to develop faster and spread through your bloodstream more quickly.

Stand Up

More than 92,000 cases of cancer a year can be blamed on sitting too much, a study by the American Institute for Cancer Research suggests. Even if you exercise regularly, you’re still at risk. Set your cell phone alarm to remind you to stand for one to two minutes every hour. It’ll help reduce levels of molecules in your body that are linked with cancer risk.

Down the Sunshine Vitamin

People who supplemented their diets with 1,000 IU of vitamin D every day decreased their risk of cancer by as much as 77 percent over four years compared to those who popped a placebo, reports a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vitamin D is also available in salmon, sardines, and shiitake mushrooms.

Go Nuts

Eat three Brazil nuts every day, which deliver healthy selenium. A Harvard study found that this amount is associated with a 48 percent lower incidence of advanced prostate cancer.

This article was written by Paige Fowler and originally appeared on MensHealth.com.

TIME Disease

The 5 Jobs Most Likely to Make You Sick

Smallholder on his farm with his dogs
Richard Drury—Getty Images

While you're building your fortune, these jobs are destroying your health

Talk about an occupational hazard: 40 percent of Australian workers may be exposed to chemicals that boost their risk of developing cancer, according to a team of Aussie researchers. Solar radiation, tobacco smoke, and diesel engine exhaust topped the list of the most common disease-causing culprits.
While some jobs, such as logging and power line repairing, are inherently dangerous–they rack up some of the highest fatalities each year–your career could be making you sick without you realizing it. Keep clicking for the five jobs most likely to put your health on the line.

#1: Agriculture

Although farmers tend to have lower death rates due to heart disease and cancers of the lung, esophagus, bladder, and colon–likely thanks to lower smoking rates and a physically active lifestyle–they have an exceptionally high risk of other conditions, according to the National Cancer Institute. Among them: leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, soft tissue sarcoma, and cancers of the skin, lip, stomach, brain, and prostate. Why? Farmers are exposed to a wide range of hazardous chemicals including pesticides, engine exhaust, fertilizers, fungicide, and fuels, as well as animal viruses and dust. (What’s hiding in your laundry detergent? It could be one of 6 Sneaky Cancer Culprits.)

#2: Construction workers

Falling objects and machines that turn digits into stumps aren’t the only on-site dangers. Roughly 1.3 million construction workers are currently exposed to asbestos, according to the American Lung Association. Small fibers of asbestos build up in your lungs over time, causing scarring that can stiffen your breathers–a condition called asbestosis. The kicker: Asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma–a fatal cancer also caused by asbestos–can take as long as 40 years to develop after you’ve been exposed to the toxin. If you’ve worked in construction, talk to your doctor about whether you should receive a lung cancer screening, which can also detect these conditions. Last year, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released guidelines on lung cancer screenings that include those who’ve been exposed to asbestos.

#3: Firefighters

Trauma and smoke inhalation must be the most serious threats, right? Nope: Firefighters are seven times more likely to die of a heart attack than smoke inhalation and nearly twice as likely to kick the bucket because of ticker trouble than trauma, the U.S. Fire Administration reports. Blame physical and psychological stress: Firefighters’ risk of heart attack increases up to 100-fold while battling a blaze, suggests a Harvard study. (Safeguard your body’s most important organ: 100 Ways to Protect Your Heart.)

#4: Pilots

The saying, “don’t fly too close to the sun” takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to airline pilots. Researchers at the University of Iceland found that airline pilots have 25 times the normal rate of malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Cosmic radiation may be partly to blame, but researchers suggest lifestyle factors play a role in pilots’ susceptibility to skin cancer, too. These include excessive sunbathing when they’re not up in the air–hello, free flights to tropical locales–and disrupted circadian rhythms when crossing multiple time zones, which could affect the body’s ability to fight off disease.

#5: Anything at a desk

Despite your cushy chair and ergonomic keyboard, your desk-bound career is hardly harmless. A sedentary job is associated with an 82 percent increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to those who spend less than four hours per week sitting on the job, suggest new University of South Carolina research. In addition to the obvious–inactivity means burning fewer calories–excessive sitting causes changes in how well your muscles gobble up glucose and burn fat. Fortunately, researchers discovered that regular exercise significantly chips away at desk jockeying’s damaging effects. (Did you know doing pull-ups every day could increase your overall fitness? In fact, it’s one of the 16 Life-Changing Strategies you should try, today!)

This article was written by Paige Greenfield and originally appeared on Menshealth.com.

TIME Diet & Fitness

7 Weird Signs of Health Troubles

Many conditions and diseases start with physical changes you may not pinpoint as problematic.
Many conditions and diseases start with physical changes you may not pinpoint as problematic. Vstock LLC—Getty Images/Tetra images RF

From your fingernails to your nose, these tricks could give you clues about your body for years to come

You don’t need a crystal ball to predict your future health — just your five senses. Whether you realize it or not, many conditions and diseases start with physical changes you may not pinpoint as problematic. The good news: if you know what to look for, you can spot many issues early — and treat them fast. Here are seven ways your body could be signaling a health hazard.

Check your: Sense of smell
For: Alzheimer’s disease

A decline in sniff-ability could be one of the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study by the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Mice bred to produce high levels of a protein called amyloid precursor protein — involved in the development of Alzheimer’s disease — had higher rates of nerve-cell death in their noses compared with normal mice. Changes that occur in your olfactory system because of Alzheimer’s may be similar to those that happen in other regions of the brain, but appear much sooner. Gradually losing your sense of smell can be normal after age 70, but if you notice a decline much younger — or more suddenly — discuss it with your doc.

(MORE: Learn the 7 Pains You Shouldn’t Ignore)

Check your: Fingernails
For: Lupus

Healthy nails are typically smooth and spotless. If you notice redness under your fingernails it could be a sign of lupus, a disease in which your immune system attacks healthy tissues. Lupus can also cause a rash on the backs of your hands and fingers as well as swelling and puffiness at the base of your nails.

Check your: Hairline
For: Thyroid disease

When your thyroid — a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland in your neck that churns out hormones — isn’t working properly, it affects hormones throughout your body, including those linked with hair growth. What’s normal and what’s not? With thyroid-related hair loss, you may experience other mane changes, like your hair becoming dry or coarse before it started falling out. An underactive thyroid can also cause thinning of the eyebrows.

Check your: Reflection
For: Heart attack

People who look old for their age have a higher risk of ticker trouble down the road, suggest researchers at Copenhagen University Hospital. Compared with people without visible signs of aging — gray hair, baldness, wrinkles and cholesterol deposits on the eyelid — those with three or four signs had a 40% higher risk of heart disease and a 57% higher risk of a heart attack over 35 years. If you notice any of these signs, ask your doctor to check for any other heart-disease risk factors that may be lurking beneath the surface.

(MORE: 100 Ways to Protect Your Heart)

Check your: Breath
For: Erectile dysfunction

Dragon breath is a telltale sign of gum disease, which may be linked with erectile dysfunction. Turkish researchers found that among men between 30 and 40, those with severe gum disease were more than three times more likely to suffer from erection problems than guys with healthy gums. Your move: brush twice a day, floss daily and open wide for your dentist two times a year.

(MORE: Discover What More Testosterone Can Do for You)

Check your: Eyes
For: Cognitive decline

In a study, people as young as 38 who had wider blood vessels in their eyes scored worse on IQ tests than those with smaller veins, according to Duke researchers. The veins in your eyes are similar in size, structure and function to your brain’s vessels, so your peepers could indicate a decline in brain health years before the onset of dementia. It’s not so easy to spot the change yourself, so make a yearly appointment with your eye doc. And while you’re at it, make sure you know the top 10 questions every man must ask his doctor.

Check your: Hearing
For: Diabetes

Testing, testing, 1-2-3. People with diabetes were more than twice as likely as those without the disease to have hearing loss, report researchers at Niigata University in Japan. Surprisingly, younger diabetics — under age 60 — were even more at risk for developing hearing impairment than their older counterparts. High blood-sugar levels associated with diabetes may damage blood vessels in your ears.

This article was written by Paige Fowler and originally appeared on MensHealth.com.

TIME Nutrition

5 Foods You’re Eating Wrong

Strawberries
Strawberries Getty Images

Don't slice your strawberries or eat your tomatoes raw

Vegetables

Your mistake: Microwaving or boiling them
The fix: Steaming

Why it works: Steaming helps retain cancer-fighting nutrients in broccoli better than other cooking methods, reports a new study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Sulforaphane — a plant compound with strong anti-cancer properties — is abundant in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale and arugula. The enzyme myrosinase is necessary to release the compound, but most cooking methods destroy it. Steaming is a slower, gentler heat and isn’t intense enough to kill myrosinase, explains study author Elizabeth Jeffery, Ph.D. Cook broccoli in a steaming basket for three to four minutes for the biggest cancer-fighting boost.

Here are more foods with amazing — and scientifically proved — health benefits: 40 Foods With Superpowers

Strawberries

Your mistake: Slicing them before eating
The fix: Eating them whole

Why it works: Whole strawberries contain 8% to 12% more vitamin C than the cut fruits, according to a 2011 Brazilian study. That’s because vitamin C begins to break down when it’s exposed to light and oxygen. For the biggest C boost, store whole strawberries in the fridge — cool temperature helps retain vitamin C too, finds the same study.

Wine

Your mistake: Letting a bottle “breathe”
The fix: Sipping a freshly opened bottle

Why it works: When red wine is decanted for long periods of time — up to 12 hours — the organic acids and polyphenols begin to break down, according to a 2012 Chinese study. Leaving the bottle open overnight nixes the usual benefits of a glass of red, including decreased depression, increased testosterone and a healthier heart.

Safeguard your body’s most important organ: 100 Ways to Protect Your Heart

Tomatoes

Your mistake: Eating them raw
The fix: Heating them up

Why it works: Tomatoes have been linked to lowering men’s risk of stroke, helping fight prostate cancer and preserving brain power with age. Heating tomatoes significantly increases their levels of lycopene, the chemical that can up antioxidant levels. In fact, a recent study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that raw foodists — people who eat mostly uncooked produce — were deficient in lycopene. Cook tomatoes in olive oil for the biggest nutritional boost: lycopene is fat-soluble, meaning you need fat in your diet for your body to absorb it properly.

Frozen Produce

Your mistake: You skip right over frozen foods at the grocery store
The fix: Hitting the freezers

Why it works: “Most people think only fresh is healthy, but this is a huge misconception,” says Mary Cluskey, an associate professor of nutrition at Oregon State University. In fact, U.K. scientists found that in two out of three cases, frozen fruits and vegetables packed higher levels of antioxidants — including polyphenols, vitamin C and beta-carotene — than the fresh kind. As produce ages, nutrients begin to change and break down, says Cluskey. It’s therefore better to eat food that was frozen at prime ripeness with its nutrients intact than week-old produce that no longer has the same beneficial chemical makeup.

There are 46,000 foods in the average supermarket. How to choose what to put in your cart? Here’s your shopping list: The 125 Best Foods

This article was written by Rachael Schultz and originally appeared on Men’s Health.

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