Live Right Live Well

The Secret to Sex After 40

M"y wife and I recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of our first date. We have a solid marriage, but like everyone, we've struggled with the changes that aging brings -- including those that affect our love life. The good news: With simple adjustments, sex after 40, 50, 60 and beyond can be as satisfying as ever, strengthening your relationship rather than becoming a source of conflict and stress.

The trouble is that many people believe that intercourse is sex -- and when intercourse becomes problematic, they think sex must be over. That's a shame. Retiring from being lovers makes a relationship less intimate and ignores the deep human need to experience gentle touch.

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Is Tap Water Better?

photo courtesy joshme17 on flickr

W"hat's in that bottle of water you just bought? Ads suggest it's pure H2O, implying that it's less contaminated by pollutants than what flows from the tap. But recent tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit environmental organization based in Washington, D.C., show that 10 bestselling brands of bottled water contained "a surprising array of chemical levels no different from those found in tap water."

The International Bottled Water Association countered that the EWG's report contained "false claims and exaggerations" and maintains that bottled water meets federal standards for drinking water quality.

So what's a water drinker to do? Get the facts and then decide for yourself.

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Beat Insomnia Now

Sleep can be an elusive thing. Experience a couple nights of tossing and turning in bed, and it's all too tempting to reach for a sleep aid. But before you do, consider that several recent studies conducted at major institutions all over the country show that, despite their ordinary nature, simple behavioral strategies--like going to bed at the same time every night and avoiding afternoon naps--really do work. What's more, over-the-counter sleep medications can leave you feeling sluggish the next day, and "there’s very little evidence that these sleep aids actually result in significant sleep," says Mark Mahowald, M.D., director of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center in Minneapolis.

What about prescription sleep drugs? For acute, short-term insomnia--such as that brought on by a stressful event, like a death in the family--experts say these medications can help. "In fact, by treating acute short-term insomnia [with prescription sleep aids] when it first occurs, we can actually prevent the development of long-term insomnia," says Dr. Mahowald. But for the occasional sleepless night, consider the following 10 tips. You may find they help you get to sleep just as well as popping a pill!

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How Antioxidants Can Save Your Life

W"ant to cut your risk of cancer in half? Want to substantially reduce your chance of suffering a heart attack or stroke? Want to live a longer, healthier life? The answer is simple: Eat more fruits and vegetables. At this point, you’re probably rolling your eyes, thinking “Been there! Done that!” But before you do, ask yourself how many servings of fruits and vegetables you ate yesterday. Multiple studies show that -- despite a mountain of scientific evidence supporting a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and despite years of listening to top experts (not to mention moms) telling us to eat more fruits and vegetables -- the typical American still eats a measly three servings of fruits and vegetables a day. And if you rule out french fries, which are so high in fat they hardly count, most people are down to two servings. This falls far short of the five servings a day experts keep harping about. To make matters worse, five is actually a minimum recommendation. For optimal health, experts say we should be striving for seven to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day!

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Are You Fit or Fat?

It’s hard to resist quick-and-dirty medical tests. After all, they’re fast, easy, cheap and noninvasive. The only problem is that their accuracy is limited. For the past several decades, the standard quick-and-dirty test for obesity has been the Body Mass Index (BMI): Multiply your weight in pounds by 703, and divide the result by the square of your height in inches. A normal BMI is 18.5 to 25; anything over that means you’re overweight. Sure it’s easy -- all you need is a calculator -- but is it accurate?

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Is It a Heart Attack?

Last January, Lisa Morrow's 88-year-old grandmother woke her at 3 a.m. complaining of back and shoulder pain and feeling clammy. The two debated what to do for nearly two hours. "I thought it was the flu," says Morrow, a 38-year-old New Yorker. Finally, Morrow convinced her grandmother to go to the ER. Doctors quickly diagnosed a heart attack and put in four stents to open up a fully clogged artery. The surgery helped, briefly, but the attack had weakened the heart muscle so much that it perforated several hours later. Sadly, Morrow's grandmother did not survive.

"A heart attack was the last thing on my mind," says Morrow. Indeed, a recent study reveals that while 92 percent of adults know the most obvious sign of a heart attack -- chest pain -- only 31 percent know all five major signs, reports lead author of the study, Jing Fang, M.D., epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention.

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