Like the rest of our body, our eyes need looking after. Maintaining your eyesight is overlooked by many of us, but as we only get one set of eyes, it’s important to look after them.
There’s certainly no miracle cure to perfect vision, but we can make small lifestyle changes to help. The following tips are great ways of maintaining sharp eyesight so you keep that 20/20 vision for as long possible:
Maintain sharp eyesight for as long as possible!
- Get yourself some sunglasses – It’s important to own a good pair of sunglasses, complete with the CE mark (that’s not an excuse to buy a designer pair!). This will help to reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) which is one of the most popular causes of progressive blindness in over 50’s. Try to avoid buying cheap sunglasses, as these may cause more damage than you think
- Carrots really do help – You’ve probably been told as a child that carrots will help you to see in the dark – This isn’t quite the truth. However, carrots are packed with vitamin A which is crucial for keeping your eyesight sharp. Very tasty when raw, why not substitute your usual mid morning snack with a bowl of carrot sticks?
- Open a tin of tuna – Studies have shown that eating just one can of tinned tuna a few times a week could reduce the risk of AMD by at least 40%. If you’re not a fan of tuna on it’s own, try incorporating it into a sandwich or salad. You can’t beat a fresh tuna salad with plenty of greens, toasted seeds and a dollop of low calorie mayonnaise.
- Get yourself moving – Exercise keeps all of us feeling alive and ready, but it can also help maintain good eyesight. Taking a walk around the block 4 times a week for at least 30 minutes has been shown to reduce intra-ocular pressure in people with glaucoma – enough to cut down taking medication entirely.
- Take a test – People often treat the opticians like dentists, avoiding them at all costs. Its important to take a sight test at least every two years to ensure your eyes are in tip top condition. Research has shown that some people haven’t visited the opticians in 5 years, with some people not visiting it at all.
- Quit smoking – It’s not good for your health, nor is it good for your eyes. Kick the habit to reduce your chance of cataracts and other smoking related eye diseases.
With a wealth of bad habits surrounding us each and every day, many of us are guilty of even the mildest bad addiction. One in five of us smoke, 33,000 of us die from alcohol related death and two out of five of us are overweight. Some statistics even show that we watch more than 3 hours of TV per day!
Eye opening statistics – It’s worth stepping back to try and change your ways. The long term health benefits speak for themselves, so why not try kicking those habits by using some of the Healthy Hideout’s top tips:
- Don’t be tempted by cleaning up all the left-overs. Store food that will keep in tupperware and throw the rest away.
- Don’t reach for the biscuit tin as a quick fix – Instead, grab yourself a glass of water and do something else for 20 minutes.
- Buy shelled nuts instead of pre-shelled salted alternatives. Cracking the nut requires more effort, causing you to eat less.
- For the extreme over-eating, store food in single portion containers. It’ll stop you eating for two when you really don’t need too!
Television & Video Games
- It may seem odd, but try changing your lounging chairs to upright alternatives. You won’t be tempted to sit there for hours on end if the chair isn’t overly comfortable.
- Turn the TV on for a particular programme or 30 minute gaming session, making sure to turn it off when you’re finished. It’ll stop you channel hoping.
- Hide the TV away from eyes either behind a cover or TV cupboard. It’ll prevent the TV becoming a focal point that you find yourself “buzzing” around.
- Remove drinking as a habit or ritual that you carry out every week, such as drinking after the working week’s over on Friday afternoon. Do something else with your work colleagues, such as exercise or going to the cinema.
- Calculate how much you spend on alcohol a week – Half that amount and save it in a jar as a visual reminder of how much you save by not binging.
- Create your own set of rules and try and stick to them. Drink only one drink when you’re out, or only drink when you’re dressed smartly. Something to give you a mental reminder that you’re trying to cut down.
- The facts speak for themselves: After 24 hours the carbon monoxide leaves your lungs, whilst after 48 hours you’ll find your sense of smell and taste improving. After 72 hours you’ll find breathing becomes easy.
- Switch to decaf during your quitting process – The caffeine could cause the cravings to become stronger.
A recent study has found that living a long life is more down to your lifestyle than your genes. This puts your personal life expectancy very much on your own shoulders. The experts noted that people who live healthy lifestyles in their 50’s are much more likely to live to 90 than those who are not so careful. Therefore, it does not completely follow that if your relatives have lived a long life then you will also enjoy this luxury.
While your genes will play an important part in your susceptibility to certain illness or conditions the study found that lifestyle played a far more significant role. The study was conducted by a group of researchers from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden and looked at 800 men who were born in 1913. The researchers then took detailed medical checks and questionnaires every 10 years to understand how the individual lived. The checks looked at whether the individual smoked, their diets, exercise routine, wage and standard of living.
MyPyramid - Steps to a Healthier You. (United States Department of Agriculture)
Out of the original 800 participants there were 111 who lived to the age of 90. It was found that once the participant had reached 50 then there was no noticeable correlation between when their parents died and when they would end up dying. The research, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, found that those at 50 years old who did not smoke, lived in better houses, had lower blood pressures and only drank moderate amounts of coffee were more likely to live to 90 years old.
Lead researcher, Professor emeritus Lars Wilhelmsen, said: “We’re breaking new ground here. The study clearly shows that we can influence several of the factors that decide how old we get. This is positive not only for the individual but also for society as it doesn’t entail any major drug costs.”
Other studies have found similar results and have led to some believing that there are 4 factors that will significantly effect how long you live. These factors are: diet, psycho-spiritual, social and exercise. If we can live fulfilled, contented and rounded lifestyles then we greatly increase our chance of hitting the big 100!
New research carried out by Cambridge University has shown how leading a healthy lifestyle can increase a persons lifespan by up to 14 years, simply by not smoking, drinking occasionally, eating well and keeping physically active. Many research studies already show the dangers of smoking, excessive drinking, not eating properly or a lack of exercise but few have shown the danger of the combined impact of all four on the longevity of our lives.
“The results strongly suggest that these four achievable lifestyle changes could have a marked improvement on the health of middle-aged and older people, which is particularly important given the ageing population in the UK and other European countries.” stated Professor Kay-Tee Khaw, Cambridge University.
healthy eating is the key to a healthy lifestyle!
The survey took place with over 20,000 men and women living in the Norfolk area of the UK. The participants were aged between 49 – 79 and were not shown to have any heart or cancer related problems. In 2006, the researchers contacted the participants and found that nearly 2000 had died since the start of the project.
On average, it was shown that the healthiest group of the participants had an extended lifespan of approximately 14 years. Those who smoked were shown to be almost 77% more likely to have died during the study, whereas a low intake of alcohol increased a chance of survival by almost 25%.
This research to not to be taken lightly. Although other factors do come into account such as genetics and environment, the importance of leading a balanced lifestyle are once more reinforced by research such as this. With the start of the new year in full swing, what better time to make the effort to get healthy!
Need another reason to quit smoking? Why not spend 2 minutes of your time reading this short article that truly highlights the costs involved with smoking.
Many articles already address the importance of quitting smoking, with some focusing on the health risks involved and others highlighting the vanity & image related reasons. The Centre for Disease control estimates that around 23% of adults aged between 25 – 44 still smoke, whilst smoking remains the number one cause of preventable death in the US. It’s almost as if our health and how we look simply aren’t good enough reason to stop poisoning our bodies with such toxic smoke.
Bad for the body and your wallet
From research taken from Tobacco Free Kids as of October 2010, the average pack of cigarettes stood at whopping £5.59. Although cost does vary for region and applicable taxes involved, this is still quite a dent on your daily expenditure. Just imagine if you found £5 at the side of your bed each day your woke up? What would you do with it? Let the Healthy Hideout break it down for you:
- One Week – It’s a saving of almost £40. That’s enough to eat away from the office at lunch everyday, fuel your car for a week, or take your other half to the cinema for a date.
- One Month – £167 stays in your pocket, ready for you to splurge on that special pair of party shoes you’ve been waiting for. You could go for a special evening dinner with a friend, or book a weekend away at a your local spa for the ultimate relaxation experience.
- One Year – Now things start to get a little serious – almost £2000 serious. This is enough to place a deposit on a brand new car, take an extravagant holiday away to somewhere tropical or even buy a top of the range home cinema system. With the average UK wage standing at around £16,000 this saving is an incredible 12.5% of your years earnings.
- Five Years – If the above wasn’t already enough of an eye opener, then why not try a saving of nearly £10,000. This is enough to place a deposit on a house, clear any educational related debts or renovate your entire house.
In short, there is absolutely no limit to how much you can affect your wallet positively just by kicking the habit. If a parent were to stop smoking once their child was born, they’ll have saved around £35,000 by the time the child hits 18 years of age. If someone aged 30 decided to quit and put the money that they saved into a 6% savings account until they retired, they’d have an extra £150,000 waiting for them.
Kick the habit today
Many health studies already support infinite reasons of why quitting smoking benefits your body. If it takes realisation of the financial factors involved such as the ones mentioned above for you to quit, then why start today?
For more information on quitting, please visit the following NHS resource: http://smokefree.nhs.uk/