Monthly Archives: January 2016

OLIVE OIL reduces BREAST CANCER

Can olive oil really reduce breast cancer? A trial study involving 4282 at risk women due to diabetes or other factors was done with a five year follow-up after a controlled dietary change. One group ate a Mediterranean diet with extra virgin olive oil and the other was on a similar low fat diet without olive oil. Both groups benefited, but the different results revealed that the olive oil group had a 68% lower risk of cancer. This occurred because the extra virgin oil has more polyphenols(micronutrients) and hydroxytyrosol(antioxidants).  JAMA Internal Medicine. 2015 Sep 14.

As a research driven consumer, I personally have enjoyed the Mediterranean diet for a few years now because of the extraordinary protective cardiovascular benefits. So, this anti- breast cancer effect is an added bonus and confirms this diet for longevity. It’s the “First Press Extra Virgin” that is the best oil with extra nutrients. It might be that this diet has more benefits for women according to studies like this. For those of you new to the Mediterranean diet, here is a simple introduction:  http://blog.creativeretirementforwomen.com/mediterranean-diet/

Improve Self-Esteem

We all want improve self-esteem because we want to feel more positive about ourselves. Here is what you need to know to improve yours.

Americans are more concerned with self-esteem than other cultures partly because we have many symbols of personal success in our society. Those symbols are our house, car, clothes, vacations, jewelry, and even what prep school our kids go to. Despite how superficial this may seem, its part of our culture. External objects of success can have an impact on self-esteem if that’s your yardstick. However, over time, these external measures tend to mean less as we understand their limited value.

As a therapist for over 35 years, I’ve had many opportunities to improve self-esteem especially with depressed patients. First I want to define self-esteem as an attitude that’s completely under your control. It’s a way to view yourself and the world. If this attitude was established in childhood, that’s where I would start.  So, see if you can pinpoint when it started, that goes a long way in understanding the cause. It often comes from an over stressed parent and not a result of anything you did.

THE ORGIN Being aware of the cause of negative feelings like a degrading parent or sibling helps put our feelings in perspective. Just because others blamed you, thats no reason to blame yourself. Some of us may have had toxic people in our past which we may have to accept and move on. We must release feelings of the past so we can move forward in a healthy manner.

SELF-AWARENESS You may not realize how amazing you are until you make a list of all your abilities, skills, and attributes. This is a written exercise because you will continue to add to it. I want to see a long list of even the smallest traits like making your bed in the morning or just being polite to people. Fill the page and pin it on your refrigerator to remind you.

RELATIONSHIPS Did you know that we take on the attitude of those around us? It’s important to step back and evaluate how positive our relationships really are. Sometimes, we might hold onto old friends out of obligation or duty, but that may not be a good idea. Ask yourself if your friends or family treat you with the same respect as you treat them. This exercise involves making a written list of all the people we know and assigning a positive value to each.

ACCEPT YOURSELF AND OTHERS We are not perfect and that’s ok. Accepting the unique imperfection of yourself and others is what makes personalities interesting. An attitude of acceptance of others tends to increase their acceptance of you. Transformative exercise: you can decide to say something positive about people each time you meet them. Don’t be surprised if they start doing the same to you which increases your self-esteem.

JEALOUSY This occurs when others are perceived as better in some way. People who spend too much time on social media tend to feel this way of others. Men especially tend to compete on different levels that can make one feel inadequate. So, don’t put yourself in a win or lose situation and stop worrying what others are doing. Be sure to set you “own” goals. Self-esteem is based on our contentment with ourselves, not others.

CREATIVE VISUALIZATION Before you get out of bed in the morning, lie there and visualize(mental imagery) how positive or effective you will be that day. If you have an interview, image how it will go and how positive and confident you will feel. If you haven’t done this before, you may be surprised how behavior follows predetermined thought. In my therapy, I assign the book Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain for those new to this technique. If you haven’t read this book, it might open up a new world for you.     L. Johnson of www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

SOCIAL SECURITY: What’s your plan?

Understanding your Social Security benefits for retirement is often the key to survival for many of us. But, about 70% of us lock in benefits at their lowest amount when 62 years old. Many are still working at this time which creates an unnecessary conflict with your social security benefits.

The so called “full retirement” age is 66 if born from 1943 to 1954. This gradually increases to 67 if born in 1960 or later. If you take benefits before full retirement and are still working you can trigger a special penalty.

If you take benefits before full retirement(62-65), social security will deduct $1 for each $2 you earn above $15,720(for 2015). If you earn just $25,000 that year, the deduction is 1/2 of $9280 or $4640 that is withheld from your benefit check.

When you reach full retirement age, social security deducts $1 for every $3 above $41,880(for 2015)–a much higher limit. So, you could earn up to that limit without loosing any benefits at all–a much better scenario. Many of us will work part-time to keep things interesting and to supplement our incomes, so you want to set yourself up for the best outcome.

In addition to this, you must be aware of your tax obligations. You will pay taxes on your social security if you total income is more than $25,000 if single. However, if you file a joint return, you will be taxed on anything over $32,000. So, two single people living together have a higher tax threshold than those married. This has commonly been referred to as the marriage penalty and the main reason elders prefer to cohabit instead.

So, based on the above info from social security, the best outcome here is to simply wait until your are 66 or 67 years old to start and stay married or don’t remarry. Let me add that there is a second reason to not remarry. Remember, you can take half of your spouse’s social security at 62(without any loss to that spouse) and then start your full benefits at 70 when they are higher. You have to have been married at least 10 years to qualify.

In case this sounds a bit confusing at first, please see my other article that spells it out in more detail. In it, I provide 6 reasons to take social security at 62 and 6 reasons to take it a 70 years old. When I decided to start my social security at 62, it was because I fit into one of the 6 reasons provided. I certainly encourage you to spend a little time to understand this before you have to decide. The last thing you want to hear you left money on the table when you actually qualified for it. Here is the article When to Start Social Security: http://blog.creativeretirementforwomen.com/when-start-social-security/

L. Johnson of Creative Retirement for Women

Coffee Update

Coffee Update–Once considered to be harmful, coffee research has exploded in recent years. New studies show improvements in a number of different areas of health and even suggest how much to consume for maximum benefit.

COFFEE PROTECTS YOUR HEART  This is contrary to older thought, but Life Extension(1) discusses studies that show positive effects to your heart, blood vessels, and brain. To protect your heart, coffee works on the cells that form a lining in your heart and blood vessels–the endothelium. Coffee relaxes the vessels and has an anti-inflammatory effect. There is a 11% reduction of heart disease with 1.5 cups a day and a 15% reduction with 3.5 cups a day.

COFFEE REDUCES FAT AND DIABETES  I always question how adding to your consumption can reduce fat, but there are now many studies behind this. A compound in coffee, chlorogenic acid, has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that lowers your blood sugar and abdominal fat. This activates the immune system helping to prevent cancer as well. Your diabetic risk is reduced by 8, 15, 21, 25, 29, and 33% for consumption of 1 to 6 cups a day.

COFFEE PREVENTS SOME CANCERS  Liver and kidney cancers are the most improved even if you already have hepatitis. Many Americans eat a fatty diet and like their alcohol which damages the liver. Coffee’s anti-oxidant enzymes deactivate cancer enzymes. It helps destroy renal cancer cells in your kidneys. Drinking 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, or 8 cups a day results in liver cancer reduction of 34, 56, 62, and 68%.

COFFEE PROTECTS YOUR BRAIN  Age related cognitive decline leading to dementia is a concern for all of us. Caffeinated coffee elevates plasma levels which improves memory and may promote new brain cells.  Two of the most common disorders of aging, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, can be reduced. Consuming 3 cups a day reduces your chance of Parkinson’s by 28%.

IN CONCLUSION  Life Extension(1) notes coffee drinkers are at a lower risk of dying from all causes with caffeinated coffee having a slightly stronger effect. I’ve been a fan of green tea health benefits, but with this new research, it looks like coffee in the morning and green tea the rest of the day.

Keep in mind that how you drink your coffee matters too. A simple cup of brewed coffee has no fat and 5 calories. However, a large frappuccino has up to 580 calories which is equivalent to a meal.  Some coffee drinks have up to 20 grams of fat. I understand that these are dessert drinks, but you don’t want to increase your fat intake accidentally. Using a little non-fat milk and the natural sweetener stevia is all you need to improve the taste. I personally recommend organic coffee to really enjoy the richness of flavor.                                                                                  Lee Johnson of www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

Huntington, J. New Health Benefits from Daily Coffee. Life Extension Magazine. July 2014, p48-57.