Low-carb? Cut processed foods, but keep fruits and veggies
DEAR DR. ROACH >> Would you be so kind as to send a copy of your low-carbohydrate diet? — K.H. DEAR READER >> There is no specific diet I feel comfortable recommending for everyone. For people who want a lowercarb diet, I recommend eliminating processed starches, like white bread, pasta and rice, while eating vegetables and fruits. There is very good evidence that a plant-based diet, with no more than moderate amounts of animal protein, is a healthy overall diet for most people. Increasing fats from olive, nut and vegetable oils is reasonable, and there is some data to show this may help with weight control and to prevent and treat diabetes. A dietician nutritionist is an expert in helping create a personalized diet.
DEAR DR. ROACH >> As I’ve aged, I find sleeping to be more and more difficult. When I take a product whose chief ingredient is diphenhydramine, I sleep well with no side effects, but I worry about long-term consequences. Is this safe to take daily? — T.C. DEAR READER >> Most people take diphenhydramine and have no problems; however, I still don’t recommend it, especially for older people. These drugs increase the risk of falling, lead to a higher risk of motor vehicle collisions, and may cause symptoms of confusion and dry mouth. Men who take this can have decreased ability to urinate, sometimes profoundly. Although there are some studies that suggest an increased risk of dementia with use of this product, I don’t think it is likely to be a big risk, but there are still enough reasons not to use this medication for me to recommend against it.
I recommend avoiding medication and focusing on behavioral techniques proven effective: a regular sleep schedule; don’t try to force sleep; avoid alcohol, caffeine, and using bright lights or computer screens before bed.
Finally, many older adults need less sleep. If you are sleeping fewer hours than you think you should be but aren’t sleepy during the day, then you are probably getting enough sleep.
Keith Roach To Your Good Health