Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Real Age and Boost Your Immunities

A while back, there was a blogger, Fonzy, who was more here there and everywhere than . . . Here There and Everywhere. He found some of the most amazing resources, and Real Age was one of them.

I took the Real Age test, and got a shock; there were things I really needed to do to keep my health and fitness at peak. I hadn’t been doing them, thought I could slide. Real Age won’t let me.

Every week I get bulletins from them on new findings in health issues. They are always packed with valuable information. Here is one of the most recent ones:

Boost Your Natural Immunity
June 30, 2009 3:14 PM by Mehmet Oz, MD and Michael Roizen, MD

New flu strains. Antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis. Germs in and on the foods we buy in supermarkets and in restaurants. Flesh-eating bacteria. Feels like you’re in the midst of a scary twenty-first century germ invasion. And while you try your best to keep from meeting the nastiest bugs, there’s only so much you can do without living in a bubble. That means boosting your immune system matters more than ever.

And steps you take to boost your immunity may also protect you from the chronic diseases associated with aging. See, immune busters — everything from aging and stress to lack of sleep, too little exercise, and not-so-smart eating — can pull the plug on how well your white blood cells, natural killer cells, and chemical messengers can attack and destroy foreign invaders. Didn’t know you had an army of defenders, did you? Well, you do. And the very same actions that lessen their ability to fight off bugs also cause trouble by encouraging chronic inflammation — a hot-button health risk now linked with asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and even some types of cancer.

Keeping your own personal security force strong and disciplined is easy:

Feast on fin food. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), the essential omega-3 fatty acid found in fatty fish (and fish oil, of course), limits several cellular processes (involving dendritic cells and interleukin 12; aren’t you glad you asked?) associated with inflammation, so they can’t do their dirty work. Serve yourself salmon or trout at least twice a week, or get 2,000 milligrams of EPA plus DHA, another omega-3, from supplements daily. Don’t like the fishy taste or the size of the pill? Just get the DHA from pills made from algae — that’s where the fish get it.

See red or go nuts. Red wine, red grapes, and peanuts are great sources of resveratrol, a compound that protects against immune system aging and inflammation.

Learn the art of ahhhh. Your nervous system and your immune system are linked more closely than fraud and Bernard Madoff. Extreme stress reduces your natural killer cell count — one reason widows and widowers are more likely to get sick after the death of a spouse. Even periods of short stress (say, road rage) can boost levels of proinflammatory chemicals called cytokines. Set aside 10 minutes a day for relaxation, whether it’s meditation, intimacy, a walk, or the pure bliss of playing with your kids or grandkids. And learn some coping skills that help you talk your stress level down while you’re still in traffic or whatever situation gets on your nerves.

Tuck yourself in. Sleep deprivation torpedoes immunity and increases levels of proteins associated with inflammation. Stop shortchanging yourself and jump into the sack a half hour earlier tonight . . . and every night this week. Add another half hour next week, and keep going until you’re getting 7 1/2 to 8 hours of shuteye per night. Every night!

Take a walk today. Regular physical activity can help keep immunity where it should be. You don’t have to be a gym rat: When a group of overweight couch potatoes started exercising five times a week, they gained a definite cold-fighting edge over nonexercisers.

Pop some vitamin D. This vitamin can’t do its immunity-boosting job if you don’t get enough of it . . . which includes at least 30% to 40% of us. Since it’s difficult to get what you need from food alone, get 1,000 international units a day from a supplement if you’re younger than 60, 1,200 if you’re 60 or older.

Munch apples, broccoli, and red onions. All are bursting with quercetin, a flavonoid that shores up immunity, even when you’re fatigued. The fiber and antioxidants in these natural goodies also help reduce or mute inflammation instigators.

Think zinc. Go to the end of the alphabet for a mineral that supports immunity (it may also thwart cancer cells). You can get the zinc you need — 12 milligrams a day — from crab, oysters, pork, poultry, beans, cashews, and yogurt. Or find a good multivitamin with less than 15 milligrams. Too much of the stuff could stop other important minerals from doing their jobs.

Don’t forget classic “C.” This vitamin helps you produce more bullets to kill invading germs. Bell peppers are chock-full of vitamin C; other good C options include strawberries, cantaloupe, and broccoli. Or take 400 milligrams of vitamin C as a supplement three times a day.

November 15, 2009 Posted by | Aging, Blogroll, Diet / Weight Loss, Exercise, Food, Health Issues, Living Conditions | 12 Comments

Parking Mayhem

This is a view trying to leave the Souq al Waqef around nine o’clock on a date-night Thursday evening. There are two exit booths. Maybe one of the cashiers needed to go drink tea and never came back; only one booth is open. Those who are too important (or think they are) to wait in line edge, edge, edge slowly in front of you. It took forever to get out.

You will note that there are two lines formed to exit – through one booth!

Some of these guys are so important that in trying to get into your line, they block traffic in the oncoming lanes, too, so then things really get gridlocked.

The good news is that parking is relatively inexpensive – less than a dollar for an hour, maybe up to a buck fifty, two bucks for four – five hours. The drawback is that the system really isn’t working smoothly yet.

November 15, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Doha, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Qatar | Leave a comment

Al Maharah, Souk al Waqif Hotel

I got it half right. I was good taking photos until our main courses arrived, but when we got to Al Maharah, there were only a few groups. I took all the photos before there were a lot of people there. But the truth is, when our main courses – the seafood skewers – arrived, they were so good, I forgot to photograph them.

The secret is out. The food is SO good!

It was one of those wonderful nights in Doha when it isn’t so hot anymore, there is a breeze blowing. No, not a cool breeze, a comfortable breeze, and all of a sudden, all you want is to be outside. We roamed the souqs, making a purchase here and there, until we got to the hotel. We had actually intended to eat somewhere else, but the food in the hotel just looked so good.

The service is friendly and attentive, without being intrusive. They get five stars right off the top for striking that balance.

The menu is in Arabic and English, and has beautiful photos to help you decide what to order. We were totally tempted by the soups, but knowing we will be back, we both ordered the salad bar and the Mixed Seafood Grill Skewers. Oh WOW.


The restaurant is beautiful and serene. Several tables were reserved, and pre-ordered arrangements of hors d’oeuvres were being set out in beautiful serving dishes. We were so tempted to snatch a bite on our way back from the salad bar – the arrangements were artistic and tempting.


The Seafood Bar:

Part of the Salad Bar:

Our salad plates – they had so many good things!

They also had piping hot fresh out of the oven bread, Yumm!

The only problem is that the restaurant is right by one of the souk exits, where you pay for parking. Because everyone is so important, and jockeys for non-existent places in the line which has formed, it can be a little exciting sitting next to the window, not knowing if the yahoo who is trying to edge his way into the line even has a driving license. There is a fabulous terrace on this hotel; I wish the restaurant were up on the terrace area!

After dinner, there is also a dessert bar, or you can order a la carte. We couldn’t eat another thing, but it sure is tempting:

Not only will we go back, we will take our friends, especially now when being outside is so divine! It was a lovely, elegant evening, the food is reasonably priced. We didn’t see any wine being served, so if that is important to you, you will probably be better off at one of the more western hotels. And – get there early if you don’t have reservations. By eight, every table was taken.

November 15, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Doha, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Food, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Qatar, Shopping | 3 Comments