How to be Healthy and Live Longer
Fountain of Youth
All of the evidence indicates that the Fountain of Youth is within our grasp, and only we can make it a reality. There are three proven steps that any of us can take to have a healthy, long life. Here they are listed in the order of importance:
- emotions and socialization
- healthy diet
“Emotions change our cells through the same molecular pathways as exercise.” Dr. Henry S. Lodge, Parade Magazine, 3/18/07.Above all else, humans are social animals. We need to have a strong, positive community into which we are well socialized and in which we participate fully. There is a lot of evidence to support this.
In the book, Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, the introduction tells a story about a town in Roseto, PA. It was a town made up of people who had lived in a small town in Italy. In Roseto there was rarely a person under the age of 65 with heart disease. "This was the 1950's, years before the advent of cholesterol-lowering drugs and aggressive measures to prevent heart disease. Heart attacks were an epidemic in the United States. They were the leading cause of death in men under the age of sixty-five. It was impossible to be a doctor, common sense said, and not see heart disease." (p. 6)
Studies were done, tests were run, then a sociologist was hired. "There was no suicide, no alcoholism, no drug addiction, and very little crime. They didn't have anyone on welfare. Then we looked at peptic ulcers. They didn't have any of those either. These people were dying of old age." John Bruhn (p. 7)
After all of the studies were done, they discovered that it wasn't diet or exercise or genes or location. Rosetans ate like Americans. They cooked with lard with 41% of their calories coming from fats and ate sweets year round. Many were obese. They were heavy smokers. The studies concluded that the only thing that was different about them and their town was the fact that they had such a strong sense of community that treated everyone equally--downplayed failures and successes. The way people do with each other when they are in close friendships or a close knit family--good positive relationships and support.
If you want to die younger, include stress, anger and loneliness in your daily life.
We are social animals. Laughter helps increase blood flow. Premature babies have a better chance of survival if they are touched frequently. Heart attack and cancer patients have a better chance to live longer if they have emotional support from friends and family. Maybe it's not the food in the Mediterranean Diet that has people in those areas of the world living longer.
The second most important thing we need for staying healthy is regular exercise. Here is why. Motion is in charge of telling our cells they should grow strong. Lack of motion tells our cells they should decay.
According to Dr. Henry S. Lodge, co-author of Younger Next Year, we replace 1% of our cells every day, and in three months we have a whole new body! "You choose whether those new cells come in stronger or weaker. You choose whether they grow or decay each day.. Your cells don't care which choice you make." ... "Exercise and your cells get stronger; sit down, and they decay." (Parade Magazine, 3/18/2007)
Adding weight training to your exercise routine could help you keep the five pounds of muscle that usually disappears every ten years as we get older. "Middle-aged women and men who exercise five to six times a week (brisk walking is OK) are less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment later in life." Good Housekeeping, 10/2010, p. 94
Healthy Food Choices
Healthy Eating Habits
The third most important thing we need for a healthy life style and to live longer is to eat healthy foods. Your cells can only become strong for a limited amount of time without healthy food nourishing them.
I remember watching the debate between Jack Lalanne (popular fitness guru) and Linus Pauling (the only person who has won two undivided Nobel Prizes: discovered the link between Vitamin-C and the cold virus) about which was more important for good health and long life. Lalanne said exercise, and Pauling said healthy food. Pauling lived to be 93 and Lalanne to be 97. Both are necessary.
To nourish our cells properly we need to eat a balanced diet full of antioxidant foods. According to the USDA, all (and only) fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, best eaten raw. When foods are eaten raw, they are full of live enzymes that help our bodies to digest those foods. When our food is organic, it is free from herbicides and pesticides. When it is locally grown, it reaches us with more vitamins in it. The very best thing to eat is organically grown fruits and vegetables from your own garden. In fact, if you could sit in your garden, pick and eat food, you would get the most nutrients from it. (The problem with commercially grown organic food is the manure from unhealthy animals put on the gardens causing risk of the bacteria E. coli.)
Take a Class
You now have the secrets of the Fountain of Youth. Anti-aging doesn't come in a bottle or from a cosmetic surgeon. If you truly want to reverse the aging process, make close friendships, exercise, and eat healthy foods--daily. Exercise and eating better are fairly easy for most of us, but if you are socially challenged, start with online social groups like Facebook and Meetup.com. We can all do this!
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