How to Extend Life
Life extension is a term growing in popularity by the day. I personally have a vested interest in the subject. Upon hearing the term, most people visualize a future where we have drastically extended the human life span through the use of genetic therapy, biotech, and whatever else the minds of the future may come up with. In truth, however, life extension has been happening for quite some time.
Just 100 years ago, the average life expectancy in America was between 47 and 53. 100 years before that, it was around 32. So, in 200 years we have managed to raise our expected life span by 55 years (almost triple!) to the ripe old age of 87. With about 70% of those added years being in the latter half, you can see where this is going.
This drastic extension of our life span is no evolutionary fluke. Medicinal technologies have advanced, many diseases have been sent into extinction, and the more we learn about the natural causes of death, the more we learn about how to extend life.
Causes of Aging and Disease
Many modern theorists agree that there are seven primary causes of aging:
- Cancer causing nuclear mutations
- Mitochondrial mutations
- Intracellular "junk"
- Extracellular "junk"
- Cell loss
- Cell Senescence
- Extracellular Crosslinks
Most, of these topics are a foreign language to the average reader. What is important is that these things are the underlying causes for age related degeneration, and most if not all naturally occurring diseases. These processes are unavoidable today, but that doesn't mean they cannot be drastically slowed down with the right lifestyle changes.
The Secrets of How to Extend Life
We all have a pretty basic idea of what we should do to stay healthy. Those basic ideas are a primary factor in our current calculated lifespan. Everything you've been through, and everything you will go through will determine how many years you have left on the clock. Taking it further, those same factors will determine how many of those years will be healthy.
In order to truly extend your life, you've got to take the reins, make the right choices, and raise the bar on what it means to stay healthy. Treat aging as a disease, not a process.
There is an organization called the Tzu Chi who are calling out for people to use this practice for themselves, while simultaneously using the extra 20% to help feed those in need around the world. A novel concept, no?
Extend Life with Caloric Restriction
First and foremost is one only scientifically proven technique to extend life. Hara Hachi Bu is a term originating in Okinawa, Japan which means to eat until you are only 80% full. This is textbook caloric restriction. Here’s another fun fact about Okinawa: their population consists of the highest concentration of centenarians in the entire world. Americans have a culture where we are given a plate full of food, and try our best to clean the plate. I know that bloated “I’m going to explode if I get hit in the stomach” feeling after leaving a restaurant, and I’m sure you do too. Nowadays I ask myself, “Why?” Once I feel 80% full I can just…stop. It’s such a simple concept, and everything eaten beyond that is contributing to my early demise.
This change in lifestyle is likely to help maintain lower levels of glucose, ideal weight, and reduce the amount of incoming free radicals which damage DNA and leads to cancer. These all happen to be some of the key elements to extend life.
Learning to Eat Better
We all know that salad is good, McDonald’s is bad. It’s hard not to know the basics of nutrition these days. There are still a lot of things that haven’t made it into the library of general knowledge, though.
- Not all fat is bad. Fat is a necessary part of the diet. While trans fats are inherently bad and should be avoided, saturated fats are good for you in small amounts while unsaturated fats are important for your body to function properly.
- All sugar is bad. This is why we have artificial sweeteners. News flash, most of them are bad too. Aspartame harms the brain and lowers serotonin levels. Acesulfame-K has been linked to possible genetic damage. Sucralose has a list of potential side effects, but there have not been enough studies to be certain. Saccharin has been linked to bladder cancer. Stevia has actually shown possible benefits but only when consumed in moderation.
- Your optimal diet is more than just a calorie to weight ratio. Two people of the same weight are likely going to have a completely different set of needs. Adjusting how many calories are carbs, fats, and proteins is even more important than the overall calorie count. Furthermore, some people may have a need to include a good amount of whole grains in their diet while others may need to avoid grains entirely. Learning where you should get your calories is just as important to include in your nutritional plan as anything else when learning how to extend your life.
Nobody likes being stressed out. If they enjoyed it, then it wouldn't be stress. Our bodies don't enjoy it either. Chronic stress has been linked to weakened immune systems, gastrointestinal disorders, type 2 diabetes, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, stroke, anxiety, depression, lack of focus, insomnia, and addiction. Anything that causes a list of bad things too long to speak in a single breath is probably something you want to avoid. Stress is clearly a large factor in determining your lifespan, but it is also one of the easiest things to avoid.
The experience of life can be categorized into three general sections, family & friends, work, and yourself. Too much of any of them will create a deficiency in another, and that deficiency is a major contributor to stress in your life.
Relaxation can almost be defined as something like: "partaking in activities with the purpose of releasing stress." Don't live your life always on the run. Slow down. Take the time to enjoy the small things.
Don't sweat the small stuff. Small, containable problems aren't worth worrying about. Just fix them; and if they can't be immediately fixed, then forget about them until they can.
What will happen will happen. Many problems, regardless of their magnitude, are far beyond your control. When possible, just accept that these are going to happen, accept the consequences, and move on with your life. To do anything else serves no purpose but to add to your overall stress.
Meditation is known to assist in all of these areas and more. It may be the best thing a person can possibly do in order to reduce stress both directly and indirectly. If you truly want to ensure a longer, healthier, happier life, meditation is sure to help.
Extend Life Through Supplementation
Achieving optimal nutritional health is impossible with food alone. Even trying to do so would be counterproductive, since you would be eating your way into an early grave. Employing an optimal supplement program would break the bank for most people, so learn the most important supplements that you can fit into your budget and start taking them.
Through a few different polls among a different selection of people, I've learned that a large majority of people are willing to take whatever supplement regimen is necessary to live a longer life. I am willing to bet that most, if not all of the people who answered otherwise would quickly change their tune if the situation really did come to be.
Enjoy Good Health
Being healthy is one of the most important contributors to being happy. Nobody enjoys diseases, organ failures, and sagging skin. Poor health only holds us back from doing many of the things we enjoy. So no matter which practices you employ to extend your life, they all have one thing in common: improved health. They will all in some way or other slow down at least one of the seven main causes of aging and disease.
And there ain't nothin wrong with that.