Healthy Lifestyle: Steps for a Longer and Healthier Life
As another birthday is upon me (funny how they sneak up on you), I wanted to write about some steps that we can take to help us live a longer and healthier life. It would be nice if we could come up with a magic pill to help us live longer, but until that time comes, we can make small changes in our everyday life to ensure that we live a long and healthy life.
It is quite amazing to think that life expectancy has tripled over the course of human history. Some say that the theoretical maximum life span of 120 years is elusive, but we can take measures to ensure that we reduce the risk of developing age-related illnesses.
In my nutrition studies, I came across the concept of Longevity medicine. Longevity medicine uses the latest findings in genetics as well as proven alternative therapies to detect and prevent age-related illness and extend one’s life span (Source: Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide).
So what is aging exactly? Aging is the process of deterioration that causes changes in your body. According to Dr. Elson Hass, Director of Preventative Medical Center of Marin, California, “Many subtle and gross changes in the cardiovascular and respiratory systems lead to poor delivery of oxygen and nutrients in the tissues. It is the diminishing levels of oxygen in the body along with nutrient deficiencies that lie behind most of the problems of aging.”
Dr. Hass goes on to say that “good colon function and elimination are important to prevent constipation and diverticular disease.” (Source: Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide).
Conclusions About the Aging Process
There are things we can do to help slow down the aging process. And many studies back this claim! The Baltimore Longitudinal Study on Aging (BLSA), which began in 1958, is the oldest and most famous investigation into the process of aging. After four decades of BLSA research led to the following conclusions:
- Disease is not an inevitable by-product of the natural aging process. Many people have the mindset that the aches and pains they acquire over time is a natural occurrence as they get older. This study has determined that this isn’t necessarily true.
- The human aging process varies from person to person. And most interesting is the discovery that even within the same individual, different organs and bodily systems can age at different rates.
- Genetic, lifestyle, and disease processes together affect the rate at which a person ages. How much is aging genetic? How much is it lifestyle? These are good questions that are still trying to be answered. But we do have a choice on the lifestyle choices we make a day to day (Source: Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide).
3 Steps to Age Gracefully
- Caloric Restriction: Though animal studies have shown that severe caloric restriction has shown to increase life expectancy, the same benefits of caloric restriction are not know to benefit humans. However, based on research insurance companies have acquired over time, they have discovered that those individuals either severely overweight or underweight have the shortest lifespan. And those individuals whose weight fell just below the average weight for their height had the longest lifespan (Source: Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine).
- Exercise: It may sound redundant but it has been determined that the better shape you are in physically, the better the chances of living a longer and healthier life. Exercise helps the mind and body stay sound.
- Dietary Antioxidants: According to the Naturopathic Doctors who wrote Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, “Several studies in animals have demonstrated that dietary antioxidants can definitely increase life expectancy.” These include: vitamin C and E, selenium, beta-carotene, flavonoids, sulfur-containing amino acids, and coenzyme Q10 (Source: Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine).
People are seeking answers on how to live a longer and healthier life. I believe that longevity medicine is something we will be hearing more and more about in the media. Longevity medicine looks at the whole picture as it incorporates techniques from allopathic disciplines, naturopathic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, nutrition, exercise as well as breakthroughs in biotechnology. Here is to a life well-lived and symptom free!
What are you doing to live a longer and healthier life? What steps can you make this year to live longer?
Picture courtesy of flickr.
- Goldberg, Burton. Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide. Second Edition. Celestial Arts.
- Murray, Micheal, N.D., Pizzorno, Joseph, N.D., Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. Revised 2nd Edition. Three Rivers Press.
Melissa Northway, M.S. in Human Nutrition, is a mom, writer, and her company, Polka Dots Publishing, produces children’s picture book apps. Her first storybook app, Penelope the Purple Pirate, has been chosen as a Top 10 Educational iPad App. You can read more about Penelope here: http://melissanorthway.com/news.html . And follow Penelope the Purple Pirate on Facebook to learn about more Penelope’s giveaways. You can reach Melissa at: @melissanorthway and [email protected]
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