In the Blue Zone, people live past 100 years old. Now that is good stock and "le Joi de Vivre."
There's a lot you can do to improve your chances of maintaining a high quality of life, as you get older.
Most of us want to live longer, but who wants to live longer with ill health, suffering and a burden to our family.
There are many diseases’ that used to be common with age, however due to our toxic world we are finding babies and small children suffering from these. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic asthma, just to name a few.
The goal should be “prevention, rather than cure” which I advise all my clients whom I see. We work on enhancing complete physical, mental and social wellbeing. We work at strengthening the immune system and preparing the body to be ready for the attack of any superbug.
Research shows you are ageing from the moment you are born. The question is, are you ageing healthily or not?
Making healthy lifestyle choices will reduce your chance of disease, which I look at as dis-ease, and it will enhance your outlook immensely.
Here are some top tips to maximize your chances of ageing well.
1. KEEP PHYSICALLY ACTIVE (A Primary Food)
Aiming for at least a good half hour to an hour of moderate intensity physical activity every day, where you're working hard enough to get a bit puffed but you can still talk. I believe IT training is the quickest way to get your fitness level up, which is also the method of training I use as part of my depression recovery program.
Keeping active will assist with the prevention of a wide range of diseases, especially heart disease, our biggest killer. It can also help with mental health problems like anxiety and depression, and boost the immune system.
During exercise, the entire body is affected. Muscle fibers contract and release, the heart pumps more rapidly, and the lungs work harder to get more oxygen to the body. These actions trigger increased enzyme reactions, nerve stimulations, metabolic enhancement, and more. Exercise is an awesome event!
2. DO NOT SMOKE
“Every cigarette you smoke takes 14.5 minutes off your life,” I call that slow suicide. You need to stop smoking as soon as possible. Not only are you affecting your health, but of those around you too. In fact passive smoking in some cases can be worse, so think about your children and spouse.
My mother has never smoked in her life but was diagnosed with emphysema a short while ago. (Dad smoked in our house and even in their bedroom.)
While we only talk about emphysema related to smoking, smoking is a risk factor for all the chronic diseases, including the ones that affect the brain. Alzheimer’s and some forms of dementia. Consider these adverse effects of cigarette smoking: heart disease, stroke, various types of cancer, emphysema, premature births, poor circulation, and shortness of breath. Those are just a few of the adverse effects of cigarette smoking.
“It is estimated that tobacco kills over 1,000,000 people each year.” Nicotine is one of the most deadly poisons. Just two drops will kill a full-grown horse. A smoker increases his risk of lung cancer 1000% over a non-smoker. Their risk of heart disease goes up 103% above a non-smoker. In fact, tobacco smoke contains about 70 different cancer-causing substances. Think about that next time you want to take smoke!
3. BUILD POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS (A Primary Food.)
"This is paramount for both your physical health and mental health," says Dow. "If you're socially isolated, it's equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day."
Research shows, loneliness, can increase your risk of premature death by as much as 30 percent. Increased stress hormones increase the risk of heart disease, and social activity is a form of mental stimulation that's right for ageing brains.
When you are socially active you have to listen to others, think about what they are saying, understand what they are saying and then think about what you are saying, which means lots of different parts of your brain are working.
I wrote a blog recently on relationships, where I showed proof of this in a case study. A quick brief, “The Roseto Effect” A close-knit community… Roseto Pennsylvania – A town of Italian families in the 1950’s Dr. Stewart who was then head of medicine at the University of Oklahoma became interested in why they never got heart disease and dying of old age, unlike surrounding communities which were at the height of heart disease.
They thought perhaps their DNA, or the olive oil or red wine. But what they found was their diet consisted of pasta, pizza, wine, meatballs in lard, etc. definitely, not healthy eating, so they decided to check out where they were from in Italy and researched these people.
The findings were, nobody was ever lonely. They worked hard, but after work they all visited and socialized and gathered together, celebrated, churched together, they all chipped in to help anyone who had a problem. There was no welfare and no childcare.
Loneliness and isolation leave people feeling overwhelmed, and that puts the nervous system into stress response, (Walter Cannon at Harvard called this) fight or flight response, the sympathetic nervous system.
4. EAT A WELL-BALANCED DIET
Eating a well-balanced diet with whole foods, lots of fruits and vegetables has a significant role to play in warding off chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, cancer and will even keep your brain healthy.
There are over 144 diet theories recorded to date, which is all contradictory. I believe we need to take into consideration all factors e.g. age, gender, culture, blood type, past and present issues, etc. of the individual when looking at a suitable diet plan.
I added a few different tricks to my diet when I turned 30, to assist me with the ageing process. I believe three dates, three figs, and 3three Brazilian nuts each day to help replenish the loss of oestrogen and progesterone.
5. WATCH WHAT YOU DRINK
Alcohol is the number one drug problem in our society. It is a medical fact that ALCOHOL DAMAGES EVERY CELL IN YOUR BODY THAT IT TOUCHES.
You see red blood cells carry oxygen through the bloodstream and deliver it to cells throughout the body. The tiniest vessels, called capillaries, only permit passage of one of these red blood cells at a time. Alcohol causes the red blood cells that carry oxygen to clump together, forming a sticky “sludge.” This sticky blood doesn’t pass through the tiniest blood vessels of the body.
Alcohol drinking also cuts off oxygen supplies to the brain. The brain cells, unable to get enough oxygen, are destroyed. Research has shown that brain cells never regenerate! I believe we should abstain from alcohol altogether.
TASTY HEALTHY ALTERNATIVE
Alcohol-free beers and wines are a great transition to help replace that space in your life that was used to drink.
Once you get used to being without the alcohol, fresh homemade ale, ginger beer, grape juice, lemon lime and bitters, punch.
SODA is another drink that one should consider before consuming. The side effects of soda are worse than most people realise and children should never be introduced to these drinks. As soon as it passes down the throat, the pancreas begins their job of creating insulin in response to the sugar. Insulin is a hormone the body uses to move sugar from food or drink into the bloodstream, where cells are then able to use sugar for energy.
Within just 20 minutes, blood sugar levels spike and the liver responds to the insulin by turning sugar into fat for storage. Within 45 minutes of drinking a 600ml bottle of soda, caffeine from the drink is fully absorbed, and as a result, your pupils dilate and blood pressure rises.
The body produces more dopamine, which stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain, just like a bad line of cocaine and that is why so many people are addicted to soda. The same bottle of soda is reported to have as much as 15 to 18 teaspoons of sugar and anywhere between 240 and 700 calories.
It’s then only a matter of an hour when the body begins to experience a blood sugar crash, which is just about when you reach for the next can, or for another sweet and sugar snack to suffice. Soda’s connection to the obesity epidemic is intertwined, and researchers are now proving, each additional soda consumed increases the risk of obesity 1.6 times.
TASTY HEALTHY ALTERNATIVE
You can replace these drinks with fresh fruit juices, which have fructose rather than sugar which is less damaging to your children’s system.
6. KEEP YOUR BRAIN ACTIVE
Research shows that people who do more stimulating activities throughout their life have better brain function and a lower chance of developing dementia.
In the past, there was an emphasis on crosswords and Sudoku puzzles to boost the brain. I suggest Scrabble, Bible reading, listening to classical music, learning a musical instrument and a second language.
Research suggests, to challenge the brain you must learn something new or different.
7. HAVE AN OPTIMISTIC OUTLOOK
Are you a glass half empty or glass half full person? The evidence the latter might help you fare better as you age comes from talking to older individuals who feel they're doing well and asking them what they think has helped, Dow says.
Research has found, optimists are more willing to adapt and actively participate in seeking solutions to problems. Because they feel less hopelessness, they have less stress and depression.
Positive people are also more likely to engage in behaviours that keep them physically healthy like eating well and exercising.
While personality type and life experiences can influence your tendency to be optimistic, you can also take matters into your hands.
It’s time to stop blaming your childhood issues for your circumstances.
You can change your mindset, by being more positive, changing your negative thought patterns, choosing to smile rather than walk around in doom and gloom, etc.