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Longevity

Do you want to Live Longer?

Published on 28 Nov 2017 updated June 11 2018

I have written previously on the philosophy of longevity, but here I write about the practical and necessary steps to follow for a longer life. These steps require that you take a degree of self responsibility and decide for yourself how your life is going to play out rather than let it be shaped by others. If you are able to become responsible for yourself and determine your own actions, you will in fact be the boss of your own life with some control as to the how and when of ending.

All living things in this existence must come to an end and for some humans they barely escaped the worm while many regularly exceed 100 years in good health and good humour but for the bulk of us, we exit naturally around 70 to 80 years. It's not possible unless you are a mystic master to actually determine lifespan and time of death, all we can really do is set ourselves up to have a longer life.

There are some people list by some circumstance who subject their bodies to harsh living, heavy drinking and smoking who despite all the odds live a long life, they are blessed by some other force. The majority of people who live naturally beyond 100 years typically maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.

The action steps

Eat well, but not to excess. Eating well requires a broad spectrum diet consisting primarily of fresh chemical free vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, seafood, an insignificant amount of animal product and almost no processed foods and sugars.

The colours orange and green in the fruits and vegetables you should be eating are rich in alpha-carotene. Recent studies have linked high blood levels of alpha-carotene to reduced risk of cancers, heart disease and Alzheimer's. That's because they're rich in antioxidants, fighting free radicals the molecules that damage DNA, proteins and fats in cells and reduce these leading causes of death.

In a 14 year study, recently published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers studied the link between alpha-carotene blood levels and mortality in 15,318 adults aged 20 and older. Those with higher alpha-carotene levels had a 39% lower risk of dying from cancer, cardiovascular disease and similar killers of adults.

The effect of alpha-carotene was particularly strong against cancers of the upper digestive tract (esophagus, larynx and pharynx), type 2 diabetes and lower respiratory disease. Researchers theorize that alpha-carotenes are better than beta-carotenes at blocking growth of cancer cells in the skin, brain and liver.

They also discovered that yellow-orange and dark green vegetables are better at fighting lung cancer than all other vegetables. Sources of alpha-carotene include carrots, carrot juice, collard greens, pumpkin, vegetable soup, vegetable juice and tangerines. Beta-carotenes, like their alpha counterparts, both belong to the carotenoid family, and while they're not as powerful against cancer as alpha-carotenes, they're rich in vitamin A and should be a staple in any healthy diet.

Dieticians have long recommended eating seven to ten servings of fruits and veggies every day. One serving is relatively small. If it fits in your hand, that's one serving. Few people come close to meeting this target. That's a shame, because the health benefits of fruits and vegetables are numerous, and with proper planning can easily be fit into your daily schedule.

You can blend berries with breakfast, for example, as a smoothie or with cereal. Tangerines, baby carrots and apples make great snacks between meals. You can also add spinach leaves, grated carrots or a sliced tomato to your sandwich for lunch. With dinner, use at least two different vegetables. Use romaine and dark-green lettuce instead of iceberg lettuce with salads, as they're higher in carotenoids. Try sweet potato, instead of white potato. Sweet potato is rich in beta-carotene and is substantially higher in nutritional value.

And in a complete reversal of what you normally hear with less-healthy offerings, increase portion sizes with fruits and veggies. Try a cup of two servings of sweet potato, for example, instead of half a cup. Wash raw fruits and vegetables, as they're handled multiple times between harvest and your fridge, which makes you susceptible to food poisoning.

Eat fruits and vegetables with half to one teaspoon of oil. This increases the absorption rate of the antioxidants, as they're fat-soluble. Don't worry about buying frozen produce when fresh is out of season. When fresh produce is unavailable, frozen fruits and vegetables are quick to prepare and often contain almost as many vitamins and nutrients than fresh produce.

Suffice to say, eat your fruits and vegetables, like your parents told you as a kid and in order for you to be fully responsible for your life, do your homework, do your research. You'll find that there are many delicious vegetarian recipes on YouTube and remember that Indian culture (of India) has been largely vegetarian for many thousands of years. This vegetarian lifestyle has produced countless centurions and super intelligence but practically, the food is healthy and delicious.

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