How to live longer
Seven easy steps to a longer life’ was the heading on a national newspaper last week. Jo Willey, health editor of The Daily Express, claimed that seven golden rules for a healthy life can prevent heart disease and cancer, according to a new report. The simple steps were originally flagged up to help people with heart disease but it was found that they can cut cancer risk by half.
The Lancet published the report saying that the conditions causing most years of life lost were - in order – heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lower respiratory infection, colorectal cancer, breast cancer and self-harm.
It’s a sobering list and one that may make you wonder if the ‘longer life’ (on this earth at least) is worth the sacrifice, there is always the old quotation…
‘Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chardonnay in one hand, strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out screaming ‘woo… woo... what a ride.’
But joking aside - what are the seven steps? • Stay physically active •Keep a healthy weight •Eat healthily •Maintain a good cholesterol level •Keep your blood pressure stable •Control blood sugar levels •Don’t smoke
Well let’s look at them briefly from a holistic perspective. We get a huge amount of ‘feelgood factor’ hormones from physical activity and its benefits cannot be underestimated. Keeping a healthy weight is hugely important, especially as a huge percentage of the western world is over fed yet undernourished. Eating healthily, is SO my mantra it is practically written on my forehead: avoid processed foods and eat pure unadulterated foods that ‘roam’ or ‘grow’ preferably indigenous and locally sourced.
I truly believe cholesterol IS good, stick to organic eggs and you’ll be doing just fine, don’t limit them. Keep your blood pressure stable, watch your stress levels especially. Control blood sugar levels, always eat breakfast and ensure you get enough proteins and complex carbohydrates, don’t expect your body – equivalent to a premier formula one car to keep going without the right fuel.
But it probably won’t surprise you though to hear that I have at least one of my own suggestions to add to that list, indeed I’d tweak the order and put mine first.
The super important extra secret to longevity is to Be Happy – scientists show that people who are happy and have a sense of community live longer and more fulfilled lives, but what if the chips are down and life is not treating you well? Well, according to research you can CHOOSE to be happy, one sure-fire way is to practice kindness.
David Hamilton, author of Why Kindness is Good for You, explains that kindness is beneficial on a physiological level not just to the recipient but also for the person being kind. Be kind to yourself and others, maybe you could share the chardonnay and strawberries?