How to live longer

The Church of England - - FRONT PAGE - Janey Lee Grace

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?

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