Bet­ter the bless­ing of broc­coli

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT - Si­mon Round

GROU­CHO MARX once said: “I in­tend to live for­ever or die try­ing”. Sadly, for him it was the lat­ter, but his mantra seems to have been taken up by a huge num­ber of peo­ple, who are at­tempt­ing to live for­ever but who lack his sense of irony. There are peo­ple who ex­er­cise fa­nat­i­cally in a des­per­ate at­tempt to stave off old age; there are many more who pop sup­ple­ments and there is even a weird cult which has de­cided that the way to achieve near-im­mor­tal­ity is to re­strict their calo­rie in­take for the rest of their lives. This is on the ba­sis of re­search in which un­der­fed mice lived much longer than a con­trol group of ro­dents (al­though, for all we know, the skinny ones could have been begging to be put out of their mis­ery).

And we have all heard of the celebri­ties who eat mac­ro­bi­ot­i­cally or cram their shop­ping bas­kets with so-called su­per­foods like wheat­grass, goji berries, blue­ber­ries and wild salmon fil­lets in the hope that they will pro­long their ex­is­tence, de­spite ab­so­lutely no proof to sup­port this claim.

Now Which? mag­a­zine has come up with a very sen­si­ble re­port. It says that if you ab­so­lutely must treat your body like a tem­ple, you can do it much cheaper by buy­ing ev­ery­day in­gre­di­ents. Sub­sti­tute broc­coli for expensive wheat­grass and you get prac­ti­cally the same nu­tri­tional ben­e­fits for a frac­tion of the price, with the added ex­tra ad­van­tage that broc­coli doesn’t taste like grass.

You can buy kiwi fruit in­stead of blue­ber­ries, re­place the goji berries with spinach. And you will ben­e­fit from less fi­nan­cial stress, which as we know can be a killer.

But what the re­port failed to men­tion was that, if you make your life more Jewish, you au­to­mat­i­cally build in proven health ad­van­tages. There is no health­ier fish than the heimishe her­ring — in­deed, a few years ago, a Dutch woman, who was for a time the old­est in the world, at­trib­uted her longevity to daily her­ring con­sump­tion.

And if you hap­pen to com­bine your fish with chrein you will have stum­bled across an­other thrifty su­per­food. Beet­root can lower blood pres­sure and can also in­crease ath­letic en­durance on your Shab­bat walk.

Then there is the mas­sive im­por­tance of be­ing a part of a sup­port­ive com­mu­nity. The res­i­dents of the Ja­panese is­land of Ok­i­nawa are the world’s long­est lived and at least part of this longevity has been put down to the way that the el­derly are both revered and in­cor­po­rated into the com­mu­nity.

Re­li­gious ob­ser­vance has also been shown to be a fac­tor in longevity (al­though we don’t know whether that ben­e­fit comes from the be­lief in God or God Him­self). Plus, if you are frum, are cov­ered from head to toe and wear a hat, you are much less likely to con­tract skin can­cer.

So all you need to do is go to shul reg­u­larly, eat the foods your great-grand­par­ents ate and get a bit of ex­er­cise and you too will live for­ever…

There is no health­ier fish than the her­ring

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