Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS September 27, 2015
Health and longevity cannot be reduced to only 6 things to do – or can they?
Actually, research has demonstrated that the following six actions can and will lead to a healthier you and will improve the quality of your years going forward. My personal goal is to live a quality life with no degenerative, chronic diseases, and then just go quietly in the night with no fuss.
Each of these six endeavors should become your personal goals:
1. Eat nutrient-dense foods and get rid of the junk.
In this paper published in July 2015, nutrient-dense foods were shown to be beneficial for health and longevity. (Here)
You know my position on a Paleo-type (or anti-inflammatory) diet. It is a nutrient-dense way of eating. Peer-reviewed papers have proven not only the ability of a Paleo-type way of eating to improve health but also to be satiating. (Here) There are many variations of a Paleo-type diet, but all agree – remove junk foods entirely and emphasize nutrient-dense foods.
The junk foods include:
- Sugars that are added to any food
- All processed foods
- Liquid oils that are primarily Omega-6 fatty acids (such as soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil)
The nutrient-dense foods include:
- Pastured and wild caught animal products from nose to tail with all their healthy fats
- Non-starchy vegetables
- Starchy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruits in moderation
2. Understand hunger from within
Eat when you are hungry. Humans do not need to eat 3 meals a day with in-between snacks. On the contrary, our bodies perform better when there are episodes of fasting. Intermittent fasting has been reported to improve health and longevity. (Here, Here)
When you are eating a meal, think about each forkful of food you put into your mouth. Are you still hungry? If not, then stop eating. Your goal is to eat until you are satisfied and the hunger is no longer present. Your goal is not to eat until you are stuffed or until every morsel of food on your plate has been consumed.
3. Exercise efficiently
Exercise stimulates healthy bodily chemistries. Research has shown that the most efficient exercise is in the form of high intensity interval training. (Here, Here, Here). But also, research has shown that non-exercise movement like walking is critical for health. The phenomenon is called NEAT (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis). (Here, Here, Here). As a matter of fact, other forms of intense exercise will not replace the importance of daily non-exercise activities.
4. Reduce stress
Your body is designed to deal with acute, intermittent stress. It is not designed to deal with chronic, unrelenting stress. (Here).
Stress takes the form of chemical insults like environmental toxins, physical insults like over exercise or an accident, psychological insults like abusive relationships or worry. Chronic stress breaks down the gut, leads to systemic inflammation, and damages organ systems. (Here). Stress also affects the mouth. (Here).
5. Sleep restoratively
You body rebuilds and reenergizes itself while asleep. (Here) The human body was designed to respond to a circadian rhythm. When the sun sets, your body is ready to sleep; when the sun rises, your body is ready to awaken. Most adults benefit from at least 7-8 hours of sleep commencing between 9-11 PM. The ideal sleeping environment should be a dark and cool room.
6. Get sun
Sun stimulates the skin to produce Vitamin D3 from cholesterol in your skin. (Here) Vitamin D is critical for every cell in the body to function properly. Most of us require 5-15 minutes a day of sun exposure, 2-3 days a week without sunscreen and with 70-80% of the body exposed to the vital UVB rays.
My Final Thoughts
There you have them – six things to do for health and longevity. The science is there, but the science will not make you healthier. Only your motivation to implement the science into personal actions will improve your health and extend your longevity.