6 Things To Do for Health & Longevity

     Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS          September 27, 2015


evolution rHealth 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
  • Grains
  • 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.

Healthier Mouth … Healthier Lifestyle … Healthier You
Part 5 of 5

evolution rApproximately 80% of your body’s composition is based on the foods that you consume. In the last posts, I have suggested the ones that should be eliminated, the ones that should be included, and some possible supplements that have merit. Here is the rest of the story and more…
Physical Activity:
Aerobic Exercise for about 2 hours a week helps burn fat and stabilize hormones. These exercises should be performed at 55% to 75% of your estimated maximum heart rate, which is determined by this formula: 208 – (age x 0.7). As an example, if you were 50 years old, then your maximum heart rate would be (208 – 35) = 173. Your aerobic routine should be performed between a heart rate of 95 (i.e. 55% of 173) beats per minute and 130 (i.e. 75% of 173) beats per minute. If you go below 95, there will be no exercise benefit; if you go above 130, the exercise becomes anaerobic – not what you want to do. Adequate rest between exercises is critical for healthy results.
Brief and Intense Strength Training builds muscle strength and improves hormone efficiency that allow your body to function optimally and speed metabolism. Science has shown that doing four simple movements taking as little as 10-20 minutes twice a week can get your body in shape. These movements are squats, pull-ups, pushups, and planks.
High Intensity Interval Training is the ultimate beneficial exercise for your heart, your muscles, your hormones, and your weight. You could perform this once a week for 10-20 minutes in total. You would start with a warm up of 1-2 minutes. Each cycle might consist of (1) 7-30 seconds of all-out-to-exhaustion pedaling on a recumbent bike, and (2) rest for about 90 seconds to regain your normal breath. This cycle should be repeated for 2-8 cycles. Then, finish with a 1-2 minute cool down.
Non-Exercise Movement is just walking or moving about. Your goal should be to take approximately 10,000 steps per day. A pedometer is best to register these steps. Today, pedometers can be carried in your pocket, worn around your waist or wrist, or even worn around your neck.
Standing rather than Sitting has recently been shown to be important for overall health, and the health of your joints and stabilizing muscles. It has been postulated that sitting most of the day may be as unhealthy as smoking.
Restorative Sleep is not actually physical activity but rather physical inactivity. Sleep is critical to maintain normal hormonal repair in your body. But restorative sleep is not haphazard; it should be based on the natural circadian rhythm that is a result of the sun rising and setting at different times in the year. On average, it is best to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night starting from the hours of 9-11 PM in a dark, cool setting.
Total Stress Load is physically demanding and must be reduced. Stress can build internally from physical causes, emotional causes, and chemical causes. All these will accumulate over time and become detrimental to your overall health. Physical causes could be the result of over-exercising. Emotional stresses could be the result of how you deal with life itself. Chemical stresses could be the result of toxins in foods, bacterial infections, and environmental toxins. Environmental toxins are abundant like aluminum in antiperspirants, heavy metals in water and other foods, and insecticides inside and outside of your home.
I am living proof that you certainly can teach an old dog new tricks! I only began these changes for myself in 2013 when I was 67 years old. I have personally improved my life and my health by making these lifestyle changes. It is never too late to start.

Don’t Confuse Me with the Facts

evolution rA friend of mine is an avid workout guy – at least an hour a day, 5 days a week. He also eats non-fat foods and lots of whole grain cereals and grain products. He tells me he is eating healthy. I recently told him about ancestral nutrition, effective exercise, and their relationship to overall health. He not only blew me off, but he was angry that I tried to confuse him. In my opinion, he actually was upset because I gave him information that conflicted with his personal beliefs and challenged who he really is. I could only say I was sorry – sorry that he wouldn’t consider my point of view.
There is much evidence-based research today that has created a path for the discerning person to follow to regain and maintain the health that the human body was designed to possess. My friend was not that person, but are you that discerning person? If yes, then the path starts with you making a decision to change your life – to change your health.
Some people need a personal tipping point like a stroke or a heart attack to make a change. Some people need a love-of-their-life like the birth of a granddaughter or a grandson to institute a change. Some people are motivated after they get a new job or move into a new home. Some people only need information that they never knew existed. Which discerning person are you?
Here is some conventional wisdom that I have found in my personal pursuit of health that requires further consideration:
• Fat makes you fat
Consider this: Carbohydrates make you fat because of excessive insulin production. Healthy fats satisfy your hunger and provide fuel. Ingested fat will not become storage fat unless insulin is excessive from too many carbs.
• Running 5 miles a day is good heart exercise
Consider this: Chronic exercise produces oxidative stress, is unhealthy for the cardiovascular system, and discourages fat burning. Lifting heavy things a couple of times a week and sprinting once a week are much healthier for your heart as well as your waistline and need only take 10-20 minutes each. In addition, a couple of hours of aerobic exercise spaced out during the week and physical non-exercise movement throughout each day will round out a healthy routine.
• Breakfast is the healthiest meal of the day
Consider this: The most important time to eat is when you are hungry. If your hormones are in balance, you may actually not need to eat until noon or later. When you do eat, each meal conceptually should be a plate of food partitioned like this: at least half of the plate should include non-starchy veggies either raw or sautéed in healthy fat; a quarter of the plate should be some type of free-range or wild-caught protein including their natural fats; and the last quarter could be made up of some of these – some nuts or seeds, deeply colored fruit (like berries or citrus), a small starchy vegetable.
• Whole grains have plenty of nutrients
Consider this: Grains contain elements that irritate the gut and interfere with normal absorption of necessary minerals. Grains were only introduced into the human diet about 10,000 years ago, and the human gut never evolved to digest them properly. For 2.5 million years before grains were introduced, all the necessary nutrients the body needed were provided by eating animals from head to tail, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.
• Vegetable oils are healthy
Consider this: Vegetable oils are mostly inflammatory and are chemically unstable. When they are introduced into the body, they potentially create serious health problems. In addition, chemically altered trans fats and partially hydrogenated fats are toxic to the body. Saturated fats from coconut oil, avocados, animals that are pastured and/or allowed to eat their natural diet, and butter from grass-fed cows are necessary for healthy cell function.
• Artificial sweeteners are good for you and help you lose weight
Consider this: Artificial sweeteners are toxic to the body. In addition, the brain senses the sweetness of these sweeteners and stimulates insulin production.
• Eggs are bad for your heart
Consider this: Free-range eggs provide excellent nutrition for the body unless you are allergic to eggs. Some people who have reactions to convention eggs do not have problems with pastured eggs. The cholesterol in pastured eggs is not a problem – especially if the egg yolk is eaten soft rather than scrambled or hard-boiled.
• If your stomach does not hurt, you don’t have gut problems
Consider this: Many diseases begin when the intestinal lining becomes permeable (called a leaky gut), and stuff that should never enter the blood system starts invading. A person does not have to have digestive symptoms like gas or pain or constipation or diarrhea to have a leaky gut. But, before other disease manifestations can be resolved, the gut must be made healthy.

Longevity is Good; Quality is Better!

evolution rStatistically, we are living longer in the US today than ever before, but we are developing chronic diseases that significantly interfere with the quality of our golden years. Some of us are in distress and pain for decades before succumbing to these chronic diseases. This is not the way the human body was designed or evolved to be.
We were not born deficient in prescription drugs. We were not born to have to go to the physician every year to stay healthy or to see a dentist twice a year to prevent and treat gum disease and cavities. We were not born to require supplements of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients for our bodies to function properly.
We were born to be healthy. We were born to retain our adult teeth throughout our lives until we die. We were born to move and jump and run and exert our bodies. We also were born to have pleasure and relax with nature.
Imagine this: Think of sitting on your four-legged dining room chair, and notice what happens. You are comfortable and stable. Now what would happen if one leg suddenly were removed? You’d topple over. How about two legs? Three Legs? You need all four legs of this four-legged chair to give you the support you need. Your healthy, productive body needs stability too. And, your mouth is just an extension of your functioning body. Your mouth is not an island unto itself; it is intricately and intimately connected to everything that happens to each cell in your body.
Just as there are four legs to this dining room chair, there are four pillars to a healthy “you”. Chronic disease occurs when one or more of these are broken. The four pillars are:
Nutrient-dense real foods
Restorative sleep
Efficient exercise
Stress reduction
Here is a brief description of each pillar:
Nutrient-dense real foods provide the energy sources that every cell in your body needs to do its thing. These foods consist of wild-caught and free-range animal products from nose to tail along with their wonderful fats, all veggies, some densely colored fruits, as well as nuts and seeds in moderation. These foods also support your good gut bacteria, which are critical for health.
Restorative sleep allows important systems of your body to replenish themselves. Your body needs at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night ideally in a quiet, cool, dark space. Your body can’t function properly if you try to catch up on sleep over the weekend. That’s not how it works.
Efficient exercise helps maintain and build your body with the least amount of effort for the maximum effect. A science-based, practical routine could include (1) a 10 to 20 minute workout of high-intensity sprinting once every 7 to 10 days, and (2) a 10 to 20 minute workout of strength-training exercises twice a week including squats, pushups, pull-ups, and planks. Also, science has shown that non-exercise movement throughout the day may be as important as efficient exercise. Standing as much as possible and sitting as little as possible should become routine. Simple walking is good movement, and a realistic goal to strive for each day should be 10,000 steps. A good tool to record how many steps you take everyday is a pedometer – a good brand is Omron.
Stress reduction includes removal of toxins from internal and external sources as well as removal of psychological stresses. Stresses from any source are toxic to all cells and eventually to all organ systems. As these stressors build up in the body to overload the system, clinical manifestations can appear like the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. These manifestations of toxic overload frequently are expressed differently for each individual.
Your body was designed to be a finely tuned machine. These four pillars of health assist every cell in your body to perform as it was meant to perform to create longevity and most importantly quality of life.

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