Live to be Healthy at 100: 5 Essentials for Healthy Longevity
Most of us would like to live to be 100 or older, provided we could maintain a highly functional body and mind. Of course, being functional is the important thing.
The thought of being confined to a wheelchair, with tubes from an oxygen tank stuck up our nose, or experiencing repeated bouts of angina while recovering from a stroke, or having little or no memory of who we are or where we are, is not exactly the kind of functional living most of us are hoping for.
Research has now shown that we can live to a ripe old age and live it in good health, provided we follow a few simple steps each day. Of course we need to watch our diets, do as much regular exercise as possible, reduce stress at every possible turn, but, we also need to take a few essential supplements that we can’t get from food alone.
Living to a healthy 100+ is truly possible if we try to achieve the following 5 vital health objectives:
- Keep our arteries open and blood flowing
- Maintain strength in our bones and muscles
- Protect DNA from mutations that can lead to cancer
- Maintain brain chemicals that preserve memory and thinking
- Keep our hearts pumping with maximum force
- Keep Our Arteries Open and Blood Flowing
Forty percent of all adults die from heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. In most cases individuals have clogged up their arteries with a fatty-waxy plaque that blocks the flow of blood and deprives vital tissues of the oxygen they need to function.
Once deprived of oxygen, the heart muscle stops pumping (a heart attack), the affected section of the brain stops working (a stroke), gangrene sets into your fingers or toes, and our kidneys can no longer filter blood (and now we need dialysis for the rest of our lives).
How do we keep arteries open and blood flowing?
Most important of all, we need to stop eating foods that clog those arteries in the first place – there is no substitute for this advice!
Reduce or eliminate the intake of:
- Red meat
- All milk or yogurt above 1% milk fat
- All cheese above 3% milk fat
- Lard, butter, sour cream, cream, ice cream
- Regular chocolate products
- Egg yolks
- Hydrogenated oils
- Palm or coconut oil
I know that this is very difficult to do for most of us, but start by cutting back on some of these foods and gradually you may be able to cut them out completely.
We should also try to get our total cholesterol level below 3.9 mmol/L (150 mg/dL). If it’s higher than this, then it’s simply too high and we will likely die before our time from clogged arteries or related problems.
One good way to help keep cholesterol levels down and help reduce high cholesterol is to take a supplement containing Gum Guggul and Artichoke Leaf Extract, two ingredients that have been used for thousands of years in Asia.
Clinical studies show that these natural agents clear cholesterol from the bloodstream and flush cholesterol out of the body, without any significant side effects. These supplements can be used in conjunction with cholesterol-lowering drugs if necessary.
To further reduce cholesterol levels, we can add 2 heaping tablespoons of ground flaxseed and/or 2 teaspoons of psyllium husk fiber to our daily fare. Higher consumption of beans, peas and oat bran can also help.
- Maintain Strength In Our Bones and Muscles
If you’re going to go the distance in life, you must prevent osteoporosis and muscle decay, which gets tricky after 45. As we age there is a decline in the hormones that caused our body to grow, mature, and develop during the years of puberty.
The production of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, growth hormone, and other hormones all decline significantly after 45 years of age. This allows calcium to leak out of our bones and become excreted in the urine, which leads to bones that are weak and fracture-prone. Additionally, muscle tissue breaks down, causing us to become weak and frail as we grow older.
Note that one in four women and one in eight men over 50 develop osteoporosis in our society, which has life threatening and serious quality of life consequences. All of these problems are preventable. Don’t let this happen to you.
Finding a good supplement with the right blend of bone support nutrients, preferably one that contains calcium, vitamin D, silicon, ipriflavone, and magnesium can help maintain strong bones as we age. Studies have proven that you can prevent osteoporosis using a prudent supplement strategy.
Muscle mass and overall strength can also be maintained into our old age if we stay active, do some resistive exercise, and ingest lean protein each day - at least one gram per day for every kilogram you weigh.
- Protect DNA From Mutations That Can Lead To Cancer
The National Cancer Institute has stated that 70-90% of all cancers are caused by faulty nutrition and lifestyle behaviors. While genetics are important, lifestyle has much more of an effect on our ultimate outcome in life.
Cancers develop when mutations arise in our DNA. In order to prevent this from happening we need to put practices in place that discourage these mutations from occurring.
There are a number of things we can do to prevent cancerous mutations from occurring:
- Reduce our exposure to free radicals that cause mutations – which means not smoking, limiting alcohol to one drink per day, limiting sun exposure (and tanning beds), reducing intake of foods containing nitrates/nitrites (such as processed meats), charred foods, smoked foods and limiting the number of X-rays and CT-scans.
- Boost our antioxidant intake - antioxidants help neutralize free radicals before they can damage our DNA. A good source of antioxidants comes from fruits and vegetables. To get an adequate amount, we need to eat 5-7 fruit and vegetable servings per day. This alone will lower the incidence of cancer by 50%!
- Another good source of antioxidants can be found in a high potency multivitamin supplement that contains boosted levels of antioxidants. We just don’t get enough from food alone for optimal protection.
- For general health optimization a good supplement should contain: Vit C - 1,000 mg; Vitamin E Succinate - 400 IU; Selenium - 100-200 mcg; Beta-carotene - 10,000 IU, Vit A - 2,500 IU, Lycopene Powder - 6 mg; Lutein Powder - 6 mg, Bioflavonoids - 50 mg.
- Slow down the rate of cell division – when cells divide too fast they make more genetic mistakes which increases cancer risk.
We can slow down cell division by:
- adhering to a low fat diet
- taking Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Beta-carotene, Lycopene – found in a high potency multivitamin
- minimizing your alcohol intake
- consuming fish twice a week
- taking an essential fatty acid supplement containing borage seed oil, flaxseed oil and fish oil. Essential fats from these sources are converted by the body into unique hormones that slow the rate of cell division and provide other important health benefits.
- Maintain Brain Chemicals That Preserve Memory
As we age the brain loses its capacity to make certain chemicals required for memory and thinking in general. The brain requires specific B-vitamins to make these important compounds and requires optimal antioxidant protection against free radicals in order to maintain brain health.
Over our lifetime, free radicals cause corrosive effects on the brain that promote a decline in memory and mental performance. So, the first step is to take a high potency multiple vitamin supplement each day that contains a B-50 complex.
People with more optimal B-vitamin and antioxidant status throughout life have been shown to be less prone to mental decline as they age.
However, around the age of 55, the brain’s memory chemical known as acetylcholine begins to decline in production and memory can begin to deteriorate. In order to boost acetycholine levels and maintain nerve transmission function, I suggest taking a brain support supplement that contains some of the natural ingredients that have shown to help.
Nutrients such as CDP choline, Phosphatidylserine, Bacopa Monnieri, and Huperzine “A” have been shown in clinical studies to support memory and cognitive function in older individuals – without any side effects.
- Keep Our Hearts Pumping With Maximum Force
As we age our heart muscle tends to weaken, which sets the stage for congestive heart failure and other important circulatory problems. We can keep our heart strong by performing endurance exercise - walking, jogging, cycling, etc. - for a minimum of 30 minutes per day, preferably 4 - 5 times per week.
After the age of 45, we would be well advised to take a supplement containing coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and hawthorn as well.
The heart muscle requires CoQ10 to convert food into energy to support the demands of the beating heart - which never gets a break. As we age our bodies make less and less CoQ10, which slowly creates a power shortage in the heart muscle, making the heart weaker and weaker with each year that passes.
Studies show that supplementation with CoQ10 and hawthorn can maintain heart muscle strength. Like CoQ10, hawthorn contains unique flavonoids that help convert food into energy and also improves blood flow within the coronary arteries themselves.