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How to Live Longer and Healthier Life

"It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen." - John Wooden

There is a cyclicality to everything; birth, youth, maturity, senescence, and death. These stages are shared by everything in the material world, whether it's a person, a city, a civilization, or a galaxy. It's just a question of time and scale.

For example, the life of a human being follows its own cyclicality which can be divided into four seasons like in a year:
  • Springtime, a time to grow and cultivate oneself
  • Summer, a time to develop and prosper
  • Autumn, a time to harvest and enjoy the fruits of one's development
  • Winter, a time to come back to quietness, to cultivate the vital root of life and to restore one's energy
We should engage in activities that are appropriate for the season of our life.  For example, when it is the spring of your life, you should be active; when it is autumn, you should accept that it is autumn and develop a mellowness of personality.  The best policy is to follow what is natural, and to keep yourself in a natural condition without becoming disturbed by the styles and fads of the external world.

Pursuing longevity is known starting from the time when there is written history.  The famous example is that Emperor Qin Shi Huang longed for longevity and he sent his ministers to go on quests seeking for an elixir of immortality.  Whatever mechanisms the body possesses to resist infections, to moderate oxidation, glycation, and other damaging processes, and to repair DNA damage—none of them proves to be enough, and our bodies can never catch up.  Human's potential life span is 120 years.  Forgetting about immortality, the more realistic dream is to live out a human biological life span of ninety to a hundred years, functioning well mentally and physically until the end (note that the emphasis is on the quality of life).  You can't control the wind, but you can adjust your sails.  In this article, we will discuss some health tips that may help you be closer to that goal:
  1. Maintain mental vitality
  2. Nurture your relationships
  3. Seek essential sleep
  4. Set stress aside
  5. Connect with your community
  6. Live the active life
  7. Eat your way to health
  8. Practice prevention
Maintain Mental Vitality
  • Consider Alpha Lipoic Acid and ALCAR
  • Know about the ApoE4 Gene
    • Carrying ApoE4 does not doom to Alzheimer's, but it is the number one known genetic threat.
  • Beware of Bad Fats
    • Researcher Carol Greenwood, Ph.D, at the University of Toronto has found that the horrific damage that bad fats, notably saturated animal fats and trans fats, can inflict on your brain and intellect.  Eat more omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Eat Berries every day
    • Blue berries are named "brain foods" because the compounds in berries actually get into your brain cells and improve how neurons behave, how well they communicate, and whether they become inflamed and dysfunctional or rejuvenated, vital, and alert.
  • Grow a Bigger Brain
    • You can grow a bigger, more efficient brain that may help fend off Alzheimer's.
  • Build "Cognitive Reserve"
    • Cognitive reserves are things like education, marriage, socializing, a stimulating job, language skills, and plenty of leisure activities.  Studies show how higher cognitive reserves overruled the symptoms of Alzheimer's longer and acted as if they don't exist or matter.
  • Be Conscientious
    • The personality trait known as conscientiousness describes people who are self-disciplined, goal directed, scrupulous, purposeful, dependable, painstaking, careful, precise, orderly, dutiful, detail oriented,and exacting.  Researchers found that elderly men and women who scored highest on tests that measure conscientiousness were about half as likely to develop Alzheimer's 12 years later as those who scored lowest.
  • Overcome Depression
    • Research suggests that depression is actually a risk factor of Alzheimer's.
  • Get a Higher Education
    • The more years of formal education you have, the better your brain can withstand the pathological onslaught of Alzheimer's.
  • Guard against Head Injury
    • Don't envy the high-paid NFL players.  According to a recent University of Michigan study, former NFL players between the ages of 30 and 49 have 19 times the rate of Alzheimer's and similar memory-related diseases as other men the same age.
  • Learn new Languages
    • In a study, women who scored in high linguistic skills were 7 to 8 times more apt to be free of dementia symptoms despite having brain damage that indicated Alzheimer's pathology.
  • Laugh frequently
    • Laughter is the best medicine.
  • Practice Mediation
    • People who mediate regularly tend to retain more brain gray matter, show more sustained attention, and suffer less cognitive decline as they age.
  • Do something New
    • Our brain is activated by novelty.  It's an evolutionary survival mechanism that developed when we had to look for predators.
  • Have a Purpose in life
    • You are about 2 and 1/2 times more likely to remain free of Alzheimer's than people who have a gloomier, less fulfilled outlook on their lives based on a study on 951 people.
  • Surround yourself with Stimulation
    • Studies show that living in an enriched environment stimulates brains to grow stronger and be less vulnerable to age-related memory loss and Alzheimer's.
  • Play Video Games
    • In a recent study, Authur Kramer, PhD, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign shows that gamers score higher on tests of executive control than oldsters who had not played the game.
  • Work for living
    • People who like their work would most likely enjoy happier and healthier lives if they postponed retirement, or perhaps just cut back to part-time.
Set Stress Aside
  • Practice Abdominal Breathing
  • Attack Anxiety
    • Anxiety is the enemy of longevity.
  • Enjoy a Massage
    • Massage has been shown to reduce activation of the immune system, and it feels good besides.
  • Take time to Play
    • Throughout life, make time to take vacations, enjoy lazy weekends, laugh with friends, play with grandchildren and continue to build the memories that go into making a long life a good one.
  • Sing or Hum a song
    • Research on babies in a neonatal intensive care unit showed that when recorded lullabies were played, babies had better oxygen levels, fewer infections, and shorter hospital stays.
  • Deal with Stress
Connect with Your Community

  • Grow up with a Dog
    • A pet plays an important role in supporting your immune system.
  • Be Easygoing and Upbeat
    • People with a positive, outgoing, easygoing, relaxed manner are less likely to face impaired memory and dementia as they get older.
  • Be an Extrovert
    • The higher level of social engagement you have, the better cognitive abilities you have.
  • Friends for life
    • Socializing, including staying in touch with your friends and family, as well as being part of some kind of community, grows more important as you age.
  • Embrace Marriage
    • Sex is good for you.  Well, actually it's loving and feeling loved.
    • Greek proverbThe heart that loves is always young.
  • Have a big Social Circle
    • Intimate social contacts help build a brain that seems somewhat withstand the the pathological onslaught of Alzheimer's.
  • Volunteering for better health
    • The research suggests that volunteers are as healthy as non-volunteers who are five years younger!
Live the Active Life
  • Keep your Balance
    • Good balance prevents elders from falling which usually cause bone fractures.  A study at the University of Washington also found that a decline in physical balance was one of the first signs of future dementia, even before impaired memory.
  • Be a Busy Body
    • All the mundane daily activities can boost your brain.
    • The secret to happiness is keeping busy, research has found[3].
  • Exercise regularly
  • Build strong Muscles
    • Quadircep (thigh) strength is a predictor of frailty.  Building strong muscles also helps prevent Alzheimer's.
  • Run for life
    • Vigorous exercise such as running at middle and older ages was associated with reduced disability in later life and a higher survival rate.
    • Try to fit in at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercisebrisk walking, bicycling, swimming, dancingmost days of the week.
  • Build Strong Bones
Eat Your Way to Health
  • Eat foods with naturally-occurring Antiangiogenic Substances
  • Eat Antioxidant-Rich Foods
    • Antioxidants can protect your body from being damaged by free-radical chemicals which can run amok, ripping cell membranes, mutating DNA, blocking synapses, and disrupting neural communication networks.
    • Columbia University researchers found that the best anti-Alzheimer's foods are antioxidant heavy hitters, including tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables, dark and green leafy vegetables, fruits, salad dressings, nuts, and fish.
    • Top 10 Food Synergy Super Foods
  • Avoid too much Caffeine
  • Count Calories
  • Treat yourself to Chocolate
    • Cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate, has high concentrations of antioxidants called flavanols, which possess strong heart- and brain-protecting properties
  • Eat Choline-Rich Foods
    • The brain needs a constant supply of choline throughout life.  For one thing, nerve cells require choline to synthesize the "memory" neurotransmitter acetylcholine.  Choline also fends off inflammation and high levels of homocysteine.
  • Go crazy for Cinnamon
  • Eat Curry
  • Take Folic Acid
    • In a Dutch study, people who took folic acid scored remarkably higher on cognitive functioning tests than those who took the placebo.
  • Try Garlic for your heart
  • Eat Good Fats
  • Eat a Low-Glycemic Diet
    • Suppressing blood sugar spikes by eating low-glycemic foods may help prevent diabetes and its complications, including heart disease and obesity, as well as cognitive impairment.
  • Know the dangers of Meat
  • Go for Olive Oil
    • Eating about 2 tablespoons (23 grams) olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat content.
    • Oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol, two compounds found in olive oil, are potent scavengers of destructive free radicals and also help block LDL oxidation.
    • 2 1/2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil daily can lower blood pressure.
    • It is believed that olive oil is the secret to almost everything good—a strong heart, dense bones, lower blood pressure, better blood cholesterol and coagulation, and a stronger brain.
  • Eat Organic, Local and Seasonal Foods
  • Eat more Plant-Based Diets
  • Eat several Smaller Meals
    • The bigger the meal, the higher the levels of CRP and interleukin-6 and the more activated your immune systemespecially after a fatty meal.
  • Cut down on Sugar
    • Our love affair with sugar has sparked our epidemic of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low HDL good cholesterol, brain impairment, and metabolic syndrome.
  • Try Dr. Perricone's Superfoods
    • The list includes: Acai, The Allium Family, Barley, Beans and Lentils, Buckwheat, Green Foods, Hot Peppers, Nuts and Seeds, Sprouts, Yogurt and Kefir.
  • Drink Tea
  • Put Vinegar in Everything
  • Get enough Vitamin B12
    • Osteoblasts cannot build bone without vitamin B12.  Those deficient in B12 have been shown to have increased rates of osteoporosis. 
    • Add a few more amino acids like glycine and glutamine and a few vitamins (B6, B12, folate), and voila, the magic of the methylation and sulfation trains pops out a little glutathione molecule, the body's major detoxifier. 
    • Folic acid and vitamin B12 are also key factors in preventing Alzheimer's, because blood levels of homocysteine can be reduced by increasing your intake of folic acid and vitamin B12
    • Researchers have long known that a strict vegetarian dietone that excludes all animal productscan lead to vitamin B12 deficiency, and possibly heart disease.
    • ≈25% of Dutch adults >70 years of age showed mild-to-severe vitamin B12 deficiency, most likely because of malabsorption rather than low dietary intakes[8].
  • Don't neglect Vitamin D
    • Vitamin D and Its Benefits
    • Lack of the sunshine vitamin may not only harm the bones, it may influence your risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
  • Get enough Zinc
Practice Prevention

  • Control Blood Pressure
  • Watch out for Celiac Disease
    • Celiac Disease is an allergy to gluten in grains.  Doctors at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, were surprised to find so many elderly celiac patients with dementia and cognitive decline.  A gluten-free diet helped reverse their memory loss and other cognitive problems.
    • Gluten-Free Quinoa
    • Gluten-Free Diet: Myths and Facts
  • Reduce bad Cholesterol and raise good Cholesterol
    • Low good cholesterol to bad cholesterol ratio could mean heart disease ahead and it also predict Alzheimer's
  • Prevent and control Diabetes
    • Not only Diabetes poses a risk of amputation, blurred vision, and vascular problem, but also it may double or triple your risk of Alzheimer's.
  • Avoid Environmental Toxins
  • Have your Eyes checked
    • If you preserve good or excellent vision as you age, your chances of developing dementia drop by an astonishing 63%.
  • Be good to your Heart
    • What's good to your heart is good to your brain too.
  • Try to keep Infections away
    • Studies have linked cancer or Alzheimer's to infections.
  • Fight Inflammation
    • The devastation of chronic inflammation to your body is a big health problem.
  • Keep Insulin Normal
    • Insulin resistance is a primary underlying cause of diabetes as well as a contributor to brain inflammation, microvascular disease, and the amyloid plaques and tau tangles that promote strokes, memory impairment, and Alzheimer's.
    • In general, the lower your average insulin level and the better your insulin receptor sensitivity, the slower the aging process.[20]
  • Worry about Obesity
    • Carrying extra inches around the middle of your body is an immune system disorder and is linked with premature aging.
  • Avoid living in Polluted Metro Areas
    • Studies show that CRP levels rose significantly approximately two days after subjects were exposed to particulate air pollution.
    • Grow indoor plants to keep air fresh.
  • Know the dangers of Radiation
    • Wireless Radiation
    • Exposure to 100 millisieverts of radiation is believed to raise one's risk of cancer by 0.5%.
  • Eat more Rainbow-Colored Vegetables and Fruits
  • Know Risk Factors
  • Quit Smoking
    • Smoking is one guaranteed way to age your body fast.
  • Take care of your Teeth
    • Flossing helps reduce plaque buildup in the teeth and gum.  High levels of plaque are linked with an overactive immune system and a doubled risk of cardiovascular disease.
References
  1. 100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer's by Jean Carper
  2. Ultra-Longevity by Mark Liponis, MD
  3. Better busy than doing nothing, scientist proves
  4. Younger You by Eric R. Braverman, M.D.
  5. 11 Ways to Live to 100 by Robert N. Butler, MD
  6. You are what you eat (Dr Hiromi Shinya) http://bit.ly/fXadZx
  7. 25 Ways to Improve Your Health
  8. Moshfegh A, Goldman J, Cleveland L (2005) What We Eat in America, NHANES 2001–2002: Usual Nutrient Intakes from Food Compared to Dietary Reference Intakes (U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, Washington, DC). 
  9. 50 Ways to Be Healthier
  10. The 40 Best Age-Erasing Superfoods
  11. Understanding Alzheimer's Disease and Its Possible Treatments
  12. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  13. Why Some People Live to 110?
  14. The Importance of Good Night Sleep
  15. Super Immunity by Joel Fuhrman, MD.
  16. Nrf2, a guardian of healthspan and gatekeeper of species longevity. (PubMed.org)
  17. Anti-Aging Tips 
  18. The Brain that Changes Itself
  19. 12 Reasons You're Not As Happy As You Should Be
  20. Fat for Fuel

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