Is There A Secret To Greater Longevity?
Do We Really Want to Know?
Not all of us want to know the secret to greater longevity. Sounds morbid right? Well, think about it…
With modern technology and advanced medicine we, as humans, have the ability to live longer lives but if we’re roaming around not feeling as spunky as we did when we were teenagers, why would we actually want to live longer? The question should be what if we could feel better?
One Man’s Secret
I will never forget a past experience with a customer that I had at the natural health store. He was a lively 90-year-old man and he came into the store with his son who was a middle aged man. After I greeted them, the father walked at a brisk pace to the back corner of the store to look for his flax seed oil supplement. I thought that he would need my help but I was wrong. He grabbed what he wanted and proceeded to tell me his age, how great he feels and how he attributes it all to flax seed oil. When I rang him up at the new high-tech computer system, I had the false assumption that he would need help trying to figure out where to insert his credit card and how to sign with his finger on the screen. You have to understand that not only did the majority of customers complain about the new register, they acted like it was rocket science. Well, my 90-year- old friend had no trouble at all and in fact thought it was ‘neat’. I also couldn’t help but notice that the older gentleman seemed to have a much younger, healthier spirit and demeanor than his son. I also noticed that the son was not at all interested in flax seed oil.
My reason for telling you this story is to mostly express to you that I would be super happy to live to be his age if I felt the way he acted if and when I reach the golden age of 90.
What is his secret? Could it actually all be attributed to flax seed oil and why did he seem so much healthier than his son?!
While I do promote flax seed oil or ground flax seed intake as suggested in a few of my previous blogs, I’m not going to try to convince you that flax is the fountain of youth! (atleast not in this blog anyway)
I see many articles primarily by companies touting that one particular supplement or food is the ‘richest in antioxidants’ or ‘the most effective for weightloss’ and even ‘secrets to longevity’.
I’m not saying that those products aren’t good or that they are lying to you but what if they all had something in common?
Healthy by Geographical Region
According to the book The Blue Zones Solutions by Dan Buettner, there are certain regions of the world where people are healthier, happier and live much longer than other regions.
Dan studied these regions and found that there are commonalities among these communities of people which include the following:
More time outdoors
Primarily plant-based diet
Intake of Omega 3 fatty acids
Very little consumption of processed foods
Minimal consumption of meat and refined sugars
It is also common in these regions that people have less occurrences of typical American illnesses like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis.
Natural Vitamin D
It is scientifically proven that if we spend more time outdoors, we would get more natural sunlight and therefore receive adequate amounts of Vitamin D3 which is beneficial for our immune system, bones, eyes and mental health.
Dr. Mercola, a well known licensed physician, surgeon and New York Times bestseller agrees that our mood is highly dependent upon our exposure to the outdoors and discusses this topic in his article: How Sunlight Affects Your Mental Health.
Also, interestingly enough people who receive regular sunlight tend to have less chances of getting skin cancer.
“Rates of thirteen types of cancer were found to be higher in New England where people may not be synthesizing Vitamin D at all due to lack of sunlight in the wintertime.” – Pathways Magazine
Another proven fact is that eating a plant based diet which is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols also protects us from skin cancer.
According to my mentor, Dr. Michael Greger, eating a plant based diet can bolster skin protection and reduce sunburn by up to 40%. Check out his video: Preventing Skin Cancer from the Inside Out.
Plant based diets are also much higher in fiber which we now know affects every aspect of our health by promoting the survival of healthy gut microbes.
In my blogs Brain Belly Interconnection and Anti-Inflammatory Foods, I explain further how living a plant based lifestyle promotes overall wellness therefore promoting optimal health for a better quality of life.
Some people fear that they will miss out on protein and healthy fat on a plant based diet but this is just not true.
There are plenty of plant foods that contain protein. Many well known athletes including body builders are vegan. They decided to become vegan for various reasons and when asked how it affects their training, majority of them explain that they have actually improved their skill after maintaining a plant based lifestyle.
If we were eating 20 to 40 grams of fiber a day, as suggested by Healthline’s Natalie Butler, RD, LD. , and also receiving 4 to 6 servings each of vegetables and fruit, as well as, double that amount of whole grains and beans or complex carbohydrates, how would we have room for anything other than those plant based foods?
Oh yeah and add in the suggested 2 tablespoons of your healthy omega fats which may include our longevity food, flax seed and which also includes:
(I’m not mentioning fish here because I believe that it is not possible to get fish without chemicals such as antibiotics used in farm raised fish and toxins such as mercury found in freshwater fish.)
I challenge you to sit down and count the calories of foods you like under the categories fruit, vegetables, complex carbohydrates and fat. If you ate the recommended amount, then added junk food, meat, eggs and dairy – are you going over or under your total caloric requirements to maintain optimal health? (For estimated calorie requirements click this link: webmd.com)
When I first embraced a plant based lifestyle, I had people ask me don’t you miss eating meat, cheese or whatever. I thoughtfully and truthfully answered their question, “No.”
The reason for my answer is still true today because there are just so many other wonderful things to eat.
I truly cannot imagine eating any other way. My food is colorful, full of nutrition, antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and plant lignans (found in flax seeds!)
My food also helps me feel the best I possibly can. My 90-year-old, flax seed loving friend can attest to that!
Feel free to leave your comments below or send me a private message on Facebook. I look forward to hearing from you!
Be well always.