Thursday, September 24, 2015

Natural Solutions for Longevity

Throughout history mankind has longed for and searched for a fountain of youth valuing longevity as a treasure. It could be that you need look no further than your kitchen for lots of natural solutions as your own fountain of youth. Researchers studying populations around the world find that there are groups of people that seem to live longer on the average and much of this is attributed to their healthy eating habits. For example, compare the life expectancy in Okinawa found to be 81 years to the worldwide average of 67 years or the group Seventh Day Adventists studied showing a longevity of 4 to 7 years more than other populations in the U.S. or the people of San Blas islands where high blood pressure and heart disease are almost non-existent. When groups such as these are studied, their diet seems to be a major factor that researchers give credit for these longevity statistics. Diets with lots of low calorie, high fiber vegetables and low in saturated fats seem to be something they all have in common.

Healthy Food and Healthy Eating Habits
What else do you need on your plate besides fruits and vegetables to establish healthy eating habits that can add to your longevity? An equally important question is what you should not be eating that decreases your longevity. If your meals consist of lots of fast food, junk food, processed meals, high sugar, trans fat and simple carb filled foods, then you are taking a big risk with your health as this type of eating leads to creating an inflammatory state in the body which can result in many diseases including heart disease and diabetes. This type of eating increases free radicals in the body which damage cells and doesn't give you the antioxidants you need to help combat these damaging molecules or to repair the damage they do. Fruits and veggies are loaded with antioxidant protection making them the number one food items to include at mealtimes. Dark chocolate also has lots of antioxidants and researchers attribute the longevity of the San Blas islands group in part to the amount of it they consume. In fact, antioxidants have been extensively researched and found to help with everything from supporting heart health to brain health. The Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University has long been doing research on antioxidants concluding that they protect the brain from changes that can come with age that can result in memory loss and dementia. When looking to get more antioxidant foods in your diet, look for bright colored fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, pomegranates, tomatoes, carrots, squash, broccoli, grapes, sweet potatoes, and Bell peppers. When you can't get all the antioxidant protection you need from your diet, you can still get an antioxidant boost from a wholefood supplement such as this one.

Another consideration in looking at a longevity diet is how much salt you consume. Even if you don't use the salt shaker much, many processed foods contain high amounts of salt. Read labels and look for products low in salt or salt-free and use herbs or spices to flavor foods instead of salt. This will help you combat high blood pressure and new research indicates that it could help protect brain cells and lower the risk of memory loss as you age. As neuroscientist Aron Troen, PhD at Tufts University explains, the vasculature that sends oxygen and nutrients to the brain can sustain damage from high blood pressure and thus increase the chance of cognitive problems as we age.

For healthy eating habits that increase longevity, nutritional researcher Joel Fuhrman, M.D. encourages a diet of foods that have a high vitamin, mineral, phytochemical content and includes allium compounds, glucosinolates, aromatase inhibitors, flavonoids and lignans. That means eating healthy food like green leafy and cruciferous veggies such as kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, spinach, lettuce, and cauliflower, berries, beans mushrooms, onions, seeds such as flax, chia, and sunflower, and nuts. He also advises avoiding foods that are processed and have refined white sugar and flour, and high fat dairy and other high fat animal protein foods. His list of foods to avoid for healthy eating includes foods with trans fats, processed meats like sausage, hot dogs and lunch meats, fried foods, and foods with lots of refined white sugar, white flour, and that are high in salt.

Go With the Grain
Other important components to establishing healthy eating habits include adding whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins to your plate. Whole grains have been found to help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, stabilize blood sugar levels giving you more energy, help keep you feeling full longer and are slower to digest so they help keep weight down. They also help boost serotonin levels in the brain that help maintain feelings of calmness and happiness, can help you reduce your cravings for less healthy foods, help you get a better night's sleep, and help keep your mood stable.

Fatten Up Your Diet the Right Way
The right way to fatten up your diet is not by gorging on cookies, cakes, and chips. These are all full of trans-fats which increase free radicals in the body, increase LDL cholesterol levels, reduce HDL cholesterol levels, increase triglycerides, add to belly fat, and contribute to inflammation, cardiovascular disease and other unhealthy conditions. On the other hand there are healthy fats that the body and in particular the brain need to function. These types of fats include essential fatty acids, monounsaturated , and other unsaturated fats. Eating fatty fish such as salmon and tuna will help you add omega-3 fatty acids to your diet that research shows is particularly good for heart health, fighting depression and memory loss as you get older. Nuts, dark-green leafy vegetables, various seeds such as chia and flax, and oils such as flax or olive as well as AFA bluegreen algae are other good sources for omega-3's. For a cost-effective, convenient and easy way to not only get the powerhouse nutrition of AFA bluegreen algae, but also the probiotics and digestive enzymes to help your body absorb nutrients, these supplement packets offer a great natural solution.

Now that you know what healthy eating habits can add to your longevity and which foods to definitely avoid, you'll see why your own fountain of youth is right in your own kitchen. Making some dietary changes and including wholefood supplements to fill in the nutritional gaps can help you "live long and prosper" and there's no time like the present to get started on adding some of these natural solutions to your regimen.

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Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/features/eating-longevity
https://www.drfuhrman.com/library/article13.aspx

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