The only two external factors that we can control and improve are nutrition and physical activity.
Diet and nutrition
We live longer now but in reality we are less healthy; 30 years ago people were typically affected by chronic illnesses around the age of 50, now already around the age of 40. Diseases such as diabetes, blood vessel restriction, cancer, fatty liver, Alzheimer’s disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and constipation are all illnesses due to civilization.
Even young people, who had few problems many years ago, now suffer from gastritis, flat feet, back pain, dental malocclusion problems, panic attacks, asthma and food intolerance. There we can really understand the importance of food.
According to recent research on aging well, the most recommended foods are in order of worse to better:
- Processed meats made from cow, pork, mutton or horse.
- Red meats from animals that are fed with grain and do not move from the stable, cow’s milk and industrial yogurt.
- Red meats from free range animals and cheeses.
- White meats (chicken, turkey, rabbit and pheasant, better if they are free range and eating grass), eggs and goat cheese.
- Fish rich in omega 3 oils (salmon, sardines, anchovies, herring, and mackerel).
- Proteins from plants (walnuts, peas, beans and lentils).
- Vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, sauerkraut, Brussels sprouts, soy beans, mushrooms and almonds).
Carbohydrates are sugars and it is mainly sugars that accelerate aging. The fibers (which are complex carbohydrates) are instead useful for intestinal flora. It is better to eat organic and raw foods. Seasonal fruit is preferable and, after washing, should preferably be eaten with the peel because most of the are located just below it.
From the worst to the best:
- bread, pasta and white or refined rice, potatoes.
- bread, pasta and whole grain rice.
- herbaceous plants: oats, quinoa, millet and buckwheat.
- vegetables, nuts, legumes, mushrooms and fruit.
The fruit contains many sugars but mostly fiber and thousands of micronutrients useful to the body that we do not find in bread, pasta and rice.
Avoid glucose, fructose and sucrose, which are mostly found in soft drinks (one soft drink has the equivalent of 10 coffee spoons of sugar), industrial juices, cookies, sweets and snacks. (Use stevia or agave to sweeten).
If you really want to live long you must eat only carbohydrates with a low glycemic index and avoid desserts, sweets, pasta and rice (except wild rice).
It’s important to know that eating fats does not make you fat, it is the carbohydrates that do.
Research done in the 1970’s and badly interpreted created a major misunderstanding regarding fat as they argued that cholesterol was the main cause of heart attacks.
At the end of the 90’s it was subsequently shown that sugars and carbohydrates are more related to heart attacks than are the fats. Healthy fats are useful and essential to we human beings for the brain, hormones and reproduction.
The brain is 2% of our body weight yet it contains 25% of all our body’s cholesterol and consumes 20% of all our body’s energy.
Cholesterol is a vital substance for the body and it does not make any sense that a healthy person tries to keep it low.
The uncontrolled explosion of obesity and degenerative diseases (diabetes, as well as cancer, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, etc.) and at the same time the phenomenal increase in drug consumption (statins, cholesterol lowering fads, are among the best-selling drugs in the world) are all related to the so-called no fat or low fat and / or low-calorie diet.
But why did the recommendation to not eat saturated fat cause such a scary epidemic of obesity? After all fats are very high in calories. It is true, but a fat-based meal satisfies a long time, while a carbohydrate meal fills you up at first but then leaves a so-called “hole in your stomach”, which then makes us compulsively consume sweet or salty foods, fruit juices and snacks. Rapid blood glucose swings push the pancreas to secrete insulin which then lowers blood sugar levels, but it also makes you hungry after a few hours. Carbohydrates satisfy less than fat or protein so you eat more and this causes weight gain.
Excessive sugar consumption in the form of pasta, bread, potatoes or sweets causes an increase in blood glucose which then needs to be lowered immediately by insulin. The process works when the quantities of sugars are reasonable but it starts to have problems when it becomes excessive and then diabetes may arise.
Conversely, excessive fat consumption (as long as healthy) does not cause anything. Fats are simply absorbed by the body much more slowly and do not cause hyperglycemia.
A research on persons around 95 years of age showed that all those who had great mental lucidity had only one thing in common: High cholesterol (around 260)
Those who have too low levels of cholesterol have more physical and psychological disorders (antisocial, depression and dementia).
We must eat more healthy fats because they slow down aging and decrease the risk of degenerative diseases.
Healthy fats are:
- nuts, seeds, olives, avocados, fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, herring and sardines).
- extra-virgin olive oil (cold pressed only), walnut oil and flaxseed oil.
- To cook: olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil and butter.
– trans-fatty acids found mainly in industrially prepared foods (cookies, snacks, various sweets, fast food and margarine).
– Certain omega-6 fatty acids, which can increase inflammation (corn oil, palm oil, sesame seeds and margarine)
Proteins, carbohydrates and fats are macronutrients that we take in excessive amounts causing obesity on the one hand and sub-nutrition due to lack of micronutrients on the other.
The micronutrients needed to avoid many aging-related illnesses are vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, acid-phenols, lignins, omega-3 fatty acids, etc.
Example of important micronutrients:
Vitamins A, vitamin B complex
Magnesium, selenium and vitamin k
Herbs and spices should replace or decrease salt intake and make food more gratifying, tasty and digestible: garlic, basil, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, cumin, turmeric, chives, nutmeg, marjoram, black pepper, parsley, rosemary, sage, ginger, saffron, etc.
Water (one liter per 25 kg weight), coffee, green tea, red wine (do not exceed two glasses a day), freshly squeezed fruit juice, almonds, rice and soy milk.
Better to do intense activities for 20-30 minutes a day until we have more free time for taking long daily walks.
The most important factor in physical activity is that it should be enjoyable.
Influence of genetic factors on aging
Modern neurology teaches that 60% of what we are depends on genetic factors and therefore inherited and little modifiable. 40%, on the other hand, depends on our lifestyle.
Usually every species makes genetic mutations to survive longer, for example the turtle has a shell and can live up to 200 years. All the animals that live long have either armor, spines or have become gigantic (whales). When the circumstances are right we have seen that the life of animals in nature is much longer.
Human beings, however, is very fragile and his evolution depends only on his intelligence.
Unfortunately we have not yet undergone a genetic mutation that will allow us to live longer because it is only recently that we as a species have a greater expectation of life and most of the major mutations occur only every 20,000 years.
1) Those which slow down aging
Satisfaction of one’s work
Reliable and happy relationships
Sense of personal happiness
Ability to have and maintain intimate friendships
Sense of humor
Having fun while spending one’s free time
Satisfying sexual life
Ability to express emotions
Feeling of having sufficient financial resources
Ability to adapt creatively to changes
2) Those that accelerate aging
Loneliness and boredom
Being constantly and excessively concerned
Dissatisfaction with one’s work
Despair, regret, hypercritism and irritability
Inability to express one’s emotions
One ages faster if he has a poor lifestyle, neglects his physical appearance and deprives himself.
If we feel older and others see us as being older, then we really do become older, even physically.
If, however, we strive to maintain a proper lifestyle and feel young, we will look younger as well.
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