After writing more than 30 books on childcare—and eight children—the husband-and-wife team of Dr. William Sears and Martha Sears are making a temporary radical departure…with a book on healthy aging.
Here's the simplest explanation of aging you have ever heard. Aging, in a nutshell, means "rust"—too much sticky stuff accumulates in the body, and the body's garbage disposal system weakens so it can't get rid of the sticky stuff.
Incorporate these 10 steps into a health plan that simply keeps the rust and sticky stuff out of your body and strengthens your garbage disposal—or immune system.
1. Make health your hobby.
Study every organ of your body and learn how to take care of it. Create your own personal maintenance manual—and follow it.
2. Move more, sit less.
Exciting new medical discoveries have shown that when you exercise, blood flows faster across the lining of your blood vessels, called the endothelium. Your endothelium is like having a giant pharmacy inside your body. New research has shown that when blood flows faster over the surface of your endothelium, it opens your giant pharmacy and releases natural internal medicines, such as those that lower the "highs" (high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar) and raises the "lows" (such as depression). To keep your pharmacy open and to release your natural internal medicines, get moving!
3. Graze on good foods.
Follow the rule of twos: Eat twice as often, half as much and chew twice as long. Grazing throughout the day on frequent mini meals rather than gorging on a few big meals improves nutrient absorption, lessens heartburn and helps weight control. An interesting study showed that people eating the same foods and the same number of calories lost more weight when they ate six mini meals instead of three big meals.
4. Enjoy smoothies three times a week.
It will add years to your life and life to your years. I call this "the sipping solution." Make a smoothie containing four to five servings of your favorite fruits, especially berries; organic yogurt; ground flaxseeds; tofu; juices like pomegranate, carrots and greens; and cinnamon. Sip on this smoothie all day long as your breakfast, lunch and snacks. Then eat a normal, healthy dinner. You will be amazed at how satisfied and energetic you will feel. This is also an extremely effective and lasting strategy for weight control.
5. Eat pure.
If you put junk food into your body, you get back junk health. Studies show that people who eat the purest live longer and healthier. Shop the perimeter of the supermarket. Remove from your pantry, fridge and shopping list foods that contain "bad words" (or chemical agers) on the label: high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated, "#" symbols (such "Red #40"), artificial sweeteners and chemical preservatives.
Instead, eat these 16 superfoods for prime-time health: seafood, dairy, spinach, nuts, olive oil, broccoli, oatmeal, flaxseed meal, avocados, pomegranate juice, tomatoes, tofu, yogurt, red onions, garlic, beans and lentils.
If you want to feel like a teenager, you can no longer eat like a teenager.
6. Give yourself an oil change.
Eat more of the "young" oils—fish oil, flax oil, olive oil and nut oils. Eat less of the "old" oils: partially hydrogenated, corn, cottonseed, palm kernel, safflower, sunflower and soybean. The research is overwhelming that eating more fish, flax, olive and nut oils and less processed oils contribute to a healthier and longer life.
7. Eat more fish and less meat.
One of the most compelling health statistics is that seafood eaters live longer and healthier than do meat eaters. After a meal of salmon versus sirloin, sticky stuff does not accumulate in the lining of the arteries. Nutritionally speaking, this cardio-protective mechanism is called preventing post-prandial lipemia.
Seafood prevents the buildup of sticky stuff; meat increases the buildup of sticky stuff in the body, especially the blood vessels. It's as simple as that. Like fruits and vegetables, the omega-3 oils found in seafood are anti-sticky stuff.
- People who eat more fruits and vegetables live the longest and healthiest.
- People who eat more seafood and less meat live the longest and healthiest.
- People who move more and sit less live the longest and healthiest.
8. Reduce your waist.
Suppose you went in for a checkup, but your doctor had time to do only one test to accurately measure your overall health. Would the doctor:
A. Measure your weight on a scale or a BMI.
B. Do an electrocardiogram.
C. Listen to your heart with a stethoscope.
D. Measure your blood cholesterol.
E. Measure your waist size.
If you answered "E. Measure your waist size"…you are correct. Unlike the excess fat in our cheeks, neck, arms and thighs, excessive abdominal fat behaves like a chemical factory, spewing out unhealthy products that cause all those diseases you don't want to get, especially diabetes, cardiovascular disease and those "-itis" illnesses—bronchitis, arthritis, colitis and dermatitis. Staying lean (meaning having the right weight and waist size for your individual body type) is one of the top health words for longevity.
9. Stress less.
In addition to working out a routine for the health of your body, it's as equally important to work out a routine for the health of your mind. Identify the stressors in your life that you can get rid of, or at least minimize. Make humor an important part of your daily living. Practice deep breathing as a stress-buster. Meditate for at least five minutes a day. Focus on solutions, not problems. One of the secrets of people who live the longest and healthiest is the mantra: "If you can't change it, don't worry about it."
People who live the longest and healthiest have deep social connections. Giving love and feeling loved is therapeutic. Take time and effort to strengthen the love relationships in your life. Make new relationships. Heal troubled relationships with family members. Remember, in healing others, you heal yourself. Serve! Enjoy the helper's high. The best way to relieve your stress is to help others relieve theirs.
Dr. William Sears is the father of eight children and has practiced pediatrics for more than three decades. Martha Sears is a registered nurse, childbirth educator and parenting and health consultant. They are the authors of more than 30 books on childcare and live in Southern California.
Printed from Oprah.com on Friday, March 7, 2014
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