100 Tips for a Long and Healthy Life
Part One: 1 - 20
by Daniel LebowitzAdapted from 121 Ways to Live 121 Years and More!: Prescriptions for Longevity by Ronald Klatz and Robert M. Goldman
1. Inflammation is the new cholesterol Cholesterol is responsible for the buildup of fatty deposits in arteries. However, this is only part of the issue in heart disease. Inflammation can weaken arteries and cause cholesterol buildups to break off and create blockages (heart attacks). Get levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) tested; high levels are a sign of inflammation and increased risk of heart disease.
2. Too much red meat and too much sugar can increase the risk of cancer Dietary factors cause up to 30 percent of cancer risk in western countries. The American Cancer Society found that men and women who ate the most red meat had a 53 percent higher risk of some colon cancers. A study of 1 million Koreans over 10 years found that high sugar consumption could be a risk factor for several cancers. This increased risk may be mediated through glucose intolerance and insulin resistance in conjunction with overweight or obesity.
3. No smoke, less stroke Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke. The carbon monoxide in tobacco decreases the amount of oxygen in the blood. Toxic chemicals in tobacco also weaken the walls of blood vessels, so dangerous clots are more likely to form. The first benefits of quitting smoking are present in as little as 20 minutes, at which time blood pressure and pulse rate drop. In as little as eight hours, blood carbon monoxide levels return to normal. By 24 hours, there is already a lower risk of heart attack or stroke.
4. Overweight increases the risk of diabetes Men and women with increased body fat levels and increased waist-to-hip circumference ratios have higher levels of insulin resistance. This, in turn, is a risk factor for diabetes.
5. Knowing the signs of a heart attack can save lives Many victims of heart attack die within a month of the incident. Most of those die before even reaching a hospital. Thus, it is crucially important to recognize the signs of a heart attack early. Signs include: chest pain, pressure, fullness or discomfort; pain or discomfort in one or both arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach; shortness of breath; and sweating, nausea or feeling light-headed. If you believe you are having a heart attack, call 911 immediately. While waiting for the ambulance, chew a single 325mg aspirin—responsible for a 23 percent reduced risk of death.
6. Exercising the body strengthens the brain One study showed that exercising twice a week combined with a healthy diet starting in middle age can decrease the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease by up to 50 percent. Conversely, other studies have shown that high blood pressure, high cholesterol and overweight/obesity all contribute to a greater risk of Alzheimer’s.
7. DASH to decrease stroke risk Treating high blood pressure can reduce the risk of stroke by up to 40 percent, according to the World Health Organization. Hypertension is the largest single risk factor for stroke. The U.S. government has developed the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which includes foods low in sodium and calories and high in nutritional value. Increase nuts, seeds, vegetables and beans. Decrease meats, poultry and fish. Minimize processed, salty and cured foods.
8. Less worry, less Alzheimer's A study reported that people who worry and experience high levels of stress are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. The increased risk may be as much as double.
9. Healthy eating curbs the risk of heart disease A study reported that people who worry and experience high levels of stress are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. The increased risk may be as much as double. Include colorful vegetables and fruits, decrease meat and dairy and increase healthy oils and fats such as olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids.
10. Vitamin D decreases prostate cancer risk A study found that high levels of Vitamin D may decrease prostate cancer risk by as much as 65 percent in some men. Other studies have shown the prostate uses Vitamin D for normal growth of prostate cells and to prevent spread of prostate cancer. Foods rich in Vitamin D include egg yolks and liver, and margarine, cereals and milk are often fortified with it.
11. Fish decreases stroke risk A study found that eating broiled or baked fish at least once per week decreased the risk of stroke in people 65 and up. The risk reduction was as much as 28 percent. In contrast, fried fish consumption increased stroke risk by 37 percent.
12. Lifestyle can affect diabetes risk People who walk at least 30 minutes, five times per week and reduce body weight by 7 percent are able to decrease their risk of diabetes by up to 58 percent.
13. Periodontal disease can damage the brain Periodontal disease at an early age correlates with risk of Alzheimer's disease. Specifically, people who have periodontal disease by age 35 had a 500 percent increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. This is more evidence of the link between chronic inflammation and diseases of aging.
14. Fitness while young correlates with a decreased risk of chronic diseases Young men and women who are fit are 50 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure and 50 percent less likely to develop diabetes. Furthermore, these fit, young adults are less likely to develop extensive weight gain over time.
15. Stay on top of HPV Pap smears are important but may not detect abnormalities until cancer is already present. The HPV test can help to diagnose problems at an earlier (and easier to treat) stage. Furthermore, there are now HPV vaccines available, which could greatly reduce the risk of HPV-related cervical cancer over time.
16. Exercise is crucial in controlling diabetes Exercise helps diabetics control their blood sugar, weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. It can also help maintain adequate circulation, decrease heart disease and nerve damage. Moderate intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes, five days per week should be adequate.
17. Wine helps prevent dementia Compounds found in red wine appear to inhibit the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Specifically, the wine inhibits an enzyme that is a factor in the production of amyloid plaques in the brain. The deposition of these amyloid plaques is part of the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease. Resveratrol, which appears to be the relevant ingredient in wine, is available as a nutritional supplement.
18. Smoking leads to early death A study over 50 years found smokers die 10 years earlier than non-smokers. Middle-aged smokers who quit reduce their risk of death by 46 percent as compared to those who continue to smoke. Quitting smoking reduces risk of heart attack, stroke and lung cancer.
19. Multivitamins improve health People who take multivitamins have better short-term memory, problem-solving skills and improved immunity.
20. Sun protection is important Most sunburns happen between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., when the sun is at its strongest. Use SPF 15 or greater sunscreen. Protect eyes with sunglasses that block at least 99 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays. For those low on hair, don’t forget to protect the scalp as well.
Daniel Lebowitz, M.D., is chief medical officer of the World Wellness Health Institute, in Bala Cynwyd. Connect with him at 646-279-9544 or WorldWellnessHealth.com. January 2015.