Ways To Live A Longer & Healthier Life

It’s the end of October and Halloween is upon us. Ghosts and ghouls are on the mind of everyone. Death is en vogue at this time of the year. Even still I cannot help but think that many people died this year. Many celebrities. Many friends of friends. Maybe this year was a standout year for death but I know that it has solidified in me an intense desire to live a longer life.

The Fear of Old Age

The funny thing though about longer life is that we are bound to get old! That is in fact what most people fear about living longer and it is often the reason that many people decide that they don’t want to live longer. They don’t want to have to deal with the problems that often comes with old age. What most people don’t full y understand however is that the problems that come with living longer can be avoided with a little work today while we are still young.

If you've been following along with this blog for the past five months or so you surely have noticed that though this site is called “How to Live a Longer Life” it’s not just about longer life or living long; it’s about preventing disease and lowering your risk for early death. This site is about extending life and increasing life expectancy. I want to stretch the limits of human longevity in my life and break the rules of who is typically considered to be old and feeble.

How to Live Longer

About a week ago I gave my recipe in summarization of how to live longer. Increasing your life expectancy comes down to just four basic things (all of which can be broken down further of course). Those four things are making better lifestyle choices, eating better, staying physically active, and staying emotionally healthy by being positive and happy and having a sense of purpose in your life.

As I previously said, longer life has been on my mind lately, even while ghosts rule the Halloween nights. I am very happy right now. I have a great wife and a loving family. I love my cats! I am fortunate to have a good job with recognition. I live a healthy lifestyle. I wear my seat belt and drive the speed limit. I don’t smoke and I drink in moderation. It is very rare that I overindulge. I even eat right and likely follow CRON without even going out of my way. I eat lots of veggies and fish and always keep to smaller portions. Not only that but I am in good shape. Not great shape but decent shape. This is the one area of my life that I need to work on. I weigh in at a solid 150 pounds with a very low BMI. I have good cardiovascular stamina. I am fortunate.

I have both purposefully and accidentally fit the criteria for extreme human longevity. I have purpose and I desire to live longer. I fully intend on experiencing a longer life and I want to encourage you, my reader, that you too can live a longer life as well. There is no need to fear old age because if you prepare for your elder years today you will enjoy them down the road.

Actions Which Extend Life

To this end I have taken up identifying the many actions we can take as individuals to increase our lifespans, extend life and live longer. The goal of this site is to completely describe how the general theory of extending life works and then back it all up with the clinical research that proves that it can be done.

You can lower LDL cholesterol levels and prevent plaque build up and heart disease. You can lower risks for prostate cancer through your diet. Sure you’ll continue to get your prostate cancer screening tests but you can get them with less anxiety. You can improve insulin levels and insulin sensitivity decreasing your risks for diabetes. You can actively take steps to live a longer life.

A Longer Life Invitation

Let me encourage you my reader to delve into the archives and learn what this site is about and how you can use it to live longer. Start putting the pieces of the puzzle together and learn how you body works as you stimulate it with nutrition and exercise. Learn how everything works in tandem to help you to either live a longer life or a shorter life.

If you’re a long time reader the let me apologize for this ramble of a post but I felt a calling tonight to reach out to my new readers and pull them back into the archives and inspire them to desire a longer life as much as I do, not to fear human longevity but to seek it.

In the following weeks and months I anticipate many good things. I hope you’ll stick around for them. I will likely not be posting 30-40 posts a month anymore but that does not mean I’ve lost interest. This longevity blog is evolving and I am evolving with it. I hope you’ve enjoyed it so far and I hope you’ll continue to follow along. Thanks for reading; and have a happy life… a longer life.

Chronic Migraine Headaches & Heart Attacks

chronic migraine headaches and heart attack
Chronic migraine headaches are a pain to say the least but according to new research and observations they may be a warning sign for other more serious problems. In people with migrain headaches, life expectancy rates appear to be lower than the general populace.

Chronic Migraine Headaches Might Foreshadow Future Heart Attacks

A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine followed 20,084 men between the ages of 40 and 84 whom did not have preexisting heart disease for twenty years and found that those who suffered from migraine headaches were 24 percent more likely to develop heart disease and 42 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack than those who did not. It is also notable that additional studies confirm the same correlation of migraine headaches and heart disease between women and men alike.

Of the entire pool of men 7.2 percent claimed to have suffered from migraine headaches in the first five years of the study. "Over the subsequent 15.7 years of follow-up, there were 2,236 first occurrences of major heart disease events -- nonfatal ischemic stroke, nonfatal myocardial infarction, or death from ischemic cardiovascular disease. There were 2,257 coronary revascularizations, and 2,625 angina cases reported." Of these events there was a strong statistical correlation with those who had identified experiencing migraine headaches in the past.

Study Controls & Possible Causation

Considering this is a correlation one could look into other factors that might identify future heart disease such as typical indicators for risk such as elevated BMI, RLS, genetics, and others. The study did adjust for hypertension, smoking, and aspirin usage so the case for chronic migraine headaches as a precursor for heart problems can be made relevant.

However, it is quite possible that elevated BMI as opposed to elevated hypertension, contributes to chonic migraines which then in turn elevate risk factors for heart attacks earlier in life rather than later; this however we do not know and is only my personal speculation. If you suffer from chronic migraine headaches maybe you should give some serious thought into talking to your doctor about potential heart attack risks you may have. Learn about the leading causes of hypertension and start from there; it just may help.

Med Page Today - http://www.medpagetoday.com/Neurology/Migraines/5492
Archives of Internal Medicine, April 2007 - http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/167/8/795

Healthy Weight Loss Follow Up

This post is a follow up to my lose 10 pounds by New Years post from last week. I had a few comments about the post namely because it was both so long and also so contrary to many schools of thought about weight loss.

Conventional Weight Loss Theory

The normal thought process on how to lose weight healthy and permanently typically states that the dieter needs to both limit certain foods while also starting an exercise routine. I wanted to clear up my point of view and state that I do indeed agree with this prescription for weight loss. If it didn’t work it wouldn’t be the normal way of thinking.

The problem with me however is that I know people are people and I know that the majority of people are lazy. I can’t even count the number of times I started an exercise routine and failed to follow through with it. I’ve tried to wean myself off of doughnuts countless times and always failed. I know that eating more vegetarian meals is better for me than eating more non-vegetarian meals. I also know that a quick bite from Burger King is both cheap and easy and tough to pass up sometimes.

Losing Weight Is Hard - Take It Slow

What’s my point? I truly believe that starting significant life changing routines such as cutting out fast food from your life entirely is bound for failure. I know that eliminating junk food from one’s life is challenging and will usually fail. I know getting out of bed an hour earlier on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to hit the treadmill will quickly become a faded desire in most people’s lives.

I feel that changing lifestyles shouldn’t be dramatic if you want them to stick which is why I feel subtle changes for the better are the most surefire way to weight loss that you can find. By taking your normal everyday diet and not changing it in any way other than the quantity you are bond to have an opportunity to succeed. Sure you may at first feel as if you are stifling yourself, but this can be curbed by drinking water for weight loss assistance.  The water fills you up while you eat less food making quantity reduction easier to achieve.  And think of it this way, never having to think about what you can or can’t eat will feel real good in the end.

If you missed my last post on losing weight I encourage you to take a look and see what you think. Of course if you don’t feel that the subtle way to weight loss is for you then that’s fine. Traditional weight loss plans are just fine. The most important thing is that you find a plan that works for you which you feel comfortable with and believe in. Good luck.

Prostate Cancer Screening

According to a group of researchers from Harvard Medical School it turns out that approximately 16 percent of prostate cancer screenings that are performed are performed improperly and are of questionable worth. The reasoning behind this: The patients who are in the 16 percent block include predominantly patients who are under 40 years of age and patients who are over 75 years of age.

The Value of Prostate Cancer Screening

It’s thought that patients who are in these age groups have little to gain from a prostate screening; their prostate cancer risk is moot. Those who are young typically get the diagnosis of lets wait and see and those who are elderly are often beyond the therapeutic age and benefits to treatment are less likely to be worthwhile. Because of this the tests which doctors perform for these categories of people are rushed and/or unthorough.

Interestingly the breakdown of who ordered these tests is quite interesting. Male practitioners specializing in urology who were infrequent PSA testers were most likely to order unwarranted prostate-cancer screenings. For the purpose of the study unwarranted prostate cancer screenings were those that occurred on young patients (under 40) and old patients (over 75). The doctors that stuck to the rule of thumb for prostate cancer screenings most often were attending physicians, nurses and physician assistants.

My Take on Prostate Cancer Screening

I’ve discussed the prostate cancer screening before and I’ve noted that the wait-and-see treatment is often the way to go if diagnosis is positive. I’ve even noted the many clinically significant findings that show that dealing with enlarged prostate at home is possible for a time at least so this doesn’t surprise me about the inappropriateness of screenings on the under 40 crowd. I would venture to say that it’s probably not worth the time or energy to get your first screenings done early unless you have obvious reason to do so but after 75 years of age I differ… mostly because I feel that 75 is young and human longevity suggests that we can and should plan to live a longer life, another generation past 75 in fact. I would hope my doctor takes the time to do my prostate screening and do it right even when I get into my late retirement years.

Veterans Health Administration - http://www.research.va.gov/news/research_highlights/prostate-090707.cfm

How To Reverse Plaque Buildup In Your Arteries

Atherosclerosis & Plaque Buildup

Atherosclerosis is simply defined as plaque build up in the arteries. Sure it’s more complex than that but that is the root of the matter. The term atherosclerosis refers to the hardening of the arteries due to the plaque buildup and the plaque buildup in arteries is basically caused by fat deposits which form due to an injury to the innermost layer of the blood vessels, the endothelium. Once the endothelium is damaged fatty plaques can then start to build up in the arteries. Without the damage however these plaques will not generally form. So what then causes the fat deposit and resulting plaque buildup?

Primary Causes of Fat Deposits in Arteries

• Cholesterol
• Inflammation
• Scar Tissue, and
• Calcium Deposits

How Does Plaque Build Up in the Arteries

Plaque builds up in the arteries generally due to what is in your blood stream at any given time. Toxins and blood sugar levels have a part in damaging the endothelium while inflammation and high blood pressure can expedite it.

We have all heard of bad cholesterol (LDL). This is the cholesterol which builds up on the artery walls and is generally first thought of as plaque. The good cholesterol (HDL) is also generally known to escort bad cholesterol out of the arteries so that these plaques do not form as easily. When there is an excess of LDL cholesterol it does not get pulled out of the body quickly enough and the excess enters the damaged arterial walls and settles. This is the simplest way that plaque buildup in arteries occurs.

Note: If you are interested check out these handy articles on how to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol. Both of these activities in combination will help prevent plaque buildup in arteries and help you live longer in the long run.

The plaque buildup also occurs while the damage is being repaired. The inflammation associated with the repair often invites further plaque accumulation in the wound and eventually the scar tissue forms and locks in the plaque deposits until further arterial damage occurs.

Healing Arteries Lock in Plaque Buildup

The problem with this process is that the healing of the wound has now created a plaque buildup under the endothelium which, if big enough, could slow the blood supply to the body down the line. The heart easily comes to mind because when it does not get the blood due to a blockage then a heart attack occurs. Generally though, the blockage will not get big enough for a long time and will only occur after multiple wounds and healings.

Because plaque buildup in arteries feeds further arterial damage it is imperative that you make sure you avoid damaging your arteries in the first place because the blockages will likely come back to haunt you in your middle ages and later life. Living a longer life pretty much requires healthy arteries free from plaque buildup.

Unfortunately, however this is not always the case in real life as heart disease is the number one cause of death in the nation and the bulk of it all happens because of atherosclerosis and plaque buildup in arteries caused by poor dietary choices, low activity levels, and less than healthy personal lifestyle choices such as smoking tobacco.

Avoid Plaque Buildup and Live Longer

What then is a solution to plaque buildup in arteries? In summary the solution is everything you would normally do to live a longer life. I have recently prepared and published a lengthy tutorial on living longer and I encourage you to take a gander at it and start working on decreasing your arterial plaque buildup and many other risk factors for heart disease and early death.

Flu Vaccination of Hospital Workers and the Swine Flu (H1N1)

A couple days ago I finally got my seasonal flu shot. A say finally because my wife has had her’s since late August, it seems like I’ve waited around for the longest time. Because she’s spending upwards of 12 hours in the hospital every day of the week right now she is at high risk for carrying the flu back home and thus I’m at high risk for picking it up through her. I don’t know about you but I would rather not contract influenza if I can avoid it; it's no fun.

Flu Vaccination of Hospital Workers

Last night I was lounging around the house with her and we were discussing my sore left shoulder, the shoulder where I got my flu vaccination shot, when she informed me that she was not required to get the vaccine as a healthcare professional, she was merely encouraged to do so. This completely amazed me. She even told me that many of the same doctors and nurses who are supposed to encourage their patients to get these vaccines are often apprehensive about getting them themselves. Unbelievable.

It turns out that there doesn’t seem to be any significant reasoning behind this. It’s not that everyone is unsure whether the shots are safe; it seems as if people just don’t want to take the time to get vaccinated. If it’s like this in the hospitals I can’t imagine what it’s like for the general public.

We talked a little more and she told me that many of the nurses didn’t even realize that they could be carriers of the flu even if they weren’t suffering from symptoms and that the vaccine not only protects them but also their loved one’s at home. After all, if you can’t carry the bug then you can’t infect your family at home.

Flu Season Is Here

OK, so this is not that big of a deal with the seasonal flu; it probably should be for hospital workers but this is how it’s been for years I guess. What concerns me however is the fact that H1N1 has been around since March slowly working it’s way through the population even during the summer months. Now that flu season is starting up the bug will have its opportunity to do the greatest damage.

I’m not a sensationalist, I’m just a realist. Flu season is in the winter for a reason. The bug simply transmits easier in cold temperatures. This and the fact that school is in session can make for quick spreading throughout a community. I feel that simple preventative tactics should always be followed and getting vaccinated should be a priority. It’s cheap, effective, and preventative in nature; why not get it.

Will People Get The Swine Flue Vaccine?

If people are so apprehensive and lazy about getting the seasonal flu vaccine then what’s that say for the upcoming H1N1 flu vaccine that has yet to get to the general population. Here in our area the vaccine hasn’t even been offered to hospital workers yet; will they muster up the motivation to take it? Will the population take it? I’m sure it’ll be more expensive so my guess is less people will get the swine flu vaccination than the normal flu vaccination.

I want to encourage you to get your shot now and the H1N1 shot if you are high risk. There is a blog I recently came across that is all about the H1N1 swine flu. It’s got a lot of information on it and I hope you’ll check it out. Despite my plea here in this post, the vaccine is not a passion of mine so you probably won’t read too many posts from me on this so if this topic resonates with you I’m sure you’ll enjoy following the linked blog.

Thanks for reading; and I’ll check back in with normal posting probably by the first of the week. I’ve decided to relax my posting schedule a bit due to other commitments; I hope you’ll understand.

How To Live A Longer Life

All You Need to Know About Living a Longer Life.

I've been writing about longevity, disease prevention, and seeking longer life for more than five months now and I've yet to really put the pieces together on how to live a longer life so I thought it was high time that I did just that. Sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and sink into your favorite chair and open your mind. You’re about to learn how to live a longer life in about 5 minutes worth of reading.

The Joys of a Longer Life

Generally speaking living a longer life is a good thing if you are in good enough health to enjoy it. In these days medicine has gotten so good that we can keep people alive far longer than they can really enjoy. This brings the cost of healthcare up and makes people nervous about being too old. I say forget all of that because living a longer life does not have to be so dramatic; it can be enjoyable.  By remembering just a few basic health secrets and maybe with just a little luck, you should be able to achieve a longer life than average quite easily.

How to Live a Longer Life

Happiness for Longevity
There are a few components to longevity that seem to be universally noted by study after study.  Studies which are both informal and clinical in nature routinely find that people who are generally positive and have a good outlook on life live longer.

You can capitalize on this by simply living your life as a happy person. How do you do this? It’s very personal but I always find that treating other people as VIPs helps. Eventually you start to feel really good about all the good you do and all the people you've helped along the way.  The great thing is treating others well is typically reciprocated.

Another simple way to be happy and positive is to place great importance and value on your family. It seems counterproductive sometimes as family can sometimes be stressors but on average those people who value and are very close to their families, generally live a longer life.

Lifestyle Choices Lead to Longer Life
Often this is the most obvious element to longevity and yet it is often the one (or at least one of the) top reasons people do not live longer. On average smoking kills people 14 years earlier than everybody else. It leads to lung cancer, COPD, emphysema, etc. It also is a leading cause of heart disease and diabetes which are both high on the leading causes of death list. Just eliminating or avoiding smoking will let you live longer. It will give you a longer life and a more enjoyable life as you will be more like to be healthy in your old age.

Excess of alcohol is another obvious risk factor that does not lead to longer life. Yes, it does lead to longer life if it is used in moderation, but in excess it leads to accidents, heart disease, cancers, and to the general breaking down of the body. How many alcoholics do you see that look young? Not many I would guess. Cut back and you will live a longer life.

Many other lifestyle choices promote longevity and long life. Seat belts are one. You should use them. Drive defensively. Be careful when taking part in accident prone activities. Accidents are still one of the leading causes of death and if you avoid them you will be more likely to live a longer life.

The Longevity Diet
Over the past decade or so it has become increasingly clear that your diet has a lot to do with longevity. It has been shown that mice will live a longer life (roughly 30 percent longer) if they are fed a diet that is 30 percent lower in calories than a normal diet. The same findings of longevity can be said for large primates as this has even been substantiated in chimpanzees; the closest blood relative to humans.

How many really old obese people do you see walking around? Not many. If you want to live longer keep your calorie count low. You don’t have to starve yourself just keep it low. Normal daily calorie intake seems to be in the 2000 range. A 30 percent drop would be 600 calories less per day leaving you with a daily intake of 1,400. If you want to live longer this is probably a good start. If this is too extreme for you shoot for a 15 percent reduction instead.  It can't hurt.

Other dietary considerations consist of upping the intake of all fruits and veggies for their nutritional and disease fighting attributes, eating more beans and legumes for their fiber and protein, and greatly increasing the consumption of fish. Eating fish is consistently suggestive of greater longevity in research and it is probably safe to assume you will live a longer life if you eat it more often.

The reason of course: Fish leads to longer life because of their high levels of fatty acids. The omega-3s if you will. Living a longer life should come automatically with more of these omega-3s circulating in your blood.  They have been shown to protect against diseases of seemingly all kinds. Interestingly enough wine drinkers typically have more circulating omega-3s in their blood stream so drinking a glass of wine daily should help keep them their too.

To expand on drinking wine for increased longevity let me further implore you to add wine to your diet. Resveratrol has been shown to have incredibly high concentrations in wine and it has been closely linked with disease prevention and cultures who tend to live longer. If you want to live a longer life, drinking a glass of wine a day should be mandatory as it covers two completely different schools of thought.

Physical Activity: Conducive to Longer Life
This is the longevity tip that nobody want to hear but it is so important. You have to stay active if you want to live longer. There are few people who live long lives stuck to a couch and not owning walking shoes. People who live longer are typically on their feet more often and working physically every day.

You do not necessarily have to go to the gym and work out every day but you do have to get up and move around. The human form evolved around physical labor and only in the most recent generations have we had the luxury of sitting down and relaxing all day every day if we choose. Even those of us who are “working hard” are often not physically working hard. We sit at desks for hours upon hours. We drive everywhere and we moan when there’s not a parking spot up close. We go crazy when we have to go up more than a single flight of stairs, and the thought of walking one block to go anywhere is out of the question.

This is what I’m talking about: sloth. If longer life is the goal then longer life will only come to those who stop complaining and start seeking these opportunities to stay active in normal everyday mundane life. Walk the store with a shopping basket in hand rather than a cart. Park far away. Walk to the stores from your home if you can. Stop with the coffee break and walk around the block instead. Take the stairs. Walk the dog a block further than normal.  There are so many areas of your life where you can add physical activity into your routine. Longer life does not come with sitting around and waiting for old age.  It happens when you use your body and keep it in shape. And you know what? When you get bored, sure, the gym aint half bad either.

Longer Life in a Nutshell

That’s it folks. That is how to live a longer life in a nutshell. I can’t tell you how long you’ll live but if you follow these longevity tips then I guarantee you will be greatly increasing the chances of living longer, living happier, and living healthier. Longevity sometimes happens on its own but you have the power to make it happen with a little action and a little luck. Now go out there and live longer!

Lose 10 Pounds by New Years

Give a gift to yourself and your family this holiday season and lose 10 pounds by New Years. Trust me if you start now you can lose weight safely and naturally and the time is just long enough to develop the nutritional habits necessary to keep the weight off and jump start your New Years resolutions.  What gift could be so well appreciated by both you and your love ones other than a homemade Christmas gift.  Well, I guess you could give them a nice unique Christmas gift they can take home too; I'm sure they would appriciate it. :)

10 Pounds of Sustainable Weight Loss

Surely if you are interested in this post you know oodles already about weight loss and have probably even tried some form of a lose-10-pounds program before. In fact you likely have tried a very structured lose 10-pounds-program that was very difficult to maintain and very restrictive on your lifestyle and cooking habits.

I’m going to tell you however, that this is the reason why you’ve not been able to lose 10 pounds by whatever your deadline has been and keep it off. Highly structured programs that greatly conflict with your habitual lifestyle will not last. It’s just that simple. How many people do you know that just up and changed their lifestyle completely. Do you know any slothful people who just one day became productive superstars and went on to make a mark on the world? Everyone has heard stories of the people who change their lifestyle and drop hundreds of pounds but how many do you actually know?

Lifestyle changes are hard and its why people binge on them and then crack and retreat to their comfort zone. Dieters routinely lose 10 pounds and then regain it when they relax their program. I’m going to tell you though that you can naturally lose 10 pounds by New Years by not significantly changing your lifestyle. You do not even have to really change your eating habits; you’ll just have to tweak them.

First of all I’m not going to insult intelligence. We all know that calories-in versus calories-out equals either weight gain or weight loss and we all know that eating brings calories in and exercising takes calories out so I suggest developing a deeper understanding of how the body works and capitalizing on it.  I run a food pairing series on this blog entitled Optimize Your Diet. This series illustrates perfectly how simple changes can multiply results without doing anything different.

Base Metabolic Rate (BMR)

Look at it this way. Just by sitting on a couch for 16 hours straight you will burn calories. You will obviously burn more if you go jogging for 16 hours straight however this is not a reasonable thing to do. In fact some programs to lose 10 pounds will simply tell you to eliminate this or that from your diet completely and go exercising for an hour seven days a week. This in my opinion is an extreme change in lifestyle for most of us. Habits don’t form overnight and thus diving in to the deep end like this will typically fail.  You need to sit on the steps of the shallow end and slowly make your way to the other side of the pool for habits to change.

Going back to calories burned while sitting idle, if you were to do this everyday and attempt to remain at a steady weight, unchanging week-to-week you would have to calculate your base metabolic rate (BMR) and hit it with calorie intake consistently. The idea here is to understand how many calories you need to maintain status quo while you do absolutely nothing. You can find this by simply finding a BMR calculator online; they’re very simple to use.

For me my BMR is 1,730 (or 72 calories per hour), meaning I could ingest this many calories and do nothing every day to maintain my weight however this is really just a rule of thumb because everyone is different. Some people have a multiplier to this which is either slightly above or slightly below the number one. For me; I am fortunate and mine is higher than one because I can pretty much eat all I ever want and I never seem to gain a pound. Yes, I am lucky.

If I were to do an hour of light stationary biking I would burn approximately 400 calories in an hour for a net gain over my BMR of ~325 calories. Considering about 3,500 calories equals a pound it would take approximately 10 ¾ days for my 325 calorie net gain to add up to a pound of weight loss or 107 days straight of this to equal ten pounds. Does this seem effective to you? It seems like a major lifestyle change to me and I would guess that most people would fail to follow through for 107 days straight. Even if they did; giving an hour of their lives away to an exercise bike seems like a task that would eventually stop happening. After all, we didn’t develop the habits we have overnight; we bred them over years and decades. They are not broken easily.

I honestly believe the way to burn the extra calories is to use the power of leverage. Let’s say you are battling weight as you probably are if you’ve read this far into this post. If you are a heavier person then your BMR is higher as each pound you weigh burns calories to sustain itself, however the heavier you get the less each pound contributes to your BMR. For instance, I am 6’-1”, 150 pounds at age 29. Each pound I weight contributes ~11.5 to my BMR. If I weighed 200 pounds however each pound would only contribute ~10.2 to my BMR. Essentially this means that the heavier I get the less my BMR helps keep my weight in check. To further compound the problem, BMR is negatively associated with age. Right now my BMR is 1,730 but when I’m 39 my BMR will fall (on average) to 1,662 and then to 1,594 by my 49th birthday. The point being, the older you get the lower your BMR gets, which further compounds the problem of weight control. This is why someone can “spiral out of control”.  Weight gain plus advancing age lower BMR, and as a result weight ads on contributing to a further lowering of BMR and encouraging more weight gain.

Leveraging BMR for Weight Loss

Back to the power of leverage and how it can help you lose 10 pounds by New Years. Did you forget that was the point of this post? I almost did.

Sure you could try to change your lifestyle drastically and hit that bike for an hour a day. Changing nothing else in your life this would probably drop you 10 pounds in about 3 and a half months. Not bad; but can you keep it up? I suggest a different approach. Leverage your BMR to lower you weight and do very little things throughout the day to increase your calories burned rather than putting in an hour of exercise in long stretches.

How do you leverage your BMR?  You simply increase your multiplier through diet and activity levels. If a 325 calorie a day difference for 107 days equals a loss of 10 pounds then I can either get it by simply lowering my calorie intake by a little, burning more calories throughout the day through exercise, or by increasing my BMR. Any combination of these three works and all three in unison works the best.  The key here is to not change your lifestyle and raising your BMR will allow you to lose weight without altering your lifestyle too much.  Do just enough to make a difference but not enough to lose motivation and revert to old ways. How can you raise your BMR? There are a few simple ways; let me explain.

Raise Your BMR to Lose 10 Pounds

You can raise your BMR by dong a few simple things. Yes, you could go gung-ho and do better but the simple things can make habit forming much easier and thus they will work for you over your entire life rather than just through a brief short-term dieting/exercising spurt that fizzles out.
  • It is a well known fact that muscle burns more calories than fat, so make sure you carry things around more often. If you go shopping and push a cart, grab a basket instead. This will support your arms and legs because you’re carrying everything around instead of pushing it… this will also have the effect of burning more calories while you shop.
  • Park your car in the back of the lot every time. This will add a couple extra minutes of walking to every destination you go to. Remember, for me one minute of walking is an extra 2.7 calories that I otherwise wouldn’t have burned. An errand trip of four stops could add 21.6 calories burned.  Along the same lines stairs are much more calorie burning when you climb them rather than ride an elevator.
  • Lose your stigma over caffeine. Have a little in the morning as coffee or tea. For the love of all that is holy, drink it straight with no sugar or cream. Really, this is unnecessary and counterproductive. Studies have shown that caffeine can raise metabolic rates up to ten percent.  Read that again – 10 percent! A BMR like mine could go from 1,730 to 1,903, an increase of 173 just by having a little caffeine every day. That’s better than the gain I get by walking for an hour! Moderate walking for an hour for me only burns 165 calories per hour above my normal BMR. Remember coffee or tea straight up has virtually no calories and is full of antioxidants too so don't juice it up with sugar and/or cream.
  • Do not wage war against yourself. If you want to lose 10 pound by New Years you cannot starve yourself. If you suddenly stop eating food (let’s say cut back by 50 percent) your body will go into starvation made and your BMR will decrease and effectively cancel out the decrease in calorie consumption. This is why elimination diets don’t work. They exhaust the dieter by drastically changing one’s lifestyle and then they don’t lose weight because their BMR just fell and they don’t have the energy to exercise. This is really bad and doesn’t end good.
  • Do a little strength training whenever you can. I know this seems like the most half-hearted weight loss tip of all time but it’s true. If you want to raise your BMR your need to work your muscles but you shouldn’t change your lifestyle much otherwise you’re more likely to backslide. Just go do some basic leg presses and free weight exercises the next time your bored and have nothing to do. You don’t even have to do it for very long. A little here and there adds up and the muscle mass will increase your BMR making weight loss even easier. Do not structure your day around weight training.

 Leverage Your Weight Loss Efforts

Now imagine you are able through the list above to raise your BMR 10-15 percent and then you tweaked your habits to encourage weight loss, the results would be multiplied and would make more of an impact… but how do you start a weight loss program with the goal to lose 10 pounds without changing your lifestyle? Follow along:

Do not change what you eat in any way. If you typically eat dessert, continue to do so; if you typically have seconds, continue to do so, if you typically have ice cream before bed and cook your Brussels sprouts in lard, continue to do so, but do one thing.  Do not finish your plate!

If you normally clean your plate make a change by leaving some uneaten. Starving yourself is bad but cutting back on calories in this manner is fine; it’s probably going to cut your calorie intake by 10 percent or so depending on how big your meals are and how much you choose to leave uneaten. But think about this; if you eat 2000 calories a day, no matter what food it is, 10 percent is a reduction of 200 calories a day which is magnified by an increase in BMR above of about 10-15 percent (for me this is about 250 calories) for a total positive change in calories of 450 a day. At that rate you would lose about ten pounds in 77 days, which brings you right to New Years.

The joy about this is that you do not need to starve yourself or workout on a strict regimen to the point where the stress builds up and you lose motivation. You can lose 10 pounds safely in about 2 and a half months by hardly changing your lifestyle a bit. And that means continuing the lifestyle thereafter should be very easy as you don’t really have anywhere to backslide to.

Do me one favor though. If you try this plan and lose 10 pounds by New Years, let me know about your experience and then stop wasting food! By that time you’ll have adjusted to your new food volume and you should be able to just portion yourself less food rather than more than you plan to eat. Eventually, after your weight loss begins, you will be encouraged and will then seek to refine the food you eat and seek better nutrition in addition to weight loss. That is my hope anyway.

If you read this entire dissertation then I thank you. I really believe everything I said here. If you have any comments I’d love to hear them and if you have your own thoughts on how to lose 10 pounds by New Years or if you'd just like to shout to the world that you did lose 10 pounds, then let us know in the comments and I'll follow up your success in a later post.

High Systolic Blood Pressure & Stroke Risk

high systolic blood pressure
Systolic blood pressure may signal an increased risk for stroke according to a study published in the American Journal of Hypertension in April of 2007. A team of researchers led from Japan found that your risk of having a stroke increases approximately 19 percent for every ten point increase in systolic blood pressure.

What Can You Do About High Systolic Blood Pressure?

There are actually a number of things you can do about it. First all walking every day has been shown to decrease overall blood pressure quite effectively as has eating dark chocolate on occasion. Even more interestingly though, it has been found through statistics that simply having a supportive spouse can help you lower systolic blood pressure.

Whatever complications you are facing you should keep in mind that stress can balloon systolic blood pressure the other direct so try to keep your cool at work and at home and don’t let stress build up in your life. Elevated systolic blood pressure is a sure sign for arterial strain which is why stroke risk increases.

Check out the following article for more ways to control arterial hypertension and systolic blood pressure.

American Journal of Hypertension, 2007

The Longevity Secrets Of Centenarians Around The World

Live A Longer Life With A Sense of Purpose

The secrets to longevity are many; everyone seems to have one or two and virtually any long lived person can rattle off a handful. Ironically many of the “secrets” conflict and many do not even make any medical sense. The way to make sense of them all however, is to compare findings and tips from a large group of persons and find the consistencies and commonality among them.

Dr. John Mach did just that not too long ago when he polled a group of 100 centenarians. His meta-analysis of centenarians found a commonality pointing to longevity that both makes sense and is consistent with actual longevity in real people.

According to this poll and analysis a key secret to longevity is being able to stay current and relevant even as “the times change”, technology advances, and the old is replaced by new. People who were able to stay current it seems are much more likely to thrive in their advanced years.

How do you capitalize on this secret to longevity? Adopt an attitude that embraces change and thrives on learning new things… especially new technologies, trends, and styles. When music trends change, learn to appreciate it. When style trends change, learn to appreciate it. When new technologies emerge, learn to adopt them into your lifestyle.

The point is that if you don’t feel relevant in the world you live in then you are less likely to participate in it in a meaningful way. This is important because it has been shown that a sense of purpose is instrumental to achieving longevity and if you don’t feel relevant in the world as it is then it’s difficult to maintain a sense of purpose.

Longevity Secrets

Longevity, apparently, is a lifestyle; there are no "secrets". Achieving longevity not only includes taking care of your body by investing in the food you eat and making sure you keep physically active but that you also evolve, grow, learn, and enhance the lives of those around you. Imagine if a centenarian started a blog about living in their 100s. Can you imagine how interesting that would be? I would find it fascinating and I’m sure others would as well.

I’m sure countless others would read it just for the sake of learning how to live life actively as an older person. Many would find such a blog as a guide to how to live life with purpose whereas others would simply read with morbid curiosity. Either way I’m sure such a blogger would find a large group of followers and would feel a great purpose in life… even in a time when he or she likely cannot do the same physical tasks that they once were able to do. Their purpose has evolved but has remained in this scenario.

What’s the secret to longevity? Eat healthy, stay active, and have a purpose. Because really, in the end, what good is life if you have no purpose or creed. Stay relevant and current and find something that can give you purpose no matter how old you may get.

Evercare's 100 at 100

Fight Osteoporosis With Omega-3 Supplements

fight osteoporosis with omega-3 supplements
It looks like there is even more reason to dig in to more fish and pop those omega-3 supplements. An excerpt:
New research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the polyunsaturated fatty acids in fish increase bone density and help stave off osteoporosis.

For eight years, researchers measured the bone mineral density and blood levels of fatty acids in 78 men, and found that the consumption of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – an omega-3 fatty acid found in cold-water fish such as salmon, bluefin tuna, and mackerel – was associated with greater overall bode density.
So that means that not only do omega-3’s help prevent cancer, fight depression, heart disease, and dementia, but also have positive effects on bone density and osteoporosis. This sounds like a pretty easy supplement to help out most of your body.

For women especially with osteoporosis being a big concern so it would seem even more important for them to get more fish or take fish oil supplements. For more information I’d encourage you to read my previous article on the benefits of fish oil supplements.

And for the men: Go back and read my article on low testosterone and osteoporosis. The ailment can effect your life too. Work on your testosterone levels and increase you omega-3 intake to stave osteoporosis in your life.

Best Life, Aug 2007

Neurotic Behavior: High Levels of Anxiety

The informal definition of Neurotic: "A person prone to excessive anxiety and emotional upset."

Death statistics from Purdue University:
Tracking 1,663 men for twelve years who were between the ages of 43 and 91, researchers found that those who were able to decrease their anxiety levels (or their levels of neuroticism) decreased had survival rates of 80 percent compared to 50 percent of the people who couldn't control their neurotic tendencies.
What does this tell you?  It tells me that you're far better just calming down and going with the flow.  Nobody's out to get you.  Just remember that things will typically work out in the end.  Whatever it takes to calm you down you should focus on doing just that, after all, there's no reason to get worked up.  As this research shows you're better off not getting to worked up so there's really no productive purpose in doing so.

Incidentally, if you struggle with anxiety it has been shown in the American Journal of Epidemiology that vigerous exercise can decrease your anxiety substantially.  So go for a run if you need to calm down.  You'll be benefting your body in multiple ways.

Purdue University
American Journal of Epidemiology

Centenarian News: Medicine (Right Now) Is Out of Whack with Lifestyle

I wanted to share a solid article on the prospects of the growing population of centenarians and super-centenarians. Currently these groups of people are growing leaps and bound faster than all other demographic groups and while this is occurring many fear ending up in such a state.

A large swath of the population, however, view living into one’s hundreds as a life sentence to a living vegetative state, however evidence suggests that the rate of exceptional assistance required by people in the greater-than-100 crowd is not much different than it is for the typically old aged crowd of 85-99 years of age. This suggests that if you are healthy enough to make it to 100 you are probably well enough to be alright on your own more than one might initially think.

Some excerpts from an article published in The Age:
Most evidence [of growing longevity for those aged under 85] suggests postponement of limitations and disabilities [as the reason for increasing life expectancy], despite an [overall] increase in chronic diseases and conditions…This is at least partly accounted for by early diagnosis, improved treatment, and amelioration of prevalent diseases so that they are less disabling.

However, for people aged over 85 the situation is less clear. There is widespread concern that exceptional longevity from medical advances comes with “huge personal and societal costs.”

Some students of ageing [say] the fourth age [the ''oldest old''] will generally be characterized by vulnerability, with little identity, psychological autonomy and personal control. An increasing number of individuals [will reach] their 10th and 11th decades in frail states of health, with many existing in a vegetative state. However, a study of US super-centenarians aged 110-119 found that about 40 percent needed little assistance or were independent, suggesting that super-centenarians are not more disabled than are people aged 92 years.
I find this article to offer a good mix of information and encourage you to read it all the way through. It’s not too long.

My Thoughts
We are currently in an awkward stage in the human condition. Much like a young teen goes through an awkward stage between childhood and adulthood our older population is experiencing the same thing. Right now medicine is able to keep people alive much longer than in decades past but the lifestyles of our oldest people has always been based on a mortality schedule that was much shorter. Bodies break down as directed but new medicine keeps them alive anyway. This results in the “huge personal and societal costs” as mentioned above.

What is not spelled out in the article, but yet I believe firmly, is that younger generations of people today… especially the youngest, are being bred in this age of new (extreme) medicine and their lifestyles are going to be ever more increasingly supportive of the exceptional longevity now possible. As these healthier bodies age they will be more on par with medical possabilities and thus those extreme years between 85 and 110 won’t feel or look quite as extreme.

I’ve said it before; investing in your body with the foods you eat and the lifestyle choices you make will pay off big time as you get older. Medicine can keep you going for a long time; it’s up to you however to prepare for this longevity so that you can continue enjoying life until the very end.

The Age, October 3, 2009

Can You Afford to Live To 100?

I found this very interesting piece in Investor Daily today. It’s about a new product offering by ING Australia called ING Money For Life. The point of the product is to protect income from market risk and guarantee an income stream for the duration of your life no matter how long it is. From the article:
"It's a market-linked investment which is a normal account-based pension and we've wrapped in a lifetime guarantee or life policy. So it's a bundled life policy if you like in a standard account-based pension," ING Australia director retirement and investment solutions David Kan said…

If the underlying investment increases in value, the protected income base amount increases with it on a biannual basis.
There’s plenty more info in the article but what struck me is what happens if the underlying investment decreases in value? I assume this product works like a universal life insurance policy but without the lump sum payout to beneficiaries upon death.

It definitely sounds intriguing especially now that we’re experiencing such a down time in the markets. Even if you had plenty of cash in your retirement account before the crash you probably have considerably less one year later. At extraction rates of 4-5 percent a year losing 20-30 percent in 12 months can pretty much devastate a portfolio that should sustain you indefinitely.

I’m not a financial advisor so do your own homework on products such as these but in this age of expanding life spans it might be wise to consider such new financial products… unless of course you think working decades past retirement age is a viable option. :)

Investor Daily, Oct 9, 2009

Need A Vitamin D Blood Test?

Here’s some more Vitamin D - cancer and disease prevention - information noted in Best Life, Oct 2007:
More and more research is proving that vitamin D is a medical marvel. Taking 1,100 IU of Vitamin D a day could decrease your risk of cancer by 60 percent, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that followed 1,179 people for four years.

Another study, in the Archives of Internal Medicine, suggests that keeping your Vitamin D levels up may help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. The researchers found that high levels of Vitamin D in the blood correspond to a reduced risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.

Still another study, in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, showed that seniors who are Vitamin D deficient are more than twice as likely to be in poor physical health.

Ask your doctor for a Vitamin D blood test to find out if you need a supplement or if you’re getting enough from food. Salmon, eggs, and fortified milk are great sources of the vitamin.

I’ve breached the topic of Vitamin D and its many benefits and surprisingly high deficiency rates most recently in my previous post, Avoid Vitamin D Deficiency which was included in my Optimize Your Diet series. Vitamin D deficiency is strangely common considering we make it ourselves when we spend time in the sun. Maybe this is a reason why manual laborers identified in Buettner’s The Blue Zones had low rates of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Let this post be another plug for getting more Vitamin D as I believe it will help you live a longer, healthier life.

Best Life, Oct 2007

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This privacy policy updated October 7, 2009.

Do Echinacea Supplements Really Work To Prevent Cold Symptoms

How To Prevent Cold Symptoms

Echinacea Supplements Prevent Cold Symptoms
Everyone wants to know how to prevent cold symptoms. The problem has plagued man likely since the dawn of time. Many people have their own family secrets or hand-me-down home remedies but new studies have shown that you can prevent colds and prevent cold symptoms by employing the widely known and followed tactics of taking Echinacea supplements before cold symptoms occur.

Echinacea supplements also apparently decrease the length of cold symptoms by roughly a day and a half according to research published in the medical journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

How Effective Are Echinacea Supplements

How much does taking Echinacea supplements help in preventing colds? According to the research taking Echinacea supplements can decrease your chances of catching a cold by approximately 58 percent. You can supplement Echinacea by simply drinking an Echinacea tea or by popping Echinacea tablets with your regular vitamins.

Of course you can also prevent cold symptoms from appearing significantly by upping the amount of times you wash your hands throughout the day, getting enough sleep, and possibly by sucking on zinc lozenges. It’s amazing how much simple things like these can help so much

The Lancet Infectious Diseases, July 2007 - http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(07)70160-3/fulltext

Optimize Your Diet - Pairing Foods You Already Eat For Better Nutrition

I talk a lot on this blog about the importance of doing the little things every day to support longer, healthier lives. This involves for the most part just a couple of items that should be on the back of everyone’s mind all the time.

  • Stay active, which, by the way does not mean ‘become a crazed exercise maniac’, rather it means 'just do active things more frequently'. Walk down the block to lunch instead of driving; take the dog for a walk instead of taking him out to the corner to do his business; park at the far end of the parking lot instead of the front. All the little things add up and keep you active.
  • And second, the purpose of this post, eat smart. Again this is not difficult. This does not dictate that you change your major food patterns at all. It just means to eat smart; no more.

Eat Smart

Eating smart is my primary focus these days. Eating is an activity that we all do every day and cannot stop doing. Because it is so functionally universal in the human population it should be the perfect place to start. In fact, the bulk of all diseases and ailments occur most directly due to the food we eat and our low activity levels. The food we eat is even more important to our long-term health than most genetic and environmental factors and yet we constantly seek medication to overcome the shortcoming of our poor health which we have the power to control ourselves every single day at the dinner table.

What is The Purpose of Medicine?

You wonder why health care costs are rising. I believe one of the greatest influences on healthcare costs, and similarly prevalence of disease, is based on the simple fact that people feel that medicine and doctors can cure everything better than we can ourselves. Well, my opinion is a little different. Medicine and doctors are able to patch our sick selves just as one were to patch a hole in a pair of jeans, but until we stop dragging our knees across the ground new holes will eventually form regardless of past intervention. The only one out there with control of our bodies and our health is ourselves and it starts with what we put into it.

How Do I Optimize My Diet

Over the last few months I have been slowly building a series of posts on food pairing called Optimize Your Diet. My goal in these posts is to highlight foods that we already cook for ourselves in the kitchen and identify the hidden nutritional and medicinal qualities of those foods. Many of these medicinal qualities are enhanced in very specific circumstances or when the food is simply paired perfectly with another type of food altogether.  Eating smart starts by:
  1. Eating in the kitchen rather than out at fast food or restaurants. Eating smart is next accomplished by:
  2. Decreasing the quantity that we eat. Unfortunately, especially in America, we have become accustomed to eating far more food than the body actually requires to remain healthy and viable. Decrease the quantity of food and decrease the quantity of empty calories you eat and you will be nearing your stride.
  3. Lastly, eat smart by optimizing of your diet. The processes of eating smart ends with identifying how the foods you eat already affect each other positively and negatively and choosing to eat foods in pairs that bring out the most nutritional and medicinal benefits.
Please enjoy the following food pairing series Optimize Your Diet. Each of these posts attempt to show you how you can get more from the foods you already eat. Check back later for additional entries to this list.

Optimize Your Diet - Pairing Foods You Already Eat

Part 1 - Fats and Lycopene aka Oil and Tomatoes
Part 2 - Fats and Fat-Soluble Vitamin D
Part 3 - Broccoli and Tomatoes
Part 4 - Turmeric and Black Pepper
Part 5 - Vitamin D and Soy
Part 6 - Cinnamon with Refined Carbs

As previously noted, I will continue adding to this Optimize Your Diet food pairing series as the days turn to weeks, and the weeks turn to months, and I hope you’ll find benefit in each and every post. This page will be the launching pad for the Optimize Your Diet Series and it will serve as a navigation menu of sorts to it. Please bookmark it and return often to find new entries to the series as they are published.

If you haven’t yet, I’d encourage you to subscribe to the blog as you will be notified immediately whenever a new post is written and please make use of the provided social media buttons and links below this and every post. Thank you.

The Fall Edition of Health Around the Web

It’s been a while since I sent a shout out to the various carnivals in which I have recently been featured in. In fact in my last update I actually missed a couple in mention, and for that I send my apologies.

For those unfamiliar with the process carnivals are groups of blog posts categorized together by similar theme. These posts are hosted as a carnival as a stand alone post on another blog on the web. Sometimes the hosts change and sometimes they are the same week after week but typically only the best posts are included in the carnivals in an effort to keep the quality up. Because of that being featured in the carnivals is a nice honor and thus I would like to direct you to some of them to check out the other featured material.

Thanks to the Health Wonk Review hosted over at the Health Business Blog for featuring my post: The Healthcare Costs Of The Obese. This is a premier carnival with lots of amazing entries. I hope you’ll check it out. One entry that caught my eye which was closely related to my post was Worker’s Comp Insider’s post titled: Fire the Smokers. Tax The Fat? A couple interesting stories are highlighted. I see this as an issue that will grow in importance and notability of the coming decade.

SurgeXperiences, which was hosted over at The Sterile Eye, included me in their carnival with my post: The Most Important Question To Ask Before Surgery. This is a very creative and carnival with a number of quality posts on the topic of surgery. I hope you’ll check it out if you find the topic is interesting. One other post from this carnival that struck me was an entry from Plastic Surgery 101 titled: Breast Reduction Surgery and Quality of Life - Addition by Subtraction! This post strikes me as interesting because back and neck pain are often cause people to work out less often. If breast reduction were deemed necessary then these women would likely live more active lives, be healthier, and live longer.

Lastly I wanted to say a quick thanks to the Weight Master from the Weight Management and Fitness Forum for including my post in their recent carnival titled: Exercise After Eating Fats in which I highlight information that suggests exercising right after meals, as opposed to at other times of the day, decreases more so the negative effects of fats ingested. Of course there is a ton of information on weight management out there and here on this blog but there is also a lot of good information highlighted in this carnival and I hope you’ll check it out. One post that I thought was particularly useful was a post from Muscle You! titled: Negatives For Positive Results. This post is particularly useful for those who do resistance training. On this blog I routinely mention the need for all of us to do more exercise and I myself have been trying to do this more often too. I have been known to hit the gym on occasion and for the few times I go for the weights (as opposed to the cardio machines) the concept of working the negatives is very important to remember. Each rep must be controlled in reverse just as it is in the positive motion.. Keeping this in mind will make your workouts more efficient and well rounded. Check out the post for his complete analysis.

Anyway, there’s lots of good stuff going on in the carnivals and I’m thankful for all the work the hosts take on to make these carnival successful. Stay tuned to this blog for more shout outs around the web and lots of original posts to come on all things related to health, nutrition, disease prevention, and general longevity science. Thanks for reading, thanks for subscribing, and let me encourage you to share this site via any of the social media sharing buttons below.

Cheating Death: Placebos Are Getting More Effective

Please enjoy a bit of comedy with your morning coffee. Laughing has the power to lift spirits; caffeine has the power to lift your eyelids; and Stephen Colbert has the power to sell the worst conceived products around.

Personally I love the Twilight Zone-Pig Face reference and statement: "Placebos are getting more effective". Hysterical!

Cheating Death: With Stephen Colbert

Reduce Blood Sugar Spikes With A Dose Of Cinnamon: Optimize Your Diet Part 6

Recent studies coming from researchers at the University of Lund in Sweden found that cinnamon has the ability to moderate blood sugar in even the most sweetest of desserts. The problem with blood sugar is really only evident in those with diabetes or in those who are pre-diabetic as sugars in food can cause blood sugar in people to become elevated and as a result further worsening the problem.

Spikes in blood sugar levels or, chronically elevated blood sugar levels, can lead to insulin resistance which is something that is all too prevalent in today’s society. High insulin levels and insulin resistance leads to diabetes and diabetes greatly increases your chances of dying from heart disease, stroke, cancer, or simply from the disease itself. Diabetes alone, discounting the resulting previously mentioned ailments is still the number three cause of death nationwide.
See this post for more info on the normal blood sugar range you should fall in.
The "Blood Glucose" Study
In the study led by Joanna Hlebowicz, which was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in June 2007, researchers tested the blood of 14 patients (small study I know) every 15 minutes for two hours they all consumed a serving of rice pudding. The catch was that half of the subjects desserts contained 6 grams of cinnamon where as the other half did not.

Results: Cinnamon Can Reduce Blood Sugar Spikes

Reduce Blood Sugar Spikes With Cinnamon
In the end it was determined that the presence of cinnamon actually slowed the digestive process (which has the effect of normalizing blood sugar levels) and it caused the blood sugar levels to moderate even more than a slower digestive process would take anyway. Basically adding cinnamon moderates blood sugar in two different ways thereby making it very effective in keeping you body in better health.

Take Home Piece

I often try to encourage my readers to consider adding things to their routine cooking habits. Spices I’ve found are quite easy to implement. This is no different; if you’re going to be having a meal or dessert which contains a fair to high amount of refined carbs (high on the glycemic index scale) add cinnamon to the ingredient list to at least minimize the potential damage. You don’t have to cut everything from your diet nor do you have to only eat healthy things either. My philosophy is to feel free to eat anything and everything but to do so in smaller quantities and to optimize your diet through food pairings whenever you can. Enjoy life and enjoy your food.

Additionally, if this post strikes you particularly relevant, in that blood sugar spikes and insulin resistance are something you or a loved one deal with, you may find benefit is reading my post a few months ago: 11 Ways To Reduce Insulin Resistance.


This post has been included in my Optimize Your Diet Series where I identify foods that we all eat already which can be optimized for even greater nutritional benefit. I hope you’ll click back into the archive and read up of some other ways you can optimize your diet.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2007

A Preventative Garlic Cancer Treatment At Meal Time

A Preventative Garlic Cancer Treatment
A while back I shared with you a fairly interesting post on the benefits using of raw crushed garlic in your food as opposed to the cooked variety. Check the story out for the entire details but the gist of the findings were this:

Raw crushed garlic supports healthy a immune response in your body because the crushing/mincing (exposure of the garlic to air) produces allicin and diallyl sulfides which go on to support your immune system. The raw factor comes in to play because the act of cooking the garlic wipes out the allicin sulfides which are the key driver of the positive immuno benefits.

Today I ran into a familiar train of thought in the medicinal uses of garlic. Garlic does not only support immuno response but it also fights cancer (which you could argue is something that an immune response system would do anyway).  The American Institute for Cancer Research has said that the same allicin sulfides (which appear after garlic is exposed to air - i.e. crushed) in garlic fight cancer but the sulfides are not fully formed until the garlic has been exposed to air for at least ten minutes. Best Life also reported on this finding and they put it like this:
If you eat of cook garlic too soon, the enzyme alliinase will not have time to create the anticancer compounds known as allyl sulfer compounds, decreasing the herb’s cancer-fighting abilities by more than 90 percent.

That is amazing! So to recap; if you are eating garlic for the medicinal value and for its cancer fighting properties you should do two things: crush it and let it sit for at least ten minutes before eating it. And secondly, you should eat it raw or close to it. If you cook it you will cook off the compounds that fight disease and if you eat it too fast you will eat it before the compounds that fight disease ever fully form.

By the way olive oil prevents cancer too; pair these ideas for an even more significant does of cancer risk reduction. :) Food science is so interesting!

...and for more information on disease prevention click through and browse around the archives.

The American Institute for Cancer Research
Best Life, Oct. 2007

Leading Causes of Death

Heart Disease is easily the leading cause of death in America. One of the major contributors to heart disease is cholesterol. See the following posts for more on lowering your risk for heart disease:

How To Lower LDL Cholesterol Levels Naturally

Welcome to How To Live A Longer Life! This site focuses on human longevity and shows you how you can live longer by improving health and nutrition and by preventing disease. If you want to learn how to live longer then consider subscribing.