Clues to a Longer and Healthier Life

Clues to a Longer and Healthier Life Did you know that you can add an average of fourteen years to your life span if you do just four things:
  1. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
  2. Say no to smokes.
  3. Exercise (yes, keep that yoga mat unrolled.)
  4. Drink (alcohol) in moderation.
You'll add even more days and more quality of life if you add these following fifteen strategies to those four steps.
  1. Eat more (but not all) food raw. Eight (or more) 1/2 cup servings of fruits and vegetables daily, most raw can boost your immunity to cancer, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes and other degenerative diseases. Best bets? Foods that are richly colored, organically grown, in season, and locally produced. (Two out of four of those qualities is good.)
  2. Support local farmers. Go to the local green market on the weekend, or join a community-supported agriculture (CSA) and get regular deliveries of in-season produce from the farmer around the block or in the next county. To find out who's where, go to During the week, do your own small-scale farming, by raising your favorite herbs or miniature vegetables on your windowsill or back patio in pots. If you've got a back forty, put an inexpensive inflatable greenhouse (see Resources) in it.
  3. Eat organically and locally when you can. Organic fruits and vegetables from a farm near you can provide up to 59 percent higher levels of antioxidants than their conventionally grown counterparts, says the Organic Consumers Association. If you can't eat organic all the time, make sure you eat these twelve foods from the organic aisle (because their sprayed counterparts can be toxic): apples, apricots, bell peppers, cantaloupe, celery, cherries, cucumbers, green beans, peaches, spinach, strawberries, and grapes. Grapes from the United States are OK, but pass up the imported grapes.
  4. Juice daily. It's a great way to get and even exceed your RDA for fruits and vegetables daily. In one study from Federal Research Centre for Nutrition and Food in Germany, drinking 12 ounces of either carrot or tomato juice (both rich in carotenoids) caused a jump in natural killer (NK) immune cell activity in the blood by 25 percent. And let color be your guide for super immunity. Half the vegetables you eat should be red or orange; the other half should be dark green, blue, and black.
  5. Eat small but often. The larger the meal, the more stress you are generating for the organs of digestion and detoxification. Having six small nutritionally dense meals is ideal.
  6. Supplement smart. Compensate for nutrients depleted by any prescription medications you are on (see for a list of what depletes what) as well as those nutrients lost due to illness or medical conditions. A good diet alone doesn't cover all the bases anymore.
  7. Eat yogurt or kefir daily. As much as 60 percent of your immune system is located in your gut. If you can.t spoon it up take a quality probiotic supplement.
  8. Consider the senses. Add crunchy, hot or cold, and colorful to every meal to satisfy the senses, boost nutrition, and reduce the risk of overeating. For example, add a tablespoon of crunchy cereal to a bowl of hot oatmeal, arrange colorful steamed vegetables alongside a cold sandwich, and add crisp nuts to a smooth pasta sauce.
  9. Know your sugar intake. Sugar lowers your immunity. There are better, safer substitutes to keep your coffee sweet and your sugar bowl filled. Try the zero-calorie herbal sugar, stevia, in powder or liquid form, or Sun Crystals, a combination of raw sugar and erythritol formulated from non-GMO fruits and vegetables at 4 calories a packet. For baking, use raw honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, or brown rice syrup--all in moderation. Keep your sweet tooth happy and healthy. Keep bits of candied ginger, dark chocolate, and dried berries in the candy jar.
  10. Monitor your caffeine intake. This stimulant found in coffee, regular tea, chocolate, some soft drinks, and over-the-counter drugs (e.g., some antihistamine formulas), not only negatively impacts your blood pressure, bladder, and kidneys as well as blood sugar levels, but also can deplete calcium and cause dehydration if you overdo it, especially in the already under-watered among us. Too much may also up- or down-regulate your appetite.
  11. Keep a healthy pH balance. A key measure of your overall health is your acid-alkaline balance, expressed as a number on the pH scale: 1 is most acid and 14 is most alkaline. You can check your numbers (excellent is between 6.6 and 6.8) with a litmus paper test kit available from medical supply companies or some health pharmacies.
  12. Toss a leafy green salad, and toss it off daily at lunch, dinner, breakfast, or even in between meals. Add garlic or onions every time.
  13. Drink tea. Aim for two cups or more; hot or iced; black, green, or oolong. Having a third? Make it herbal.
  14. Once-a-day nuts. Have a handful of nuts (unroasted, unsalted) between meals every day.
  15. Put plastic aside. Polyvinyl chloride used in cling wraps and flexible water bottles is a source of phthalates linked to reproductive damage, while polycarbonate used in water jugs, baby bottles, and as a lining in aluminum cans can leach bisphenol A, an estrogenic compound linked to breast cancer and an increased risk of diabetes. Polypropylene used in plastic storage containers can also leach dangerous toxins into foods when heated. All plastics pose a danger to marine life and the environment at large. Switch to Pyrex or stoneware, and go back to old-fashioned wax paper.