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Give The Body What It Needs

It is more than likely that the leaner you are the longer you will live. Calorie restriction, however, is not the same as malnutrition. It is about giving the body exactly what it needs and no more.

It is more than likely that the leaner you are the longer you will live. Calorie restriction, however, is not the same as malnutrition. It is about giving the body exactly what it needs and no more. Many foods in today’s diet provide ‘empty’ calories – sugar or saturated fat, but none of the micronutrients needed to process them. These foods are out if you want to extend your lifespan. Nutrient-dense food such as organic carrots, apples, nuts and seeds provide as many nutrients as calories plus, in the case of fresh fruit and vegetables, plenty of essential and calorie-free water.

One way to restrict calories is simply to eat less. Another is to fast or have a modified fast one day a week. This may mean, for example, just eating fruit. I keep overall calorie intake low by eating a substantial breakfast and dinner but a small lunch (sometimes no lunch at all and snacking on fruit throughout the day). Life insurance companies are well aware of the correlation between weight and longevity. Weight charts give an ideal weight range for your height; generally, the ideal weight for increased life expectancy is at the low end of this range. What really counts is keeping down the percentage of your body weight that consists of fat.

Regular exercise can add seven years to your lifespan, concludes Dr. Rose and Dr. Cohen of Veterans’ Administration Hospital in Boston. But the exercise must be continued late into life and must be aerobic – that is, your heart rate must reach 80 per cent of its maximum for at least twenty minutes. Cycling, swimming, running are good; weightlifting and strengthening exercises, on the other hand do little to extend your life. Aerobic exercise reduces blood cardiovascular health as well as increasing mental function. It also helps you to maintain proper blood sugar control and is, therefore, especially helpful for diabetics.

 


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