Published in the July 2018 edition of ‘The Bay’ Magazine
Your Path to Longevity with Vitality – printer friendly, text version
Statistics tell us we are living longer. The life expectancy in 1970 was 69 years for a man and 75.3 years for a woman. By 2011 this had increased to 79 years for men and 82.8 for women. But what the statistics don’t describe is how well we are living. Last year a Cambridge University study found that almost half of over 65s take at least 5 different drugs a day, with only 7 percent taking no drugs at all. It seems the cost of longevity has been our vitality; we are living longer but as a result are suffering with more disease.
Often, at the clinic, we meet patients who are resigned to their difficulties because of their age. This is an assumption we like to turn on its head, by showing them it simply doesn’t have to be this way. There’s no reason to put up with an array of accumulating niggles that eventually become unmanageable when they can be dealt with and laid to rest right now. We work to change their perspective on the phrase; ‘It’s just my age’. What we all need is longevity with vitality – feeling vital, that core of sparkling joyful energy is what makes longevity worth working for, at any age!
Vitalised Longevity Check List
Having purpose in life, something you are driven to do, hits number one. Ideally this should be something you have a passion for but even if it’s ‘just a job’; don’t underestimate the importance of making a contribution to the world. Retirement can be a difficult time if there’s nothing to replace that sense of purpose gained from working hard.
We need at least one close connection in life, be this your spouse, sibling, therapist or friend. ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’, the saying goes and it’s true that at times we all need to offload and feel the connection of being needed by another. In addition to this, there is an inherent human desire to be part of a group. This may be within the community, as part of a club or extended family. Belonging (in whatever small or large way) makes us feel connected to the larger social world around us.
Note: Make sure you get the balance right for you. Time alone, to switch off or process your thoughts is also a vital ingredient in life!
Enjoy what you eat! Choose fresh, unprocessed foods with a variety of colours, textures and tastes. Vegetables should contribute to a significant proportion of the diet (around 70%), providing vitamins, minerals, fibre and encouraging the growth of a healthy bacterial population in the gut.
Consider intermittent fasting – reduced caloric intake can stimulate the growth of new brain cells, improve the function of existing ones and reduce inflammation in the body. One of the molecules formed by the body when fasting has been found to protect brain cells from toxins associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease1. If you are new to fasting ensure you seek professional advice.
Choose some kind of physical activity every day to suit your individual needs. Two to three times a week engage in a stimulating workout – something that raises your heart rate. Balance this with a routine that encourages strengthening and stretching, such as yoga, walking or tai chi.
Don’t assume that because you have a family history of a particular disease you are destined for the same course. Many genes can be switched on or off according to your environment and lifestyle. It is wise to pay attention to your genetic history; that way you can choose to alter your habits, but genetics alone do not determine health outcomes.
- Last but not Least: Play!
Developing a playful attitude in life helps to put things in perspective and shake off all the burdens we carry. Whether it’s laughing with a friend, swinging on the swings with your grandchildren or paddling in a river with your dog. There are many health benefits to totally releasing tension; playing like you were a child, should be taken very seriously.
Herbal Path to Vital Longevity
Herbs heal in many different ways so when taking the right ones for you, vitality is naturally increased. Some herbs have a reputation for encouraging robust longevity, such as ginseng and ashwagandha; these can be taken as a daily tonic to improve the strength of the body.
Rosmarinus officinalis: Rosemary
Sturdy and resilient, the bitter and pungent taste of rosemary has beneficial effects on the digestive system and liver, though the herb is best known for improving memory.
Stories tell of the Queen of Hungary who, afraid of losing her youth and beauty, instructed her court physicians to make her a remedy to prevent aging. Rosemary was the key ingredient in the resulting tonic, which she drank and bathed in. The result was such a success that at the age of seventy, a twenty five year old duke asked for her hand in marriage!
In research, rosemary has been shown to inhibit the death of brain cells as well as demonstrating anticancer, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions2.
Try drinking fresh rosemary tea regularly, using a few sprigs of the herb infused in boiling water for at least 10-15 minutes. Cover with a lid whilst infusing to prevent the essential oils from evaporating.
Note: If you are pregnant or taking any medication please consult a qualified practitioner before taking any herbal medicines.
Health is not just the absence of disease, but the presence of vitality.
- G.F Cahill and R.L Veech Jr., Ketoacids?Good medicine? Transactions of the American clinical and climatological association 114 (2003); 149-61
- Solomon Habtemariam, The Therapeutic Potential of Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Diterpenes for Alzheimer’s Disease. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016; 2016: 2680409
The ‘Herbal Clinic’ in Swansea provides natural healthcare with the use of organic herbs, acupuncture and iridology.