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By Ruchel Louis Coetzee
Posted On Jun 06, 2017

By Ruchel Louis Coetzee

There are certain actions we know we should take to live longer and healthier but it is not always so easy to implement. Why? Because we are hotwired to infuse two beef patties with special sauce and fries or run on donuts the minute we are thrown a curve ball. A study published in December 2007 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that a single dollar could purchase 1,200 calories of cookies or potato chips, but only 250 calories (one cup) of fresh carrots. What would you select at a vending machine after a fight with your boss or a call from the school to say your child has lice? Lays potato chips or a Kind Bar? In that mood, we want nothing that is kind. So in light of the many frustrations, we deal with on any given day, including the death knell in our heads when a skirt is too tight, here are four mantras how to live longer and healthier despite the curve balls.


Ignoring the importance of a healthy diet can send us down a rabbit hole to purgatory. According to the Nurses’ Health Study, Nurses’ Health Study II, and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, the largest, most extensive studies ever conducted on health and nutrition, the foods that contributed the most weight gain are French fries, potato chips, sugar-sweetened drinks, red meats and processed meats, sweets and desserts, refined grains, 100% fruit juice, and butter (these results were published in June 2011 in the New England Journal of Medicine). Instead of going cold turkey on the above foods, try and limit some of them to one or two days a week and in minuscule portions. And eat at least five servings of vegetables and fruits a day to enhance your immune system so you don’t get sick as often.


Start your day with a brisk walk around the neighborhood for at least 30 minutes. There is always time in a day to steal 30 minutes for your health. In the August 2011 issue of the Journal Circulation, Harvard researchers found that getting 150 minutes of exercise per week cut heart disease by 14%; 300 minutes a week decreased heart disease risk by 20% and 740 minutes cut risk by 25%.


This does not mean you have to start drinking if you currently don’t drink alcohol. But if you do drink alcohol, it is better to do it in moderation as some alcohol, may have some health benefits. According to the American Heart Association, some researchers have suggested that the benefit may be due to red wine. Others are examining the potential benefits of components in red wine such as flavonoids and other antioxidants in reducing heart disease risk. Of course, these same components can be found in the grapes themselves or red grape juice. Moderate alcohol use for healthy adults means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger. Examples of one drink include 12 fluid ounces (355 milliliters) of beer, 5 fluid ounces (148 milliliters) of wine, and 1.5 fluid ounces (44 milliliters) of 80% distilled spirits.HOW TO LIVE LONGER AND HEALTHIER


Tobacco is a killer. People who smoke or use other forms of tobacco are, according to the Mayo Clinic, more likely to develop disease and die earlier than are people who don’t use tobacco. And there are studies showing that e-cigarettes could also pose a threat to your health. In a May 2014 review in Circulation, researchers found that e-cigarettes deliver high levels of nanoparticles which can trigger inflammation and have been linked to asthma, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. Most people don’t succeed the first time they quit but, don’t give up trying.

If you adopt the above four mantras, you will live on average an additional 14 years compared with people who adopt none of these behaviors, according to a study published in the journal PloS Medicine from the Public Library of Science. Just take baby steps each day and if you fail miserably on one day, pick up the pace the next day again. You will thank your older self when you find that you can still walk down a boulevard in Paris, play catch with your grandchild and blow out your 100 candles with the same gusto you had as a child. And SMILE – it makes the world go round.