We Boomers keep making the same mistakes. There are three main longevity practices that most people are not doing: 1) limiting refined carbohydrate intake, 2) increasing the amount of greens and other vegetables in their diet, and 3) most importantly, taking an objective look at their own family history. Each of these is important for its own reasons, but together they help prevent a large number of aging-related diseases.
Limiting Refined Carbohydrates
I get asked a lot about what types of food are the worst for your health, and my answer is always the same: refined carbohydrates. Quickly digested sugar and white flour damages cells by providing glucose in overabundance and its subsequent rapid metabolism creates excessive free radicals that result in accelerated cellular aging and death.
Increasing Vegetable Intake (Especially Green Vegetables)
Conversely, I’m also asked a lot about the best foods to eat, and for that question my answer is always green vegetables. Spinach, kale, broccoli, romaine—the darker the green the richer it is in vitamins and minerals. All of these fight the free radicals that damage cells. The fiber in this food is also a natural way to ensure a healthy GI biome.
Knowing Your Family History And Making A Plan
Lastly, and most importantly, I encourage everyone to research and learn the specific medical issues that affected family. That includes your fellow siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Specifically, search for conditions like heart disease, cancer, stroke and early dementia or Parkinsonism. Though this seems a bit morbid, knowing your family history is important. It lays the groundwork for a plan to assess the medical risks that you too may have inherited.
Once you have this information, talk with your primary care physician about it. He or she helps you make a plan for how you assess and prevent the diseases that have afflicted your family in the past. If you can’t get a lot of information on your family or want to take it to the next level, get your genome sequenced. We still have a long way to go with understanding the predictive risk potential of the genome. Thus there is enough verified hard science today to make it worthwhile.
Maintaining just these three habits will create a powerful impact on your longevity. Also, you’ll be far ahead of the health curve. By applying these simple interventions, you can set the stage for a healthy body. And that leads to a healthy brain and vibrant activity for years to come.