A healthy lifestyle adds 12 to 14 years of life

Remember, a voyage of a thousand miles begins with the first step

What results in good health and longevity?

I’ve said for years that it’s good genes, good lifestyle and good luck. But since we can’t choose our parents, or know what fate holds in store for us, we must treat lifestyle with tender, loving care.

Now, a report in the publication, Circulation, proves that a sound lifestyle adds 12 to 14 more years to life.

Two epidemiological studies of health professionals involved 120,000 men and women. This group was followed for 34 years.

The study concluded that for people over 50 who had never smoked, exercised daily, had good dietary habits, a moderate use of alcohol, and maintained a healthy weight, ended up the winners.

The rewards are significant.

For instance, a woman, aged 50, who follows these lifestyle rules can expect to live to 93 years. This compares to a woman who indulges in an unhealthy lifestyle and dies at 79. In men, the increase in longevity from a healthy lifestyle is from 76 to 88 years.

Who lives the longest also depends on where they’re born.

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that foreign-born blacks, particularly those from the Caribbean and Africa, tend to eat a more healthy diet than those born in the U.S. They consumed more fruits, vegetables, Omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.

In the general population, the U.S. spends more money on health care than any other country.

So why are so many people in North America suffering from ill health? It is quite apparent from this report that the epidemic of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart attack will continue to be the big killers. At the moment there is little evidence this battle is being won.

But a study that followed both staff and students at the University of Liverpool, England, shows it’s not an impossible dream.

In its first experiment, female diners were randomly divided to receive either a small or large quiche for lunch. The next day, the same group were all allowed to serve themselves any portion they desired. Researchers discovered the ones who had been served the smaller portion, tended to choose the smaller portion. A second experiment tested male diners and it produced the same result.

In the third experiment both sexes were included, but it was done one week later.

This time, diners were asked to look at various photos of portion size and asked which looked normal. Those who were previously given the smaller portions considered the smaller ones normal.

These studies showed that it is possible to shift people from what they think is a normal portion to what is actually the proper amount to eat.

And that the perception of what is normal lasts at least to one week later.

For the last 40 years I’ve had the good fortune to be able to write many of my columns in the Finger Lakes area of upper New York State.

I’ve enjoyed many of the local restaurants. But it’s very apparent that food portions there are much larger than in Canada. This is not likely to change.

But families in both countries can be persuaded to change their perception of normal portions.

It’s not only how much is on the plate, but also what’s on the plate.

For instance, starting with breakfast there’s generally too much sugar and not enough fiber. I’ve written facetiously that it would be safer for children to eat the cereal box than the contents that are half sugar.

So, consider adding a high fiber apple to your daily menu. After all, how many of those who enjoy an apple, ask for a second one? That’s because fiber has a filling effect and decreases the hunger reflex.

Remember, a voyage of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

The same philosophy applies to longevity. So, gradually incorporate one thing at a time into your lifestyle. Don’t forget the importance of smaller portions, add more fruits and vegetables, buy a pedometer to check the number of steps taken each day, and to measure your progress, step on the scale every day.

For more information, go online to docgiff.com. For comments, email info@docgiff.com.

Just Posted

Local youngsters lend a helping hand to the Red Deer Hospital

First Steps and Beyond School students donate to Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Red Deer RCMP arrest man during break and enter in progress

RCMP found two males in the parking garage attempting to steal a vehicle

Red Deer RCMP announce new Officer in Charge

Grobmeier has 26 years of service with the RCMP where he has moved through the ranks across Canada

CAT’s latest, Real Estate, fueled by strong performances

Shows run through to March 30th at the Black Knight Inn

Red Deer resident releases a set of inspiring new titles

Bev Burton excited to share her story via Create Your Calm Waters and Arise & Shine

Defiant vigil starts healing in New Zealand after massacre

Police say the gunman in the shooting that killed 50 acted alone

Notley’s government puts priority on health care in throne speech

Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell kicked off the legislature session

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh steps into the House of Commons, making history

Burnaby South MP becomes first visible minority to lead a federal party in the House of Commons

B.C. argues it cannot stop Trans Mountain, but it can protect environment

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says only Ottawa has the authority to decide what goes in trans-boundary pipelines

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick retires in wake of SNC-Lavalin case

Jody Wilson-Raybould accused Wernick of pressuring her to head off criminal charges for the firm

Dutch tram shooting suspect arrested, say police

Police say three people were killed in the shooting Monday and five wounded

Canada extends Iraq and Ukraine military missions to 2021 and 2022

Extension is part of efforts to curb Russian aggression and to fight against Islamic militants

WestJet suspends 2019 financial guidance after Boeing 737 Max grounded

The company has 13 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft grounded by regulators after the Ethiopian crash

Trudeau fills vacancy in cabinet with B.C. MP Joyce Murray

Murray, 64, was elected in 2008 and served previously as a minister in B.C.’s provincial government

Most Read