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View Full Version : What can we do to live longer?


Plan B
03-29-2004, 07:07 PM
Every so often I read about something we can do to live longer. I haven't compiled a systematic written list, but IIRC the following should be included: don't smoke, keep your weight down, drink black tea, drink green tea, eat cooked tomato products, take 1/4 aspirin daily, get aerobic exercise three times a week, eat fatty fish like salmon, consume olive oil, take calcium, take vitamin E, eat oatmeal.

I believe that all of the above have an least one empirical study backing it up. Anything I missed? Any of the above incorrect?

askeptic
03-29-2004, 07:10 PM
Statistically speaking, never get in a car.

Frame Dragging
03-29-2004, 07:24 PM
Depends on whose study you read I suppose as to whether your list is convincingly accurate or not. One item you missed which should be at the top:
See your MD at least every other year while young, every year when you hit middle age. Amazing what the blood work can tell you. Now that I'm over 40 they really push me to examine the "jewels" monthly for any bumps.

Kaotic Newtral
03-29-2004, 07:58 PM
Now that I'm over 40 they really push me to examine the "jewels" monthly for any bumps.

Heck! I've been doing that daily for the last 20 years or so! ;)


Actually, in regards to the question...I think stress might be the biggest killer of all when it comes down to it. Every time I've seen or read about someone who's lived past 100 years old, it seems that they were people who lived decent lives but shook off the small stuff and lived as they wanted to.

Wesley Clark
03-29-2004, 08:26 PM
Actually, in regards to the question...I think stress might be the biggest killer of all when it comes down to it. Every time I've seen or read about someone who's lived past 100 years old, it seems that they were people who lived decent lives but shook off the small stuff and lived as they wanted to.


I've heard that too. Other things are

Become more optimistic (read up on martin seligman)
Eat a low calorie diet (i think this is due to less free radical damage)
Dont outlive your spouse
Have good relationships with your friends, community and family

Genetics is most likely the biggest factor though, and you can't do anything about that. I'd check your family tree to see what everyone died of so you can compensate for it.

Plan B
03-29-2004, 08:52 PM
Dont outlive your spouse



:confused:

Wesley Clark
03-29-2004, 08:55 PM
:confused:

People are more prone to an early death if their spouse dies and they outlive them.

Epimetheus
03-29-2004, 10:03 PM
Genetics and blind luck really.

Things that can be done to increase life expectancy, like calorie reduction (1500 calories or so for an adult male), with healthy foods (balanced), with little exercise and a job where movement is limited could help. Of course all this puts a strain on your immune system and quality of life can certainly diminish.

The best thing to do is hope that science and medical technology will extend lifespan even further. The chances are certainly much higher than relying on genetics and diet. Give it ten or twenty years.

dtilque
03-29-2004, 11:36 PM
Well, there's probably no study to support this, but I'd say exercising only 3 times a week is way too little. Exercise every day. At least an hour a day, preferably two if you can find the time. And keep doing it no matter how old you get.

Also, grape juice/red wine should be on your list of health foods. And you may want to look into the benefits of melatonin, as well.

David Simmons
03-29-2004, 11:50 PM
"The best way to be, in order to live to be 100 (for some reason it is taken for granted that you want to live to be 100-doubtless something the insurance companies thought up by themselves) is to be about 6 feet tall, weigh around 175 pounds, avoid diabetes and starches, live out-of-doors (going indoors at night after you have reached 80) and keep your parents and grandparents alive at the point of a pistol, if necessary.

Another good way is to forget about it."

Robert Benchley
How Long Can You Live?

Thaumaturge
03-30-2004, 12:07 AM
I take a bunch of different anti-oxidants, keep my total calories low, do yoga 3 times a week, and weight train 3 times a week as well.

I also take Melatonin, but only 3 times a week. There was an animal study where daily doses taken before the mid-point of life had a negative or non effect, while lesser dosage had a positive effect. Daily doses after the mid-point of life had a positive effect as well. Since I'm only 27, I'll hold off on the daily dose for a few decades.

Chromium picolinate is probably a good idea to take ( I take this as well). It lessens the amount of insulin your body needs to process sugar. Needing less insulin to get the job done is a good thing, since insulin damages arteries over time, even in small doses. Not eating large meals is also good, it keeps insulin levels from spiking, and lessens the risk of developing insulin resistance.

If you only take one pill, it should probably be a good broad spectrum multi-vitamin. Odds are, unless you eat a ton of food, you are deficient in one or more things that are in one. But unless you are still growing or a menstruating woman, avoid taking one with iron. Iron just promotes free-radical activity in the body, it's like smoking or sunbathing, neither of which are a good idea if you care at all about your longevity.

I think the most important thing is attitude, think positive and don't sweat the small stuff, getting angry for no good reason is a good way to shorten your life. Plus,a good attitude costs no money to maintain.

Many studies only test the effect of small doses of one or two types of anti-oxidants, then report little or no result. Well duh, that's like testing a parachute that's too small, noting the negative results, and concluding that a bigger one will be not worth taking along. That's a pretty flawed way of thinking on such an important issue. I also beleive it is silly to wait for things to start failing before you try to fix them, with a system as complicated as the human body, it's probalby too late. I started taking anti-oxidants when I was 16, figuring that for maximum effect, it was best to head off all damage before it got a foot-hold. My HDL (good)cholesterol is higher than my LDL. I figure that the 'normal' diet gets tested by 6 billion other people, and is seriously wanting; someone needs to test other diets. It might as well be me.

Thaumaturge
03-30-2004, 12:10 AM
"The best way to be, in order to live to be 100 (for some reason it is taken for granted that you want to live to be 100-doubtless something the insurance companies thought up by themselves) is to be about 6 feet tall, weigh around 175 pounds, avoid diabetes and starches, live out-of-doors (going indoors at night after you have reached 80) and keep your parents and grandparents alive at the point of a pistol, if necessary.

Another good way is to forget about it."

Robert Benchley
How Long Can You Live?
Heh- that paragraph describes me pretty well. Well except for the living outdoors part......my monitor is too heavy to drag out side so I can read the SDMB. :p

( yes I avoid starches like the plague- I've always found them nasty, potatoes are especially icky to me)

InternetLegend
03-30-2004, 12:43 AM
It might seem obvious, but a really good first step is to eat at least five servings a day of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Blueberries are especially good, as are leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables. Except for the aforementioned tomatoes, most vegetables are best eaten raw or very lightly cooked with as little water as possible. The latest thing I've seen is that it's a good idea to eat three servings of nuts a week.

AskNott
03-30-2004, 01:51 AM
It's really important to be born before all those other guys. That's the main thing.

Epimetheus
03-30-2004, 07:44 AM
Technically speaking exercise does not increase lifespan, it only increases the quality of that life. There is evidence showing that exercise shortens life- from a theoretical perspective, I.e speeds up metabolic processes, increases rate of oxygen consumption resulting in many more free radicals, etc.

Genetics are really the limiting factor. If you die of cancer at 80, that exercise isn't going to help.

I recently read a study in a newsletter the Pharmacy I work for recieves weekly/monthly. It stated that male smokers are not benifited from antioxidents, and may actually make matters worse (http://health_info.nmh.org/HealthNews/reuters/NewsStory0722200313.htm):

So it may come to show that increasing the amount of antioxidents in, say, an athlete or person that exercises every day, may also prove to worsen matters. AFter all, it is likely that the increased oxygen intake proves nearly as dangerous as smoking. (tongue in cheeck here folks, I exercise regularly too)

Philster
03-30-2004, 07:49 AM
Alot of what you're getting is anecdotal evidence. Some is scientific. Some examples:


Anectdotal: Melatonin

Scientific: Calorie restriction

Anecdotal: exercise every day

Scientific: eat foods rich in antioxidents (fruits, veggies, etc)


cites: (UCLA studies conducted by Roy Walford. Similair double blind studies at other Universities. Walford.com Scientific American/PBS special in the PBS archives, Harvard Study - covered in Discover Magazine in 2003)

dtilque
03-30-2004, 11:20 AM
Anectdotal: Melatonin
There are studies that show that melatonin extends the life of animals. As far as I know, it's only been done on mice and rats1 so far, but I don't keep close track of research on this topic. Also, it's only been ten years since those results were published, so experiments on longer lived animals, such as dogs and cats, for example, would likely not be done yet.

Scientific: Calorie restriction
Yes, but do you call semi-starving yourself, living?


1 which live about 25% longer when consuming melatonin.