NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

February 1, 2013

What's your 'real' age?

(Continued)

Good health depends on many different factors starting with the genes, but our inherited biology is just one part of the equation. I look at my own family. Folks tended to get sick and die younger than they might have. However, they all had a sedentary lifestyle and ate diets that were high in fat. It is with relish that I remember my grandmother’s noodle pudding, which was made with two pounds of white noodles, one pound of butter, and equal amounts of cottage cheese and cream cheese. It is true that the dish was delicious, but down the road, each of these family members became sick with cancer and heart conditions.

The scientific evidence is in. It is almost always suggested if we want to stay in good health, we need to pay attention to our diet and the supplements we take. A Mediterranean diet of primarily fresh, organic vegetables and fruits, nuts and legumes is often recommended.

Should we decide diet matters, we can let go of certain foods and eat more of the healthy choices, but as one wise elder once told me, “It’s not what you eat, it’s what’s eating you.” If stress eats away at you, it doesn’t matter what foods or supplements you ingest. You still may very well become ill. Living with constant stress can be regarded as the No. 1 destroyer of our life.

Research has also shown us we need to have a regular program of exercise. Of course, you may agree with the late actress and comedienne Phyllis Diller who said, “My idea of exercise is a good brisk sit.” But should you decide to start a serious exercise program, you need to have three parts to your routine: flexibility training (as the Yogis say, “You are only as young as your spine is flexible”), strength training for the muscles and bones, and aerobics to keep the heart and lungs strong.

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