There are many people in this world who would love to live upto a 100 yrs of age. My own grandfather was very keen to live to see a 100 but unfortunately died 4 months past his 99th birthday. The average lifespan of an Indian has been constantly increasing over the last 30 yrs. In medical college I had learned that the life expectancy at birth of the average Indian male was 56 yrs (in 1988) but it has risen to 69.6 years in 2019. WOW! The Indian male can today expect to live 13-14 yrs longer than 30 yrs ago! Of course the Indian lady has always lived much longer than the man! I have always been curious about longevity ever since I heard my 7th grade classmate claim that his grandfather was 90 yrs old because he took one Badaam (Almond) a day, everyday! I had asked another grandfather what his secret to his long life was and he had replied, “no worries, hahaha”! I have read many books by current authors who claim their methods will get you to live upto 120 yrs but none of them,I am sure are even a day older than 60! Surely it wouldn’t be prudent of me to wait 60 yrs to know if there were right! It so happened that one day as I was shifting my books from the old cupboard to a new one, I stumbled upon a book that was with me for many years but had never been leafed through. And to my surprise, the author a physician/cardiologist mentioned that there were only 5 things proven with reasonable certainty in published medical literature that could prolong life. Hold your breath folks, the answer is coming up shortly…………..
1. Non-smoking – didn’t your mother tell you “never to smoke”, didn’t she tell you that it causes cancer, heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and impotence!! Smoking is injurious to your health and your dynasty! That is a no brainer, NOT smoking will help you live longer and better.
2. Modest (daily) Alcohol consumption – hail Bacchus, the God of good times! May every party start with salutations to you. The important word to watch out is MODEST alcohol intake. Modest alcohol refers to 3 units (1 unit = 30ml) for men and 2 units for women a day. The daily intake recommendations are intended for societies where it is normal for people to drink daily. Like the French who may drink a glass of wine with lunch and even be allowed to fly a plane for Air France!If you are a teetotaller,I wouldn’t recommend that you start drinking for health! It is also recommended that you don’t add your daily quota for a binge during the weekend.That is sure to make Bacchus unhappy and shorten your lifespan.
3. Vigorous daily exercise for at least 30 mins. Daily deliberate exercise ensures that your heart, lungs, all muscles and joints of the body are well oiled and in good condition. Surely you must have heard that “all work and no play makes Jack a dull man”! I would recommend gradually increasing your exercise quota to an hour every day targeting 7 days a week. The intensity can vary depending on you freshness/fatigue levels! Exercising in the evenings have the benefit that you don’t have to spend much time warming up.
4. To achieve your ideal body weight – I have seen many people who go to the gym who are very happy with their physical prowess but are in denial of the fact that they are overweight. So how do you calculate your ideal body weight (IBW)? The simplest way is to subtract 100 from your height in centimetres. I am 185cm in height and so my ideal weight is 185-100=85kg. There is another way to calculate using the BMI. The BMI is calculated by dividing the weight in kilogram by the square of the height in meters. Using my values ……..
The Americans (AHA) have recently reduced the upper value of the ideal BMI for Indians to 23.5 (how dare they!) So to calculate your ideal weight using the recommended BMI value, you will need to do the following sum – 23.5 X 1.85X1.85 = 80.42Kg. So according to the AHA, I would be 4.6 kg overweight! So all I have to do now is to eat less and exercise more to achieve my ideal body weight and live longer – Oh what a beautiful idea Sirji!
5. The last one! The Ideal diet – to eat more fruits and vegetables. It used to be said that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. That was appropriate for the days when the average Indian male lived upto the age of 56. But not anymore!! I ask some of my young patients if their parents and grandparents are alive and most would answer in the negative. When I ask them why they had passed on, they would often reply “of old age” and when I ask how old they were, the reply would come “65”! 65 yrs is young by me as I had 3 grandparents alive with me until 10 yrs ago. We need to eat right to live long. The WHO recommends that one consumes nearly 800 gms of fruits and vegetables every day. For a family of 4, it would be 3.2kg of fruits and vegetables every day! This does not happen in even the most affluent families. I think that is important to eat more fruits and vegetables of every colour every day. Salads salads salads is the way to go!
So, these are the 5 proven secrets to a long life. You may want to “Live Young and Live Free” my friend but I pray that you will Live well, Live long……….my best wishes!
1. For the last 10 yrs I have been VEGAN. I would recommend a few documentaries on Netflix for you to see. Athletes and Medical doctors recommending similar things for your improved health.
Forks over knives
What the Health
2. Living Longer, Living Better – Dr. Harold H Opie
3. Prevent and Reverse Heart disease – Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. My respects for this gentleman are sky high for not just be a great doctor but more for his being a Gold medal winner in Rowing at the 1956 Olympic Games! And by the way, Bill Clinton endorse his programme for cardiac health!