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Eating for a longer healthier life

In a recent study of more than a hundred people who were 100 years old or older, the one consistent thing that seem to contribute to their long life was the type of diet they consumed. Most of the people who were studied practiced under eating instead of overeating. Their diet was usually a variety of legumes, whole grains, nuts, fruits, vegetables and seeds. From this study and many others, certain practices can be gleaned to help with health and longevity.

  • Eat less and live longer. Most studies show that eating less than the average amount leads to a longer life span. One study suggested that one should stop eating before getting the sensation of being full.
  • Eat small meals more frequently. In looking at history, three meals a day is a more modern invention. Ideally the accepted norm was to eat small amounts four to five times a day. This approach aids in digestion and prevents an overload of waste disposal in the body.
  • Eat the largest meal in the morning or in the middle of the day. Studies have shown that food consumed in the morning and middle of the day are processed differently than in the evening.
  • Eat fresh foods. The longer it is between harvesting and the food appearing on your table, the more nutrients are lost.
  • Tea, which has free-radical reducing properties, is a proven preventative and therapy option for atherosclerosis. Polyphenols in tea are powerful antioxidants which help ward off cancer and diabetes.
  • Ginger has been known for centuries for its gastrointestinal benefits, but it contains a chemical called geraniol, which is a cancer fighter. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that may inhibit onset of migraines, decrease pain and prevent blood clots.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation, decrease blood pressure and promote respiration health.
  • Garlic contains the active ingredient allicin, which helps to reduce heart disease, lowers cholesterol, stimulates the function of the pituitary gland, decreases risk of cancer, and regulates blood sugar levels.
  • Eat brown rice instead of white. The only difference between white and brown rice is the presence of the husk on the brown risk, but the husk is loaded with B vitamins and bran. The bran has been known to help control blood sugar. The husk also contains over 70 antioxidants, including vitamin E.
  • Eat more apples. The old saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" has merit. Pectin in the apple helps prevent colon cancer and contributes to a healthy heart.
  • Sea vegetables such as seaweed and marine algae have been shown to contain more calcium than milk, more iron than beef, and more protein than eggs. It has been noted to reduce goiters, dissolve tumors, detoxify heavy metals and reduce water retention.
  • Berries are small fruits containing flavonoids and strong antioxidants. They are bacteriostatic and decrease the onset of aging and aging-related memory loss.
  • Oats, which come from the outer coating of the oat grain called oat bran, contains large concentrations of fiber which can trap cholesterol and move it through the intestinal tract. Whole oats contain high levels of antioxidants and can help prevent colon cancer, and saponins in oats increase natural killer cells in the immune system.
  • Studies have shown that a handful of nuts and seeds each day will improve muscle tone and circulation. Arginine is found in nuts and seeds which helps in fighting heart disease, high blood pressure, impotence and infertility.
  • B and C vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, bok choy, cauliflower and cabbage are high in vitamins and indole-3-carbinol which counters cancer cell growth.
  • Sesame is used in many cultures as a kidney and liver tonic, blood builder and bowel regulator. Sesame is rich in phytic acid which is a strong antioxidant.
  • Honey is a natural sweetener widely known to have antibiotic properties.
  • Tomatoes contain vitamin A and C, carotene and lycopene, which help with cancer prevention and decreases the risk of heart disease and cataracts. Tomatoes may aggravate arthritis and autoimmune diseases.
  • Sea salt and Celtic salt are valuable sources of minerals for the body. These minerals are needed for the production of vitamins, enzymes and proteins for the normal function of the body. Sea salt aids in detoxification of the body.
  • Olive oil lowers cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Orange rind contains a chemical called polymethosylated flavones, which reduces bad cholesterol.
  • If you have questions about eating for health, ask your physician or a nutritionist.

    More about Dr. Aulds

    Donald G. Aulds, MD is an Obstetrician and Gynecologist and currently serves as the Medical Director for both the Women's Center and the Best Start Program of North Alabama. He is a Diplomat of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

    Dr. Aulds completed his medical education at Louisiana State University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA and his Internship and Residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Ochsner Medical Foundation, New Orleans, LA.

    Dr. Aulds has been an active member of the Huntsville Hospital Medical Staff since 1980.