What does it really take to extend your life AND the quality of the life you live?
First, we get to realize the good old fashion tenets of good health, though boring, are where to start. Sure, it is exciting to explore some of sciences newest finding on mTOR, Growth Factors, CRISPR technology, and new apoptotic supplements, all of which will get new articles soon, BUT our good health starts with the basics – so here we go!
Second, we need to get good food in and digest it down into little bits of nutrition rather than food chunks. Then nutrition is transported as fuel and building blocks into the cells. Then we need to make sure we can get the toxins out efficiently and deal with whatever toxins are in our world, our emotions and our thoughts. Yes, there really is something to the idea that our mind and body affect each other.
Once energy in the form of carbohydrates and fats, have gotten to our cells and into our mitochondria, (the furnaces in our cells where the burning takes place)they get to well enough to actually make energy without causing other problems.
We also get to take the building blocks from our food like proteins, fats and minerals and build our bodies. To do this, we need hormones that signal the uptake of proteins, fats and minerals and transform them into bones, muscles, brain and everything else. Think about what happens when men lose testosterone or women after menopause? They tend not to get stronger naturally but really need to work at it.
We get to have good circulation so our arteries and capillaries are flowing well, supplying energy and building blocks where they need to go. One of the aspects of dementia is vascular dementia where the brain isn’t supplied with enough blood, nutrition and oxygen and starts to fail. Think about it…… If the b-vitamins and fish oils don’t have an avenue to the brain, they can’t do much good.
We get to have a healthy lymphatic system which transports the clear fluid that's around all of our cells so we can take the toxic byproducts of energy burning and metabolism out of the cells and back into the blood supply so the kidneys, skin, lungs and liver can detox them.
We get to have liver detox enzymes intact so toxins can break down into less toxic and non-toxic components and get these compounds out, usually through bile and intestines without creating damage.
We get to have intact antioxidant systems so our mitochondria can make energy and our body can rebuild and repair itself and the free radicals don’t cause too much damage.
We get to live in a way that keeps our blood sugar, adrenaline, insulin and growth factors in healthy balance.
That healthy balance means we eat food that is nutrient-dense and is not packed with excess fast-burning carbohydrates or toxins from our environment and farming practices - think roundup and pesticides. These toxins can challenge our bodies produce abnormal growth patterns. Interestingly, many of the toxic pollutants are estrogen-mimicking and tend to signal abnormal growth.
Healthy growth comes from removing old cells and replacing them with new fresh cells like when we exercise and make our muscles bigger or stimulate our brains with new ideas and add to brain mass. We are supposed to have an array of hormones, growth factors, enzymes, peptides and nutrition that naturally stimulate this normal process so we can repair and rebuild at a healthy rate.
A lot of what getting older is about is when, for whatever reason, this natural repair process slows or runs amuck causing abnormal growth or we waste away. Notice not many 100-year-olds have the same muscle, brain and bone mass as a twenty-year-old.
How we manage these processes as we age makes a HUGE difference in what happens to us as we get older. We have much more ability to manage our old age by managing how we live today than most people ever thought possible.
We get to make sure that we manage our stress. Everyone gets stressed now and again, but if it happens on a regular basis or you notice you are one of these people whose mind is always going with an inner pressure to do and perform, it stimulates cortisol and adrenaline which inevitably throws blood sugars, insulin and growth factors out of balance and, worse, it affects our immune system.
Our immune system and the way that it interacts with our food, our own tissue and pathogens, is a critical aspect of how well we are going to live as time goes on.
If we are living in a stressful, toxic environment where we're eating high-carbohydrate fast-burning-high-glycemic foods, our immune system is going to have a challenge focusing on the real dangers like pathogens. It may get confused between healthy tissue and dangerous tissue that needs to be destroyed.
There is far more similarity in protein structures within our food and body than researchers had previously thought. And through a process called protein mimicry, sometimes proteins in food that is similar to proteins in our bodies, confuses the immune system.
When that happens, the immune system may start attacking its own tissue and that is way more common than was commonly thought. It is also a major contributor to systemic inflammation which, as many of you know, leads to an array of problems.
Coincidentally, many of the toxins we have normally in our environment with more sprayed on food challenges our immune system’s ability to focus on real dangers and, in fact, does stimulate autoimmunity and the related issues. Imagine a field of grains, without genetic modification, grown many years ago in a healthy area with good soil from the natural ancient grains. Who could argue with that? We have been eating it for generations with very few issues.
Now, however, imagine taking that field and then planting the same crop year after year. The seeds are genetically-modified time and time again so the plants barely resemble the originals. The plants are so burdened with seed from the gene modifications; they need fertilizer to stay alive. The soil has been depleted from decades of relentless farming and chemical spraying and then to top it off, just before harvest, they soak the grains down with glyphosate to literally kill the plant and give the farmer more profit.
Now this devitalized, genetically-modified, chemical-soaked DEAD grain is ground into flour, made into bread, cereal, crackers and then, to top it off, preservatives are added for “freshness”. What do you think your immune system is going to do with that mess?
As you can imagine, the immune system doesn’t like that chemical cocktail, and it rightly believes this is a danger to your body and attacks the very thing we think of as “food”. And the immune system will attack and attack until this toxic mess is no longer ingested, or a mistake is made and it attacks the body.
You may know this process as, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Grave’s Disease, neurological problems like MS, joint and muscle problems like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus and the list goes on and on…….
This is an autoimmune cascade that is happening every day and affecting the lives of millions of people and few are aware of the implications which is a very sad thing indeed as the choice for healthier foods isn’t even in the awareness of most Americans.
A new and upcoming field of health exploration is genetics, polymorphisms and epigenetics which will be discussed in future articles.
What this basically means is that we are born with genes that govern our body’s ability to deal with life. With a certain set of genes, we will have a tendency to produce certain compounds, growth factors, stress responses and detox pathways. As we live, the tendency of our genes and their expression will change depending on our stressors, nutrition, toxic load, immune challenges and many other influences.
If we are living in harmony with life, peacefully, with limited toxic exposure and good-quality food and healthy relationships, genes can express in a positive way with balanced endocrine, neurological, and hormonal systems all communicating well and producing the compounds we need for balance.
If we live in a way that is stressful for any reason - toxins, emotional issues, devalued food, not enough sleep -those same pathways may get challenged beyond the capacity of our genes or body to endure then we get symptomatology like feeling tired, having pain or inflammation, digestive upset, blood chemistry issues and memory challenges to name a few.
Our life can become emotionally and physically out of balance and we generally won’t be able to experience the joy, fun and enthusiasm that are possible. To a large degree, we are limited to the level of challenge our systems have in working together in harmony. This is in part because, as our systems go out of balance, our brain chemistry does, too, and that is tough to deal with.
So basically, that was a roundabout way of saying what many already know which is the genes we’re born with make a difference but also, and more importantly, how we live our lives can dramatically change the way they work and express themselves.
Our lifestyle makes a huge difference and WE are the ones in charge of the way we choose to live our lives.
Food is important and the quality of food is vital to our overall health.
Our emotional life and the way we think of our experiences affects the way our systems work together and either adds to our joy and longevity or takes them away.
True, we are dealt a hand of cards called our genes, and how we play that hand makes a profound difference in our overall quality of life and vitality.
The profound message here is, who we become in this world is up to us. We have ultimate control over how we experience the events in our lives.
How we allow our experiences to affect us and how they affect our body is, in large part, able to keep us well, happy and vital, or drive us into despair, disease and misery. The choice is yours.
Your life and the world would be better more fun and engaging if we all made the choice to be happy, well, and be compassionate and loving. It’s in our genes.