The Science of Healthy Aging: Living Better, Not just Longer
Excellent talk by Ellen Hughes, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine; Former Director of Education, Osher Center for Integrative Medicine.
Things worth remembering:
- About 40% of your health is determined by behavior, 30% by genetics, 15% social, 10% healthcare, 5% environment
- Mental health is linked to physical health
- Our genes aren’t fixed… our behaviors directly affect our genes (see epigenetics)
- “Eat real food, not too much, mostly plants” -Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food)
or even easier… “more leaves, less seeds.”
- It’s never too late
sedentary people that become active have the same mortality as other active people in their age group after a few months
active people that become sedentary have the same mortality as other sedentary people in their age group after a few months
- Floss your teeth
- Eat whole grain, not whole wheat
- Relax & set aside time to think
- Testing the low-calorie hypothesis:
- monkeys on a healthy diet with 1/3 fewer calories live 1/3 longer than other monkeys with same diet but no caloric restriction
mechanisms? less oxidative stress & less insulin production
some of the longest lived people (Okinawans) don’t eat until they’re full (they practice the 80% full rule)
portion control ideas: split entrees @ restaurants (take-out half for later) & use smaller plates
people eat half as much food at buffets with 8″ plates as buffets with 10″ plates
- Telomeres naturally shorten with age, but can be lengthened by a healthier lifestyle & stress management
this may be used to check the effectiveness of health interventions in the future
- Gene array analysis of an intervention of sedentary individuals improving diet, exercise, stress levels & lifestyle led to over 500 healthy gene activations & longer telomeres
Some other observations worth noting:
- To exercise your mind and/or body, LEARN SOMETHING NEW!
- If you’re healthy, keep it up!
- If you’re unhealthy, get healthy and enjoy the same benefits as other healthy people your age.