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Friday, December 14, 2007

Six Secrets For A Long Young Life - Secret Number One

OUR great desire is to live a long, useful life, all the while looking and feeling far younger than your years. Certainly this is a goal worth aiming at. But are you prepared to abide by the Commandments? Because everything worth attaining has a price. And the price of a long, youthful life is planned diet. No more haphazard eating; no more pandering to a finicky appetite; no more plundering your body's health with indifferent and unwise selections of ''substandard' foods. At first, the careful and judicious selection of youth-protecting foods will be a novelty you'll enjoy. But after that may come the danger period when the novelty provided by a new regimen begins to wear off, and you are tempted to lapse into the 'oh, it's too much trouble' kind of defeatist thinking. Yet I promise you that once you have successfully weathered this period of temptation to return to the old haphazard way of eating, you'll subconsciously begin accepting, or rejecting, each food on the basis of its contribution to your youthfulness and long life, with the same skill as that exercised by a trained nutritionist. Instinctively, you will avoid the old 'gooey' meals with which you formerly insulted your body. The food commandments I am going to lay down for you are those that will afford you taste pleasures and adventures in good eating the like of which you have seldom enjoyed before.

While this article was still in the planning stage, I came across a published interview with Dr. Charles E. Dutchess, medical director of an Eastern research laboratory, and a scientist long interested in proper nutrition as the only way to attain a healthy, long life. His 'six general rules' parallel so closely the health teachings to which I have devoted my life that I was elated to find a medical scientist speaking out firmly on the subject of 'eating to stay young.' If you are already forty or over, Dr. Dutchess was quoted as saying, it is even more important to protect your body mechanism against the wear and tear of age. And at fifty and sixty, and beyond, the six rules become still more vital. The rules, in brief, with which Dr. Dutchess (as well as all nutritional scientists) earnestly seeks to acquaint the public call for 'plenty of lean meat, eggs, milk, vitamins and essential minerals, obtained from a broad selection of meats, fruits and vegetables.' Let's take these six general rules-commandments I have called them-one by one, in detail, as they pertain to your goal of attaining a long, youthful, enjoyable life.

First Secret: High Grade Proteins in Abundance

The protein story has been developed rather fully for you in the preceding chapters, so there is no need to repeat at length the fact that protein is essential for feeding, repairing and rebuilding your muscles, nerves, tissues, glands and vital organs. In short, your body is made of protein and needs liberal quantities of protein foods to keep it operating without serious breakdowns (disease). In case of illness or convalescence, protein is the re-builder of your health. It hastens the healing of severe burns or fractures; it builds up bodily resistance by increasing the germ-killing power of the blood; it supplies the lasting energy so essential to the body's recuperative powers in fighting disease. Life insurance companies have an unsentimental, dollars-and-cents interest in keeping you well and alive for a long time. For that reason they issue series of pamphlets and booklets loaded with sane advice on how to avoid illness and early death. I quote from one of these pamphlets directed at the forty-and-over group: 'An ample, nutritious diet is as important to adults as to growing children. Learn to like and to choose foods that are good for you. Well-balanced meals of vegetables, meats and fresh fruits are health-building meals. The impression that people in the older ages should avoid eating meat is entirely erroneous. In fact, some diseases are due to lack of protein which is contained in such foods as meat, eggs, milk and cheese.' The pamphlet then goes on to say that 'older people die (aside from accidents and senility) only from blood disorders, cancer, circulatory disorders (heart disease, kidney disease or stroke) or infections.

Let's see what nutritional science has been doing to fight these 'disease enemies of your youth.' First, we'll take blood disorders. One of the most common of these in persons past forty is anemia. The paleness which has come to be associated with growing older is often nothing except a visible symptom of nutritional anemia. There's no reason why a person shouldn't possess a healthy, glowing complexion in later years, provided his blood is rich with red coloring matter. But healthy blood cannot be formed without protein any more than it can be maintained without the minerals iron and copper. Hemoglobin, the red coloring matter in the blood, contains no less than 14 different amino acids (proteins combined in as many as 576 different groupings). You can't build good red blood on tea and toast. Because nutritional anemia is so widespread among all sugar-and-starch eaters, but more particularly in those persons past forty, I want to dwell a moment on this blood disorder which, in itself, does not kill, but which paves the way for more serious diseases. And I might add, as an aside right here, that although anemia may not kill you, it certainly does murder your youthfulness, for without pep and enthusiasm you can neither look nor feel young. And who can remain youthful while staggering under the growing burden of anemia fatigue? Anemia at any age, and particularly after forty, cannot be shrugged off as 'not serious,' for anemia in middle life is an ailment that can shorten your years of useful, vigorous living. And certainly the mind of a person suffering from nutritional anemia is not equipped to cope with the bewildering personal adjustments that often must be faced, and accepted, after the fourth decade. If you suspect that you may be anemic, go at once to a reliable laboratory and have a blood count taken.

Here are a few of the more common symptoms of anemia: A gradually increasing fatigue and loss of vigor; pale, greenish, sallow skin, turning to pasty white (especially the ear lobes) as the disorder progresses; dull-looking eyes with a pronounced blue-white cast to the whites; dry, luster less hair; brittle, flattened, indented fingernails and toenails; a tender, burning, slick, beefy-red tongue, and sore mouth; dizziness; shortness of breath; and palpitation of the heart (brought on because the blood hasn't enough oxygen-carrying hemoglobin to properly nourish the heart muscle). Let me point out that unless anemia is checked as rapidly as possible, your heart ultimately will be damaged. If a blood count reveals that your blood contains too few red cells and has a low percentage of hemoglobin (that is, it is not red enough), then you should act at once to restore your blood to normal. How? By immediately converting to high-protein meals (those containing lean meat, liver, kidney, heart, dark meat of poultry, oysters, eggs, cheese, milk and seed cereals like millet, sunflower and sesame seeds); by eating generously of iron-rich apricots, molasses (not necessarily the bad-tasting blackstrap variety, since pure cane and sorghum syrups are also rich in iron), prunes, raisins, whole grains, beets, parsley, radishes, citrus fruits and pineapple, to mention but a few of the foods with the highest iron content. As a safety measure, your doctor will probably also prescribe a mineral supplement containing organic iron to rebuild your blood to normal as quickly as possible.

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