Timeless & ageless

Timeless & ageless

A constant The past teaches us some very important lessons when it comes to living longer, healthier and disease-free, writes Dr Alok Chopra

health

The strategies which affect longevity and anti-ageing, as well as reversal of chronic diseases, revolve around the fact that whatever echoes our ancestral past has to be good for us. So if we take a few lessons from our past, we will be in sync with our evolution.

These strategies are principally the same for anti-ageing and reversing chronic diseases such as cardiometabolic diseases like heart problems and diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases like alzheimer, cancer and other autoimmune illnesses. This is because our genetic code has not changed in the last 30,000 years, which translates to the fact that we are stuck with the DNA of our ancestors. Here are some lessons that can help us reverse ageing: 

Lesson 1 

On waking, our ancestors walked in search of food, which was scarce in those times, and to look after the family, they did some heavy activities. So today, an hour’s walk is not enough as it has little benefits when compared with some strength activity taken up by our ancestors.

Lesson 2

Back then, the morning ritual was to have a large nutritional meal after a bout of heavy work. The meal comprised real and seasonal food, and not packaged and processed fare which is available today. The first meal of the day has to be the biggest and healthiest.

Lesson 3

At sunset time, artificial lights were avoided and sparse food was consumed before sundown. This also gave rest to the gut to repair and rested the mitochondria, the power batteries in our body which produce energy from food and oxygen, which being motors, would produce more waste if worked continuously, thereby damaging our systems. Nowadays, food is consumed many times a day thereby sending our bodies on an overdrive and deteriorating all body functions while producing toxic waste. This causes inflammation, which is the common thread and origin of every chronic disease. It also accelerates the ageing process.

Lesson 4

Since it is best to eat only two meals a day, the origin of timed, intermittent fasting came up. Fasting induces the inherent capacity of our body to heal itself at the molecular level, get rid of unwanted, degenerative, older and pre-cancerous cells, while allowing the hidden stem cells to come into the circulation forever. This again helps in activating the anti-agieng processes and healing of chronic illnesses.

Lesson 5

It is important that we should at least have three to four hours between our last meal and sleep. This restores our circadian rhythm, which controls how our bio regulatory systems wax and wane in response to light and day, and to the different bio chemical external and internal exposures given to our body. Interestingly, this is a network of integrated and dynamic system working like an orchestra with the gut as the conductor and it is the gut that holds the steering wheel of our life.

Lesson 6

A diet high in good fats, moderate in proteins, low in complex carbs with no processed carbs, lots of seasonal foods, fermented foods, more coloured veggies, nuts and seeds, reduced dairy and less high fructose fruits (as fructose is a highly inflammatory food) is beneficial.

Lesson 7

Meditation and mindful practices can drive and reverse diseases and ageing by changing our actual biochemistry. We cannot ignore longevity studies like The Blue Zones by Dan Beuttner, where it has been proven that in certain places like Japan, California, Costa Rica, Sardinia and the Greek islands, most people not only live well beyond 100 years, but also that only 2-5% of the population develop chronic diseases. The common factors between all these places are:

Everyone woke up with a deep sense of purpose or a compelling reason for living (Ikigai in Japanese).

They would walk at least 20-30 min.

They were 70-90% vegetarian.

They satiated only 70-80% of their hunger.

They eat with their family.

Every day they addressed their faith together.

They did some stress busting activities with their friends every day.

Every day they did some form of social reforms, mentoring, helping and reaching out to each other with no conflicts of thoughts or religion. A Harvard study found that when you remove the social outreach, intimacy and connectivity with each other, longevity reduces and chronic illnesses resurface.

So eat well, keep moving and remain connected.

(The author is founder & medical director, Daivam Wellness)