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Video: Longevity Focus - The Quality Of Life
Andrey BELOVESHKIN - doctor, candidate of medical sciences, host of the educational blog about healthy life beloveshkin.com
Among other numerous benefits, evolution has brought man the opportunity to live long and fruitfully. Life expectancy has grown from century to century, but the issues of longevity are still relevant. How not to lose your "I" with age? How to get old actively and vigorously? How to improve the quality of life? Andrey Beloveshkin talks about this.
Can longevity be achieved and how can this be achieved in practice?
There are several separate aspects here. First of all, these are genetic questions: does a person have biological prerequisites for longevity. The second aspect is lifestyle. This includes primarily food. The third is psychological resources: these are questions of meaning, self-identity, relevance.
Is psychology only in third place?
If we consider different populations, it turns out that different factors play different roles for them. For example, the inhabitants of Sardinia do not eat in the best way from a nutritional point of view, but they have a scientifically proven genetic predisposition to longevity. If they move to other countries, they still live longer than local residents. But if we talk about the inhabitants of Okinawa, there, on the contrary, no genetic predisposition has been revealed, and if they move, they quickly lose their longevity.
Is the reason for longevity in Okinawa - proper nutrition, climate, something else? For example, supportive social contacts?
All together, of course, but the social aspect is very important. This is a community in which support for each other is very developed, there are many interest groups. For example, the elderly in it are engaged in calligraphy, karate, diving. The more choice, the more people are involved. Now there are projects that bring people from different countries together. Thus, a free English course appeared in nursing homes in the United States. Anyone who does not have money for a tutor can find grandparents from these houses.
This is both communication and mutually beneficial cooperation. In game theory, this is called “win for all”. Such social groups reduce tension in society, provide support and demand, including for the elderly. Previously, there was an idea of a person as a cart - as something that wears out over time, has no opportunity for recovery. Now everyone is looking for resources that allow us to stay young longer. And these resources can be both physiological and social.
It's not about how long we live, but how
If we take the image of a "cart" as a basis, can we say that timely maintenance guarantees its longevity?
All people have different resources. There is a genetic factor - if a person has this huge resource, he can, relatively speaking, smoke and live up to 110 years. Moreover, he lives so long not thanks to smoking, but in spite of it. The other person has fewer options. But thanks to the fact that he takes care of himself, he can live longer. There is a gene that significantly increases the likelihood of living over 100 years. For example, I do not have this gene, so there is no need to hope for nature. We are used to thinking that some types of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, heart attacks have a clear connection with age. But what have we seen lately? These diseases are getting younger. People age earlier. Because of their lifestyle, stress, improper nutrition, they have been using their resources for "afterburner" since the age of 12.
So the problem won't work, can you only aggravate it?
Certainly. Nature has its own justification for a bad mood: in this state, we think more rationally, reasonably, and better assess risks. Moreover, discomfort can become a starting point for overcoming the crisis. We feel bad and strive to solve the problem in order to feel better. But what happens if we consume cakes or drink alcohol? We start to feel a little better, but the problem remains unresolved.
Still, I want to enjoy the food …
Not just wanting, but also necessary. It is important for a person to eat his fill, with satisfaction. And there are different ways to do this. The wrong way: to enjoy hyperstimulation - there is as much sweet, fatty, salty as possible. And the right way is to enjoy social contacts. When the whole family gathers at the table, eats from beautiful dishes, the food ritual is observed.
Another important point is mindful eating, which is essentially savoring. When people from childhood are accustomed to understanding tastes, they know the shades. This is concentration on the sensations while eating. Such attention is closely related to the pleasure of taste. When we eat with a tablet in our hands or in front of the TV, we don't taste it. We just chew and lose the source of pleasure. Then we come to our senses: the whole room is in wrappers and empty plates, and we don't remember whether it was tasty or not. This habit originates in childhood, when the child is told: "If you want, you do not want, until you eat, you will not leave the table." And the child understands that he needs to turn off the senses and stuff everything into himself. He gets used to going into a "trance" in order to do it as quickly as possible. This can go on for a lifetime.
You can reprogram yourself: develop healthy eating habits, and then it will not cause torment
The health focus is a matter of habit. The foods you eat are not important, exercise is not important, the regime is important - this is the skeleton of a lifestyle. It's like a rut cut in stone, you can get out of it, but you will come back anyway, random perturbations will not knock you out. Many rely on willpower, but this is a limited resource, the only question is when will the breakdown occur. Thanks to our mirror neurons, we unconsciously copy habits. Once you have three friends who are overweight, the chances of gaining excess weight in a year increases by 50%. As soon as we choose friends who lead a healthy lifestyle, who think positively, we begin to control ourselves better without any violence against ourselves. By developing good habits, you will do what you want to do.
First, we sew useful programs into the subconscious that prolong life, help us to live with joy. And then, without thinking about it, are we working on achieving long-term goals?
The totality of these programs is even more than habits. In fact, this is what can be safely called a culture within the framework of an individual and a family. Modern cultures arose from thinkers who preached and implemented some codes. These programs survived because they gave their adherents certain advantages. Those who followed them were more successful, survived better. Therefore, it is very important to check the time of different methods. Science just recently blamed fats and now admits it was a mistake.
Often in conversations you can hear the opinion that willpower helps to think correctly and stay healthy. Allegedly, those who thought about the bad, were offended, angry, and cancer occurs, and other diseases. Is there a real relationship between negative thinking and, for example, malignant tumors?
“There is a connection, but it is not causal,” Andrei Beloveshkin answers. - The fact is that emotions are very closely reflected in the state of immunity. Fear can literally change the parameters of the immune system in an hour. Chronic stress is also dangerous, which is designated by various authors as helplessness, refusal to search behavior, or chronically uncontrollable stress. We can call this a “deficiency regime”, when the body shuts down systems that are not needed in order to survive. These systems include: bone tissue, metabolism, thyroid, reproductive and, importantly, the immune system. And problems with immunity are always problems with tumors.
In medicine, there are two factors for the occurrence of diseases: predisposing and producing. Many diseases occur when both of these factors coincide. That is, there is some kind of background, predisposition and producing factor of a completely different nature. For example, a person has depression. If he does not drink alcohol at the same time, then the likelihood of suicide is small, and if he is prone to drinking alcohol, then this probability increases significantly. Alcohol is a productive, reinforcing factor. That is why sweets, say eclairs, can be eaten only when you are in a good mood. Then it will be relatively safe for metabolism and there will be no risk of addiction."
We must take into account scientific research and at the same time look into the past, choosing tradition, provenance. This knowledge has passed through generations and we can detect possible side effects, if any. We live in a very fertile time and have many more opportunities to live a long and happy life compared to our ancestors. And you need to take advantage of this.
Be careful with carbohydrates (I generally believe that once a person solves their carbohydrate problems, everything else becomes much easier). Pay attention to the caloric density of the product, for example. After all, 400 calories can be either a 100 gram chocolate bar or 1.5 kilograms of broccoli. There are more fresh foods that are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. The more refined the product becomes, the less useful, nourishing, nourishing substances there are.
It is no coincidence that there are a lot of herbs and vegetables in the cuisines of long-lived peoples, although people began to eat them because of poverty. In Okinawa, for example, typhoons are constantly raging, which flood rice fields. And that's why the inhabitants eat sweet potatoes. Crete was under the rule of the Turks, so the inhabitants ate shells, spicy herbs that were collected in the meadows. That is, they included a huge amount of low-calorie foods in their diet. And residents of wealthy cities who allow themselves more highly concentrated foods age earlier. They live a long time thanks to medicine, but in spite of nutrition.
How to develop good habits?
Distinguish between two areas: medicine and health promotion
- 1. Medicine helps us avoid serious trouble. This area includes periodic analyzes, screening for oncogenes, genetic testing. Most people die from cancer and cardiovascular disease. And the earlier they are found, the more successful the treatment will be.
- 2. The second area includes everything related to health promotion: nutrition, physical activity, psychological and social practices.
We also divide habits into two groups.
- 1. The first group is a regime, a certain regularity of various actions. This is stress and recovery, work and rest, it is activity during the day and restful sleep, fasting and festive feasts. This is proportionality, rhythm. If a person runs faster than the capabilities of his body, this will inevitably cause disease.
- 2. The second group of habits is specific: what to eat and what to do. It is a selection of appropriate foods, exercises, friends.
They say that the time is not far off when people can live to be 100 years old
I associate such a breakthrough primarily with the development of information technologies, including artificial intelligence. It is difficult for an ordinary doctor to calculate, process a huge amount of patient data. The devices, which will work on the principle of artificial intelligence, will be able to individually scan, analyze a person's problems and recreate immune cells specific to a particular type of cancer of that person. It will be personalized medicine. There are forecasts that those who survived until 2035 will be able to significantly extend their lives.