The 5 Key Health Indicators
Some of the following health and longevity signs are mentioned in an ancient Chinese Medicine textbook called ‘The Yellow Emperor’s Classic’ ; I have added a few signs of myself, and given some ‘Western’ natural medicine indications as well. You will notice that some of these signs are not just referring to the physical body, but also about matters of social behavior, morality and spirituality.Good health is after all holistic health, and represents a combination and balance of mind, body, and spirit. Scientists studying ageing and health and older people from around the world, found that these people sleep deeply and well, are vigorous and athletic and prefer sports like swimming, cycling and tramping or mountain walking; they enjoy travel and do this widely and often, have low to normal blood pressure; and many still have a good physical relationship with their partners as well, even at an advanced age!. They read more and watch far less television; have good posture; are more likely to be truthful and not give a false impression of themselves; are extrovert and outgoing and generally have parents who lived to a healthy old age. Many were also vegetarian or ‘semi’-vegetarian.
The Five Key Health Indicators
- First check your diet, may need to make changes, check for poor functioning digestive system – do you burp, bloat, have gas, or have constipation? At least, reduce the amount of coffee and tea you consume, and have more water.
- Take a good quality multi-vitamin and mineral supplement or two and add some Omega 3 oil or capsules. You feel no better after two or three months? You may need to consult your naturopath for a check-up.
- There are so many reasons for low vitality. You may be suffering the effects of burn-out, or the after effects from a separation, divorce, job loss, starting a new job, breast-feeding, have two or three little kids to care for, or one of a dozen other reasons. It always pays to determine your specific reason for low vitality.
- Hormonal or immune related problems quite often underpin many cases of low vitality we see as practitioners. I find this particularly to be the case if a stress has been prolonged in women tending to a family. See your naturopath or talk with the friendly staff at you local health food shop once again, particularly if you suspect adrenal fatigue or poor functioning thyroid. Coffee, tea, sugar and chocolate cravers generally suffer from these problems sooner or later. You could try some B vitamins along with chromium, zinc and Vitamin C in this case.
2. Good Sleep
- Magnesium supplementation at bedtime.
- Herbal formula containing valerian, passiflora, hops, chamomile, etc; at bedtime as required.
- Ginkgo Biloba may rectify impaired sleep quality in persons, those using certain types of antidepressants called tricyclic antidepressants, particularly in those who have difficulty going to sleep.
3. Sense of Humor
- Learn to laugh more! Sigmund Freud, the father of modern psychology, once said: ‘I never knew a man who possessed the gift of hearty laughter to be burdened by constipation’. I have to agree here, it has always seemed to me that a good sense of humour, and the ability to laugh out loud is a good way to ‘jog internally’ without having to go outdoors.
- Hire out some funny movies! An interesting book I read some years back was called: ‘Anatomy of an Illness’, (Bantam Books 1979). The book is a true account of a man called Norman Cousins, and his successful fight to overcome a crippling disease. Norman’s story is an example of how the mind and body work together, and can overcome illness by doing so. Norman discovered that ‘ten minutes of genuine belly laughter’ had an anesthetic effect that would give him two-hours of pain free sleep. ESR (a blood marker for generalised inflammation) levels dropped 5 points after each laughter episode, and Norman was elevated to discover that there was a physiological basis for the ancient theory that laughter is ‘the best medicine’.
4. Healthy Appetite And Digestion
- Watch your weight, and maintain a ‘sensible’ weight for your height.
- Eat fewer bad fats and more good fats.
- Eat fewer refined-grain carbohydrates and more whole grain carbohydrates
- Eat healthier sources of protein, like fresh fish.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables; reduce potatoes, pasta and breads.
- Drink alcohol in moderation only.
- Drink pure water daily, in sufficient quantities.
- Take a multivitamin/mineral daily (at least two) for your insurance against deficiencies.
- Ensure your bowel functions correctly, you may want to visit your naturopath, or have a chat to a colon therapist. Healthy, vital people have well functioning bowels, no diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or excessive flatulence.
The Chinese see the appetite as a way to consume, or take things in, as well as the ability of a person to ‘give’ of themselves. This is balanced in the healthy person by a desire to give as well as to take. In this way, a healthy balanced person appears to have the endless ability to give of themselves, which in turn stimulates their appetite, improves health and so on it goes, culminating in a happy spiral upwards.
5. Mind over Matter
- Vitamin E (400 iu/day)
- Ginkgo Biloba, (try the liquid, 2.5 mls – 4mls per day of the standardised liquid extract). Ginkgo helps to increase blood circulation to the brain, and may increase the supply of oxygen to the brain and help to prevent free radical damage to the brain’s neurons.
- Phosphatidylserine (PS), try 100mg two to three times daily. PS has been the most studied nutrient for cognitive decline. Substantial amounts of clinical and research data are available on PS, and the findings indicate PS is very safe to take and highly effective in conserving memory, increasing learning, concentration, and other higher mental capacities. Intakes in the trials ranged from 200-500 mg daily; a reasonable supplementation strategy would be to take 200-300 mg per day (in 2 or 3 divided doses, with meals) for the first month, then lower the intake to 100-200 mg per day.
- Omega-3 fatty acids (particularly the DHA component of Omega 3) many people have a deficiency of DHA in the brain, particularly as they age. DHA is the building block of human brain tissue and is particularly abundant in the grey matter of the brain and the retina of the eye. Low levels of DHA have recently been associated with depression, memory loss, dementia, and visual problems of the elderly.
- Zinc 15–30mg/day. Some leading researchers from around the world believe that zinc is one of the most important elements regarding ageing. Zinc deficiencies often underpin many problems and altered cognitive functions, such as loss of taste and smell. Poor vision and immunity are two other key areas which zinc supplementation can make a big difference.