Here are two surefire ways to ward off chronic disease for good—and set the foundation for a longer, healthier life
We all want to live a longer life. And modern medicine has gotten very good at delivering solutions to meet that age-old demand.
But what it hasn’t gotten particularly good at is helping people to live a healthier life. And that’s where the disconnect is. Because personally, I believe most people value the quality of those extra years as much as (if not more than) the quantity.
In fact, I’d be willing to bet that a lot of us would happily trade in some of those extra years if it meant we could feel good, too. Luckily, however, this kind of compromise isn’t really necessary.
The truth is that, you have all the tools you need at your disposal to guarantee an exceptionally long and vibrant life. And I’ll share those simple secrets with you in just a moment.
But first, let’s start by talking about some of the ways Americans are sabotaging their own longevity. Because unfortunately, there are quite a few…
Two steps forward, one step back
According to the 2020 update of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Heart and Stroke Statistics, the number of heart disease and stroke deaths are still trending downward.1 Which is good news!
Overall, people are exercising more, smoking less, and eating healthier. But we still have a long way to go to bridge the gap…
Because here’s the bad news: That trend has suffered a major slowdown in recent years.
Specifically, obesity rates are still on the rise in kids and adults. And at this point, nearly 40 percent of American adults—and upwards of 20 percent of our kids—are obese.
All of which would be bad enough if it were just a few extra pounds we were talking about. But as you know, weight is only one domino—and often, the first—in a whole deadly line of them.
So it shouldn’t surprise you to hear that diabetes prevalence has also increased dramatically over the last three decades… by nearly 130 percent among men and 121 percent among women.
Lifestyle matters more than you think
Needless to say, these rocketing obesity and diabetes rates aren’t exactly conducive to the long and healthy lives that Americans say they want to lead.
So, why is this happening? Well, there’s that old adage, “do what I say, not what I do.” And it’s clearly playing a huge role in the disconnect that’s driving the American public’s health.
In fact, as part of a recent AHA poll, more than 90 percent of Americans stated that living a long, healthy life is important to them, and that they believe everyone deserves to do so.
Yet, the same poll showed that fewer than 50 percent of the same respondents strongly agreed that their behavior has a role in supporting their health and well-being. And only about 33 percent agreed that their environment has any role in influencing or supporting their health choices.
I don’t know about you, but… I’m very confused by these responses. Do people really believe that good health just happens to you? And that your lifestyle choices aren’t in fact the single most important predictor of how long and healthy that life is likely to be?!
Because folks, let me break it to you: Nothing could be further from the truth.
More Americans getting sicker, sooner
It’s no mystery what’s going on here.
If you look at the research, you’ll see it in black and white: More people are living in poor health, starting at a younger age. This is leading to chronic illness and reduced quality of life, setting in much sooner than it ever did in the past.
And that isn’t really surprising when you consider the fact that we’ve never had so many overweight and obese young people—or such an abysmally out of shape population.
In response to this problem, the AHA released a series of new national and global impact goals for the next decade, as part of an effort to add more healthy years to peoples’ lives.
They even developed a new metric, called Health-Adjusted Life Expectancy (HALE)—which accounts for overall mental and physical health over a lifetime, and which would predict the number of healthy years a person can expect to live.
But of course, the sad thing about this is that the AHA has proven time and again that it doesn’t know the first thing about the kind of lifestyle changes that will ensure success.
And that’s a big part of the problem here: No one in charge of the public health is genuinely invested in improving it.
We’re standing in our own way
While there is a lot you can do on your own, it’s clear that we also need government intervention on this front—just like we did with alcohol and tobacco.
In other words, the mainstream medical establishment needs to start thinking like you and I do, and focus on actually preventing preventable diseases.
If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that the successful achievement of any public health goal requires a collaborative effort and engagement on multiple fronts.
Focusing on prevention means supporting impactful public health policies. It means making healthcare affordable. And it means emphasizing and facilitating lifestyle choices that actively make our situation better… not worse.
Now, I realize that we all have a right to live the way we choose. But imagine how many lives could be saved here in the U.S. alone if just one-third of our population didn’t have one or more pre-existing conditions.
It is amazing to me that, for all of the advances we’ve seen in medicine, the biggest obstacle standing in our way is… well, us.
We make choices every day that sabotage our quest to live healthier for longer. And while I know we can’t all be saints every day of the week, our days of gluttony need to see some serious cutbacks.
The most effective way to launch this effort is—yes, I am going to say it again—through diet and exercise. But let me also say this: Whatever the AHA is selling as the nutritional secret to longevity should be a classic case of buyer beware.
Remember, these are the same folks that rallied behind diets touting “low fat,” “low sodium,” and “whole grains.” And those are just a few examples of their major diet-related flubs.
Three “diets” that actually work
Sadly, these kinds of myths are still pervasive in conventional medicine. But mainstream research is slowly but surely coming around to the nutritional tenets I’ve been preaching since the start of my career.
A recent case in point: One new study actually took the time to examine the real-world benefits of the Mediterranean diet, the Paleo diet, and intermittent fasting (IF)—three popular approaches to weight loss.
Researchers found that IF caused the most weight loss, while the Mediterranean approach lowered blood sugar levels the most. And that both of these diets resulted in clinically significant blood pressure reductions.2
Now, I should also note that the details of these approaches vary.
IF doesn’t tell you what to eat, but when to eat. (In this study, subjects fasted on two days of the week, and ate normally the other five—but you can also choose to fast outside of time-restricted eating windows, such as between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m., on a daily basis.)
The Mediterranean diet urges plenty of fresh produce, nuts, seeds, and olive oil, with moderate amounts of fish, lean protein, eggs, and dairy.
Meanwhile, the Paleo diet focuses on foods that are minimally processed and eliminates sugar, dairy, and grains—focusing instead on “clean” foods like organic fruits and vegetables, free-range and grass-fed and -finished animal products, nuts, coconut milk and oil, and olive oil.
Ultimately, all three approaches have core principles in common with my A-List Diet—namely, consuming real food that’s low in sugar and rich in protein and healthy fats, eaten in a manner that honors your body’s evolutionary roots.
But as I’ve been saying throughout my entire career—there isn’t one single diet that works for everyone. Still, I think we can all agree that sugar has to go, one way or the other. Outside of that, you have to find a diet that works for you and fits your lifestyle… because in the end, eating right consistently is what’s really going to change (and ultimately, lengthen) your life.
Luckily, you have choices. Just remember, dieting doesn’t have to be hard work. It simply means paying attention to what goes into your mouth every day. (And as my A-List Diet shows, that can be downright delicious and satisfying.)
Of course, diet may be the most critical component for weight loss—but it’s far from the only one…
Exercise is the other key to longevity
Exercise deserves equal attention in any conversation about longevity. Because if Americans are dying prematurely, you can blame our love affair with sedentary living.
I know I’ve mentioned “sitting disease” here before. But it’s important to make a crystal clear point about just how much you have to gain by exercising regularly. In fact, research shows that lifelong exercise might be the closest thing there is to a real-world fountain of youth!
A team of U.K. researchers recruited 125 amateur cyclists—all healthy, older adults between the ages of 55 and 79. (In order to qualify for this study, men had to be able to bike 62 miles in under 6.5 hours—and women had to be able to bike 37 miles in under 5.5 hours.)
After performing a series of lab tests, researchers compared results from this group to the results of a group of adults who weren’t physically active on a regular basis. And the difference was like night and day.
For one thing, the regular cyclists maintained their muscle mass and strength in ways that their non-exercising peers did not. They also didn’t suffer the usual age-related rises in body fat and cholesterol. And among the men, testosterone levels stayed high, too—suggesting that active males may be able to avoid “manopause” altogether.3
But here’s the most impressive part: Regular exercise also appeared to halt the aging of subjects’ immune systems.4
Stop the clock from the inside out
I’ve talked to you before about the problem of immunosenescence—or as I call it, “immunity rot.” This phenomenon is dangerous. But it’s no mystery why it happens. Unless you do something to stop it, the body’s T-cell population tends to shrink with every year you tally after 20.
But in this study, at least, the cyclists were making as many T-cells as a person half their age. And I don’t need to explain to you what a big deal that is—especially in the age of COVID-19.
I will remind you, however, that a healthy immune system is your first line of defense—not only against viral infections, but against chronic inflammation and cancer, too.
Here’s the bottom line: You don’t stop exercising because you get old—you get old because you stop exercising. If you want to live a longer and healthier life, it’s never too late to change course. And remember, it doesn’t have to be much. Just get up and move! I always aim for at least 20 minutes of moderate physical activity daily.
Of course, implementing the foundational strategies I suggested above is a start—but you have many, many more tools available to you. In fact, I outline key strategies on how to “age younger”—and feel better—every day of your long, healthy life in my Ultimate Anti-Aging Protocol. To learn more about this comprehensive, online learning tool, or to enroll today, click here or call 1-866-747-9421 and ask for order code EOV3WA01.
- American Heart Association. “Living longer is important, but those years need to be healthy ones.” Science Daily. 01/29/2020. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/01/200129091442.htm)
- Jospe MR, et al. “Intermittent fasting, Paleolithic, or Mediterranean diets in the real world: exploratory secondary analyses of a weight-loss trial that included choice of diet and exercise.” Am J Clin Nutr.2020 Mar 1;111(3):503-514.
- Pollock, RD, et al. “Properties of the vastus lateralis muscle in relation to age and physiological function in master cyclists aged 55-79 years.” Aging Cell, 2018.
- Duggal et al. “Major features of Immunesenescence, including Thymic atrophy, are ameliorated by high levels of physical activity in adulthood.” Aging Cell, 2018.