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10 Steps to Health and Longevity

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Maintaining (or regaining) good health is the key to the quality and length of life. Here are 10 steps to greatly improve your odds.

It always amazes me the responses I It when I ask people what they value most in life. Common answers are: my spouse, my kids or my career. When I suggest that nothing is more precious in life than good health however, no one disagrees!

The reality is that maintaining (or regaining) good health is the key to the quality and length of life. Here are 10 steps to greatly improve your odds:

Eat a good-fat (unprocessed and rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids), high-fibre diet that includes food supplements to compensate for the nutritional deficiencies in much of today's food supply. Read the list of ingredients on processed food. Avoid artificial colors and flavors as well as chemicals that belong in a lab, but not in your body.

Exercise regularly, especially if your job requires you to sit much of the work day. Take a brisk daily walk of not less than half an hour. If possible, swim that long at least once a week.Exercise strengthens muscles, slows the aging process, stimulates the heart and lungs, reduces demineralization of bones and most important of all, it boosts the immune system.

Maintain the proper weight for your height and age. Excess weight taxes your cardiovascular system and increases your risk of diabetes and cancer. Many lethal contaminants such as dioxins and PCBs concentrate in fatty tissue. According to a recent study by the North American Associa tion for the Study of Obesity, most Canadians and Americans are over weight. Don't be one of them.

Keep your exposure to ionizing radiation to a minimum. Before agreeing to X-rays, make sure the bene fits outweigh the risks. Do not agree to mammography screening. This year's January 8 issue of the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet reports: "The data show that for every 1,000 women screened bien nially throughout 12 years, one breast-cancer death is avoided whereas the total number of deaths is increased
by six."

Drink six to eight glasses of safe water. Water is nature's great cleansing agent. It helps remove toxins from your body and helps your kidneys and digestive system function. More than 300 chemicals have been identified in drinking water in North America, possibly including chloroform, lead, copper, asbestos, pesticides, herbicides and even some pharmaceuticals. A reverse osmosis water purification system or a steam distiller is an impor
tant health investment.

Reduce your exposure to air that is contaminated by smoking, fires or fossil fuel exhaust. In 1937 there were 377 lung cancer deaths in Canada. Today the annual lung cancer death toll is almost 18,000! While the number of smokers is decreasing, industrial and traffic exhaust
.is increasing dramatically.

Work in a healthy environment, even if that means changing jobs. Remember a pay cheque is not a sub stitute for health.

Don't eat meat. You don't need it and it poses serious health risks. These range from fatty deposits clogging your arteries to ingesting chemicals, hormones and antibiotics all of which can weaken your immune system and render you susceptible to a wide range of ailments.

Avoid constipation and maintain regular bowel movements with a fruit and vegetable, high-fibre diet so that toxins will be quickly eliminated before they can do harm.

Have a positive outlook on life. American author Norman Cousins proved in his book Anatomy of an Illness that laughter has great curative powers. Psychologist Dr Ann Cor- bishley of the Eric Martin Hospital in Victoria told me of a very effective formula to steer clear of depression: it's called "thought-stopping." Every time your thoughts move towards a negative topic, you must (and you can!) think of something positive instead.

Thoughts create feelings and feelings create behavior. In other words, if you change your thoughts from negative to positive, your feelings and behavior will change for the better as well.

You don't have complete control over how long you live (genetic makeup and possible accidents obviously can cut your life short), but you can nevertheless greatly improve your chances of living a long and healthy life.

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