Fat, which results from over-eating is fatal to longevity,” for every pound of over-weight the mortality rate increases about one per cent. As a wag has it. “God does not help those who help themselves, and go on helping themselves.”
Obesity, a disease of the affluent is encouraged by overeating and food sophistication. Sophisticated foods marketed by canning factories have not the hard bite of natural foods; often, as in biscuits, they are concentrated, pappy and sugary.
Together with sophisticated food, sugar, white flour and sweet play havoc with health. They make people obese and obesity brings with it increased likelihood of premature death and a train of diseases, some of them lethal, high blood pressure stroke, thrombosis and diabetes.
Natural foods, such as fruit, vegetables containing roughage in the form of cellulose, make the stomach satisfied before too much has been eaten, but biscuits, cakes, pastry and ice-cream are without this inbuilt restraint and a large number of calories are eaten before hunger is satisfied.
At forty, we must begin to change our food habits. More protein (lean meat, beans, cheese, milk eggs) more vitamin containing vegetables and fruit (except potatoes and peas) but less fat (cream, pork, butter, fried foods) and less carbohydrates (pastry, candy, jellies, preserves, etc.)
Moderation in diet is the surest method of qualifying for longevity. Worry: Worry means persistent, undue concern about past behaviour or about anticipated dangers in the present or future. The word ‘worry’ is derived from an old Anglo- Saxon word meaning ‘to strangle or choke’
Certain well-controlled care freeness is an asset. Normal, sensible concern is an important attribute of the mature person. But the chronic habit of worry frustrates the victim’s best functioning and shortens life.
Dr. Chrales H. Mayo remarks, “Worry affects the circulation, the heart the glands, the whole nervous system, and profoundly affects the health. I have never known a man who died from over-work, but many who died from doubt”. An anonymous poet has aptly said:
It is not work, but the worry That makes the world grow old, That number the years of its children Ere half their story is told. It may not be possible to conquer worry, but we can curb some of its destructive forces by accepting reality which becomes easier if one is honest with oneself, as well as with his follow-beings.
To take a great weight off your mind, discard your halo. Another way of over-coming worry is to cultivate self- confidence and a sense of humour. Worry is akin to anxiety and Jean Gesber has said that the ultimate conquest of anxiety is a smile.
Sedentary habits lessen a man’s chances of enjoying a normal life span. (Heart attacks, stroke and lung cancer are three major killers of men in middle age or younger. Diabetes, if left untreated, can lead to death by the first two.
Prof. John Yudkin has demonstrated that the increase in heart attacks could be neatly matched with the increase in motor car licenses, T.V. sets and radios. This points to lack of exercise as one of the causes of the above diseases. Dr. J.K. Brierley has observed that drivers of double- Decker buses die from thrombosis more often than bus conductors who have to run up and down the bus stairs all day.
Office clerks and telephone operators suffer more than the walking or cycling postmen. You can ward off heart attacks by using your legs rather than your car. Experts say that lack of exercise is one of the main causes of diabetes. We were not made for a sedentary life.
Indeed, regular exercise in the open air is probably the best defense against ill-health of all sorts. The best form of open air exercise is walking. A walk of three miles a day should on no account is neglected by those who are unable to take more active exercise in the military fashion.
Irregular habits of life: Irregular habits of life shorten life and bear out the old saying ‘a short life but a gay one’ Detailed studies and questioning of the centenarians have shown that they have always lived extremely regular lives.
They get up early, eat three or four meals a day, always with plenty of fruits and vegetables, and retire early at a regular time. There is, it seems, something in old Ben’s verse.
Early to bed and early to rise.
Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
Benjamin Franklin, the famous American scientist, diplomat and writer, stayed gingery and productive till he died at the ripe age of 84. He went to France in the service of his country at 73, and wrote his autobiography at over 80. Moderation is the key to longevity.
“It is better”, says Aristotle, “to rise from life as from a banquet” neither thirsty nor drunken. Dissipation is the royal road to a pre-mature death.” Have fun without going to excessiveness. As Charles C. Colton warns.
“The excesses of our youth are draughts upon our old age, payable, with interest, about thirty years after date”. Nothing shortens life like the habit of excessiveness. To qualify for longevity, cultivate the golden mean.
Research into the lives of the centenarians mentioned above revealed that drunkenness was rare among them, while whirl smoking was moderate.
The habit of immoderate cigarette-smoking certainly shortens life. Cigarettes appear to be the main killers for lung cancer. It is estimated by experts that only 15% of non-smokers aged 30 will die before the age of 65, as compared with 33% of 35-year-old who smoke 25 cigarettes daily.
An army doctor has suggested a method for losing this habit. Each day, the smoker postpones for one hour longer that first cigarette.
On the first day, as many cigarettes as desired may be smoked. On the second day, the first cigarette is put off for an hour, but after that, the smoker consumes as many as he wishes. On the third day, no cigarettes are smoked until two hours after rising, but again, as many thereafter as are craved. Smoking will cease in about two weeks.
The underlying theory is that if a smoker can consume an unlimited number of cigarettes after his period of abstinence, he loses his fear of the programme.
Drunkenness brings in its train misery, poverty, crime and pre-mature old age. According to the well known psychologist, James C. Coleman, the life span of the alcoholic is about 12 years shorten than average. Prolonged excessive drinking is commonly associated with the cirrhosis of the liver brain damage and a range of other organic ailments.
A key factor in the prevention of alcoholism is education with respect to its use and an unbiased presentation of information concerning its dangers.
The early detection and correction of this habit is of vital significance. Contrary to popular beliefs, alcohol is not stimulant but a depressant which attacks and numbs the higher brain centers, thus lessening their inhibiting control.
In his ‘Conquest of Happiness’ Bertrand Russell observes “Drunkenness is temporary suicide, the happiness it brings is merely negative, a momentary cessation of unhappiness”. It is a scourge which digs more graves and drives more to suicide than any other. It is the worst enemy of longevity.
A Chinese poet, Li-Mi-an, in his “The Half-and “Half Song”, which enjoins the golden mean in all things, has said: ” He is most wisely drunk who is half drunk.”
Your habits, good or bad, are you. Bad habits are formed by yielding to various temptations! good habits by resisting the temptations. If you want to live a healthy, normal span of life, avoid the temptations to the formation of the killer habits mentioned above.
When you meet this lethal temptation, turn to the right. By strengthening your ‘moral fiber’, you can do a lot by way of curbing these habits. General de Gaulle had been a heavy smoker.
One day, at Colombey, he and Malraux were discussing the tobacco habit. “It is not so hard to give it up”, Malraux said, “when the Nazis had me in jail I found it quite easy” De Gaulle said, “Ho! Ho! Ho!” “All right, I’ll prove it,” said Malraux, who was a chain smoker, “I’ll give it up for a month”.
When Malraux came back to Colombey, and reported that he had kept his tobacco fast, de Gaulee eyed him respectfully. ‘If you can do it, I can” he said. He never smoked since.