There are societies of people who do live much longer than others and they are remarkably free of heart disease and cancer. These are the Vilcabambans of Ecuador, the Abkhazians of Russia and the Hunzakuts of Pakistan.
When US cardiologists Dr. Paul Dudley White and Dr. Edward G Toomey visited Hunza in 1964, they reported that of 25 Hunzakut men they studied who were ‘on fairly good evidence, between 90 and 110 years old’, none showed a single sign of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
Most of these people expect to live at least until their 80s, if not into their 90s and 100s, without having any need to visit a doctor; older people are physically and mentally active, and the later years are referred to as the ‘rich’ years.
Seventy to eighty percent of their diets consist of fruit and vegetables with the remaining twenty to thirty percent being grains, meat, dairy products, pulses and nuts. They eat home-grown vegetables, either raw or cooked in just a little water for a short time. Onions, garlic, spinach, turnips, carrots, pumpkin, cabbage and cauliflower are all regular components of their daily diet.
What can we learn from long-lived people?
We are what we eat. Some of the causes of disease and ageing in western society are to be found in pollutants that load up the environment in which we all live and breathe. An estimated 40 percent of deaths around the world are thought to be attributed to various environmental factors, especially organic and chemical pollutants.
Your body is a remarkable machine
Put the right fuels into it; whole, local, fresh, unprocessed, chemical-free foods, and it will run like it should. Give it optimal nutrition and it can protect itself, and help prevent illness.
Start adding greens to your diet. If you only add in a small amount to begin with, soon you will find yourself craving more greens and reaching for more salads over processed foods. You will notice a change in how you look, how you feel, and you will find the extra weight melting off your frame.
Most long-lived people do not have cars
For the most part they get around by foot and can often be seen heading out daily to get their food and supplies, socializing with neighbours or family, or tending to their gardens. They walk at least thirty minutes as a daily activity and most walk for more than an hour.
Exercise is important but only where it is enjoyed and never to the point where pain or exhaustion occurs. Brisk walks through pleasant surroundings is preferable to pounding the pavements alongside busy highways.
Daily drinking herbal teas is also a helpful way of cutting down on caffeine-containing drinks. They are the most ancient form of herbal medicine and are a gentle and soothing way of taking herbs. Most of us don’t drink enough water for good health and herbal teas have the added benefit of adding to your daily fluid intake.