National Geographic recently released a new TV series called Limitless. It highlights longevity and preventative medicine, and brings into focus so many aspects of the Naturopathic Medicine that I practice day-to-day. The show claims that the “goal of a long life” is to be healthy for the majority of it, and science has proven that there are definitive ways to help make this possible. I’m drawn to Limitless for the same reason that I am drawn to Naturopathic Medicine in general – it doesn’t solely focus on the physical body, but also takes into account the mental and spiritual aspects of being a healthy human being. Here are some of my dominant findings from the series, and my best advice for living a long life:
Negative self-talk greatly increases our stress hormone, cortisol. This hormone wreaks havoc on the entire body when it is over-secreted, causing our physical body to age quickly and our energy reserves to diminish. Lessen your stress = live longer!
This type of exercise not only strengthens our circulatory system, but also cleans our cells of debris. This internal cleaning regenerates cells, makes them function better and with greater endurance. How cool is that?!
The series refers to alternating sauna and cold plunging to help the system regenerate. Studies have found that regular sauna shows 66% reduction in Alzheimer’s and 50% reduction in heart disease, while cold plunging releases heat shock proteins to clean up cellular debris and decrease the cellular aging process. Folks who cold plunge were also found to take 30% less sick days from work.
As we age, our muscle composition and mass deteriorate. The higher our muscle composition, the better our body is at repairing the mitochondria (energy enter) of our cells. In other words, the greater our muscle mass, the greater capacity our body has to produce energy.
In Limitless the test group fasted for 4 days, which they recommend to do a few times per year. Fasting for this length of time gives the body a chance to starve old/dead cells from feeding on glucose as healthy cells do. Without glucose, the unhealthy/dead cells are eliminated leaving only the high functioning healthy cells in the body.
Most people suffer from “cognitive overload” – the brain can’t keep up with all of the details and “noise” of our day-to-day lives, and this impacts our ability to process memory and general cognition. The antithesis to this overload is nature: being in nature (with no devices!) provides cognitive balance and regenerates neural pathways. It is also important to do activities without the aid of devices - navigation, pattern recognition, creating art & word and number games to keep memory strong.
I hope these tips have inspired you to dream about a healthy 90 year old version of yourself! Naturopathic Medicine works as a fantastic way to bolster a healthy lifestyle, and increase the quality and longevity of your life.