Live Longer: 10 Tips for Healthier, Longer Life

Live Longer: 10 Tips for Healthier, Longer Life

This summer, the Telluride Ski Resort and The Peaks Resort & Spa are hosting a series of week-long wellness intensives under the banner of Live Longer Retreat. The Big Idea is to support your (recurring) New Year’s resolution to get really healthy and therefore live longer – and well. Half the year is in the rear view mirror. What progress have you made?

The intensive includes personal consultations, talks and demonstrations related to nutrition, hiking, Pilates, spinning, yoga and more.

Dates this summer/fall season are July 15 – July 21; August 19 – August 25; and September 27 – September 30.

The program is led by Dr. Alan Safdi, a world-renowned internist and gastroenterologist with encyclopedic knowledge of mind-body wellness and preventative medicine. Dr. Safdi also has a gift for delivering evidence-based medical findings for healthier living in easily digestible sound bytes.

In the run-up to the retreats, Dr. Safdi is posting regular updates on Telluride Inside… and Out based on the latest, closely vetted research about subjects in the field of health, wellness and longevity. 

This week, he offers up 10 tips for a longer and healthier life.

Feel free to sign up now to participate in a Live Longer Retreat   or call 1-877-448-5416 for further information.

Caveat emptor:

The information below is by no means an all-inclusive list of the lifestyle changes that support health, wellness and longevity. There is not enough space in the short list of ideas below to go into all the science that supports them. What’s more, the science is always evolving.

A few tips for enhanced health and wellness:

Follow the habits of “The Blue Zones” people who live the longest, happiest lives on the planet:

Look at their epidemiology. The characteristics they share include a plant-based diet and the consumption of legumes and nuts. Everyone remains very active throughout their lives, also socially engaged with community and friends –  which includes people who support healthy behaviors. The women in these groups are empowered. Stress levels are consistently low. And no one smokes.

Maintain an active, fun lifestyle. 

Exercise at least 150 minutes per week, but still have an active lifestyle beyond just going to the gym. Think about taking social walks with your significant other, children or friends nightly. Take the stairs, not an elevator, whenever possible. Even activities such as taking out the garbage, gardening, mowing the lawn and vacuuming are part of what’s considered an active lifestyle, which in general can improve sleep, control blood pressure and increases bone density. Exercise can even help to prevent falls and related broken bones by improving muscle strength, gait, balance, and reaction time.The list of benefits from regular exercise goes on.  In fact, the studies say 150 minutes a week – or about 22 minutes a day of moderate exercise – decreases the chance of early death by a whopping 31 percent.

Eat foods with no legs or two legs and only occasionally four legs.

Analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults demonstrated that following the Mediterranean Diet was associated with a reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer, as well as a reduced incidence of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Followers of the Mediterranean Diet also had better outcomes for waist circumference, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and glucose, as well as reduced risk of metabolic syndrome.

Meals focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, beans, nuts, legumes, herbs and spices. Eggs, poultry and cheese are eaten in moderate portions daily to weekly. Red meats and sweets are rarely consumed.

Populations that enjoy the Mediterranean Diet, many in the Blue Zones, are known to eat slowly. The advantage of eating slowly is that it takes awhile for our bodies to release the hormones that tell us we are full. Remember Thanksgiving dinners, the times you feel terrible because you ate too much? That feeling occurs about an hour or so after finishing a meal.

• Read and study labels. Simple sugars are often hidden.

Learn to read labels carefully to understand the deceptive practices of the food industry in regards to hiding simple sugars in our foods. In the studies, people who carried excessive amounts of added sugar in their diet carried greater risks of dying from cardiovascular disease. Observational studies have established a definite link between eating more added sugar (mostly in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages) and poorer cardiovascular health, including increased weight gain and greater risks of obesity, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia,  and hypertension.

The American Heart Association recommends that added sugar should make up less than 100 calories a day for women and 150 calories per day for men. Through a median follow-up of nearly 15 years, those who had 10% to 24.9% of their calories coming from added sugar were 30% more likely to experience cardiovascular death than those with less than 10%. In addition, the risk of death during the follow-up period jumped greatly to 175% for those getting 25% or more of their calories from added sugar.

Sources of sugars, including hidden sugars, include the following: agave nectar, barley malt syrup, beet sugar, brown rice syrup, brown sugar, cane Sugar, coconut sugar or coconut palm sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, or corn syrup solids, dehydrated cane juice, dextrin, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, maltodextrin, malt syrup, maltose, maple syrup, molasses, palm sugar, rice syrup, sorghum or sorghum syrup.

Maintain healthy poop. It is more important than you think.

Keep your microbiome healthy. What” you say. If we look at humans on a cellular level, we found we have about 10 trillion human cells – and 100 trillion bacterial cells. That makes our bodies only 10 percent human on a cell count level.

Therefore we cannot ignore the microbiome where those bacterial cells live, which is why the focus of a tremendous amount of current research on our gut.

By studying the microbiome, we can tell if a person was  were breast or bottle fed, the mode of delivery as an infant, what you eat, how you will age, where you have been and what medications you take.

The microbiome is also implicated in illness. Many strong correlations have been established between alterations in the microbiome and various diseases, including asthma, autism spectrum disorder, cardiovascular disease, IBD and clostridium difficile infection, just to name a few. Intestinal bacteria can act in concert with diet to reduce or increase the risk of certain types of colorectal cancer for example.

One function of the microbiome is to help us rid ourselves of xenobiotics — chemicals not naturally found in the body that often arising from environmental pollutants. One study found evidence that the composition of bacteria responsible for removing those chemicals was different in individuals with Parkinson’s.

So how do you keep this part of your body healthy?

Maintain a diet high in fiber – which is way better than taking a probiotic. A diet low in fiber can cause irreversible depletion of gut bacteria over generations. The proliferation of nearly fiber-free, processed convenience foods since the mid–20th century has resulted in average per capita fiber consumption in industrialized societies of about 5-15 grams per day, which is way less than the 25-30 grams recommended. And that number is as little as one–tenth of the intake among the world’s dwindling hunter–gatherer and rural agrarian populations. The best poop, for example, is found in Maasai tribe of Africa.

In addition to fiber, exercise definitely helps the microbiome. In fact, it has been shown that athletes had a significantly wider range of gut microbiota than men who did not exercise in the comparison groups.

Fermented foods, probiotics and avoiding indiscriminate use of antibiotics is also helpful.

• Depending on personal and family history, you might want to get a genetic screening.

Do not forget to discuss your detailed family history, dietary history and exercise history with your primary care doctor during your routine history and physical exams.

• Get screening tests. They can save your life.

Never forgo routinely recommended screening tests such as colon cancer screening, skin cancer screening, lipid panels, 25 hydroxy vitamin D level and, for women, pelvic, pap, and breast cancer screenings when appropriate. There are many more recommended tests. Which ones you might need depend on your family history.

• Understand that all of us are at risk for osteoporosis – including men.

Bone density screening for osteoporosis or osteopenia is recommended.

•Remember there is no magic bullet when it comes to your health. Don’t try to buy health in a bottle.

Populations who live the longest do not consume supplements. They simply a healthy lifestyle.

Two to four million deaths related to cardiovascular disease could be prevented every year if everyone ate optimal amounts of fruits and vegetables. Ditto for cancer: eating well could eliminate 660,000 deaths.

The risk of heart disease, strokes and premature death decreased by 10.8 per cent for every two serving increase in the consumption of fruit or vegetables – up to an intake of eight servings per day.

That does not include potato chips, French fries, or ketchup, which are some of the most consumed products in this category.

But does include berries of the darker pigments variety, i.e. blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, pomegranate, etc.) since they contain a large amount of important phytochemicals.

Get fit. Excess weight is associated with numerous diseases, including cancer.

We are all aware – or should be – of the increased risk of heart disease, vascular disease, high blood pressure, gallstones, type 2 diabetes, and degenerative arthritis that comes with obesity.

Being obese or overweight at age 50 was associated with earlier onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers also found sufficient evidence linking excess weight to higher risks of cancers of the colon, esophagus, kidney, breast, and uterus.

Limiting weight gain over the decades could also help to reduce your risk of stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, ovary, meningioma, thyroid cancer, and multiple myeloma.

More about Dr. Alan Safdi:

Dr. Alan Safdi is a board-certified in Internal Medicine and in Gastroenterology and a Fellow of the American College of Gastroenterology. A proven leader in the healthcare arena, Safdi has been featured on the national program “Medical Crossfire” and authored or co-authored numerous medical articles and abstracts. He has been an investigator in over 581 studies and is President of both the Consultants For Clinical Research and the Ohio Gastroenterology and Liver Institute.

Dr. Safdi has been involved in grant-based and clinical research for about 35+ years and is passionate about disease prevention and wellness, not just fixing what has gone wrong. He lectures internationally on the subjects of wellness, nutrition, and gastroenterology.

More about a unique workshop for veterinarians:

A new workshop featuring Dr. Safdi targets the veterinary world with lectures and hands-on training for veterinarians in the field of endoscopic therapy in animals. Multiple stations with direct hands-on learning with in-depth lectures with regards to GI disease that can be treated or prevented with endoscopic therapy.

For more information, visit the following;; and

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