by Andrew Wells | M.S.O.M., LAc.
Resistance to disease and how well we age to some extent is genetically determined. How we live, is equally as important. Preserving our health and longevity with diet requires foods that promote growth and development of the physical body and the mind. Such a diet would also be appropriate for anyone looking to enhance fertility, both men and women. Older individuals can find a sudden burst of vitality through integrating such dietary principles into their daily lives. All foods listed below have these qualities to varying degrees.
Microalgae (chlorella & spirulina), fish, and cereal grass are all rich in nucleic acids (DNA/RNA), which protect the body from degeneration. They are also rich in vitamin B12 which itself stimulates the synthesis of nucleic acids. The cereal grasses (such as barley green) are lower in nucleic acids and have no B12 but do contain a factor vital for repairing damaged nucleic acids in the body as well as being a source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Foods such as almonds, walnuts, chestnuts, dates, clarified butter (called ghee), honey, sesame seeds (especially black) or tahini, and black beans all promote healthy energy levels as well as brain, endocrine and nervous system function. Included in this category are bee pollen and royal jelly (local varieties are most beneficial). These bee products are thought to contain the most complete range of vital nutrients of any foods as well as being anti-microbial. Anti-aging herbs can also be taken as supplements. The Western herb, nettles, thickens head hair and is also helpful in allergic situations owing to certain immune-building properties. Among the many Traditional Chinese Medicine herbs that promote longevity are He Shou Wu or Fo Ti that can help to darken premature grey hair.
Besides incorporating a healthy, longevity promoting diet into our lifestyle, it is also important to be aware of what factors bring on premature aging. To begin with, there is stress and overwork (including over-exercising!). For men, too much loss of semen is a factor. For women, bearing many children or not recovering following childbirth. It’s a good idea to replenish one’s vitality afterwards with some of the foods mentioned. Also, there are toxins in the food and water as well as use of intoxicants. Over-eating in general with over-consumption of sugar, salt and protein head the list. Overall, our lifestyle choices, which are in our control, can either support or exasperate our genetic propensity to resist or develop diseases that ultimately dictate both the quality of our life and our life span.