A Word from the Doctor

Live Better, Longer!

Article by Dr. Benito Carerra

Photography by Brandon Weber III

Originally published in Austin Lifestyle

In most of the world life expectancy in the 20th century has doubled, mainly due to the advancements of antibiotics and anesthesia which has allowed medical professionals to perform surgery and treat infections. In an attempt to increase this effect, the US Department of Agriculture, mandated by government in the 1970’s, proposed a diet pyramid plan and ordered labels of content to all food products. The aim was to reduce cholesterol intake, and therefore decrease mortality from heart attacks, diabetes and obesity. Nevertheless, life expectancy in our country has not increased since and has actually decreased since 2014.

Why? Researchers began to look for reasons why this could be and they looked at areas of the world where people lived healthily to 100 years of age.They found these cultures had several things in common. One of them was that they stated they do not exercise! At least not to the extent that is currently recommended. Instead they engage in activities that keep them involved in light to moderate activity, mostly things that they like to do. 

Surprised?? Can you then also imagine that they stated that they drink everyday! However, they only drink a glass of wine which must contain a high amount of polyphenols which are potent antioxidants that are typically not found in any day wine. 

These folks also stated that they take time out no matter what, to venerate their higher power, structure their societies around family and close friends, take care of their children and honor the elderly.

They claimed that their friends remained life long and they are there for each other during tough times. Their diets consist of mostly a plant based diet, with little meat and cheese and only from grass fed animals that are full of omega 3 acids as opposed to omega 6 acids from corn fed animals. They substitute animal protein with plant protein like nuts and grains. Beans set up the right environment for good bacteria in our gut that decreases the inflammation related to obesity and illness.

Sadly, 30 years ago the average number of long life friends in America was about three per person; today it's down to one. These people found a reason for their presence in society, their purpose, which became the reason why they wake up every morning.

Surely, our grandparents find all of this very familiar, but unfortunately we seem to have lost most of them by now. For the new year, I have decided to spend more time around family, call my closest friends more often, and procure enough downtime to follow the steps of these cultures that are full of happy and healthy centennials.

What will you try to do this new decade? 

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