Playing the Game of Life S.A.F.E.


In our last post, we learned that having a strong immune system is the key to avoiding disease and living a long healthy life. Our immune system is our first line of defense.

We also learned how antioxidants work, not only because they kill free radicals but they strengthen your immune system. And that’s the bottom line. If you have a strong immune system, you are much less likely to get sick. So the goal is to do anything to strengthen this system and to avoid anything that weakens it. Your immune system can make you almost invincible against the nine deadly diseases that we covered in detail. Our body has an incredible ability to heal itself, if we give it the right tools, and “Play it S.A.F.E.”

There is a formula for longevity that I’d like to share with you. To help you remember this formula, I’ve used the word S.A.F.E. to represent the four steps you’ll need to take to protect yourself.

Play it S.A.F.E: The Formula for Longevity.

S means to Supplement your diet with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber.
A means to Avoid excessive alcohol, tobacco smoke and other toxic substances.
F means to Feast on Five Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Frequently.
E means to Exercise at least three times a week for 30 minutes a session.

S means to Supplement your diet with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber.

In previous posts we covered the science of supplementation and how today, it is vitally important to supplement a healthy diet with high quality nutrition.
To review this information start here:

A means to Avoid excessive alcohol, tobacco smoke and other toxic substances.

There are certain habits that many of us have which weaken, destroy and inhibit our immune systems. The letter A in our SAFE formula stands for the behaviours that we need to Avoid

Avoid excessive alcohol!

There’s been a lot of talk lately about how a glass of wine a day can actually help you live longer. But the research shows, according to one Harvard study, that women who drink one or more alcoholic drinks per day increase their risk of developing breast cancer by 50%. Two or more drinks a day can raise your blood pressure and damage the nerves and muscles of your heart. It makes arthritis worse, increases the rate of pneumonia, and depresses your immune system. Three alcoholic drinks a day triples your risk of getting rectal cancer. And listen to this: People who abuse alcohol live FIFTEEN years shorter than those who don’t drink at all. Avoid excessive use of alcohol. The risks definitely outweigh the benefits.

Avoid tobacco smoke!

How dangerous is cigarette smoke? Heavy smokers are up to 10 times more likely to die of heart disease and 25 times more likely to get cancer. The average smoker dies 18 years earlier than the average non-smoker.

Even if you’re not a smoker, you’re in danger. Living with a smoker increases your risk of cancer by as much as 50% according to Dr. William Shingleton, former director of the Cancer Center at the Duke University Medical School. He says, “Breathing smoke from someone else’s cigarette is worse than smoke directly inhaled, because it has not had its tar content reduced by traveling through the cigarette’s filter.”

Whatever you do, don’t let your life go up in smoke.

Avoid household toxic substances.

There is new research coming out all the time how our home is a minefield of dangerous toxic substances. This will be the subject of a future post, but for now I want to recommend a book called, “The Healthy Home” by Myron Wentz and Dave Wentz.

The authors explore each room of our house to warn us of dangerous chemicals found in dry cleaning, aerosols, fragrances, antiperspirants, pets and  household cleaners. EMF’s and wireless devices are another health hazard. There is also the exposure to  heavy metals, fluoridated water and toothpaste, medications, Statins, antibiotics, and vaccines. We must be careful of the quality of our air, and be careful with mold, sunlight, new car smells, pesticides, anti stick cookware, plastics, artificial fabrics, floor cleaners, etc.

But more important, there are lifestyle habits that we must DO! The 3rd Letter in our S.A.F.E. formula stands for Feast.

Feast on Five Fresh, Fruits and Vegetables Frequently.

You’ve heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” This is true. Our choice of food either extends our life or cuts it short. Half of all heart attacks and half of all cancers result from how we eat.

A healthy diet will add about ten years to your life. Why? Because a healthy diet = a strong immune system. Everyone knows this but very few act on it. According to a survey by the United States Department of Agriculture:

• 84% of us don’t eat any high fiber grains daily.
• 82% of us don’t eat any cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower.
• 80% don’t eat any vitamin A-rich fruits or vegetables such as squash or cantaloupe.
• 72% don’t eat any vitamin C-rich fruits or vegetables like oranges or peppers.

Guess what percentage of us actually do eat the five daily servings of fresh fruits and vegetables recommended by the National Cancer Institute? Only 9%.

So 91% of us are not eating properly….for whatever reason. More than at anytime in our history, we need to be eating more fresh fruits and vegetables — with an emphasis on the fresh — and avoiding processed foods as much as possible.

Finally, there is one lifestyle choice that has not been very popular. But we must DO it if we want to live a long healthy life. The final letter in our S.A.F.E. formula is E for Exercise.

Exercise at least three times a week for 30 minutes a session.

Let’s cut right to the chase: Regular, moderate exercise will add at least 5 years to your life. According to research by Dr. Kenneth Cooper, a nice brisk walk for 30 minutes, 3 times a week, produced a 55% reduction in deaths from all causes. Anybody can make time for that. Yet, how many people actually do it?

After a 10-year study, the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta report, that only 8% of adults aged 18-65 do any regular exercise. Only 8%! This is sad, because even moderate aerobic exercise works wonders.

• It helps prevent heart diseases, heart attacks,170 strokes, and cancer.
• It helps you avoid osteoporosis, arthritis and diabetes.
• It boosts your immune system.
• It strengthens your bones and builds your muscles.
• It suppresses your appetite, improves your looks and helps you fight fat.
• It keeps you from getting sick as often and helps you recuperate faster.
• It improves your mental functioning and reduces your need for sleep by an hour a day.
• It cures impotence and acts as an aphrodisiac.
• It doubles your chances of quitting smoking.
• And it’s nature’s way of curing depression.

The more physically fit you are, the longer you live.

And if those benefits aren’t enough, just remember, not exercising doubles your risk of heart disease and cancer. If you don’t exercise, you face the same risk of heart disease as those who smoke a pack a day.

Dr. Michael Colgan says it best, “If you don’t have time for exercise, you’d better reserve a lot of time for disease.”

But before you begin exercising, check with a doctor! According to the Johns Hopkins Medical Letter, and I paraphrase: Couch potatoes who suddenly exert themselves, increase their risk of heart attack by 100 fold. So don’t kill yourself trying to get healthy. Be smart. Start slowly.

Exercise is an important part of the S.A.F.E. formula but remember that exercise creates masses of extra free radicals in your body that can do a lot of oxidative damage unless counteracted with antioxidants. This is the message in Dr. Kenneth Cooper’s amazing book, “The Antioxidant Revolution.”  (Remember Dr.Cooper was the one who started the whole aerobics craze that began in the 80’s, and in fact he coined the phrase, “Aerobics.”)

So remember, in playing the game of life, play it S.A.F.E.

(Adapted from “Your Health is in Danger” by Robert G. Allen. These posts are not meant to be scholarly in nature, but references of quotes are available upon request.)

Be well,

Ken Waite

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