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Mayo Clinic Doctor Shares 8 Commandments For Living Long And Living Well

Getting a pet and feeling that bond is just one of the 8 commandments Dr. Edward Creagan, a Mayo Clinic cancer specialist, outlines for living long and living well.

In his search to discover which lifestyle practices keep patients out of his exam room, he's discovered the Fountain of Youth, but it's not in Florida.

"The Fountain of Youth is not rocket science, it's more complicated than that," Dr. Creagan says. "It's on the sidewalks and bikeways of our country. It consists of physical activity, trying to maintain an ideal body weight, having positive and nurturing relationships, challenges to your sense of inner being, and a sense of humor. You need someone to love (even a pet), something to get you up in the morning, in other words, something to do that gives your life meaning, and something to look forward to."

Seems simple enough, but most Americans don't follow any of his 8 commandments - and should:

  1. Form stable long-term relationships. Friends, families, colleagues, even pets, are clearly a buffer against stress. Rarely does the isolated, marginalized person go the distance.
  2. Maintain ideal body weight. Many of us struggle with obesity, and the health fallout is significant in terms of high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, and stroke. Ideal body weight doesn't mean starving yourself to be something out of hard-body magazines, but it means eating sensibly considering your height, heredity, and lifestyle.
  3. Eat a plant-based diet with an emphasis on green leafy vegetables, 4 to 6 servings of fruit each day, fish and poultry rather than red meat (in moderation, if you must), and attention to unsaturated fats such as olive and canola oil. You don't have to be a brown rice and tofu vegetarian. Again, sensible makes sense here.
  4. Engage in regular physical activity. Let the experts debate about whether 30 minutes is best or 60 minutes is better. Just get active doing what you do every day and throw in a walk 4 or 5 times a week.
  5. Longevity does not allow for smoking. Enough said.
  6. Use alcohol in moderation, if at all. Although there is some evidence that a glass of red wine may be protective against certain types of heart disease, alcohol consumption can be harmful to many other conditions.
  7. Foster a sense of spirituality, a sense of connectedness to nature or your higher power or some force or factor over and above yourself.
  8. Find meaning and purpose in life. This is your reason to push on even in the face of adversity.

The formula is found in more detail in Dr. Creagan's book, How NOT to Be My Patient: A Physician's Secrets for Staying Healthy and Surviving Any Diagnosis (HCI Books), available at bookstores or www.HowNotToBeMyPatient.com.

(Source: Health eHeadlines)

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