imyeyes-banner-sqIn My EyesBy Edward B. Antonio

IN MY EYES: On to 100 years!

Senator Juan Ponce Enrile turned 95 last February 14. During a campaign sortie, he was seen walking, “still brisk.”

No, I’m not a big fan of the senator, fellas, but I’m a big fan of his age. Walking briskly at age 95 is indeed amazing. I heard he is up to stem cell therapy.

Stem cell is a type of cell that can make any kind of cell required to build an organism. When a stem cell divides, one new cell that results can remain a stem cell while the other new cell becomes an ordinary cell with a particular function in the organism. Sometimes a stem cell that divides produces two identical stem cells. With either process, stem cells can renew themselves indefinitely. By contrast, ordinary cells can only make copies of themselves when they divide and can only divide a limited number of times.

I don’t know how it is done but I heard that Senator Enrile is up to it. He must be coughing out a treasure to maintain his life and age.

Well, that is, if you have the money.

But is there a way to reach that age, or even beyond, if you don’t have the money to maintain your life?

Linus Pauling’s simple, inexpensive plan suggests avoiding sugar, stress, and smoking; working in a job that you like and being happy with your family. To avoid serious illness and enjoy a longer life, he recommends taking vitamins for optimal health and as insurance against disease.

Canuta “Tutay” Florendo of Magsingal, Ilocos Sur was one of those who nearly made it 100. You see, the government gives a longevity pay of P100,000 to Filipinos who reach age 100. She could have been richer by that amount had she not died of food suffocation when she was 96. Her care giver said her diet included feasting on fish and vegetables and a daily intake of vitamins and minerals. When she was 95, she could still attend church.

Her death was sudden. The moment she suffocated, her air passage was cut off and died almost immediately. I was anticipating that she would reach 100 but that sudden accident ended it all. She was a good family friend of ours.

A recent study found that four bad behaviors—smoking, drinking too much alcohol, not exercising, and not eating enough fruits and veggies—can hustle you into an early grave, and, in effect, age you by as many as 12 years.
Fortunately, you can do something to correct these and other unhealthy behaviors. But if we don’t have the money for stem cell, the following 9 suggestions might help us reach 90 or 100 years old, or even more:

1. Don’t overeat

If you want to live to 100, leaving a little bit of food on your plate may be a good idea. Author Dan Buettner, who studies longevity around the world, found that the oldest Japanese people stop eating when they are feeling only about 80% full. St. Louis University researchers have confirmed that eating less helps you age slower; in a 2008 study they found that limiting calories lowered production of T3, a thyroid hormone that slows metabolism—and speeds up the aging process.

2. Get busy

Having satisfying sex two to three times per week can add as many as three years to your life. Getting busy can burn an impressive amount of calories—sometimes as much as running for 30 minutes. Regular sex may also lower your blood pressure, improve your sleep, boost your immunity, and protect your heart.

3. Switch off the TV

Too much time in front of the boob tube can take a serious toll on your health. In fact, a 2010 study found that people who watched four or more hours a day were 46% more likely to die from any cause than people who watched less than two hours a day. Even cutting back a little can help; each additional hour you watch increases your overall risk of dying by 11% and dying from heart disease by 18%

4. Stay out of the sun

Avoiding too much sun can head off skin cancer, and it can also keep you looking young by preventing wrinkles, fine lines, and saggy skin. It’s never too early—or too late—to add sunscreen to your daily skin-care regimen (look for an SPF of 30 or higher). And don’t focus only on your face. Sun damage spots and splotches on your chest and neck will also make you appear older.

5. Reach out to people

Research shows that you’re at greater risk of heart disease without a strong network of friends and family. Loneliness can cause inflammation, and in otherwise healthy people it can be just as dangerous as having high cholesterol or even smoking. Loneliness seems to pose the greatest risk for elderly people, who are also prone to depression.

6. Drink in moderation

Women who have two or more drinks a day and men who have three or more may run into detrimental effects ranging from weight gain to relationship problems. But in smaller quantities, alcohol can actually be good for you. A 2010 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology linked light drinking (defined as one drink a day for women and two for men) to significant heart benefits.

7. Eat fruits and vegetables

Getting fewer than three servings of fruits and vegetables a day can eat away at your health. Nutritional powerhouses filled with fiber and vitamins, fruits and veggies can lower your risk of heart disease by 76% and may even play a role in decreasing your risk of breast cancer. As an added bonus, the inflammation-fighting and circulation-boosting powers of the antioxidants in fruits and veggies can banish wrinkles.

8. Get physically fit

Daily exercise may be the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth. A 2008 study found that regular high-intensity exercise (such as running) can add up to four years to your life, which isn’t surprising given the positive effects working out has on your heart, mind, and metabolism. Even a moderate exercise—a quick, 30-minute walk each day, for example—can lower your risk of heart problems.

9. Don’t smoke

 No to smoking is perhaps the single most important thing you can do for your health—and your life span. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that women who quit smoking by age 35 add roughly six to eight years to their lives.

For me, 9 is a lucky number. Let’s practice these 9 tips and live as long as we can.

On to 100 years, fellas!