Food for Thought

Add years to your life and life to your years with Dr David Katz’s Super Six. 
‘Feet, forks, fingers, sleep, stress and love are the best medicine we have for preventing cancer and other chronic diseases, and all are good for health anyway,’ says Dr David Katz.

Dr David Katz
Dr David Katz


‘Regular physical activity (feet) is associated with weight control, reduced inflammation, enhanced immune function and reduced cancer risk specifically. Optimal diet (forks) exerts far-ranging effects on every aspect of physiology, and similarly stands to reduce the risk of all chronic disease. Combine eating well and being active with a commitment to never hold a cigarette (fingers), and the risk of all chronic disease declines by roughly 80 per cent.

Those are my top three, but the list of health promotion priorities very reasonably extends to three more. The quality and quantity of sleep has profound effects on psychology, immunology and neurology. A linkage to cancer risk is suggested by a rudimentary connection of these dots. Much the same is true of stress, which can contribute to hormonal imbalances and inflammation that propagate cancer – or can be managed to prevent such effects.

And, finally, there is love. We are, from our earliest origins, social creatures much influenced by our relationships with others. While love may seem a “warm and fuzzy” topic, it is in fact the cold, hard scrutiny of clinical trials demonstrating that those with loving relationships are far less vulnerable to chronic disease and death than those without.

Combine all six salutary practices, and the evidence is clear that benefits reverberate all the way to our chromosomes, altering the behavior of genes in a way apt to reduce chronic disease risk in general, and cancer risk specifically.

I hasten to append to this paean for the power of lifestyle a proviso: there is never a guarantee. Think of it this way: lifestyle practices are the ship and sails, but there are still the wind and waves. The former we can control to increase the probability of a safe crossing; the latter, we cannot – and thus even a well-captained ship may founder. But the Super Six can assuredly put probability on your side. You'll need a little help with love, but the other factors are up to you. Don’t wait for that brush with mortality – I commend the Super Six to you right now.’

About Dr David Katz Known internationally for expertise in nutrition, weight management, and chronic disease prevention, Katz is the founding director of Yale University's Prevention Research Center. He is the editor-in-chief of the journal Childhood Obesity, President-Elect of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, founder and President of the non-profit Turn the Tide Foundation, and a blogger/medical review board member for The Huffington Post.
www.davidkatzmd.com
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