An amazing group of speakers shared their unique insights into how to live the longest and best quality life possible; including visionary Arianna Huffington, Olympian Alev Kelter, sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus, and chef Marcus Samuelson. Each of our guests shared tips from their own experiences to help all of us live our best lives.
Arianna Huffington learned the hard way the value of a good night’s rest. A serial entrepreneur, Arianna was not afraid of staying up all night to get things done, but soon discovered neglecting her sleep was costing her more than she realized. She was so exhausted that she actually passed out from sleep deprivation! It was then that she discovered that sleep is not just about passive rest; it’s about actively renewing the body. Since then, she’s been inspiring others to value the importance of sleep and shared a few of her favorite tips. The first and most unexpected: get rid of all of the mobile devices in your bedroom. Arianna doesn’t even charge her phone in her bedroom. This helps you focus on your sleep instead of the rest of the world. Next, before you go to bed, do something relaxing. For Arianna that means taking a hot shower. Her third tip was about what to wear in bed. She advises not just to wear the clothes you wear during the day, instead wear something special. This helps you separate sleep from the rest of the day and could be anything from fancy lingerie to just a special T-shirt.
Understanding and working with our biological clock is another key to a long life and sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus explained how to figure out your body’s own natural clock—your chronotype. There are many ways to take advantage of your chronotype, which he outlines in his new book, The Power of When. You might be surprised to learn that one of the most impactful ways you can use information about your biological clock doesn’t have to do with how to sleep, but rather how you take your medications. According to Dr. Breus, the best time to take a statin is at night, because cholesterol production is actually greatest during the time we sleep. It’s also best to take aspirin in the evening, because platelets, the sticky blood particles that help cause heart attacks, are the stickiest during the night. On the other hand, the best time to take your probiotics is in the morning, because breakfast is often the biggest meal of the day and this can help protect the bacteria from being destroyed by the acids in the stomach.
Though we may not always think about it, our mental health is also important for a long life. We all face challenges and being mentally resilient can help us get through the tough times and find opportunities to thrive. Alev Kelter is a phenomenal athlete and had an important lesson to teach about seizing the moment. Alev is on both U.S. National Soccer and Hockey Teams, but she was devastated when didn’t make the Olympic teams for either of these sports this past summer. As someone who spends her life training her body to take punishment, she realized that she could handle the emotional disappointment and kept her eyes open for other opportunities. When she found out that there was a spot on the Olympic Rugby team, she decided to take a chance and go for it. She ended up competing in Brazil in her first summer Olympics.
A conference on longevity wouldn’t be complete without talking about diet. Superstar chef Marcus Samuelson, owner of Red Rooster in Harlem, New York, knows a few things about eating for a long life. Marcus was born in Ethiopia and was adopted by a family in Sweden at a young age. He tries to incorporate the traditional food of both places into his cooking. His most important advice on eating for a long life is—eat fish! Growing up, he ate fish at least four times a week and wants everyone to try to incorporate more of it into their diets. He shared a great trick for cooking a whole striped bass. Fill a roasting pan with about an inch of water put a rack in it. Put the pan on the stove and heat until the water boils. While that’s happening place your one-pound fish on a plate, season with salt and pepper and stuff the inside with scallions. Next put the plate onto the rack, cover the roasting pan with foil and cook for 8 minutes. After 8 minutes, turn off the heat and let the fish sit for another 10 minute. Now the fish will be cooked perfectly and will go well with lemon or your favorite sauce.
Maximizing your body’s metabolism is another important way to increase your longevity. Dr. Lyle MacWilliam is a nutrition scientist who still remembers all of the details of how the body works that most of us forget after the tests. According to Dr. MacWilliam it is important that we balance our intake of certain vitamins and minerals to achieve metabolic efficiency. For example, we all know that vitamin D is an important vitamin for our bone health, especially as we get older, but without the right amount of vitamin K2, we may not be building the strongest bones our bodies are capable of. So to maximize your body’s natural bone renewal system, Dr. MacWilliam recommends getting 2000 IU of vitamin D and 30 micrograms of vitamin K a day.
Living in a healthy environment is also important of a long life. Companies take air quality in the work place seriously, because they know that employees in poorly ventilated buildings may be up to one and half times more likely to take sick leave from work than those in a well ventilated space. We often forget that air quality in the home is also important. David Wentz, CEO of USANA and author of the book The Healthy Home is concerned about how toxins in the air we breathe in our living spaces can negatively affect our health. He has a simple test to determine if you could have an indoor air problem—your nose knows. If you can smell odors from last night’s dinner the next day, you are not getting enough ventilation. According to David, the easiest way to get fresh air in and bad air out is to open your windows as much as you can. Also consider installing a window fan, which can help even more.
The cells that make up our body our constantly bombarded with molecules that can damage them, so repair and replacement is an important function of the body and living a long healthy life. Though we all wish we could get all of the essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants we need from foods, many people still struggle to achieve this.