Mens sana in corpore sano.

The fact that the above saying, which means: health in mind and body, is in Latin and has survived two thousand years and that we know it today and agree, is illustrative of both the wisdom of the ancient Romans and the truth of the saying.

I hope I am unusual in having had three family members with dementia at once, it certainly does seem to be a growing trend.  I think it is a product of modern life in two ways.  The first is our ability to live longer thanks to modern medicine; many people of the past may have succumbed to dementia if they had only lived long enough.  The second is our lifestyle; modern cities packed with pollutants, industrially produced food full of shelf-life enhancing chemicals and the invention of television ensuring that many of us spend a quarter of our lives sitting immobile, are factors not so much leading us to ill health as driving us there by the million.

Is there anything we can do?  Yes there is.  We can adapt our lives so they are closer to the lives we evolved to lead.  The first and most obvious in activity, we need to walk more, move more and find a way to keep our bodies active.  The human body works on the principle of use it or lose it, we have evolved to get better at the things we do a lot, so find some activity you enjoy and incorporate it into your life every day.  I did not move much, being more of a cerebral type, until I got polymyalgia rheumatica in my early fifties.  As I was allergic to the steroids that are the normal treatment for this paralysing, muscle spasming auto-immune disease, my only other option, suggested by my doctor, was to get moving and keep moving.  I started working out and nearly a decade and a half later have a home gym that lives behind the door and a lot of work-out DVDs.  I start most days with half an hour of exercise and I love doing it.  It hasn’t made me any thinner but I do look a lot younger than I should and I can do most physical things I want to do with ease and I have mostly cured my polymyalgia without drugs.

I believe the most important thing about diet, other than not living on junk, is making sure you get plenty of glutathione-producing foods into your diet.  Glutathione is an antioxidant chemical which prevents damage to your cells by helping to eliminate all the bad stuff from your body.  It is made by all the cells in your body and it is food for your brain.  If you are not producing enough you are in trouble, depletion is characteristic of the dementias, age and, we are beginning to find, some cancers.

Glutathione has regulatory functions, it assists in repair, it is essential for the nervous system, the immune system, the gastrointestinal system and the lungs.  Toxic modern living and stress seem to be factors in glutathione depletion.  To get it back again you need to exercise and eat glutathione producing foods.  These are sulphur-rich foods such as brassicas, onions and so on.  To get the glutathione cycle whizzing along you also need to up your selenium intake, two brazil nuts a day will take care of that.

Here is a list of stuff to get into your diet to help the glutathione along:  asparagus, carrots, potatoes, broccoli, avocado, squash, spinach, tomatoes, grapefruit, apple, orange, peach, banana, melon especially watermelon, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.  How easy is that?  It’s all great stuff, lots of it can be eaten uncooked, if there’s anything you hate eat some of the other stuff, there’s plenty to choose from.  You’ll notice there’s enough choice not to need any sort of pill or supplement and that most of the foods are not in themselves fattening.

That’s it really.  Eat fruit and veg, move around a bit, avoid stress, live long and prosper.  If you are interested you can find assorted scholarly articles on glutathione just by putting it into your search engine, which you will probably do if you have never heard of it before.  It’s vital to the health of your body and also, as it turns out, the Romans being finally demonstrably right at a cellular level, your mind.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ – vegging out.

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