Defeating Zombies

If you are a gamer or occultist looking for zombie-slaying tips, this story isn’t going to help. But if you personally would like to live longer and better in the real world, it just might prove informative and useful. New research by the Mayo Clinic has demonstrated the potential power of therapies to help us rid our bodies of older, non-reproducing “zombie” cells. These cells can build up with aging and/or reduced immune system functioning, leading to chronic tissue inflammation and a variety of resulting health impairments, from cataracts all the way up to large-organ cancers.

In the new study, researchers genetically altered mice so that zombie cells could be destroyed at will via the administration of a drug. As hypothesized, they found that enhanced cleansing of these cells increased health and reduced symptoms of aging. Beyond highlighting a potential area for new anti-aging therapies, the study is important for at least other two reasons: 1) it is a different approach from other promising longevity research involving telomere (DNA tip) health, and 2) it may help to explain why daily low-dose aspirin therapies have been shown to reduce cancers (by preventing chronic tissue inflammation from zombie cells, encouraging their removal, or both).

Learn more about the new research at Defeating Zombies and see other NaturaLife stories on longevity science via Gains In Aging Research, which discusses research showing the importance of telomere health, and Aspirin Again, which covers recent research on aspirin’s role in cancer prevention.

Photo courtesy of Zombie Walk.

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HN Natural Food Pyramid

At HumanaNatura, we’ve tried before to move people away from thinking about nutrition in terms of food pyramids, since they often contain a good amount of bad advice. Popular food pyramids usually have a foundation of grains and cereals, as if we were farmers and graminivorous for millions of years. Next comes veggies and fruits, then protein-rich items that typically include more unnatural foods, and finally candy and sweets at the top, the modern junk food industry’s place at the table and of course what we all secretly most want, right?

Lately, some public health agencies have begun moving away from traditional and generally hard to remember food pyramids, though the diets they advocate are about the same. They may find, as we have, that old visual aids die hard, and that people will continue to think about food in pyramids for some time. As an alternative, if you want to see an optimal natural diet in a pyramidal shape, check out this one…

Our food pyramid reflects essential ideas from HumanaNatura’s Natural Eating technique, which is part of our science-based Personal Health Program. The pyramid emphasizes a diet based on our ancestors’ long natural life as hunter-gatherers, combined with our best science on healthy lifelong eating. You can see that there are only three tiers to our natural food pyramid: 1) a base of vegetables and fruits, which should comprise about two-thirds of what we eat each day by volume, 2) lean natural proteins – including meat, fish, eggs, and tree nuts – that should comprise the rest of our daily diet, and 3) a small “other” category for anything else you personally choose to eat, which ideally should be nothing but we know how it goes.

You will note that our pyramid is much simpler and easier to remember than others you may have seen, and notably contains no mention of grains, beans, starches, dairy, or junk foods. Our pyramid reflects the way humans have naturally eaten for eons…one that now has lots of new science suggesting we should too.

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Checking perceptions

A key aspect of achieving more attentive and higher quality life is regularly checking our perceptions. Much like optical illusions, perceptual biases exist in all our lives, often limiting the power of our choices and leading us astray. A good example of natural bias comes from research just published by Harvard University, this time involving the newly re-ignited topic of wealth distribution in the United States. In the study, researchers surveyed people to see what they thought would be an ideal wealth distribution and the country’s actual wealth distribution, and also asked questions about their background and behavior. As the summary chart shows, people’s perceptions of actual wealth levels were significantly at odds with reality. But there is more here related to perceptual bias than this simple misjudgment.

In addition to revealing popular perceptions of society that are significantly at odds with reality, the study surfaced at least four of many underlying natural biases or blind spots we all are subject to: 1) overuse of information that is at hand or easy to obtain to assess reality (judging the world by what we immediately see around us), 2) stated preferences at odds with actual behaviors (since many in the survey reported not voting for parties favoring redistribution), 3) a consistent and likely innate intuition of what social conditions “ought” to look like (spanning respondents from different backgrounds and countries), and 4) the more subtle belief that our intuitive sense of fairness is roughly optimal (with the research team cautioning eager readers that an objectively optimal wealth distribution is still being researched and not yet known).

If you would like to look for and check these and other perceptual biases in your life, especially in important areas that may affect your health and quality of life, there is a fairly reliable way to start. It involves examining specific outlooks and choices that have one or more of three critical qualities:

  • Importance – actions and outlooks with important consequences, which often involve complex issues and promote oversimplification
  • Frequency – choices and behaviors that recur regularly, potentially leading to the repeating of past interpretations and decisions without considering better alternatives
  • Certainty – outlooks and choices where we feel we are acting ideally, which are often good places to look for bias since this is rarely true

In checking your perceptions, you can start anywhere, even with the next few choices you make or actions you take, and gradually develop a new intuition for and control over your natural biases. Importantly, this process can and should include the essential self-awareness strategy of looking for evidence that both supports and counters our views and plans.

Read about the new wealth perception study at What We Know About Wealth and consider practical ways to get around perpetual bias via the popular HumanaNatura article Understanding Personal Empowerment. You can also begin to move toward more deliberate and optimal life via the Natural Living section of HumanaNatura’s comprehensive Personal Health Program.

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Cross-quarter greetings!

Greetings from HumanaNatura at the cross-quarter! In the natural year, we are at the halfway point between the relative balance and calm of the passing equinox and the extremes of light and darkness of the coming solstice.

Now is an ideal time to make solid progress on your Natural Life Plan, taking steps to realize your goals for greater health and quality of life in the weeks ahead. In this way, you will be able to mark your accomplishments when the solstice arrives, along with its natural pull toward others and celebration.

If you do not yet have a Natural Life Plan – guiding your use and expression of the advanced HumanaNatura health techniques of Natural Living and Natural Communities – the link above will take you to our planning worksheets and get you started.

Our newest member newsletter was released today as well, which is published eight times yearly in harmony with the natural year. To receive future HumanaNatura newsletters and learn about the benefits of membership in our global practitioner-advocate network, go to Join HumanaNatura.

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Daily Aspirin For Greater Health

Aspirin was back in the news this week…and yes, it’s good news again. A new study published by researchers at the Universities of Newcastle and Leeds has found that a daily aspirin regimen signficantly reduced lower intestinal cancers in people who were at high risk of this illness. The new research used randomized clinical trials and involved nearly 1000 people from 16 countries who had been diagnosed with Lynch syndrome, a genetic condition that predisposes people to certain cancers. After two years, study participants who had taken a 600 milligram daily dose of aspirin were found to have a roughly 60 percent lower incidence of colorectal cancer than those receiving a placebo.

Although the aspirin dosage used in the study is not appropriate for most people on a daily basis, due to the risk of stomach bleeding and other side effects, earlier research has found significant reductions in large organ cancers, with few side-effect risks, via a sustained daily low-dose (81 milligram or less) aspirin regimen. The causal link for aspirin’s anti-cancer effects is not yet known, but researchers speculate that it may be due to its general anti-inflammatory properties or an ability to encourage natural removal of unhealthy cells, in both cases helping to preserve cancer-inhibiting tissue integrity.

Based on growing anti-cancer research (and well-established heart health studies) supporting daily low-dose aspirin supplementation for adults, and given its low-cost and infrequent side-effects, HumanaNatura now recommends this as part of our science-based Personal Health Program with a physician’s consent. Learn more about the new study at Aspirin May Reduce Colon Cancer and earlier research on daily low-dose aspirin supplementation at Aspirin & Cancer Prevention. You can also review HumanaNatura’s guidelines for low-dose aspirin supplementation at HumanaNatura Supplement Guidelines (see Item #7) .

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New balance

Do you struggle sometimes to achieve healthy balance in your life? Most of us do and could use help to create new personal balance. If this is an area where you would like to be more effective, you may be interested in a new article by Mark Lundegren, Balancing Health & Happiness, that was just published by HumanaNatura.

In the new article, Mark examines a summary of happiness research by Richard Layard and discusses the role that health plays in ensuring our personal and general well-being. While many happiness researchers narrow their definition of health and place it among seven key contributors to modern happiness, Mark shows that once both happiness and health are better considered, the two converge into a nearly identical modern ideal – one that has important lessons we all can use to immediately have healthier and happier lives.

Click to Mark’s new article via HumanaNatura Featured Articles and learn more about his innovative health-based approach to personal and organizational strategy at Mark Lundegren.

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Bistro breakfast

What a way to start the day! Yummy shrimp and red onion omelet with mixed greens, sliced mangos, and fresh strawberries…garnished with parsley, paprika, coriander, black pepper, and a good scattering of anise seeds.

Learn about our guidelines for healthy natural nutrition and how to make delicious salad meals via our popular article Perfect Salad Meals or through the Natural Eating section of HumanaNatura’s comprehensive Personal Health Program.

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