How To Thrive On The Journey Of Living A Long And Productive Life

Dr. Deepa Verma is double board-certified in family medicine and integrative holistic medicine. She graduated magna cum laude from The College of NJ and is a graduate of Rutgers Medical School in New Jersey (formerly known as Robert Wood Johnson Medical School). Dr. Verma completed her family medicine residency at Somerset Medical Center and was elected chief resident. She founded Synergistiq Integrative Health, her private practice, in 2013, during a very challenging time in her life. 

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Haute Beauty expert Dr. Deepa Verma, focuses on being proactive with health and wellness so she can teach her patients how to be preventative and in the long run, improve longevity. As an integrative practitioner, here's what Dr. Verma has to share:

What exactly is longevity?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as the “long duration of individual life.” The term comes from the Latin word longaevitās. In this word, you can see how the words longus (long) and aevum (age) combine into a concept that means an individual who lives a long time. The goal is to strive for our maximum potential as we age. Longevity implies living longer than the average lifespan.

I look at the mind-body-spirit as working synergistically. In order for that entity to function smoothly, I often refer to my four pillars of a healthy lifestyle which are a clean diet (mainly plant-based, whole foods), exercise/activity, restorative sleep, and stress reduction. Just like four wheels on a car, the four pillars should be well-balanced. To ensure a smooth ride through life, follow these tips:

1. Consume a diet that is mainly anti-inflammatory.

Diet is of the utmost importance because food can be your medicine or your poison, it is your choice. Consuming a mainly anti-inflammatory and alkaline diet, devoid of excess meat and dairy and processed foods and refined sugars, will keep your immunity robust, hormones balanced, and micronutrients at optimal levels.

My favorite foods to boost cellular health and slow down the aging process include lentils/legumes, gluten-free grains, fresh fruits and veggies and Ayurvedic herbs and spices. These include turmeric, black cumin, neem, amla, moringa, and fenugreek, along with onions, garlic, and ginger. In fact, many of these ingredients are the foundation for curry masala in Indian cooking, known to confer immense anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic benefits. Intermittent fasting is also key in the anti-aging/longevity process.

2. Incorporate exercise and/or physical activity daily.

Exercise and/or physical activity is crucial for the overall health of the brain and body. Studies have shown that those who engage in physical activity at least three to four times weekly can improve their longevity by actually preventing the shortening of telomeres, which are the endcaps on DNA. As we age, telomeres shorten and get frayed, thus making DNA susceptible to oxidative damage and inflammation. In my professional opinion, inflammation is the root cause of all evil in the body.

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3. Take your sleep seriously.

Restorative sleep is critical to function in a normal capacity. Sleep is definitely underrated. Teenagers should strive for 10 hours of sleep. Adults need seven to eight hours of sleep, but it needs to be restful sleep. Laying in bed for eight hours tossing and turning and getting up multiple times to urinate is not considered restful. Sleep is the time when we allow our body to shut down so it can repair and regenerate. We go into a semi-comatose state to let the body engage in a healing mode from damages incurred when we are awake.

4. Learn how to effectively manage stress.

Stress is the precursor to inflammation and affects us mentally, emotionally, physically and sexually. These four aspects are crucial to overall well-being and I teach my patients not to be embarrassed to discuss this with their physician. Find hobbies that can relieve your stress. I tell my patients that if their job is the main source of stress, it can ultimately lead to their demise, so it may be worth it to find something they enjoy doing. I believe that our personal and professional lives should seamlessly transition. My favorite stress-busters are meditation, dance, music, travel, and reading. Find what makes you happy and set time aside every day to do it.

Living a long and productive life is a goal for just about everyone, but many do not know how to thrive on that journey. Simplistically speaking, take the four pillars and strive to address each one daily. Set realistic goals, be conscious of your habits and how they may affect your overall health. Age is just a number. Keep your spirit youthful and longevity will follow!