News all round today. Yesterday
I learnt the secret of living to 114.
Today I learnt that chocolate, once again, is proving to be
good for you. I love these
chocoholic researchers who find ways to demonstrate that there is
goodness in something that we intrinsically know is bad in excess.
while the North American Continent recovers from the excesses of
Thanksgiving, you may just want to relax in a comfortable chair, reach
for a bar of chocolate, or better yet, sip on some cocoa, and ponder
conducted by Imperial College and the Royal Brompton and St
Bartholomew's hospitals in London and a Hungarian company that
indicates that theobromine, a constituent, particularly of dark
chocolate, has proved more effective at treating persistent coughing
then the traditional over the counter remedies.
before you go rushing out to the candy store do keep in mind that this
is only preliminary research, that it’s probably better to extract
the theobromine from the chocolate, and that tooth decay, high sugar
levels and obesity are issues you have to also take into account.
does seem, however, that every week, somebody is telling me there is a
better way to live longer and stay healthier.
That somebody, this week, is the late Fred
Hale. I say
late, as he died last Friday, just 12 days short of his 114th
birthday. He was the
world’s oldest man and lived an active life as a railway postal
worker and a keen gardener, retiring in 1957 – the year
before I was born. He
still found slow drivers annoying as he sped down the road, age 108.
That got him in the Guinness Book of World Records as the
worlds oldest driver.
his secret for a long life? A
spoonful of bee pollen and another of honey each day, walking, and a
spot of gardening. To that
we might add that he had a tranquil temperament.
He was a gracious person and happily fed the local
neighbourhood with the apples, strawberries and raspberries from his
large garden. It seems to
me a good system, and if only we had a little more land behind our
house, I’d love to indulge in it more myself.
search for eternal youth is something that has gone on for centuries,
certainly as far back as the Greeks.
And a quick scan through any internet search engine will
demonstrate that the search, and any number of solutions – real or
mere quackery -- are readily available.
was Turkish nomads on the slopes of Mt Elbrus who claimed that
longevity came through drinking sour milk.
Today we call it yoghurt. When
I was in
recently I drank vast quantities of Green Tea.
That, along with raw fish and soya are their links to
you want a really long life then maybe move to the Hunza
North West Pakistan
. The high altitude, clean
air and water, simple diet and freedom from many of the stresses of
modern life mean that folk in their 80’s and 90’s are still living
highly active lives. Of
course, we can’t all move there, but we can take simple steps –
like looking at our calorie intake and seeing how much of it is made
up of the healthier food groups, and, like our late friend Fred Hale,
getting out for some exercise and a spot of gardening.
is one other aspect to take into account.
Repeated studies have shown that people who belong to a club or
religious community tend to live longer.
The sense of belonging has beneficial effects.
It’s interesting talking with my children that some of their
happiest memories are in community, in a small church that I used to
pastor, in camps and retreats together with friends.
I would agree with them.
doesn’t always work. I’ve
had my disputes in church environments as well.
And I had a phone call this week from a listener in
that only wishes his church was friendlier and more loving.
Jesus had the same problem.
He was the embodiment of love – yet worked with disciples
nicknamed the Sons of Thunder, and one who turned out to be a thief
and a betrayer. In the
middle of disputes with the religious leaders of his day, and knowing
that he was facing death he could say, “Peace is what I leave with
you . . . . Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.”
(John 14:27 TEV) And
in that same context Jesus promises a secure hope for the future –
the best longevity medicine of all time:
am leaving, but I will come back for you.” (Vs28)
“I’m going to prepare a place for you.” (Vs2)
I don’t know whether they have chocolate, bee pollen or
yogurt there, but I want to be there to find out.