10 Interesting Predictors of Longevity

10 Interesting Predictors of Longevity FinalThis isn’t a Homeric epic. There are no oracles laying out our destiny and predicting our inevitable demise. But even if we can’t know the precise date of our death, we can use certain biomarkers, measurements, and characteristics to make predictions—with a reasonable amount of accuracy—about a person’s propensity to kick the bucket.

As is the case with any observational data, these predictors may not be malleable. And if they are malleable, actively changing them won’t necessarily confer the longevity they’re associated with. Getting plastic surgery to appear younger probably won’t make you live any longer. But they do tell a story. They suggest the qualities, activities, behaviors, and exercise patterns that may, if maintained, lead to a better, longer life. At the very worst, walking a bit more briskly and gaining some lean muscle won’t hurt you, and it will very likely help you.

So let’s take a look at ten of the most interesting predictors of longevity:

1. Handgrip Strength

You know your grandpa with the vice grip for a handshake? Or that old lady who simply would not give up her hold on those plush towels last Black Friday at the Walmart despite you yanking her around like a rag doll? They’ll probably live a long time.

In middle-aged and elderly people, grip strength consistently predicts mortality risk from all causes. It’s even better than blood pressure. In older disabled women, grip strength predicts all-cause mortality, even when controlling for disease status, inflammatory load, depression, nutritional status, and inactivity. Poor grip strength is even an independent risk factor for type 2 diabetes across all ethnicities.

2. Walking Speed

A few years ago, a study of over 7000 male and 31,000 female recreational walkers found that walking intensity predicted mortality risk. Those who walked the fastest tended to die the least. Now, don’t think you can consciously speed walk your way past a hundred. Researchers in the study were looking at the natural walking speed of frequent walkers. What the study tracked and linked to lifespan was the natural walking speed of the participants. They had no idea they’d be graded.

A more recent study found that rapid declines in walking speed also predicted death. Some clinicians find so much value in walking speed that they even use it as a “sixth vital sign.”

3. Facial Appearance

Several studies indicate that the perceived “age of the face” is a better predictor of mortality risk than objective health markers, actual age, or cognitive function. More objective measurements of aesthetic age, like wrinkling in areas unexposed to the sun, also predict longevity.

4. Subjective Opinion Of One’s Quality Of Life

If you’re happy with your physical and psychological health, social relationships, and your immediate environment, you may live longer. Having a poor opinion of your current lot in life may have the opposite effect. Even when those subjective opinions are compared to objective measurements of your health, your relationships, and your environment, subjective outlook is a better predictor of lifespan.

5. Muscle

I’ve always said that lean muscle mass is a metabolic reservoir for healthy aging. Skeletal muscle produces important proteins and metabolites that regulate recovery from trauma and injury. The more you have, the better you’ll recover from surgeries, burns, falls, breaks, punctures, and damage. The more muscle you start with, the more you can spare to wasting and the better you’ll bounce back from bed rest and other forms of forced inactivity. Expression of klotho, the “longevity protein,” is even strongly dependent on the strength of one’s skeletal muscle.

6. Life Purpose

The popular notion that being driven to achieve your goals increases wear and tear on the body and destroys your health seems right. You’re sacrificing sleep for work, neglecting loved ones, choosing work over exercise, eating junk food instead of cooking. What does the evidence actually say? It turns out that having something to live for helps you live longer with a lower disease burden. Life purpose predicts allostatic load, another way of saying “age-related wear and tear.”

This was a little surprising. We often think of the hard-working entrepreneur burning the candle at both ends, falling apart at the seams, health suffering just to pursue and achieve the goals. But the actual evidence refutes this.

7. Intelligence

Intelligent people live longer. Across any and all causes of mortality, having a higher IQ confers protection.

Some point to the quicker reaction times that also accompany higher IQs. If you’re smarter, you’ll probably have an extra fraction of a second to swerve out of the big rig’s path and avoid a fatal collision. This is certainly part of it, but a faster reaction time can’t explain the protection intelligence confers against all-cause mortality.

Others attribute the all-encompassing protection to the intelligent decisions, healthy behaviors, and prudent practices smart people make and follow (PDF). The smarter you are, the less likely you are to smoke, not exercise, or think fast food is okay to eat for dinner every day of the week.

8. White Blood Cell Count

White blood cells, or leukocytes, are the primary agents of our immune system. They battle pathogens, infections, and foreign invaders. Many diseases are associated with white blood cell deficiencies, so it seems like healthier, longer-lived people would have high leukocyte counts. Right?

No. Actually, leukocyte counts on the lower end of normal predict longevity. That only seems to be true in healthy men and women. It’s unlikely to persist in unhealthy or immunocompromised populations who actually need the white blood cells to stave off causes of. In the healthy folks, a low-normal WBC count indicates a low disease burden.

9. Autophagy

Autophagy is cellular maintenance. It’s how our cells recycle waste material, eliminate inefficiencies, and repair themselves. It’s required to maintain muscle mass as we age, and inhibiting it induces age-related atrophy of adult skeletal muscle. It reduces the negative effects of aging and reduces the incidence and progression of aging-related diseases. In fact, researchers have determined that autophagy is the essential aspect of the anti-aging mechanism of fasting. “Aging” only occurs when cellular autophagy fails, or reduces. People who live past 100 have higher levels of the primary autophagy biomarker, meaning their cells are maintaining themselves longer and retarding the aging process.

This is something you can directly control. Fasting, ketosis, caloric restriction, exercise, and dietary polyphenols all trigger autophagy, and they’re all likely to improve longevity.

10. How Much Broccoli and Indian Food You Eat

I’m kind of kidding, but not really. Maybe the most important anti-aging pathway in the body is Nrf2. Activating Nrf2 unleashes many antioxidant pathways, increases glutathione, and has been shown to trigger the “anti-aging phenotype” in animal studies. Foods in the brassica family, which includes broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, all contain sulforaphane, a potent Nrf2 activator. Another Nrf2 activator is curcumin, found in turmeric, the primary spice in Indian curries.

If I’m being safe, these are merely descriptive. People who already have these attributes, biomarkers, and tendencies are more likely to live longer than those who do not. But if I’m engaging in educated speculation, many are also prescriptive. Lifting weights, going for walks, finding a life purpose, improving your day-to-day quality of life, eating more antioxidant-rich food (including broccoli and turmeric), triggering autophagy through fasting or occasional bouts of caloric restriction and ketosis—these are all good, healthy practices that should pay off.

What do you think, folks? Can you think of any interesting longevity predictors not mentioned today? Which of these are you already implementing?

Thanks for reading. Take care.

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TAGS:  Aging

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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84 thoughts on “10 Interesting Predictors of Longevity”

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  1. Already doing most of those, thanks, Mark for the informative reminders in this post.

  2. #6 points to the importance of asking “why” you do things. Having reason makes every action more meaningful even if you make that connection after you do the activities. Every now and then I like to ask in my journal: “What have you done today that was in line with your values and propelled you toward a goal you have?”

    Everyone please click the link to my website and have a say on the GMO labeling issue!

  3. I would add epigenetic momentum to the longevity list also! I’ve seen some older family members smoke like chimney’s and eat crap for 50 years and some died in their 90’s. Their mothers and fathers, and their mothers and fathers must of had some good habits and genes. This momentum can only last so long. I think as a species we are getting weaker and hope that we can reverse this with diets and habits like Primal and Paleo.

    1. There’s a difference between living long and feeling good and being healthy and living a long time and constantly fighting health issues. I know a few people that have lived into their 90’s, but were on several medications, inflamed, and plaque with arthritis, diabetes, digestive problems, and the list continues. That’s no way to live. Great article. The key for me is to constantly assess how I am feeling and to try to prevent things because prevention is easier than repair!

      1. That’s what I’m thinking, as well. The strong grip made me think of my great aunt, who wouldn’t let go, physically or spiritually. She died ancient, but after years of dementia. If it were possible to choose, I’d happily say ciaociao a good twenty years earlier, and go out like a light.

      1. No, but I do like to have my curries with cauliflower ‘rice’ 🙂

    1. Being from Indian descent I’d like to add turmeric is not the primary ingredient in curry. For us it’s literally food coloring. Infant my grandmother calls it dye.

  4. I don’t particularly want to live to be over a hundred since it usually means outliving all of one’s family and friends. That said, I love really good Indian food. We have an excellent Indian restaurant nearby and enjoy their lunch buffet on a regular basis. I usually pass up the naan bread but love their chicken curry and various combinations of fresh veggies and spices.

  5. Interesting, I would think meditation (or prayer) plays a role too. Monks in Asia are consistently living to be quite old, a good majority reach and breach 100. Scientist have determined you use more alpha waves during meditation or prayer. So if your religious keep that praying up, of course meditation is accessible to anyone, religious or not.

  6. One study showed women who had their last child at age 33 or older were more likely to live longer. I had my last 3 weeks before my 31st birthday so we’ll see if that’s close enough!

    I’ve got some of these things on my side and some good longevity genes (like my 91yo grandmother and her husband who lived very well to 85-both avid walkers) along with some other grandparents and my mother who all passed away in their 60s.

  7. Does autophagy have to do with methylation? I believe methylation regulates autophagy and can be disrupted by gene deficiencies (MTHFR), but assisted by good diet and lifestyle.

      1. Hee, hee Flossie. That was funny. i actually saw MotherFather. Probably doesn’t mean that either.

  8. I’m a member of MENSA with a pretty face who can crush cement blocks with my bare hands and I’m a speed walking national champion who eats broccoli every day … so I should live to be 150!

    Kidding aside, interesting article. I do remember reading a while back about the correlation of grip strength and longevity. I have a scrawny wrist and even with a lot of work with hand grips, forearm roller etc etc just not as strong as a lot of guys.

    1. Hombre- hang from a bar and do finger tip pushups a couple times per week. Especially hang from a towel on a bar…to get better grip strength. See convict conditioning 2 for more insight.

      1. convict conditioning 2 rocks big time
        I am working daily with my towel pullup – not there yet but improving

  9. What if you’ve never had a life purpose? I’ve been searching for 35 years and have never had a calling. I can tell you it’s the most depressing thing on the planet to know you have no purpose.

    1. Of course you have a purpose! It’s the same for everyone! Your main purpose is to follow Christ and “therefore go and make disciples…” (Mathew 28:19) You must be talking about a side-purpose such as a specific field of interest, or a talent or a hobby you think you should have, like teaching, writing, art, music or gardening or something like that. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Focus on your main purpose. Study and learn about the gospel of Christ. You’d probably be better at it than most since you don’t seem to have other interests that need your attention at the moment. Look up Ray Comfort at wayofthemaster.com. That’ll get you going in the right direction for starters.

      1. Oh, pu-leeze. We atheists have purpose too, if we so choose. No imaginary friend needed.

        1. Never said that about aetheists… Only said what everyone’s main purpose is, certainly not that everyone follows Christ let alone goes and makes disciples. And those with a reprobate mind will usually find something else to do that’s pleasing to themselves, a secondary purpose, so to speak. But here’s a thought… The gospel of Christ in one word (IMHO) is propitiation. Has anyone ever done more for you than Christ?

        2. I see this all the time on here – as soon as someone mentions believing in god…. c’mon now. I am not religious myself, but the teachings of Christ make sense to me: Be peaceful and loving towards others? Don’t be greedy? Be of service to others? Uh, ya – those are GOOD things… things that have definetely given purpose to MY life…nothing wrong with learning more about how to be good humans…. which is of course, the basis for all religion IMO. You can be an athiest but still demonstrate respect for others and not call their god an “imaginary friend” just sayin’.

          My fellow non-believers, let’s all try and be less defensive, shall we?

      2. Agreed, DJ, and it doesn’t have to happen in a church.
        A calling doesn’t have to be something big or “important” by the standard of today. Rescue a homeless animal, anonymously pay for someones dinner at a restaurant, or visit the ones everyone else has forgotten in a nursing home. Or combine a) and c) and adopt the right pet and have them trained so they can accompany you to said nursing homes. Win, win, win situation. I figure if a certain deed makes me happy, the person or animal in question that needs a friend happy, and my God happy, what harm can it do?

        1. The Christ message of loving your neighbor, taking care of children, having charity towards the poor and dispossessed, turning the other cheek, not being judgmental–are all terrific objectives that we all should strive for. This is true of everyone, despite the behaviors of many self-professed Christians. But the whole idea of “believe in me and you go to heaven regardless of your good works” just makes no sense at all. So you certainly don’t have to be a Christian to have a purpose in life. That said, I strongly believe that behaviors that follow the exhortation to “love thy neighbor” are highly adaptive for our species, and are the most enlightened set of behaviors we can adopt. Adopting these behaviors can constitute the purposeful life well led without any church or dogma at all!

      3. I have a very close friend who is an athiest. She knows what I believe, and I know what she (doesn’t) believe but we don’t let it get in the way of our friendship. I don’t spend our time together telling her she’s going to Hell, and she doesn’t spend her referring to something (which she knows is very important to me) as an imaginary friend, or the invisible man in the sky. Mutual respect and tolerance goes a long, long way.

    2. So CREATE a purpose. The World is full of desperate needs. Pick one and work on it.

    3. Your purpose is whatever you decide it to be. Maybe your purpose is to be the most happy and healthy person possible.

    4. here’s a purpose.. what would a lot of dead people say to you if they could talk.. live well and be happy.. pretty simple stuff.. do good, and enjoy life along the way..

  10. Yay for life’s purpose, brisk walks, being smart, and eating broccoli!

    I’d be curious to know the impact of a many-years-long meditation, breath-work and yoga practice too:)

    1. The ability to breathe deeply is a HUGE factor no one else has brought up. I’m a shallow breather and I keep telling myself I need to really focus on this deficiency. What little time I practice “filling up my belly” on the intake and gently contracting the abs on the exhale really does seem helpful.

  11. A high waist to hip ratio is strongly adversely associated with all cause mortality.

    Also waist to height ratio is also clinically significant.

    1. I know, right? Most folks just go by waist alone and it really drives me nuts…. Hello! I’m 6’4″. So what if I have a 36″ waist? Its called common sense. I have a six pack and my BMI is 26.5 but I’M at risk and I get fussed at by my doctor. I’ve actually spoken to plenty of physicians who are so stuck in their ways that they think waist only is good enough, and actually site the only study I have been able to find showing that waist only was equal to height waist ratio. Of course, there are several indicating otherwise.

      Maybe I should start eating less protein, lifting less heavy things, eating more carbs, and running marathons again.

  12. After reading Woodford Monte’s book, While Science Sleeps, I suspect one of the top predictors is methanol intake and how you manage methanol toxicity: regular low-dose ethanol is highly protective. He makes an overwhelmingly strong case that methanol is one of the most critical modern toxins.

    Another input is polyunsaturated fat intake; keeping this down to 3% of calories will improve longevity.

    And of course, both of these inputs affect skin aging.

  13. The key to longevity? Humour, and not taking ourselves or too seriously. Have fun, be responsibly silly, and thank our lucky stars we have the life we do.

    1. Agreed, John, on the finding the humor. Laughing so hard that the tears stream down my face–only because something is funny and I *can* laugh that hard–is one of the most healing things I’ve ever experienced!

  14. Interesting list! I’m definitely good with the broccoli and turmeric! And many of the other items on the list…including the perceived age. People usually think I’m much younger than 49. But I really think the perceived quality of life, and having a purpose, are key. Even if having a purpose doesn’t improve your longevity, it will certainly improve your quality of life!

  15. Living very close to nature is protective. Especially the desert, where wildlife is largely unrestricted. A variety of mushrooms in the diet may help too, as the Chinese say.

  16. When I saw the title of the post I expected to see the study by some brazilian Drs who found a correlation between life expectancy and the number of support points you use when getting up the floor

  17. Here’s a great way to up your curcumin intake: Get some fresh turmeric tuber and put it in your bone broth pot as it cooks. A beautiful golden color and extra bonus effects of turmeric.

  18. Forget to tell you: add some peppercorns, too. The combo is synergistically more potent.

  19. Mark and everyone, have you heard of the correlation between number of body parts, points, and motions a person uses to get up from a supine position and longevity? The drift is, the fewer motions and parts, the longer you will live.

  20. Zip code. Huge disparity between wealthy and low income neighborhoods.

    1. Devout RC here too. I do water walking at my local Y – it’s a small lazy river and the practice it to walk against the current. (Much harder than it looks!) I pray the Rosary as I walk. I usually walk 20 minutes and if I finish praying before that, I pray other prayers.

      I feel that I get both the meditative and physical benefits from this mixed activity (in addition to becoming closer to God).

      1. Thanks for the reply, Julia! I also try to unite the minor (or not so minor?) sufferings from my workouts to the cross for those really suffering. I’m not always successful but I do my best. Praying you have a holy and strong finish to Lent!

  21. I’m new to MDA and PB . How refreshing to read an article that gives information without prosthelytizing about the subject and readers who are thinkers. I’m finding more interesting subjects to learn about just from the Comments. As my Dad used to say, “If something bores you, you probably don’t know enough about it.”

  22. Doing most of these. Surprised to not see something about sleep quality in this list. Not necessarily pertaining to amount, but actual quality of sleep – time spent in REM, waking up refreshed etc. Any data about that?

  23. You did not mention that athletes average lifespan is 77 years versus business people whose average lifespan is 85 years. I think your latest book will help change the figure for athletes for the better.

  24. Thanks for this great article, Mark! With regard to eating less (fasting, calorie-restriction, etc.) it is nice to be reminded that it IS OKAY to not be eating all the time.

    I get a lot of subtle pressure from family and friends to eat. Let me just say that after losing 100 pounds in 18 months, they think I’m a few fries short of a Happy Meal when I fast. I guess it makes them uncomfortable if I don’t eat every time they do. Our society is so fixated on socializing through the consumption of food, I’m often made to feel unsociable (whether intentionally or not) when I don’t join in. No wonder we as a nation are so obese. We’ve been brainwashed to think we need to eat at least 3 meals and 2 snacks a day, or we need to eat in order to celebrate or even casually socialize, that celebrating or socializing without food is somehow insulting.

    It seems like so much of our daily lives are consumed with when to eat, what to eat, who to eat with, and purchasing/preparing for all that eating… think what we could accomplish in our lives if that time was spent in more worthy pursuits (like walking).

    So thanks for being one of the few to say, yeah, try NOT eating for a little while. How refreshing. 🙂

    1. Great response. Might I also say that the “food is love” argument has also had a big impact on obesity rates. So many of my family and friends get so offended when I turn down their offerings of food because they equate food, especially junk food, with their love for me. Food is an “easy” gift to show you care, so people take it personally when you say “no” to their cooking or their offer to take you out to a restaurant to eat. Mothers are especially adept at making their offspring feel ashamed for rejecting their food. It is sad, but we need to help our loved ones show us their love for us in ways that don’t include meals, like taking walks, creating art together, visiting museums, etc.

  25. “I want more life, fucker.” – Roy from “Blade Runner”

    Isn’t that who you’re really channeling here, Mark? Roy, the replicant running out of time and looking to his creator, Tyrell, for some magic to set him free? Well Tyrell did set him free, didn’t he? Not with his science or “biohacks” to mess with Roy’s body. Tyrell set him free spiritually – “Revel in your time.”

    Isn’t that really the answer here – to maximize the quality of our life, not its quantity?

  26. If brassica consumption is the only way I could live longer, then I’ll just have to die young. Bleh.

    1. Perhaps you should try my sauerkraut with grated turmeric root and mustard seeds?

      1. Young mustard or collard greens stir-fried with garlic-laced scrambled eggs and green onions. Herbs, spice, seasoned oils of your choice.

  27. I can think of one longevity factor not mentioned…

    The 88 year old psychic on Bourbon St. who told me I’m going to live to be 115.

    Other than missing that key factor, great post! 😉

  28. There is significantly more powerful nrf2 activator available today that has research from L.S.U, Harvard, American Heart Association, University of Colorado, and on and on. Let me know if you want to know. I am a Doctor that has been researching nrf2 for over 5 years now. Let your body make its own antioxidants like catalase, Guthathione, and superoxide dismutase…. much more effective than taking antioxidants

    1. I’ll take the bite. So what is the more powerful nrf2 activator of which you speak?

  29. Yea, isolated stories don’t mean much but I am going to tell it anyway…. in the 90s I moved, got a new neighbor, a man in his 60s, a mechanic in fact. One of the first things I noticed was he had extremely poor grip strength (couldn’t tighten with a tool what I could do with my fingers.) Even his wife could easily open jars he could not. He’s still alive so grip strength did not predict his mortality however… he went downhill fast, fell and broke ankles, later would fall and couldn’t get up, couldn’t walk more than an hundred feet, went into the nursing home early and has been horizontal since… and kept alive several times but timely drug intervention. His overall dysfunction was certainly heralded by his horribly poor grip strength.

  30. I would think remaining sexually active later in life may be a factor for longevity?

  31. I think there is a big difference between a life purpose and working crazy to meet goals.
    The guy sacrificing to climb the Corp ladder to get more money or a title is far different than the nurse who isnt just putting in time but truly feels she/he is there to give her patients the best treatment she can give. I know who I would put my money on.

    1. Agreed.

      Life purpose and ambition are two very different things.

  32. I totally believe these, especially the walking one. There was a time when my walking pace had slowed to a crawl. It drove my poor patient husband nuts when he was out with me or we took a walk. After years of working on nutrition and my thyroid (diet, supplements, NDT), I found it natural and easy to walk at a good pace again.

    The walking wasn’t the cause of poor health for me; it was a sign of what turned out to be massive chronic fatigue caused by seriously bad thyroid and adrenal health …the *ability* to walk at a quick pace is a great marker of health.

    1. Great points! I sure remember at least one study about longevity and relationships.

  33. I can’t speed walk my way past 100 but can I grip my way up? I have poor grip strength and I don’t really know what to do about it.

    1. Coco I think I’ll post a grip strength topic on MDA later on today under the fitness forum.

  34. I like most of these! I feel like a lot of them are just indicators of whether or not an individual prioritizes their health in general (walking speed, grip strength, eating your brassicas), but they’re still very interesting to consider. I like numbers 4, 6 and 10 in particular. 4 and 6 are closely linked to stress levels while 10 gets me because I always encourage people to eat more brassicas hah! Thanks for a great post.

  35. Regarding Fasting, observant Muslims fast once a year for 30 days during the month of Ramadan. I am not sure whether there have been any studies done on populations in large Muslim majority countries to determine the health impact of this practice.

  36. There are two things I’ve read about that I don’t think have been mentioned. 1. Having a pet 2. Having a life partner. The relaxation of having a cat on your lap or a dog to walk, not to mention something to focus on other than yourself … I think these are important for longevity. The life partner thing seems to be a predictor whether the relationship is fun or not.

  37. Would love to see Mark address how to increase telomere length.

  38. Broccoli causes cancer, Indian food is disgusting, except lamb curry.:)

  39. A factor that was omitted is shorter height and lower body weight. Many studies have found that shorter, thinner people are more likely to reached advanced ages. For example, a Hawaiian study tracked elderly Japanese men for over 45 years and found shorter men lived a few years longer. An internet news item reported that, based on 2500 Italian centenarians, being short and thin increased one’s odds of reaching 100 years of age. In addition, American males are 9% taller than women and have a 9% shorter life expectancy.

    Although some people react negatively to these findings, height is only about 10% of the longevity picture. Many other factors play important roles, such as genes, nutrition, exercise, education, social class, economic status, not smoking or drinking heavily, medical care, adequate sleep, and social relations.

    The preceding findings do not mean all tall people will have shorter lives. Many can and do live to advanced ages, including 100 years of age. However, we need to realize that promoting greater height and weight has a negative impact on our health and longevity. As professor Waterlow said, a world population of bigger people places greater demands on our limited resources and promotes destruction of our environment. Do we want to continue to promote greater size in our children through over nutrition? Is this best for our children and society? A Gallup poll found that 84% of the US work force has at least one major chronic health problem or is obese.

    As an older person, I can tell you that I would not trade freedom from physical limitations in order to be tall.

  40. Dr. Colin Champ, who is a very smart oncologist, once said that everyone should try to consume something from the brassica family, and something from the onion family, every day. Plants in both of these families are potent cancer-fighters. I’ve been striving to do that, and it’s not all that hard, really. My wife and I love broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, onions, garlic, shallots, etc, and cook with many of these things often.