The goal of meditation is to go beyond the mind and experience our essential nature, which is described as peace, happiness, and bliss, like nature intended it to be. As a quick example, regular re-centering oneself through meditation helps in relieving stress and thus improves the quality of sleep, per the National Sleep Foundation. Less stress means more happiness, and is one of the major Benefits In Meditation.
You will live a happier and healthier life practicing meditation. Meditation also elevates you spiritually, helping you to connect to the higher consciousness, and it is a powerful process that is relatively easy to practice. Another quick example is its ability to improve the immune system and thereby helps in controlling blood pressure and lowering blood cholesterol.
This amazing benefit is confirmed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) study “Meditation and Cardiovascular Risk Reduction”. Our objective is to delve deeper into all the incredible benefits that can be realized by routinely practicing meditation, with the overall goal of experiencing greater health and well being in your life, and even extending your life.
Here is what Wikipedia has to say about meditation,
meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique such as focusing their mind on a particular object, thought, or activity, to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state.
Read more on Wikipedia’s had to say about meditation here.
Meditation Benefits Longevity and Life Extension?
Not only do experienced meditators look decades younger than their true age, but they also live much longer lives than the rest of us mere mortals, physically and mentally, and the reasons why, are nothing short of incredible!
A 2013 study at UCLA, reviewed by the NIH, had 45 family dementia caregivers practice meditation for 8 weeks, with unexpected yet amazing skin rejuvenating results, confirming what practitioners of meditation have known for centuries. Meditators have younger-looking skin and features. Some celebrities practice meditation to retain their youthful appearance such as Tom Brady, Will Smith, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow, and others.
Research has also shown they retain a younger brains, as well. According to an NIH study, an increasing number of studies has reported a positive impact of meditation on cerebral aging. Another 2011 Harvard Medical School research, reviewed the NIH, studied the brains of mindful meditation practitioners (being mindful) as they practiced for 27 minutes per day.
The amazing findings are unbelievable! The meditating brain’s fear center amygdala had somehow managed to shrink, while its electrical activity quieted down dramatically reducing stress and the age-accelerating biochemical cycle, particularly in the brain! Let’s take a look at more of the most fascinating age-defying studies making new headlines, and why meditation is the very best way, along with a few other beneficial activities we’ll recommend, to “freeze Father Time.”
The Antioxidant Behavior of Meditation
So many products now claim to be antioxidants because it’s the catchy phrase now, it sounds healthy, and we are all willing to shell out our hard-earned cash without reservation, for antioxidants.
After all, who doesn’t want to “scavenge free-radicals,” whatever that means? Well, it has to be a good thing, right, if everyone is talking about it? But seriously, what are free radicals, and what are antioxidants, and why do they matter so much? If you took Chemistry in high school, what’s the smallest part of matter? The atom, right? Well, your body has tons of them, somewhere around the number 7, followed by twenty-seven zeros!
When one of your trillions of atoms un-pair because of stress, an electron from its outermost shell breaks loose, and the whole body molecule becomes unstable and loses its negative charge, becomes chemically reactive, and extremely unpredictable. This is a free-radical. Free radicals need to regain their lost electron so badly, they resort to robbing it from the nearest molecule. Think of a drug addict so desperate for a hit, robs his own brother at gun point.
So, the offended molecule is made whole again with the robbery of the missing electron from its neighbor, and the neighbor now becomes the victim, because its now minus an electron. Now it’s got to rob one from the nearest bystander, then the process continues, out of control, in a wild panic process. In addition to the instability, there is damage already done, because the free-radical molecule has already mutated part of the body cell, affecting proteins, DNA, and cellular membranes, causing “oxidative stress”, even after it regains an electron, and that damage can lead to a vast number of diseases over time, per a NIH study.
Oxidation is a normal and necessary process that takes place in the human body. Oxidative stress, on the other hand, occurs when there’s an imbalance between free radical activity and antioxidant activity. Quoting one NIH study:
A balance between free radicals and antioxidants is necessary for proper physiological function. If free radicals overwhelm the body’s ability to regulate them, a condition known as oxidative stress ensues.
When functioning properly, free radicals can help fight off pathogens. Pathogens lead to infections. Free- radicals and oxidants play a dual role as both toxic and beneficial compounds, since they can be either harmful or helpful to the body, according to this NIH study. If your body can’t effectively neutralize free-radicals with antioxidants from foods, then an out-of-control chain reaction occurs, which best can be described as premature cellular aging.
With trillions (6 with 21 zeros behind it) of your molecules reacting per second, oxidation stress is like dropping a nuclear bomb on your body tissue. The damage to you is quick and unbelievable! For starters, oxidative stress mutates your cells, hyper speeds up your physical aging, resulting in things such as skin spots, sagging, wrinkles, hardens your arteries, damages your DNA, and countless other harmful things happen to you.
Premature aging, arthritis, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s Disease, diabetes, and cancer, are just some of the unhealthy conditions oxidative stress is responsible for, says this NIH study. Your body’s inability to handle free-radicals, places you well on your way to countless diseases and critical illness.
With so many harmful avenues present, it’s easy to see why free-radicals and oxidative stress, is most likely the most scientifically accepted and well-documented cause of sickness and aging. So, where do these free-radicals come from? Everyone produces some free radicals naturally in their body through processes like exercise or inflammation.
This is normal and part of the body’s intricate system of keeping itself healthy. But, you can also be exposed to free-radicals through the environment such as ozone and pollution, chemicals and pesticides, smoking, and radiation. An improper diet high in sugar, fat, and alcohol can cause free-radical production.
Antioxidants At Work
Back to the missing electron. Antioxidants simply work by donating a free electron to unstable free-radical molecules, stabilizing them as a result. In this way, antioxidants avert the free-radical hyper cell-aging process, which, otherwise, we might look like a LAX air traffic controller.
While you can get antioxidants from many sources, including natural sources, which we will cover later in this article, just being able to let stress simply roll off your back, is most likely the most natural thing you can do, that already exists in your arsenal, and that happens to be one of the incredible benefits in practicing meditation.
Meditation Boost “The Mother Of All Antioxidants”
Backed by 117,000 peer reviewed scientific studies, meditations has been shown to boost “Glutatathlone” (GSH), which The Huffington Post proclaimed “The Mother Of All Antioxidants,” Here is what the experts are saying:
- Gustavo Bounous, MD, retired Mc Gill University Professor, told medicinenet.com that,
It’s the body’s most important antioxidant because it’s already in the cell, and in prime position to neutralize free-radicals.
- Jeremy Appleton, MD, Naturopathic Physician and respected author, was recently quoted as saying:
If you look at a hospital situation at people who have cancer, or other very serious diseases, almost all are invariably depleted in Glutatathlone. The reason for this is not completely understood, but we do know, that GSH is extremely important for maintaining entra cellular health.
- Joseph Pizzorno, ND, Editor in Chief NIH, said,
I have studied detoxification, mitochondrial function, and healthy aging, the critical role of adequate glutathione to health has become ever more apparent. I have now mentioned glutathione in several previous editorials: protection from oxidative stress, protection from mercury and other toxic metals, protection from alcohol, and protection from persistent organic pollutants.
Clearly, adequate availability of glutathione is critical for maintaining health, protecting the body from toxins, and promoting longevity.
GSH not only hinders oxidation stress by neutralizing free-radicals, but also plays a role in the production of many critical enzymes, battles cancer by slowing cell death, boost T cells, and shields environmental toxin damage, guards against resistance, while supercharging immunity.
The biggest problem is GSH is not easily absorbed in the body when taking orally as a supplement. There are many studies on the benefits of glutathione. Here are examples of a few. One NIH study reported that glutathione was most effective when given to people with fatty liver disease intravenously, in high doses.
Researchers at Baylor School of Medicine used a combination of animal and human studies to explore the role of glutathione in weight management and insulin resistance in older individuals. The findings indicated that low glutathione levels, which occurs with older adults, were associated with less fat burning and higher rates of fat storing in the body. Another Mayo Clinic study found that glutathione improved circulation, increasing the ability of study participants to walk pain-free for longer distances.
Parkinson’s disease affects the central nervous system and is defined by symptoms such as tremors. It currently has no cure. Yet another older Mayo Clinic study documented intravenous glutathione’s positive effects on symptoms such as tremors and rigidity, improving the quality of life in people with this disease.
Meditation Boost Glutathione by 40%
Meditation supercharges your body with GSH by as much as 40 percent. Replenishing GSH is just one of the major Benefits In Meditation. A well-documented fifty-one person study published in the Journal of Alternative Medicine and Complementary Medicine, showed that, alongside yoga, meditation boost the powerhouse peptide by no less than 41 percent.
Like the mythical Li Ching-Yuen, can meditation help you live an immortal-like life of 256 years? Ching-Yuen’s lifespan has never officially been proven, but he did at least attest his longevity to Tai-chi, a form of moving meditation. What can be confirmed is, meditation neutralizes free-radicals rather quickly. Meditation puts you firmly in the driver’s seat, for a long healthy life.
The Alternative To an Extreme Calorie-Restricted Diet
It is said by The World Health Organization, life ends at eighty, or at least the quality of life. But wouldn’t it be much better to, assuming great health, to, live to 130? Of course, it would! According to an overwhelming number of studies dating back nearly a century, we can live that long in this world, a 60 percent longer life.
Instead of cruising around the country in your later years at seventy, looking over seventy, in a Winnebago, you could be looking like your forty instead, although you’re seventy, and cruising around the countryside in a mid-life crisis convertible, or on a motorcycle. Wouldn’t that be something? But, how can you do it?
The only 100 percent absolute method of extending life, according to conventional wisdom, is, you guessed it, calorie restriction. You sort of have to starve yourself to death to live a longer, healthier live. Whether it’s mice, dogs, monkeys, fish, or whatever, being tested in labs, eating less high calorie foods has been shown to extend life without fail, as long as malnutrition doesn’t occur. According to a Public Library of Science study, limiting calorie intake without malnutrition has been shown to extends life span because of less oxidative damage in muscle cells,.
Nitric Oxide, The Life-Extending Substance
While meditation can naturally change the mind and body in ways to make you eat less, it’s a little deeper than that. Scientists believe eating less, or restricting calorie intake, leads to a longer life, per the above mentioned study.
Meditation does the exact same thing, without depriving yourself of life’s greatest pleasure, eating. So, why does going on a hunger strike makes you live longer. The most life-extending compound boosted by calorie restriction is nitric oxide. While mistaken sometimes for laughing gas (nitrous oxide), nitric oxide is so intriguing, that in 1992, it was recognized by the high coveted AAAS “Molecule of The Year Award.”
In 1998, three scientists won The Nobel Prize in Physiology, for discovering the unbelievable number of ways this anti-aging compound helps the human body. Nitrous oxide is a vasodilator, meaning it relaxes the inner muscles of your blood vessels, causing the vessels to widen. In this way, nitric oxide increases blood flow and lowers blood pressure.
Nitric Oxide does it all! Not only does it controls high blood pressure, it also gives rise to erectile dysfunction, signals and alerts the immune system, dilutes the blood vessels, serves as a bacteria-killing antioxidant, slows cancer cell growth, relays information from nerves to cells, and so much more. Your brain, arteries, immune system, liver, pancreas, and lungs, would quickly cease to function without this incredible substance. The more you have of nitric oxide flowing through your body, the longer you will live. Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection firm enough for sex.
L-citrulline is an amino acid that may help treat erectile dysfunction by increasing the production of nitric oxide. Studies have shown L-citrulline combined with pycnogenol, a plant extract from the pine tree, nitric oxide level and ED improved. Nitrate compounds found in vegetables like dark green leafy and beets have shown to increase nitric oxide levels causing blood vessels to relax and dilate and also lower blood pressure.
Flavonoids, found in almost all fruits and vegetables, have also shown in studies to not only increase nitric oxide levels but also decrease its breakdown, promoting higher levels overall. Nitric oxide production is impaired in people with type 2 diabetes, according to a NIH study. Another NIH study found that in 144 people the effects of L-arginine on preventing or delaying the progression of type 2 diabetes was positive by increasing insulin sensitivity and improving blood sugar control.
Meditation Boost Nitric Oxide Production
In 2007 researchers from the Cleveland Clinic and The Case Western Reserve University, took blood samples from eighty-eight Tibetans, with mind-blowing results. Can you guess what they found? Try Nitric Oxide! Levels of Nitric Oxide in these Tibetans were over ten times higher than the majority of Americans. The results were so significant that Wired Magazine rebranded Nitric Oxide as the “Zen Molecule.” Are you ready to become a Tibetan Monk?
Some researches tried to claim the high altitude of 15,000 feet had an effect on it, but a study done in 2014, by the Kemper Group at Ohio State University, have shown that even meditation practiced at normal elevations, still had 213% Nitric Oxide increase. Can meditation levels of Nitric Oxide mimic the longevity benefits gotten from calorie restriction practice, allowing you to live 60% longer life?
Certainly more studies are needed, but, this is obviously another one of the incredible Benefits In Meditation. Results surely indicate that meditation can, perhaps, allow you to live a long healthy life of 130 years.
How Can Meditation Makes You Immortal?
Lobsters contain the enzyme “telomerase”, and evidence shows lobsters are biologically immortal. If they are not eaten, or get hurt, or catch a disease, they can live for over a century. Recently, a fisherman from Newfoundland caught a twenty pound lobster estimated to be 140 or more, years old. So, why are lobsters immune to aging, while the rest of us mortals just whither away? Lobsters owe their super longevity to telomerase.
While everything else in the animal kingdom, including us, gradually shut down this enzyme of telomerase production, lobsters have the capability to produce it throughout their life. Instead of the enzyme dying off as they age, lobster’s “continues to replenish itself, saturated in the cells of this crustacean, as they become older, smarter and experienced, and bigger and stronger, as long as they can stay out of the lobster nets.
At the ends of each of your chromosomes are stretches of DNA called telomeres. Telomeres help protect the ends of your chromosomes from damage or fusing with nearby chromosomes. DNA strands become slightly shorter each time a chromosome replicates itself and telomerase prevents this from occurring by adding additional telomere sequences to the ends of your chromosomes preventing deterioration.
Many researchers believe telomere shortening is a major contributor to the aging process and development of disease. But no one fully understands the impact that telomere shortening has on our overall health. A 2003 Lancet study found a link between shorter telomeres and an increased rate of death from heart disease and infectious diseases.
More recent meta-analyses also suggest connections between shorter telomeres and coronary heart disease, per this NIH study, and certain types of cancer, this NIH study, as the research continues. Is there any way besides meditation to lengthen telomeres and unhealthy deterioration? There’s a lot of confusion here! An Aging journal article, reviewed by the NIH, suggests following a Mediterranean-style diet rich in antioxidants to restore telomeres.
However, another NIH review of WELL study looked at the diet quality of older adults in Australia and telomere length. The investigators found that those whofollowed a healthy diet didn’t appear to have longer telomeres. Instead, they suggest that genetics and other non-dietary factors play a role. Forget about the confusion and relax, meditation can restore your telomerase, keeping you healthy for a very long time.
Meditation Can Make You Immortal
A 2011 wide-ranging study, by doctors at the University of California-Davis and Rutgers University, checked the white blood cell counts of thirty participants before and after being in a three-month meditation retreat. What did they find?
Scientist discovered that the meditators were able to reduce the harmful stress hormone cortisol by 50 percent, reversing the 24 hour stress chemical cycle called glycation which, if left unchecked, would eventually make us look decade(s) older. It was also noted the meditators produced at least 40% more telomerase units per 10,000 cells versus the control group.
On the results, Clifton Saron, PhD at UC-Davis Neuroscientist, said,
We have found that meditation promotes positive psychologically changes, and that meditators showing the greatest improvement on various psychological measures, had the highest level of Telomerase.
Can meditators’ 40 percent increase in tetomerase make us biologically immortal, like our ocean-bearing floor dwellers? While more study is needed, meditation’s proven anti-aging properties are increasingly promising. For example, a study published in the highly respected journal, “Cancer”, measured the telomere length of 88 stage I to III breast cancer survivors, with mindfulness meditation the tested “treatment” method.
The meditating cancer survivors had somehow managed to maintain their telomere length, while the non-meditators’ telomeres shortened significantly, as predicted. Yet another University of California San Francisco study found that prostate cancer survivors practicing a deep breathing meditation routine, participants had molecularly mitigated and silenced the processes which play a role in developing cancer, including significantly lengthening their telomeres. Very promising results with more research in the offering.
The Best Of All Worlds
Okay, it looks like you have 2 choices available in eliminating harmful oxidation and free-radical damage in your body, to which, as we have discussed, leads to a general decline in one’s overall health, premature aging, and all types of chronic disease and illnesses. Those two choices are eating a low or restricted calorie nutrient-rich diet, and meditation. So, which do you choose? How about doing both and adding a couple more healthy activities, we will discuss now?
Eat Fresh, Organic Well-Balanced Nutritional Low Calorie Foods
You should be buying fresh organic grass-fed finished beef and free-range finished poultry, grass-fed dairy and eggs (A); fresh wild-caught fish and seafood (A), fresh organic herbs and spices, fresh organic whole grains and complex carbs, natural fermented foods, and healthy antioxidant drinks, infused water, and fruit smoothies (A).
Eat foods that are low in calories, low in saturated fats and sugar, high in fiber, and high in antioxidant properties, such as (fruits and veggies having the highest antioxidant properties are first in the list) wild blueberry, dried red beans, domestic blueberry, pinto beans, cranberry, artichoke, prune, blackberry, raspberry, red delicious apple, pecan, sweet cherry, etc.
Buy organic and non-GMO food. Stop eating inflammatory causing-foods, fast foods, processed meats and foods, and pre-cooked foods, which are high in salt, sugar, and chemical preservatives. Prepare at least one good healthy nutritious well-balanced meal a day for you and your family. If you rather not eat heavy at night, make breakfast your healthy meal, because that would start you and your family off on the right foot each day with fuel for your body.
Drink a minimum of eight eight-ounce glasses of filtered water each day, and reduce the intake of carbonated and sugar-based drinks. If you drink adult beverages, which is fine, but, do it moderately. Naturally fermented red wine or beer is healthy in moderation, according an NIH study.
Supplement Your Diet With A Natural Whole Food Adaptogen Maca
Have you ever heard of Peruvian Maca? Peruvian Maca is a completely natural and completely nutritious whole-food, organic, non-toxic, and none GMO, root vegetable which grows in the high Andes Mountains of Peru. P Maca has been recognized as one of the few plant species in the entire world, to be classified as a natural Adaptogen.
So, what is an Adaptogen? An Adaptogen is a natural plant, which has the ability to assist your body to “adapt to all types of stress, whether its physical, emotional, or psychological, caused by the damage of free-radicals in your body. P Maca also exerts a normalizing effect on your bodily functions, stabilizing physiological processes, and returning your body to homeostasis.
Maca is also recognized for possessing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. There’s that word again, antioxidant! Not only does it have the ability to manage all forms of chronic stress, it is also effective in relieving anxiety and depression, enhances energy level and endurance, has the ability to balance your body’s endocrine system. That means balancing hormones, improving circulation, enhancing memory and mood, boosting libido and fertility, reducing symptoms of menopause in women by balancing estrogen level, and is effective in treating erectile dysfunction in men. You should experience the wide-ranging healing properties of this ancient and amazing plant.
For more information on this incredible medicinal plant, read these reviews:
A Healthy Combination For Your Mental and Physical State
For more in depth studies or to purchase Peruvian Maca (A), go here. Let’s put it all together. Eat fresh well-balanced nutritious, low in calories, home-cooked foods. Add the natural Adaptogen Maca to your daily diet for added assurance. Use a form of meditation (1) each and every day to center your body and experience all the incredible Benefits In Meditation. Exercise moderately for at least thirty minutes a day five days a week. So, in reality you don’t have to become a Tibitan Monk, and you don’t have to starve yourself to death, do you?
Doing these things routinely will go a long way in restoring and balancing all of your life dimension, and your overall health and well being, and possibly, even adding years to your life. Is it worth, you bet, your life depends on it! In a recent article , “What Is Mindfulness And Meditation, we discussed the spiritual dimension and reaching a self-centering spiritual mindfulness and its importance in maintaining overall health and well being, that’s worth reading too.
Praying is when you are talking to God….Meditating is when you are listening to God…..
I’m sure you have question, so please address them below. Your comments are also welcomed.
(A) Follow these links for more information, more documented studies, and to purchase any of these incredible nutrient-dense foods and natural supplements you can incorporate with meditation to live a long healthy life.
(1) Meditating and Healing Video