by Koon Yew Yin, 12 March 2023
Yesterday I attended the funeral of my brother in law in Kuala Lumpur. He passed away at the age of 80. At the funeral, I met many younger relatives whom I have not seen before or they have not seen me before.
Almost all my contemporaries have passed away. 80 years seems like a big stumbling block.
I celebrated my 90th birthday about 2 months ago. During my long life time, I have learned many health tips which I would like to share with you.
About 20 years ago when I was a Director of a charity hospital called Perak Community Hospital, I invited an Australian palliative care expert to teach how to take care of cancer patients. After her long lecture, I asked her what did the dying cancer patients usually say just before they die. They said that they had 2 regrets; 1st they should live a life to please themselves instead of living a life to please other people and 2nd they should speak out if they did not agree on something important.
I inherited a blood disorder, called Hyperlipidemia from my mother who died at 38 years old when I was 10 years old. My body produces a lot more cholesterol than any normal people. All my siblings who inherited the same blood disorder also died before the age of 50 years.
In 1983 when I was 50 years old, I had a heart attack. Fortunately, Mayo Clinic in US just invented the heart-lung machine which takes over the blood circulation during open heart surgery. I did my heart by-pass surgery in Harley Street Clinic, London.
After my open heart surgery, my surgeon told me that my heart would be blocked again soon and he could not repeat the same operation again and there was no medicine to reduce cholesterol production. Statin was not discovered at that time. He told me if there was no medicine to lower my cholesterol production, the type of food I eat could help me lower my cholesterol production. Food could be a form of medicine. For example, fruits and vegetables.
Currently what I do to prolong my life:
As soon as I wake up, I drink 2 glasses of water and eat about half a pineapple on an empty stomach. I do not eat anything except a cup of coffee before lunch time. I did not have any sickness in the last 30-40 years.
A few years ago, when Dr Jena passed away, I met his son-in-law Dr Dev Teo at the wake who is a Geriatrician (Specialist dealing with the health and care of old people). He asked me how I could be so healthy. I told him about my eating pineapple. He said that pineapple has a lot of medicinal value and that is why I have no sickness.
In fact, a few nights ago, my old friend, Dr Chakr Sri Negara, who is 82 years old chatted with me during dinner. He told me that he has been following me eating half a pineapple on an empty stomach every morning. He is very healthy and plays golf every weekend.
Besides what I mentioned above, I also do the following to prolong my life:
1 I have a good wife who takes care of my daily needs.
2 I drink more water than I really require to dilute my blood and avoid constipation.
3 I do not overeat. I avoid taking sugar. I must keep slim.
4 Mental exercise: I exercise my brain by watching the stock market and write articles to share my accumulated knowledge and experience to benefit more people.
5 Physical exercise: When I was young, I used to play football and badminton. When I was older, I played golf. Since I now have walking difficulty, I have stopped playing golf. Moreover, all my golf buddies have passed away. Currently I play with my dog and plant flowers to have body movement and happiness.
6 As recommended by health experts, I walk or move about frequently. I do not sit in front of my computer longer than 1 hour at any one time. I must get up and walk about to improve blood circulation. I walk for about 15 minutes every evening.
7 I have a minimum of 7.5 hours of sleep. I also have a short nap after lunch.
8 My wife and I go out with friends every weekend to socialize and to enjoy ourselves. A change of environment makes me happy.
9 At least 2 or 3 times in a day, I keep silent to myself and do nothing but to relax and refresh my mind.
10 I must be very careful when I walk or move about. I must make sure I do not fall. Almost all old people die after a fall.
11 We watch TV every night to enjoy ourselves and be happy. Happiness can prolong life.
12 Stress is a major cause for cancer. I don’t worry about my past mistakes because worry cannot correct the mistakes. Learn from your mistakes to improve your ability to overcome mistakes.
14 The importance of Sunlight which Is Your Best Source of Vitamin D.
Just like all old people, I cannot do strenuous exercise. Every morning I walk out to my patio to have some sunshine. There’s good reason why vitamin D is called “the sunshine vitamin.” When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it makes vitamin D from cholesterol. The sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays hit cholesterol in the skin cells, providing the energy for vitamin D synthesis to occur.
Vitamin D has many roles in the body and is essential for optimal health. For example, it instructs the cells in your gut to absorb calcium and phosphorus — two minerals that are essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones.
On the other hand, low vitamin D levels have been linked to serious health consequences, including: Osteoporosis, Cancer, Depression, Muscle weakness and Death.
In addition, only a handful of foods contain significant amounts of vitamin D. These include cod liver oil, swordfish, salmon, canned tuna, beef liver, egg yolks and sardines. That said, you would need to eat them nearly every day to get enough vitamin D.
Most important to remember is that our mind can find reasons to justify what we believe. If you want to be happy, you can always find reasons to make you happy.
When I wake up in the morning, I say to myself, fortunately I didn’t die last night and I have another day to enjoy. Moreover, I must be contented with what I have. Contentment is the key to happiness and happiness is the key to long life.