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Guide 18

The Secret of a Healthy Lifestyle

WHAT IF you could add 10 years to your life? Would you be interested? A long, healthy life is no accident. Genetics play a role, but it also depends on good health habits. Experts tell us that if you adopt some simple lifestyle principles, you may live up to a decade longer!

The November 2005 issue of National Geographic magazine featured the Loma Linda University Health Study of 34,000 California-based Seventh-day Adventists. This research project, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, was designed to see if the Adventists’ health-oriented lifestyle affected their life expectancy and their riskof major illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.

After following these research subjects for 10 years, the study’s results were impressive. It found significantly lowerrates of lung cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and coronary heart disease among the Adventists.

And what about their life expectancy? The National Geographic article summarized the findings this way: “The average Adventist lived four to 10 years longer than the average Californian. That makes the Adventists one of the nation’s most convincing cultures of longevity” (“Longevity: The Secrets of Long Life,” National Geographic, November 2005).

In this guide, we will take a look at eight simple health principles that can help you live a healthier, longer, and more productive life.

Modern thinking about health has come to understand something that the Bible stated long ago—human beings are more than just a physical body. The physical, mental, social, and spiritual parts of a person are interrelated and inseparable. In other words, what affects the mind affects the body. Our spiritual condition has an impact on our physical condition, and vice versa. What affects one aspect of our being also touches all the others. We are a whole person.

Thousands of years ago, God’s Word pointed out this vital connection, which has only recently been accepted into medical theory:

“A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones” (Proverbs 17:22).

According to the Apostle John, how closely related are the mind and body to our spiritual well-being?

“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 2).

The Word of God can save your life in more ways than one. It can serve as a fountain of health as well as a fountain of eternal life. So in this guide, we’ll look at several essential health principles. Since physical and mental health go hand-in-hand with our spiritual well-being, Paul makes the following strong appeal to the Christian:

“Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

The gospel includes physical as well as spiritual restoration. The Creator wants us to “be in health” (3 John 2). He knows that a healthful lifestyle can help us be vibrant Christians. How can we build up and maintain good health? Here are some principles to follow if you really want to live longer, healthier, and happier.