Natalie Mitlyansky, DC, ND, MD | Article

Health Secrets of the Amish

Health Secrets of the Amish

The Amish defy much of today’s conventional wisdom about health.
Most doctors would say that their diet is terrible because it is high in fat, sugar, salt, and calories.
They eat only a few vegetables. They spend most of their time working outside under the cancer- causing sun and do not use modern technology.
Yet, some Amish men live longer than other Americans. Amish men and women have lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, cancer. As they age, they experience better health than the rest of us and work physically hard into old age. How do they do it?
Researchers studied “Amish paradox” and have uncovered at least a partial explanation. Their findings hold lessons that all of us can use to improve our health and extend our life.
The good health of the Amish is clearly influenced by both lifestyle and genes. Some Amish have genes that increase cholesterol, others have genes that increase risk of obesity. Both high cholesterol and excess weight in the Amish should but do not – increase their odds of developing Type 2 diabetes, which would triple risk for heart disease. Researchers found that American Amish are as much overweight as the rest of the country, incidence of Type 2 diabetes among them is only half the national norm, and rates for heart disease even lower. Researchers discovered in a study of Pennsylvania Amish that 1 in 20 has specific gene mutation that stops the rise of triglycerides, so possibility of heart disease, diabetes Type 2 much less . In comparison, 1 in 150 non-Amish Americans have this type of genetic mutation. In the end, they discovered that all gene mutation do make a difference, but the most important factor-lifestyle. They found out that physical activity is a key! The Amish are much more active than non-Amish rural neighbors.
Amish men were found to take an average of 11,447 steps a day, compared to only 7,605 steps for their non-Amish neighbors.AS a reference point , experts consider less than 5,000 steps a day a sedentary lifestyle. However many Americans do not take more than 1,000-2,000 steps a day. Probably because they do not use modern conveniences, the Amish are forced to be much more physically active than their neighbors.
When Ohio State University researchers began studying cancer among Amish, they expected higher incidence rate because of intermarriage which may increase cancer related gene mutation, but they found opposite!
Among Amish adults, the incidence of tobacco –related cancers was only 37% of the rate for Ohio adults. The incidence of non-tobacco related cancers was only 72% of other Ohio adults. Lifestyle, researchers concluded, was at the root of these positive statistics. Cancer rates were reduced because Amish smoke and drink less, are exposed to fewer chemicals and processed foods, and lead very physically active life.
The Amish show that you do not need fancy gyms, weight equipment, or personal trainers to get the benefit of exercises. Compared to the American norm, the Amish eat much more freshly prepared food, including meat raised in traditional, rather than factory way. Although their food is not organic mostly, it does not contain so much chemicals, antibiotics, pesticides as conventional food. Most of the milk they drink is produced by cows not treated with antibiotic and hormones. Another thing: compared with other Americans Amish take more vitamins and minerals and other natural supplements.
Researchers concluded that the most important factor in “Amish paradox “ is level of daily physical activity, which is very high.
Reference: Health Radar. A Publication of Newsmax Health
Natalie Mitlyansky D.C.,N.D.