Excerpt from Bragg’s Healthy Heart Book — Chapter 1
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Most people are blessed with a powerful heart at birth. Of course there are always exceptions, like my father, who was born with a weak heart. He needed to fight hard just to survive. But he did survive, persevering to develop a powerful, ageless heart for a long life! Your marvelous heart, the perpetual pump that Mother Nature gives us, can go on beating almost indefinitely. According to Biblical legend, Moses was 120 years old when he died; Noah was 950; Jared lived to be 962; and “all the days of Methuselah” were 969 years.
Today, right here in the United States there are over 60,000 people and the count is growing who are 100 years or older. In our research on longevity we have met many people who were 100 to 115 and still living healthy lives. This shows it’s possible to enjoy living a long life! What greater treasure and enjoyment is there than a long, happy, healthy, active useful life, and being kind and loving? Truly it doesn’t really matter what your calendar age happens to be. In fact, it might be better all around to forget chronological age and consider only anatomical or physiological age. We do! Longevity is really a vascular question. A man is as old as his arteries. Sir William Osler, the Canadian medical teacher and writer, pointed out long ago, a man of twenty-eight may have the arteries of a man of sixty, and a man of forty may have vessels as much degenerated as they could be at eighty.
Sir Osler used the word degenerated. Webster’s defines degeneration as: Deterioration of a tissue or an organ in which its vitality is diminished; a process by which normal tissue becomes converted into or replaced by tissue of inferior quality, whether by chemical change of the tissue (true degeneration) or the deposit of abnormal matter in the tissue (infiltration).
Our Miracle Heart and Circulatory System
At birth we are given a heart with clean arteries. It is our unhealthy foods and living habits that cause degeneration. The care we take of our heart determines the number of years we are going to stay on top of this earth. It is up to each and every one of us to take special care of our heart so we can make this life a long, healthy and happy one. Health and happiness go hand in hand. To understand the causes of heart trouble, we must know something about the heart and the circulatory system. The primary function of this cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels) is to distribute blood through the entire body, carrying a steady flow of nourishment and oxygen to billions of body cells. Just as important, it is responsible to remove toxic wastes from those body cells. The blood makes its continual rounds throughout the body’s 60,000 mile network of blood vessels. These vessels connect to all the body’s cells, from the heart itself, to the scalp, all the way to the finger tips and toes. The average person has between 5 and 6 quarts of blood continually circulating throughout this network.