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Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality by Ryan Christopher

Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality by Ryan Christopher

Author:Ryan, Christopher [Ryan, Christopher]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: History
ISBN: 9780061707803
Barnesnoble:
Goodreads: 7640261
Publisher: Harper
Published: 2010-06-29T00:00:00+00:00


Stressed to Death

If an infectious virus doesn’t get you, a stressed-out lifestyle and high-fat diet probably will. Cortisol, the hormone your body releases when under stress, is the strongest immunosuppressant known. In other words, nothing weakens our defenses against disease quite like stress.

Even something as seemingly unimportant as not getting enough sleep can have a dramatic effect on immunity. Sheldon Cohen and his colleagues studied the sleep habits of 153 healthy men and women for two weeks before putting them in quarantine and exposing them to rhinovirus, which causes the common cold. The less an individual slept, the more likely he or she was to come down with a cold. Those who slept less than seven hours per night were three times as likely to get sick.19

If you want to live long, sleep more and eat less. To date, the only demonstrably effective method for prolonging mammalian life is severe caloric reduction. When pathologist Roy Walford fed mice about half of what they wanted to eat, they lived about twice as long—the equivalent of 160 human years. They not only lived longer, but stayed fitter and smarter as well (as judged by—you guessed it—running through mazes). Follow-up studies on insects, dogs, monkeys, and humans have confirmed the benefits of going through life hungry. Intermittent fasting was associated with more than a 40 percent reduction in heart disease risk in a study of 448 people published in the American Journal of Cardiology reporting that “most diseases, including cancer, diabetes and even neurodegenerative illnesses, are forestalled” by caloric reduction.20

These studies lead to the slacker-friendly conclusion that in the ancestral environment, where our predecessors lived hand-to-mouth, a certain amount of dietary inconsistency—perhaps exacerbated by sheer laziness interrupted by regular aerobic exercise—would have been adaptive, even healthy. To put it another way, if you hunt or gather just enough low-fat food to forestall serious hunger pangs, and spend the rest of your time in low-stress activities such as telling stories by the fire, taking extended hammock-embraced naps, and playing with children, you’d be engaged in the optimal lifestyle for human longevity.21

Which brings us back to the eternal question asked by foragers offered the chance to join the “civilized” world and adopt farming: Why? Why work so hard when there are so many mongongo nuts in the world? Why stress over weeding the garden when there are “plenty fish, plenty fruits, and plenty birdies”?

We are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you any different.

KURT VONNEGUT, JR.



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