Read newspapers daily to keep active mind: Dr Mahathir

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) – Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad advised Malaysians to read newspapers every day to help keep the mind active.

In his column published by the New Sunday Times yesterday under the heading “Here’s my recipe for staying healthy”, he said when talking or making speeches, memory of words and phrases and the alternatives would spring to the mind easily with regular reading.

And if one does not read or seldom reads, the words do not come spontaneously when talking or making a speech.

“Reading newspapers every day also helps to keep the mind active and improves the capacity to form words and phrases.

“It is normal for an old person to remember incidents in the past than recent incidents. But even this can be improved with reading and talking,” wrote Dr Mahathir. The 94-year-old prime minister devotes much of the column to answering the one question people repeatedly asked him about – his ability to function at this late age.

Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. PHOTO: BERNAMA

“I feel obliged to explain about my experience even if it is not based on scientific study. Frankly, I don’t know how I am what I am. All I can say is that, I have been fortunate in not suffering from the diseases that shorten one’s life,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said he did have a heart attack 30 years ago but he survived, adding that heart attacks are not as fatal as they used to be.

He pointed out that certainly many things are within our control and we should do our best to control ourselves so that we stay healthy and probably live to a ripe old age.

“Self-discipline or the ability to control what we can do in life, is life-saving. We must always try to control our desires,” he said.

Good eating habit is Dr Mahathir’s first recipe to stay healthy, saying people should eat to live and not live to eat.

“The body really does not need a lot of food except when one is young and growing. For them the food is needed to ensure good bodily growth. Still, the amount of food must not be more than what is needed.

“Obesity often follows overeating even among children and the young. And obesity is not good for health and longevity.”

He said children grow fat because doting parents insist on them taking a lot of food which they should not. Instead, parents should teach their children to eat more fruits and vegetables and less rice or carbohydrates and certainly less sugar.

“To avoid blood pressure diseases, eat less and don’t grow fat. Besides the heart, the other organs of the body – the liver, kidneys and pancreas – will all be overstressed. Any one of these organs may fail and shorten life,” he said.