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Sir John Mills offered his best longevity tips before death at 97 – ‘mind over matter’

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The Oscar-winning actor sadly passed away at his home in Denham, West London in 2005 after a short battle with illness. The family didn’t say much about his death but Lord Richard Attenborough said he was in the hospital a month before his death with a chest infection. Even though he died – the star’s outlook on life and health can offer some value.

Mills won an Oscar for best supporting actor in 1971 for his role in Ryan’s Daughter.

But the star was perhaps most famous for playing stoic and quintessentially British officers in war films.

His characters, Jeffrey Richards said in the past, were “not extraordinary men” but men who were heroes because of their level-headedness, toughness, and other virtues.

The real Mills showed a similar toughness in his attitude to life, which he said when he was 92 was the key to his longevity.

“Nearly every day I swim 20 lengths of quite a big pool. Touch wood – I am in extremely good health,” he told the Daily Mail.

“Fortunately I’m a great believer in mind over matter.

“If I think I feel a bit grotty I tell myself I feel terrific and it usually works like a charm.”

Positive thinking is often derided by people but according to John Hopkins University, there is evidence that a positive attitude can improve health.

Dozens of studies have found a link between positive well-being and survival in healthy people and people with diseases such as heart disease.

One review looked at 70 research papers and found positive well-being seemed to reduce the risk of death by 18 percent in healthy people and two percent in those who already have diseases.

Mills was also an advocate of the controversial “Hay Diet” as well as moderation.

“My 92 years have taught me two things. One is to stick to the Hay Diet. The other is moderation,” he said.

The Hay diet was developed by an American physician called William Howard Hay in the 1920s and suggested that foods could be grouped as alkaline, acidic, and neutral.

Known as the food combining diet, it is said that protein and carbohydrates should never be mixed because the body is incapable of digesting meals with different food types.

However, studies have shown the body has adjusted over millions of years to eat a diet containing carbohydrates, protein, and fats.

Many foods, considered carbohydrates, even contain protein in every serving, and high protein foods are likely to contain fat as well.

The star, who fought in world war 2, was also thankful when he was 92 that he quit smoking.

“In the Army, I even smoked like a chimney, though thank God I stopped eventually,” he said.

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