Growing Old- With Ease (Not dis-Ease)
I hope you’ve all had a fabulous Bank Holiday weekend (if you’re reading this from England, Wales or Northern Ireland that is- sorry Scottish and international friends.
This quote came to mind when I heard the report on the radio on Saturday morning about the Indonesian man who is reported to be over 140 years old. The average life expectancy in Britain is rising too, but that comes at a cost, with the numbers of those living with at least one chronic illness on the increase too. A 2015 Public Heallth Endland report says that improvements in life expectancy haven’t been matched by improvements in levels of ill-health, meaning that we’re living longer but spending more years in ill-health, often with multiple conditions, some of which would have previously been fatal. For example, with diabetes, the years of life lost to the disease have decreased by 56% but years living with disability have increased by over 75%. Other chronic illnesses include, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, Alzheimer’s, dementia autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, and cancer.
Many of these conditions can be prevented or at least alleviated through dietary and lifestyle changes and yet millions of pounds are invested into research for drugs that will ‘cure’ such diseases. Whilst there are invariably genetic predispositions to certain illnesses too, in effect, the genes that we carry are just like little switches- it is epigenetic factors (diet, lifestyle & environment) that determine whether or not they are in the on or off position. Code that we consume through food then, has the ability to determine whether or not a gene is expressed? Yes, really powerful stuff! However, the many compounds found in foods such as vegetables and fruits act in a synergistic manner, which means that isolating specific compounds (eg lycopene from tomatoes) to use in a cure-all pill is not as effective as eating the whole foods in which it is contained. Whole foods include other compounds which are co-factors involved in the nutrients solubility, absorption and distribution.
The Mediterranean diet is widely reported as being beneficial in longevity and good health. in fact, a recent study has found that it can lower the risk of death in previously diagnosed cardiovascular disease patients. A reporter on the BBC news visited an Italian deli in London to check out the produce on offer as a result of this finding, but rather than extolling the virtues of olives and its oil and the wide array of vegetables consumed, along with fish, nuts and fruit, in a traditional Mediterranean diet, the emphasis was made on pasta and pizza, whilst not necessarily harmful, giving the consumer (I.e. Joe Public) the wrong message about exactly what is beneficial about such a way of eating.
To clarify and give evidence around current health research into nutrition and lifestyle, I will be hosting an event at Beehive Healthcare Chester on September 27th, 1-3pm. This will coincide with the annual charity fundraising event run by MacMillan Cancer care, but instead of the emphasis being on sweet, sugary energy rich but nutrient poor cakes, pastries and biscuits, there will be the opportunity to try and discuss the benefits of health supporting foods which can be used as every day staples and are currently being used in areas of the world who have the highest numbers of healthy, elderly people. All profits will be donated to Macmillan Cancer Care.
To find out more, please contact Beehive Healthcare direct or use the contact form on this website.