It is clear that most Americans associate aging with disease and chronic ailments. Indeed, a comprehensive study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation determined that 99-million of us have chronic ailments such as heart
disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and high blood pressure which cost $470-billion a year in direct health costs.1
However, this landmark study dispelled the commonly held belief that such chronic ailments are restricted to the elderly. The researchers discovered that only 26 percent of Americans with the above chronic conditions were 65 or older. The reason is simple!
Aging is not a disease; it is a process intrinsic to every living organism. As we mature, it is junk food, tobacco, obesity, stress, alcohol abuse, and lack of exercise - not our genetic clock - that wears down our body and diminishes our immunity against disease.
Over 1,400,000 of us will die this year from either heart disease, cancer, or strokes states the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and all three are man-made, lifestyle-based, degenerative
diseases that can be readily prevented with proper nutrients and behavioral modifications.
The human body is designed and programmed for rejuvenation at any age. The aliments of aging are determined by how we choose or don't choose to live our lives. As science continues to uncover the aging process, more and more findings link both deterioration and rejuvenation to the digestive and immune system.
It is now clear
that the key to good health and a youthful body is a strong Digestive & Immune System.
On September 13, 1993, a study of nearly 30,000 residents of north-central China was concluded by American and Chinese scientists. "The study is the first randomized trial to show a significant reduction in cancer in a population that has been supplemented with antioxidant vitamins and minerals," reported William Blot of the U.S. National Cancer
Institute, who led the study.
During 1994, biologists Rajindar Sohal and William Orr found the first direct evidence that antioxidants utilized against free radicals could extend life as well as improve its quality.2
Based upon research and clinical studies conducted during 1997, the one sure anti-aging remedy that works is reducing food intake by 20 to 40 percent. One study
conducted on rats determined that caloric restriction can have significant anti-aging effects even when started at age 45.3
Two other studies conducted on monkeys, in an attempt to bring the results closer to what may occur in humans, also supported the theory that a reduction in intake of food may lead to a longer life.4,5
Unfortunately, this creates a catch 22 nutritional situation. On one hand, mature adults require less calories to avoid obesity due to a reduction in basal metabolism.6 Yet, if we maintain a low caloric intake it is next to impossible to get enough of the required nutrients our system requires - thanks to the poor quality of foodstuffs fostered upon us by agri-business and the junk food merchants!
In fact, a large percentage of older adults in this country are seriously malnourished.7 The skin problems that are common in the elderly are nearly identical to the skin problems found in malnourished people in third world countries.8 This makes a rational supplementation program mandatory for the health of the mature adult.9
According to the Alliance of Aging Research, there are two ways in which the human system deteriorates and degenerates: Abuse, misuse or lack of use of our bodies and Immune Deficiency. Both are within our control and may be corrected through (1) proper diet, including nutritional supplementation; (2) exercise; and (3) attitude.
foods as close to their natural state as possible. There are over 2,800 FDA-approved additives with another 10,000 additives being "incidental" to the agriculture and food processing industry.10 Eat a variety of foods and rotate your food choices.11
a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates and fats daily. Daily calories should be comprised of about 20% protein, 20% fat, and 60% carbohydrate, preferably complex carbohydrate.
Eat fish on a consistent basis. Individuals who eat at least two ounces of fish per week cut their heart disease risk in half.12
Increase fiber consumption.
Fiber is nature's broom, which cleans out the intestines and keeps toxic substances from being absorbed. Fiber is found only in plant food; so maximize intake of fresh vegetables, fruit, legumes and whole grains.
one-half ounce of water for every pound of body weight. Water suppresses the appetite naturally and helps the body flush out toxins. Conditions such as constipation, ulcers, acne, headaches, lapses in concentration and food allergies can indicate dehydration. Put yourself on a water-drinking schedule. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water daily. Studies show an increase in water intake can actually reduce fat deposits. Water also helps to prevent sagging skin because cells are buoyed by water, which plumps the skin and leaves it clear, healthy and resilient.13
Take a quality whole food concentrate supplement that contains antioxidants, A, C, E and selenium, daily as they block the chemical reactions that generate free radicals while helping to destroy already formed ones.14 They also help provide the added nutrients the average diet is lacking.
Exercise. The body was designed,
to be active rather than sedentary. Scientist have shown that diseases may be caused by the disuse of the body.15 Regular exercise lowers blood pressure, fats in the blood and pulse rate while improving blood glucose, alertness, self-image, absorption of nutrients, and life span.16 Aerobic exercise - jogging, walking, dancing, tennis, bike riding, swimming - can bring about a large increase in the
muscles oxidative capacity and is a key to good health.17
Maintain ideal body fat composition as body weight, per se, has no bearing on health.18 Ideal body fat percentage for men 50 years and over should fall between 20% and 25%. For women 50 years and over, body fat should fall between 27% and 31%.
mind is a potent determinant of the quality and quantity of a life. Social networking, and the extent of an individuals friends and relationships, is a major predictor of life span.19 Attitude will influence whether exercise will be enjoyable or grueling and will determine if you are amenable to making diet and behavioral changes.
Practice relaxation techniques. Internalized stress can precipitate heart
attacks as well as depress the immune system.20 In a study of over 2,000 individuals, depression doubled the risk for cancer.21 (Consult Factor Six: Sommaserene for additional information on relieving stress)
Health is the thing that makes you feel that now is the best time of the year.
Franklin B. Adams
- "Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Study", J. Am. Med. Assoc., 1996
- Sohal, R & Orr, W, Science, Feb. 1994
- FASEB Journal, pub. Fed of Am. Societies Exper. Bio, June 15, 1997
- American Journal of Physiology, October 1997
- Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, October 1997
- O'Hanlon, P, et al., Amer. J. of Clinical Nutrition, vol 31, p. 1257, 1978
- Brin, H, Postgraduate Medicine, vol 63, no 3, p. 155, March 1978
- Neldner, KH, Geriatrics, vol 39, p. 69, Feb 1984
- Maiani, G, et al., Annals of Human Biology, vol 11, p. 476, 1984
- Long, P, et al., Nutrition: An Inquiry into the Issues, p. 389, 1983
- Randell, E, et al., J. Amer Dietetic Assoc., vol 85, p. 830, July 1985
- Kromhout, D, et al., New England J. of Med., vol 312, p. 1205, May 9, 1985
- Robertson, DS, The Snowbird Diet, Warner Books, 1988
- Balch, JF, Prescription for Nutritioal Healing, p. 30, 1990
- Bortz, WM, J. of the AMA, vol 248, no 10, p. 1203, Sep 10, 1982
- Taylor, CB, et al., Public Health Rep, vol 100, no 2 p. 195, March 1986
- Fahim, M, et al., Fed Proceedings, vol 35, no 3, p. 361, March 1, 1976
- William, E, et al., Biomarkers, Simon & Schuster, NY, p. 53-58, 1992
- Welin, L, et al., Lancet, p. 915, April 20, 1985
- Henkins, J, Annals of Internal Medicine, vol 99, p. 227, 1983
- Shamberger, RJ, et al., Trace Sub & Environ Health, vol 9, p. 15, 1975