Anti-ageing or Healthy Ageing?
19 September 2018 | Editor
Healthy ageing? it's something that starts even before birth, and yet we may not notice it's lacking until it's too late. Our start in life determines how well we age.
FROM THE MOUTH OF BABES: POOR NUTRITION AT BIRTH CAN CAUSE AN UNHEALTHY OLD AGE
We're living longer (an extra seven years based on the life expectancy increase over the last 100 years for 65-year-olds), but there's a simple reason most of our population is not living better. As we grow older, millions of us face disease, disability and premature death because we've run out of the genetic power we need to reach a healthy old age.
This genetic power, or gene "inheritance," comes from our parents at birth.
Horse breeders give us the perfect example. Breeders of pedigree horses are known to "superfeed" their stallions and mares with concentrated vitamins, minerals and nutrients to help ensure that a healthy, robust disease-free colt is born. Breeders pay special attention to both the nutrition of the male and the female to help produce better offspring.
How are we any different?
Like horses, the genetic power of our parents is passed on to us during gestation and through birth. These internal nutrients we collect and supplement over our lifetimes are the same vitamins and minerals we pass on to our children. And the cycle continues for each generation.
Sadly, infertility has become an epidemic, breaking hearts and bankrupting hopeful couples. A poor diet of carbs, factory-made foods, sugary beverages and deficiencies in essential nutrients are the main causes of this health crisis.
As Australian researchers discovered while analysing 5,598 women in 2018, regularly eating fast food can double the risk of infertility. Eating more fruit may make for faster conception. Men's sperm rates are also dropping drastically- at least in part due to eating a Western processed food diet that slows sperm and makes it harder for them to travel.
There may be other contributors to rising levels of infertility, such as mobile phones, but as scientists and pedigree horse breeders have demonstrated, healthy offspring can't be produced from either parent without supplements and a nourishing diet.
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When most children are born, this nutritional foundation is shaky. Mothers who eat high levels of carbohydrates and other high-sugar foods during pregnancy increase the risk of damage to the foetus by more than 100 per cent. Yet something as simple as taking iodine and selenium supplements, as well as eating healthy, iodine-rich foods, reduces a baby's risk of being born with learning difficulties by 100 per cent. Likewise, mothers who eat a ketogenic food plan (zero starchy carbs and sugary foods) during pregnancy don't give birth to short-sighted children; these children won't need glasses.
Nutrition researchers from the University of Illinois in the US went so far as to say that a mother's diet during pregnancy can "programme" her child's risk for disease.
Mothers who eat high levels if carbohydrates and other high-sugar foods during pregnancy increase
the risk if damage to the foetus by more than 100 per cent.
Epigenetics, the researchers explained in 2017, allow for the maternal programming of a child's metabolism, increasing the risk of metabolic diseases like Type 2 Diabetes.
The outlook may be grim with poor early programming increasing disease risk, but we can reprogramme our metabolism in our lifetimes, University of Illinois researchers said, and reduce some in utero damage by eating a healthy diet. Making sure a mother gets adequate nutrients before, during and after pregnancy can not only benefit the health and development of her baby.
lt can also speed her physical recovery and help to mitigate a long list of postpartum diseases, including pain, anaemia, fever, infection, constipation, anal fissure, haemorrhoids, breast disease and postpartum depression.
THINK OF THE CHILDREN: PROCESSED FOODS LOWER IQ AND INCREASE OBESITY
As children age, from birth through to their early twenties, exceptional nutrition is needed to support development and ward off disease. Childhood obesity, we know, is on the rise. The link between diet, obesity and a child's healthy development is now undeniable.
The ability to protect our kids from developmental delays and inherent and chronic diseases lies on their plate - though not on the plate recommended by schools and government organisations. A plate filled with inflammatory, processed, junk foods, including the modern-day favourites like pastries, cereals, bread, potatoes, white rice, dairy and pasta, has been strongly linked to weight gain and obesity throughout childhood and into adulthood. Eating a processed food diet can even lower a child's IQ. A healthy diet, in contrast, has been linked to the highest IQ scores.
For babies born with a taste for junk food, overcoming this addiction can be a struggle.
But when we wake up to these dangers and help our children break the cycle, try new foods and adopt a healthy diet the rewards can be immediate and long-lasting. A diet free from the sugary, processed foods that spike blood sugar has been shown to reduce symptoms of autism. Cutting out sugary and diet soda drinks can reduce an adolescent's tendency toward violence and support good mental health.
In 2015, Cleveland Clinic researchers in the U:S also found that feeding obese children a plant-basec vegan diet could lower the risk of heart disease.
A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH: THE MYSTERY BEHIND MODERNDAY DISEASE
As we grow into adulthood, the effects of unhealthy ageing, and the compounded effects of missing nutrients coupled with a poor diet, become evident. Researchers agree that chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, brain diseases and most cancers are appearing at alarming rates all over the world, including parts of Africa, primarily because of our changes in lifestyle and diet. In virtually every single serious disease, diet may make the difference.
Cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening lung disorder that also inhibits nutrient absorption in the small intestine, is a common genetic disease without a cure that responds well to nutrient supplements and a healthy diet.
Serrapeptase, a powerful proteolytic enzyme that clears non-living tissue and inflammation in the lungs; iodine, a mineral frequently found to be deficient in cystic fibrosis patients leading to hypothyroidism; and vitamin E, an essential fat-soluble vitamin that makes antibiotics more effective in CF patients, can all support cystic fibrosis recovery. Lungs can age better and with less evidence of disease when they're nourished with the missing nutrients and an anti-inflammatory diet. This approach can save the lives of those with pre-existing conditions- and for men especially. Because of social stigma, men are often less likely to go to the doctor for minor concerns and symptoms. Men's health has become a public health concern for this reason. A man may not be diagnosed with a deadly disorder like prostate cancer, stroke, or heart diseaseamong the top killers of seemingly healthy men- early enough for treatment. You can find supplements that may help prostate conditions here.
These diseases have been dubbed the "silent killers" of men because they're usually detected when it's too late. But eliminating a Western diet that comes with a two-and-a-half times greater risk of prostate-cancer-related death can increase a man's chances of survival. lt can also support his longevity. Eating a healthy diet lowers the risk of prostate cancer death by 36 per cent.
Adopting a healthy diet at any age, researchers learned, is the key to living longer and living better. Lifestyle affects longevity more than our genetic lottery, and a healthy lifestyle can add over 10 years to our life expectancy.
(Article courtesy of BioCare)