Good nutrition = healthy ageing

man olderLife expectancy was 45 in 1840 and now it’s around 90 on average with huge variations according to where you live. But, and it’s a big ‘but’, the average 90 year old may spend the last 10 to 20 years of their lives in ill health. Some 90 per cent of them take prescription drugs, and normally two or more types. Is this inevitable?Apparently not according to speakers at the British Nutrition Foundation conference on healthy ageing, ‘Good nutrition defends the body against the ageing process’.

The best ways to stay healthy into old age were said to be:

– don’t smoke
– exercise regularly
– eat plenty of fruit and veg
– drink alcohol in moderation

None of this is rocket science nor is it particularly new, but it does give people a sense of control over their own destiny. We all have to die one day but who wants to spend years lying in a bed, dependent on other people, in pain or unable to communicate?

The good thing is that it isn’t hard or even expensive to do any of the things that lead to a long healthy life, so everyone can do them. But it is often mindset that makes people think that they won’t be healthy, or that they can’t do anything about their health.

Hopefully the next generation will be less dependent on doctors and drugs and take more responsibility for their health. And in fact it will probably become a necessity because the NHS is unlikely to be able to prop up the baby boomer generation if they all are dependent on it.

Obviously there are no guarantees in life and the above doesn’t take account of stress or difficult lives that may wear people down. Or people who never really have a good start in the first place, but there’s no harm in trying!

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