Healthy Ageing

In their book The 10 Secrets of Healthy Ageing, Patrick Holford and Jerome Burne, claim that the five a day for many older people is not five portions of fruit and vegetables but of prescription drugs. They claim that 50 per cent of people over 65 are now getting five drugs a day (source: BBC, Older People on Drug Cocktail), which could become 10 by the time they are 75.

‘Long ago as teenagers some of us flaunted our use of illicit drugs as a badge of rebellion and cheerfully ignored the harm they could do. Now we are encouraged to take drugs – to bring down the likes of cholesterol and blood pressure in far greater quantities than even whenever we did as youngsters.’ Their message is ‘just say no’ to drugs unless it is absolutely necessary.

There is plenty of information in this book to enable you to try to remain drug free, look after your whole body and live a fulfilling drug-free future. Their premise is that you can’t cheat death but you can avoid ill health. You can live to a good age without pain and suffering, not taking numerous medicines or be left neglected in hospitals or homes.


While drugs are life savers in many cases as people get old they are encouraged to take more and more. However, it’s a vicious circle – one drug causes side-effects and the patient is given another one to counteract them. Aspirin is a case in point – while doctors still recommend it to thin the blood and prevent strokes and heart disease, it can cause gastro-intestinal bleeding. In fact the British Heart Foundation dropped its recommendation to take them because of the research which demonstrated the dangers.

The authors recommend a number of key supplements for anti-ageing including Vitamin A, C, E, D, B12, B6 and folic acid, zinc and magnesium. They particularly suggest that probiotics for older people encourage a healthy digestive system, which in turn promotes a healthy immune system, and Omega 3s for joint mobility, memory and mood booster and a healthy heart.

The 10 Secrets of Healthy Ageing, Patrick Holford and Jerome Burne.

Read Are you stressed? and Stress – are you making it worse?


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!