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Anti-Aging: Diet, Vitamins and Supplements
A Natural Approach to Anti-aging
The past century has seen many amazing advances in medicine, technology and science, but none of them have been as important to our day to day lives than the lengthening of the human life span. In the year 1900, the average life span of an American was a mere 47 years, while today it has risen to 76 years of age. This represents an amazing 50% increase in average life span in a mere 100 years.
As amazing as these advances are, there are many scientists and health care providers who believe that human life span could increase to at least 115 years, while many others go further and say that average life span could increase to 150 or even 200 years.
The increase in average life expectancy that has been experienced in the period from 1900 to 2000 was due mostly to improvements in sanitation, and to the elimination of many fatal illnesses through a combination of vaccines and other advances in the world of medicine, such as the introduction of antibiotics. For instance, a century ago deaths from infections during childbirth were a leading cause of deaths among women, but thanks to the introduction of penicillin and other antibiotics, such infections are now extremely rare.
In spite of these awesome increases in average life expectancy, aging is still perceived as a kind of downward spiral which includes degeneration and disease. To some extent, this perception is all too real, with over half of all Americans over age 65 taking multiple medications for a variety of illnesses and chronic conditions. It is estimated that the average senior citizen takes as many as twelve doses of medication each and every day, and many older citizens are frequent guests in a variety of hospitals and long-term care facilities.
This downward spiral is not necessary, and too many people today are suffering from illnesses and conditions that can be easily prevented or controlled through a combination of dietary and lifestyle changes. For instance, it has been estimated that up to 35% of all cancers may be the result of poor diet, and as many as half of all heart disease can be prevented through changes in diet and lifestyle. It is easy to see, therefore, how a combination of dietary and lifestyle changes can improve the quality as well as the length of each person's life.
Up to recently, there has been a sort of fatalistic attitude regarding aging. This attitude was shared by both health care professionals and lay people, and it held that aging, and its associated decline in health, was inevitable. Today, however, more and more alternative health care professionals are beginning to feel that aging and decline are far from synonymous, and that there are a number of positive steps people can take to avert the problems typically associated with old age.
For instance, it has been suggested that a number of vitamins and supplements, particularly those rich in antioxidants, can protect the body against certain compounds that may speed up the process of aging. Vitamins and supplements have also been shown to help rejuvenate the body's immune system.
In addition, there are foods that can substantially decrease the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts, which are the leading cause of blindness among older citizens.
Despite many people's belief that muscles grow weaker as people age, it has been shown that it is possible, through the right mix of exercise, to maintain strength and build muscle mass well into our nineties and even beyond.
Proper diet, in combination with vitamins and minerals, can also help prevent the prostate problems often experienced by older men and the menopausal and post-menopausal conditions often experienced by older women.
So the good news is that aging need not be associated with ailments and decline. Simply by taking some preventative measures, eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise, you can enjoy the many extra years science and medicine have allowed us to have.
Article by Bonnie Conrad
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