On 5 April Piatkus publishes The 10 Secrets of Healthy Ageing, a ground-breaking guide to slowing down the ageing process and improving your chances of looking and feeling good as you grow older. Written by top nutrition expert Patrick Holford and award-winning health journalist Jerome Burne, this exciting book dispels the myth that ageing is inevitably marked by ever-increasing health problems. There is a great deal we can do to ensure we stay healthy as we age. The 10 Secrets of Healthy Ageing shows you how.
Perhaps you feel, if you think about it at all, that ageing is one of those things that just happens and that it’s probably the result of your genes. You get what you get. You are either lucky or you’re not. But it’s not as straightforward as that. The research we have uncovered while writing this book shows that while luck obviously plays a part, there’s a lot you can do to reduce your chances of drawing the short straw. The science of ageing is advancing fast. Scientists on both sides of theAtlanticare exploring ways that markers for how well you are ageing – found in every cell in your body – can be altered by the kind of exercise you do, the food you eat and the way you handle stress. In fact, your lifestyle can directly change the activities of some genes for better or worse. It’s increasingly clear that we can all make changes to the genetic hand we were dealt – without the need for drugs.
Unlike the conventional medical approach, which treats each new body part that breaks down with yet another drug, we describe exactly what happens inside your body cells in the ageing process, and how you can give your cells an anti-ageing MOT. Drawing on the latest research findings on health and ageing, we present the secrets to ageing well.
Some of those secrets include:
• Stay smart as you age – and forget about Alzheimer’s
• Beat the bulge, prevent diabetes and boost your energy
• Switch off the stress factor and sleep for seven hours straight
• Keep your skin youthful
• Stay free from cancer
• Keep your heart healthy and your blood pressure low
Surfing the Silver Tsunami
At the age of 50 Ruth was crippled with arthritis. ‘Every morning I had to bend my fingers open, like little twigs breaking.’ Now, at the age of 76, she feels ‘absolutely super, with no pain of any description’. Joyce, formerly a diabetic, now does kick-boxing in her 80s. ‘I can handle the guys as well as anyone. Both my husband and I are completely healthy.’
We are now facing what has been termed the ‘Silver Tsunami’, when the baby boomers – those born between 1946 and 1964 – begin reaching 65. Also, the average lifespan has increased to 78 for men and 80 for women. What’s also giving the economists and health policy makers sleepless nights is that the average number of healthy years has decreased and the number of years of decrepitude has increased. Ageing, for most, is far from graceful. So how have Ruth and Joyce managed to buck the trend? Simple – by learning how to age well.
We all take the time to learn how to cook, how to garden, how to manage our money, perhaps how to dance, but we also need to learn how to age well. It’s an essential skill – and the purpose of this book is to give you the knowledge to do that.
Here are just a few examples of challenges we face as we age.
Nutrient requirements As you might expect, a person’s need for many of the nutrients required to keep cells working well substantially increases with age. The older you are, the more vitamin B12, D, magnesium and zinc you need to stay well so supplementation becomes essential. This is partly because absorption becomes less efficient, and you need more as cellular processes show signs of wear and tear, but also because many common medications knock out essential nutrients. Statins, for example, knock out antioxidants while the diabetes drug metformin and antacid drugs called PPIs knock out vitamin B12. Research from Oxford University shows that two out of five people over 65 have insufficient B12 to stop accelerated brain shrinkage.
Weight gain, associated with an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease, is also a major age-related problem. One in six over 40 now suffer from diabetes. Yet the conventional low-calorie, low-fat diet doesn’t work. That’s what the evidence says. Much more effective is a low-glycemic load (GL) diet designed to keep your blood sugar level even, which means less hunger and more weight loss. Wendy is an example. She had diabetes and, despite eating like a sparrow, kept gaining weight. ‘I’ve always been fat and failed on every diet, but the low-GL diet is quite miraculous. I’ve lost 38kgs and my blood sugar scores are now completely in the healthy range. I feel fantastic.’ she says. It also lowers blood pressure, which is a good indicator of heart disease risk. David used to have very high blood pressure and cholesterol. ‘Within a couple of months on a low-GL diet my blood pressure completely normalised. Also, my cholesterol went from 5.7 to 4.6.’
Another healthy ageing tip is, of course, exercising and keeping active. Weight-bearing exercise, in particular, is vital because as you age muscle mass breaks down, putting stress on your joints.
In the EU’s Year of Active Ageing, which recognises the need to promote healthy ageing habits, this inspiring book provides invaluable advice for everyone who wants to live life to full, irrespective of their age.
The 10 Secrets of Healthy Ageing is out on the 5th of April. It is also available to download as an ebook from all the major ebook retailers, so you can add this title to your Kindle, iPad, Kobo or Sony Reader. Click here for more information.
Patrick Holford will be touring his seminar 'Surfing the Silver Tsunami' this spring. Click here for more information.
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