The graying of America-the aging of the baby boomers-who knew birthdays could cause such concern? The aging of America is of great concern because it will transform politics, retirement systems, labor markets, banking, stock markets, but especially the health care system.
As we grow older and desire to live younger, longer, we begin to wonder what it is that makes many people suffer from ailments due to aging, while others enjoy their longevity. Research science behind the process of aging is telling us when Mother Nature finds something that works; she uses it over and over. Mother Nature has given us fruits, vegetables, berries, and grains!
Nutrition has become one of the most important sciences of the 21st century. When you burn a pile of wood, you get smoke. When your body burns fuel, oxidation occurs. As a result, "free radicals", (molecules that contain unpaired electrons) are released. These free electrons are compelled to steal an electron from the nearest cell. This act, much like a "smash and grab" robbery at a jewelry store, causes damage to the cell. You've got heart cells, bone cells, lung cells- every kind of cell. Billions of cells. This free radical reaction causes deterioration of the cells which in turn causes accelerated ageing and illness. Each one of these cells takes 10,000 oxidative hits every single day. Lucky for us, there is a natural protection from free radicals called antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that protect body cells from these damaging effects by neutralizing free radicals. The importance of protective antioxidants becomes very clear. You've got to have antioxidants present to fight that kind of oxidation. And they've got to be there on a regular basis. Vitamins are well known antioxidants. However, it just doesn't work to isolate compounds and attempt to recreate them synthetically. The best source is whole food.
Cornell University researchers emphasize the power of nutrients found in whole foods: "We propose that the additive and synergistic effects of phyto nutrients in fruit and vegetables are responsible for their potent antioxidant and anticancer activities. It is whole food-especially fruits and vegetables-that pack the disease preventing/anti-aging wallop. That's because they harbor a whole array of compounds that have never seen the inside of a vitamin bottle for the simple reason that scientists have not, until very recently, even known they existed." Newsweek, April 25, 1997
Rachel Galli, Ph.D. of Tufts University said, "Increasing dietary intake of fruits and vegetable can retard, and even reverse age-related decline and illness." The foods you eat today will determine the diseases you will have tomorrow. It is important to ‘eat your colors" as the colorful whole, fresh, fruits, vegetables, and berries all have nutritional density. There are 4,500 studies showing that this is THE effective way to prevent cancer, heart disease, stroke, degenerative disorders, macular degeneration and slow ageing. It is recommended we eat 7-10 servings of whole fruits and vegetables per day. For those who find it difficult to do so, there is an interesting alternative. A food concentrate in a capsule form that contains flash-dried nutritional components found in seventeen raw fruits and vegetables, all the natural vitamins, nutrients, enzymes and fiber.
Nature did not mean for us to live forever, but that doesn't mean we should not try to increase our "functional" life span. Hippocrates stated, "Let food be thy medicine."
By Barbara Meconis
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