Healthy Aging, With Nary a Supplement
The Great Recession, so I’m told, has been great for one segment of the economy — the makers of pills and potions that offer the promise of keeping people healthy. A middle-aged woman remarked as she perused the supplement shelves in my local health food store (I was buying bulgur): “I can’t afford to get sick. I lost my job and I have nohealth insurance.”
Each year millions of people fall prey to false promises that this, that or the other formula or fortified food can protect their hearts, prevent cancer, improve memory, strengthen their bones, uncreak their joints, build their muscles, even enable them to burn extracalories without moving.
The desire to achieve a healthy old age is laudable indeed, and will be even more so in the future. According to a projection of the century-long rise in life expectancypublished in The Lancet in October, more than half the children born since 2000 in wealthy countries can expect to celebrate their 100th birthday.
If so many of us are destined to become centenarians, it is all the more important to be able to enjoy those years unencumbered by chronic disease and disability. There is no virtue in simply living long; the goal should be to live long and well.
But while much is known about how to raise the odds of a healthy old age, only a minority of Americans incorporate into their lives what is likely to give them the biggest bang for their buck. Like the woman in the health food store, they’d rather rely on supplements of vitamins and minerals, fish oils and herbs, perhaps washed down with pricey antioxidant juices.
click here for the whole article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/12/health/12brod.html