Preventative Health Actions
As a population, we are living longer, but the occurrence of degenerative diseases has increased dramatically throughout the 20th century and there have been forecasts for the same trend to occur for mental dysfunctions during the 21st century. Part of those trends is clearly better diagnoses and classification but a large part is the reduction in quality of life health. Whilst the longevity of adults has increased , because of ‘elimination’ of some contagious diseases, better hygiene and medication (especially antibiotics), there is an early onset of health problems from infancy onwards.
It is well documented that, during the last 100 years or so, the food chain has deteriorated significantly with generally much lower vitamin and mineral content. Ostensibly there is less malnutrition in the western world but there is more likely to be nutritional imbalance or deficiencies in key nutrients. On top of that situation there is more potential exposure to toxins via food, food processing, drugs (medication as well) and air. Dietary measures and optimising nutritional status have vital rolesin order to prevent deterioration of health.
For infants, children and adults the following principles are suggested:
Use probiotics to stabilise digestive processes and enhance immune protection
Obtain higher levels of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and enzymes through supplements and/or from nutrient rich raw foods.
Through dietary measures or supplements, increase the level of anti-oxidants to reduce the impacts of free radicals.
Achieve greater immune protection by increasing Vitamin C daily, optimising blood levels of Vitamin D, Zinc and Vitamin A.
Dietary recommendations aimed for people above 2 years of age.
consume more of certain foods rich in nutrients such as vegetables, some fruits, whole grains, fish and other high protein foods;
consume fewer foods with high sodium (salt), saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars, and refined grains.
The use of herbal remedies, nutritional supplements and homeopathic remedies can be alongside other measures to reduce lifestyle health factors such as stress before it affects well-being. Adaptogenic herbs such as Rhodiola are often suitable and a safe option. Preventing chronic ill effects from common infections, or viruses, can often be achieved by regular use of nutrients such as Beta Glucans, or Echinacea, and prompt use of other herbal remedies to assist the immune system.
Nutrients and bioactive food components can reverse or change epigenetic phenomena such as DNA methylation and histone modifications, thereby modifying the expression of critical genes. In this regard, nutritional epigenetics has been viewed as an attractive tool to prevent pediatric developmental diseases as well as to delay ageing-associated processes. In recent years, epigenetics has become an emerging issue in a broad range of diseases such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity, inflammation, and neurocognitive disorders. In later years methylation processes need support of specific B vitamins(particularly folate and Vitamin B12) to reduce ageing effects.
Obesity and heart attacks are major public-health problems, and obesity can be a causal factor of many diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, arthritis, high blood pressure, gout, gallstones, and certain cancers. Leptin and ghrelin, along with many other hormones, participate in the complex process of energy homeostasis and controlling satiety.
Engagement in physical activity often declines with increasing age. Benefits of regular exercise have been studied extensively and are myriad, including reduction in risk of heart attack and stroke, improvement of diabetic control, stress reduction, improvement of pulmonary function, reduction of osteoarthritic pain and stiffness, and reduction of depressive symptoms. Beyond the benefits associated with chronic disease processes, physical activity in and of itself helps to maintain pulmonary and cardiac function, as well as musculoskeletal mass and tone. Engagement in physical activity often declines with increasing age
Normal aging is associated with changes in body composition. Lean muscle mass declines and percentage of body fat increases. Caloric and nutritional intake has been demonstrated to decline with increasing age. Nutritional status and levels of physical activity are inexorably linked. Decreases in physical activity are associated with a reduction in caloric needs, reduction in appetite, and subsequent weight loss. Muscle mass tends to decline in this scenario. With greater levels of activity, caloric needs increase, and a stimulation of appetite develops. In this circumstance, lean muscle mass may also increase as a result of increased physical activity.
When the underlying condition cannot be quickly or adequately treated (i.e., progressive dementia, depression, dentition issues), boosting caloric intake through dietary modifications can prevent further weight loss. Such interventions may include provision of dietary supplements.