By John R. Partridge, M.D. | April 4th, 2017

In recent decades it has become apparent that a number of behaviors make or break one’s health after age 50. Diet, exercise, and smoking status lead the list.

The first, and perhaps the most important insight is how diet drives health. This is not a new concept, for Hippocrates understood almost 2500 years ago that in many ways we are what we eat and our health is made or broken by our diet.

It becomes increasingly clear that we are healthier if we eat fresh food, avoid preservatives, and limit meats that contain antibiotics and growth hormones. It is best to go heavy on vegetables and light on starches. Even those who are not fully gluten intolerant are likely to do better by avoiding cereals and breads.

In fact, lots of research in the last couple years is pointing to rather dramatic impact on our overall health from the balance of the probiotic and other better bacteria in the bowel versus the worse bugs. Such diverse conditions as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Diabetes, Endometriosis, Depression, Skin Melanoma, and even Parkinson’s and Dementia may well be aggravated by a poor balance in the gut. Avoiding unnecessary antibiotics, limiting antibiotic laden meats, avoiding sugar and artificial sweeteners, and cutting out cereals and breads will help the balance improve. Eliminating chlorine by drinking filtered or spring or distilled water helps to avoid tipping the balance toward the more aggressive and worse bugs. Eating pickles, sauerkraut, pickled vegetables, kimchi, Greek yogurt and other live culture yogurt will increase the better bacteria. If you do these things, you may well find that not only will bowel function improve but so will energy levels and even appetite and weight!

Inflammation in the body is what causes most of our aches and pains. Sugar and sweets are major culprits in fostering this inflammation. Some foods have anti-inflammatory effects. These include walnuts, olives, and the so-called anti-oxidant high foods such as blueberries. Eat these and ache less!

For the bones, the full story is not just getting adequate calcium into the body but also making sure to get a reasonable amount of better quality protein, magnesium, and such trace minerals as boron and manganese. While nuts can provide some of these, you may want to consider taking supplements for the bone.

Diet also affects our visual health. The yellow vegetables such as carrots and squash, containing carotene chemicals, have long been known to help vision. In recent years it has been found that a number of vitamins and natural chemicals can help those with dry type Macular Degeneration. For that condition, supplements are taken according to the AREDs II formulation, which can be accessed on Google or other search engines.

So remember good diet is a key to good health later in life!

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