There is a known, proven benefit to you of practicing good lifestyle habits.
The map of activities and actions which will gain you extra years of good health and also increase your life span/life expectancy.
This gain is significant, based on averages across the population.
You will still need luck, to avoid an unfortunate accident for example, but in terms of fighting off chronic illness, these activities/actions clearly work, in the sense of moving the odds significantly.
This has been true for a long time, and for most of that long time – that was it. Pursue the general work to be fit and healthy and you will benefit. However, today there is an added bonus, which takes this into a new realm, possibly a new era.
The work being done in the field of genetics has many aspects to it, which could alter life in the future.
One aspect is understanding predication to disease and especially certain types of disease. It is a fast-moving and complex area, so we need to be careful over-egging this or applying simplified statements.
It is fair to state, though, that there are increasingly reliable, easy to access, test services which allow you to get information about your DNA, and this can include information which provides some signposts to risks of disease.
The idea is that if you were able to do so, you would benefit considerably from prior knowledge of your risk, as opposed to no knowledge.
And if such testing gave you that knowledge, you could consider lifestyle changes and regular general medical check ups to spot for any signs the disease was developing.
This would allow you to have a pre-emptive approach to warding off the disease you are predicated to suffer.
That would – once again – produce a shift in your odds of suffering ill-health and on the back of a general lifestyle improvement approach could move your prospects of, say an extra 7 years of good health, to many more than that.
The science is getting very interesting
It is already well-known, and well proven, that your chronological age is possibly different to your biological age.
When you next celebrate your birthday you are effectively registering another notch on your chronological age, the day before your birthday you were 61, the day after you are 62.
This ‘known’ is of some value in terms of healthspan and lifespan, but nowhere near the value of your biological age.
This is your ‘health’ age. And this could be higher or lower than your chronological age. Knowing this other ‘age’ would be more than useful.
It is worth noting that there is nothing you can do about your chronological age, but there is a lot you can do about your biological age, including going backwards!
Your age predicts your health prospects and how long (on average) you can expect to live. In respect of your biological age, therefore, if you can lower this or slow it’s progress, you will improve your healthspan and lifespan.
And the science is getting very interesting – as more accurate measurements are evolving to allow people to calculate their biological ages.
Nutritional science is also evolving
Another fast moving area of understanding in these matters comes from the work being done within the nutritional field.
- First off, it is well established that your nutritional needs vary at different ages. So to be fit and healthy and to ward off disease, you would eat differently at age 70 as you would at age 20.
- Second, different people put on weight or lose weight differently, men and women for example but also within the same gender there will be individual characteristics.
This means my diet and your diet – to optimise outcomes such as weight control, healthy BMI and waist measurement, and more – may need to be different. If we have the same diet we could get very different results.
We need to know a few things about ourselves, such as whether we are high in cholesterol, have raised blood pressure, have a family history of certain cancers, a history of prior illness, a condition of some sort, and so on.
All of these factors could influence our optimum diet, as will our height, body structure and other lifestyle habits. We need to know if we are low on certain vitamins or need topping up on particular minerals.
You can get blood glucose testing – which can help identify which foods cause you the greatest problems or help you the most.
Different people can have very different glycemic reactions to the exact same foods, which has profound consequences for your prospects of ill-health.
This means two people can pursue the same diets and experience very different outcomes.
Put all this together and it is not enough to simply say “eat better” however much that general advice is sound, it is limiting the possibilities of going the extra mile.
If the basic objective is to radically alter the odds of suffering ill-health, then the individual and tailored approach makes for better odds, than the general one.
As with genome testing, the understanding and testing being developed by firms active in the nutritional field is fast-paced and there are more ways now than ever before to get an individual assessment.
Such an assessment can be crucial in getting the best advice possible as to the optimum nutrition for you.