Life ex­pectancy: Healthy liv­ing habits

How Long? Healthy Liv­ing Habits

Alive - - News - by Dr. Elsa Ly­cias Joel

Life is short; life is shorter if one is stupid. Stupid to the ex­tent of hurt­ing and harm­ing one­self and the planet we live in. Ac­cord­ing to The

Bi­ble, peo­ple lived hun­dreds and thou­sands of years. Sto­ries of sages who en­joyed longevity also fas­ci­nate us. If we are to ar­gue that life ex­pectancy has in­creased with mind­blow­ing med­i­cal dis­cov­er­ies and ad­vances, we should also ac­cept the fact that chronic dis­eases and con­di­tions are on the rise world­wide than it used to be in the past. Dis­eases that arise as a re­sult of pol­lu­tion and hy­brid foods are one cause of med­i­cal re­search and de­vel­op­ment. True ‘Ne­ces­sity is the mother of in­ven­tion’. Why and when did peo­ple switch over from heir­loom to hy­brid is a thought for con­cern.

Any de­vel­op­ment is as­so­ci­ated with change, dras­tic and detri­men­tal too. An ex­po­nen­tial rise in su­per­bugs, ge­netic aber­ra­tions, life threat­en­ing in­fec­tions, la­tent viruses turn­ing ac­tive and the in­crease in the fre­quency of cer­tain dis­eases tell us a sor­did story. Dis­eases of af­flu­ence are on the rise and med­i­cal ad­vance­ment also

means long life with of­ten de­bil­i­tat­ing ill­ness and dis­abil­ity. A rise in life ex­pectancy is ap­pre­ci­ated when peo­ple live long with no dis­eases or cur­able ones or less com­pli­ca­tions. In­stead of just life ex­pectancy, it should be healthy life ex­pectancy. This leads us to the fact that it’s very im­por­tant to fo­cus on pre­ven­tion be­cause the health of the el­derly de­ter­mines the amount of money spent on the health sys­tem. The more hos­pi­tals, R&D de­part­ments, ge­netic break­throughs and al­lo­ca­tion of funds do not as­sure an in­crease in the healthy life ex­pectancy but nur­tur­ing na­ture and get­ting back to good old ways of life does. To­day, only 25 % of the In­dian pop­u­la­tion is on some sort of health care cov­er­age, state or pri­vate. Mak­ing grand an­nounce­ments such as free health in­surance for half a bil­lion cit­i­zens is easy be­cause our PM is too busy to think if In­dia can af­ford it.

Eat­ing right, liv­ing right

Apart from the re­cent protests against PETA with re­gard to jal­likattu, there has never been a protest against foods and drinks, tobacco and al­co­hol that kill, that robs our coun­try of hu­man re­sources. MNCs that pro­duce foods that kill are on the rise, so are mul­ti­spe­cial­ist hos­pi­tals, as are med­i­cal col­leges that sell seats like hot cakes and so are the rise in quacks. The term ‘Vya­pam scam’ should ring a bell. Where are we head­ing to?

Life ex­pectancy is linked to eat­ing right, liv­ing right. The irony is no­body knows what ‘eat­ing right’ means. Thanks to our un­lim­ited ac­cess to sug­ges­tions, opin­ions and in­for­ma­tion. Most foods that were con­sid­ered healthy and medic­i­nal are proved detri­men­tal to health. My grand­par­ents, grand­uncles and aunts whose sta­ple diet is rice (the pre­vi­ous night’s left overs) and curd, also con­sumed eggs, used co­conut oil and flakes in al­most all recipes — and still haven’t died of high blood choles­terol, blood pres­sure, artery block or heart at­tack. Terms and ter­mi­nolo­gies such as life ex­pectancy, calo­ries, nu­tri­tion and di­etet­ics, ve­gan, pescatar­ian and mas­ter health check are ei­ther for­eign to them or they live life as though they’ve not heard of them. Should I pity them is my doubt. Should they be ed­u­cated and up­dated is my con­cern be­cause a grand un­cle of mine re­cently passed away at the age of

94. If life ex­pectancy has in­creased for sure due to aware­ness and med­i­cal ad­vance­ments, then his is def­i­nitely a pre­ma­ture death. As far as I un­der­stand, long ago peo­ple died of com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases and of those for which vac­cines weren’t de­vel­oped. But to­day lives are at risk be­cause of what most hu­mans pro­duce or cre­ate or in­vent for self­ish, quick gains.

The in­for­ma­tion ex­plo­sion makes sure that peo­ple be­lieve that sea­sonal fruits and veg­eta­bles avail­able at the near­est bar­row do not make any­body healthy. Health fruits and veg­gies ought to come from a dis­tant land, at a huge cost and with names dif­fi­cult to pro­nounce or spell.

“In an old pref­er­ence trial done many years ago, oats were pre­ferred (by horses) over other ce­real grains,”

MNCs that pro­duce foods that kill are on the rise, so are mul­ti­spe­cial­ist hos­pi­tals, as are med­i­cal col­leges that sell seats like hot cakes and so are the rise in quacks. The term ‘Vya­pam scam’ should ring a bell. Where are we head­ing to? Life ex­pectancy is linked to eat­ing right, liv­ing right. The irony is no­body knows what ‘eat­ing right’ means.

Robert Cole­man, as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Ken­tucky, USA, Depart­ment of An­i­mal Sciences, said. Are oats re­ally pre­ferred by hu­mans? Equat­ing oats with good health and long life mi­nus hy­per­ten­sion, di­a­betes and high choles­terol sounds a bit weird be­cause nowhere on Earth did horses live past 100. With the mush­room­ing of an­i­mal nu­tri­tion­ists, oats are no longer fed to horses. Thank­fully hu­man di­eti­cians haven’t heard of oat hay which is sup­pos­edly high in fi­bre. Life ex­pectancy of the oats mar­ket is sure to in­crease be­cause hu­mans con­sume oats any­time and all the time since oats is one mirac­u­lous food that will never make any­one feel full. Con­sumers are ig­no­rant of what oats has to in­crease life ex­pectancy but they are thor­ough on what diet foods don’t have. De­pend­ing on what cer­tain foods lack, the price in­creases co­erc­ing us to be­lieve that cer­tain food or pro­duce de­fi­cient of cer­tain stuff in­creases life span.

Tobacco em­pires thrive and so does their as­so­ci­ated busi­nesses. Liquor barons es­tab­lish em­pires at the ex­che­quer’s cost. Gov­ern­ments pro­mote and pro­tect these killers cit­ing rea­sons that com­mon peo­ple can­not com­pre­hend. Pas­sive smok­ers are on the rise. Crimes, poverty and ac­ci­dents re­lated to al­co­holism never end. Is it too dif­fi­cult to ban tobacco and al­co­hol? Be­ing a coun­try where cin­ema in­flu­ences all and sundry, isn’t it con­demnable that le­gions of our screen idols have in­flu­enced peo­ple to start or in­ten­sify habits and vices that de­crease life span?

Or­ganic pro­duce

Long life isn’t some­thing that can be as­sured but healthy liv­ing can­not be tam­pered upon by gov­ern­ments, di­rectly or in­di­rectly. Var­i­ous de­part­ments do not sweat over-pre­vent­ing un­healthy poi­sonous stuff from reach­ing the con­sumers. The agri­cul­ture depart­ment feigns ig­no­rance about pes­ti­cide-re­lated dis­eases and ground wa­ter pol­lu­tion and ap­prove of any num­ber of or any kind of pes­ti­cides and fer­tilis­ers with only one cri­te­rion in mind and pa­per — big, quick yields. A hand­ful of wise hu­mans, even in met­ros, in­vest their time, money and en­ergy to en­sure or­ganic pro­duce on their plates from their veg­etable patch — rooftop or bal­cony. Again, should this hand­ful be told that the ground­wa­ter is al­ready messed up and the seeds they sow are mostly hy­brid. Eat­ing right, liv­ing right and ex­pect­ing a long life doesn’t mean eat­ing only spinach and oats and any­thing that in­sults our taste buds.

The mess that is food reg­u­la­tion and health­care, to say life ex­pectancy, has

in­creased for all will be a lie. The mis­er­ably funded and poorly mon­i­tored public health­care sec­tor paves the way for pri­vate providers ac­quir­ing mo­nop­o­lis­tic pow­ers.

Food safety

Not all can af­ford to fall ill and not all can af­ford life-sav­ing drugs. The food and health in­dus­try is mired in un­for­giv­able un­eth­i­cal busi­ness that they man­u­fac­ture the prob­lem and the so­lu­tion, the cause and cure, all for money.

A mo­men­tous ex­er­cise by the Cen­tral gov­ern­ment in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the states in mak­ing sure only or­ganic stuff reaches the con­sumers, only harm­less prod­ucts reach the shelves and coun­ter­feit med­i­ca­tions aren’t sold can con­trib­ute to an in­crease in life ex­pectancy.

Till au­ton­o­mous bod­ies es­tab­lished un­der the min­istry of health and fam­ily wel­fare, Gov­ern­ment of In­dia, re­spon­si­ble for reg­u­lat­ing and mon­i­tor­ing food safety en­forces food safety, till the Cen­tral Drugs Stan­dard Con­trol Or­gan­i­sa­tion (CDSCO) brings an end to spu­ri­ous/ falsely-la­belled/fal­si­fied/ coun­ter­feit sub-stan­dard dan­ger­ous drugs, till fake doc­tors’ rack­ets are busted and dealt with and till CPCB acts re­spon­si­bly and promptly with­out await­ing a pull or push from the Na­tional Green Tri­bunal, life ex­pectancy will re­main just an ex­pectancy.

If all of the above aren’t a near pos­si­bil­ity, life ex­pectancy will be a re­al­ity when we learn to dif­fer­en­ti­ate real from fake with re­spect to food and medicine and pure from im­pure.

One third of the world’s hun­gry live in In­dia. Deaths due to chronic hunger and hunger-re­lated dis­eases haunt us. So, life ex­pectancy varies with ev­ery in­di­vid­ual. It’s tied to ed­u­ca­tion, wealth, genes, life­style and en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors. A re­cent study pub­lished in the jour­nal Evo­lu­tion and Hu­man Be­hav­iour found that peo­ple who cared for oth­ers lived longer than peo­ple who didn’t. So, ‘Just Be Nice’ to your­self and oth­ers, is also the last word in in­creased life ex­pectancy.

A mo­men­tous ex­er­cise by the Cen­tral gov­ern­ment in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the states in mak­ing sure only or­ganic stuff reaches the con­sumers, only harm­less prod­ucts reach the shelves and coun­ter­feit med­i­ca­tions aren’t sold can con­trib­ute to an in­crease in life ex­pectancy.

Ris­ing chronic dis­eases and con­di­tions are de­creas­ing the life ex­pectancy rate.

These foods kill us slowly.

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