Five myths about ageing

The big myth about getting old is that there’s nothing good about it. The future is frailer, weaker sicker. It’s downhill all the way. The really good news is that you have choices. The first Baby Boomers hit 65 last year – a Silver Tsunami that is going to keep on coming. Bad for pension providers but great for us. We are the first generation that can choose how well we age.

My new book The ten secrets of healthy ageing explains how we can choose how we age. There are lots of misconceptions out there, that make us believe we are all destined for an unhealthy and immobile future. This does not have to be the case. Here are five common myths dispelled.

1)It’s your genes that decide the diseases you’re going to get. The truth is that even genes that raise your risk aren’t a done deal. Some of the genes that push up you risk of various diseases can be changed. And not with high-tech wizardry. You can do genetic engineering on your kitchen table.

2) We all know what a healthy diet is – cut out the fat. The truth is that after 30 years of these diets we are eating less fat while obesity and diabetes have soared. Instead you need to keep sugar and refined carbs to a minimum with a low glycemic diet. It’s the first step in cutting your risk of the big chronic killers and rolling back some of decline that comes with ageing.

3) As you get older regular aerobic exercise will keep you in shape. The truth is that muscle mass drops with age, keeping it will boost your metabolism so you burn more calories, bring down your blood sugar level and keep back problems at bay.

4) You can get all the vitamins and minerals you need from a health balanced diet. The truth is that that as you get older you don’t absorb minerals and vitamins from your food so well however good your diet so topping up your levels makes a lot of sense. But whatever you are eating it’s impossible to get healthy levels of Vitamin D in Britain around the year. Too little has been linked with various chronic disease. And you may need very high levels of B vitamins – shown to slow or stop memory loss in older people. You will never get the levels required from food. A lack of B12, which is absorbed less well as you age, leads to both brain and bone shrinkage. It’s well worth supplementing.

5) If you are healthy the best way to stay like that is to rely on drugs for prevention such as statins and blood pressure pills. The truth is that only a small percentage of the people who take these drugs for prevention actually benefit and the more drugs you take that greater your risk of damaging side effects.

In fact ‘Following official guidelines which results in multiple drug taking(polypharmacy), is one of the greatest but most invisible threats to health in the ageing population.’Archives Internal Medicine, 2011 To learn if your biological age is older or younger then your real age then why not do my bioage® check The UK, Irish and Canadian leg of my healthy ageing tour kicks off in April. Click here to learn more about this exciting event and to book your place now.