How to live a longer, healthier life
We all want to live longer, right?
Living longer is one thing, but living for longer and being HEALTHY is another. It’s all very well living to 90 but what if the last 10 or even 20 years of that is spent living with a chronic disease with frequent trips to the doctor, and being dependent on others for your mobility, shopping, and even hygiene?
Whilst the average life expectancy has nearly doubled over the course of a century, we are spending a lot of that extended lifespan at risk for chronic illness or disabled buy it. Chronic illness affects roughly 4 out of 10 people aged between 45-64 and 6 out of 10 people aged between 65-74.
We don't know about you, but at JUNIUS we want to live to 90 in good health. We want to be able to enjoy our last 10 or 20 years independent, strong and compos mentis.
Instead of focusing so much on “anti-ageing” in terms of fancy skincare products, gadgets and hair dyes, we invite you to focus on ways you can reduce your risk of developing chronic illness or disease so that you can live a longer, HEALTHIER life.
Life expectancy versus healthy life expectancy
In the UK, the total life expectancy average is 81 years (2020), which is a steady increase over the past 100 years where we have seen the average age go from 55 to 78 for men and from 59 to 82 for women between 1920 and 2010. Life expectancy at birth in the UK in 2018 to 2020 was 79.0 years for males and 82.9 years for females.
This increase is likely due to improvements and advancements in public health measures, such as health screenings, childhood immunisations and advancements in medical investigation methods and care.
Chronological age versus biological age
Chronological age is simply the number of years a person has been alive, whereas biological age refers to an individual's age as determined by their physiological condition and overall health.
Biological age takes into account various factors such as lifestyle, genetics, and overall well-being to assess how well the body is functioning and ageing - it’s how old your body (organs) seem in terms of their function.
Biological age is influenced by various factors, such as:
Lifestyle habits including habits related to diet, physical activity, sleep patterns, stress management, smoking, and alcohol consumption.
Genetics - Some people can be genetically predisposed to age-related conditions with some gene variations that affect their overall health and longevity (unless they become aware of this and take appropriate preventative action).
Other factors that impact biological age include body weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, chronic inflammation, existing health conditions, and nutrient status (e.g., Vitamin D).
Taking ownership of your health and how you age
The good news is that a lot of these factors are within your control. For example, you can control your dietary habits, sleep patterns, alcohol consumption, tobacco use, and physical activity. You can also control your intake of nutrients that support the prevention and or improvement of some of the biggest chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and brain degenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
According to a statement from the World Health Organisation in 2002; “approximately 80% of premature deaths related to heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, as well as 40% of cancer cases, could be prevented by adopting a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical exercise, and avoiding tobacco products.”
Health is ever-changing
What we have to understand is that health is ever-changing and we need to intervene by way of our diet and lifestyle habits, to ensure we are working in favour of optimum health and healthy ageing.
For example, JUNIUS Co-founder Maria tests her vitamin D levels twice a year to ensure that she is supplementing with the right dose of vitamin D3 to keep her levels optimum. When she first tested her levels a few years back they were below the optimal range at 60 ng/ml. She corrected this by taking 5000 iu of a quality, liquid vitamin D3 product daily for 8 weeks then retested. Now her levels were in the optimal range at 120 ng/ml. Maria continues to test her levels, using an at home finger prick test kit, to ensure they remain optimal.
There is growing evidence suggesting that vitamin D may have a role in disease prevention beyond its effects on bone health, including prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Harnessing the disease-preventive power of living foods and their phytonutrients (plant chemicals)
With much emerging evidence on the therapeutic power of colourful plant foods, we simply HAVE to take advantage of this simple healthy, longer life hack. For example, we now have evidence for the potential role of phytonutrients in cancer prevention.
“Phytonutrients” is the collective name given to active compounds in plant foods that exert a range of health benefits which may be beneficial in preventing chronic disease, including cancer.
Plants produce thousands of natural chemicals, which is an adaptive, protective response. These natural compounds allow the plant to maintain an evolutionary advantage in reaction to their environments, for example by protecting themselves from harmful bacteria (bugs), fungi, and other threats. And what’s amazing about this is that these same protective benefits appear to transfer over into human health when we eat a diet rich in colourful plant foods.
Phytonutrients have been shown to have many cancer, cardiovascular, and type 2 diabetes-protective properties, such as:
protect against oxidative stress and cellular (DNA) damage
support detoxification processes
Phytonutrients are not considered essential to life like other key nutrient groups such as protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals - however, with over 25,000 known phytonutrient compounds available in plant foods, we likely don't yet know the full extent of their potential health benefits. Of the compounds that HAVE thus far been studied, there are six significant phytonutrient groups (all with antioxidant properties):
1) Carotenoids – pigments found in yellow/orange/red coloured vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices
2) Ellagic acid – a polyphenol compound found in pomegranate, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, walnuts, and pecans
3) Flavonoids – the most abundant antioxidants in the diet, found in fruits (especially citrus, apples, berries, cherries, and plums), colourful vegetables, green tea, whole grains, bark, roots, stems, and flowers, olives, and other foods.
4) Resveratrol – a polyphenol compound found predominantly in dark purple and blue fruits such as berries and grapes
5) Glucosinolates – found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, watercress, rocket, and kale
6) Phytoestrogens – found predominantly in flaxseed, natural soy (edamame beans, tofu, tempeh), and beans and pulses
Anthocyanins are part of the flavonoid group and are found in deep red, purple and blue plant pigments, including red cabbage, purple sweet potato, black grapes, pomegranate, blackcurrants, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, black beans, black rice, red onions, red radishes, and the skin of aubergine.
This particular class of antioxidants show strong anti-aging effects in studies, such as fighting free radical damage and protecting skin from harmful UV damage. Anthocyanins have also been shown to play a role in lowering blood pressure, preventing type 2 diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases, protecting from cognitive decline, and improving vision.
Our FAB (purple) range of drinks contain beetroot and red cabbage for their anthocyanins, alongside other nutrients that support healthy ageing such as collagen and watercress.
We’ve designed the FAB range to:
Protect skin cells from the damaging effects of ageing
Protect from age-related, chronic diseases already mentioned including cognitive decline
Support energy production
At JUNIUS, we recommend that everyone includes a wide variety of colourful plant foods in their daily diet to ensure an optimal intake of all phytonutrient groups.