How do we do what we want to, and eat what we want and yet stay young. Funny thing is we don’t have the desire to be young until our chronologic age is no longer considered young. Since hormone levels decrease as we age, we assume that it is the hormones that are causing us to age. So it seems obvious that if we replace the hormone levels, we will revert to our younger selves. In fact there are some studies that show improved bone mass, improved vascular function, and improved libido. But at what cost to the rest of our body do these benefits occur and is there any other way?
Estrogen replacement therapy was first tried on women. But those attempts resulted in an increased risk of uterine cancer and breast cancer. It was thought that by adding progesterone, the uterine cancer risk could be diminished. The estrogen was thought to make the blood vessels more elastic and less likely to constrict. However, the side effect was increased blood clots and heart attacks. The studies on estrogen to prevent vascular disease were actually stopped early because of the adverse outcomes. The pharmaceutical industry did not give up and different formulations continue to be rolled out. The bottom line is the same, risks exists. The promise of the immediate benefit of decreasing hot flashes and bone health overshadowed the cancer risk looming in the future.
Replacing testosterone in men is now the quick fix to improve muscle mass in men and the hope of fixing erectile dysfunction. This therapy is being prescribed for men at risk for prostate cancer. Not only is the incidence of prostate cancer increasing but now we are seeing the same increase in cardiac events as seen in hormone replacement in women. Should we really be surprised?
We are, in the long run, decreasing long term health and wellness for quick fixes that have little to do with the aging process. It is like trying to bail the water out of a sinking boat without paying attention to the large hole taking on the water. By adding hormone replacement therapies to people already consuming horrible disease causing diets we are certain to create a more unhealthy population.
Our society wants more. But we have to decide what that “more” is. By choosing quick pharmaceutical fixes and ignoring health promoting nutrition and exercise, we are choosing “more” disease. By eating the Standard American diet high in salt, sugar and fat we are choosing “more” disease.
If you want to slow the aging process, look to your plate and not to your medicine cabinet. Maintaining health and fitness is a lifelong process. Eat a colorful plate each day of fresh fruits and vegetables rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants to help your body heal each day. Exercise at least an hour daily to maintain strength and mobility. You can prevent many diseases by choosing the right foods each day.
Biggest tip: Those foods are located in the produce isle and not the box and can section. They will never come from the window or from take out foods.