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The Importance of Diet and Exercise

Written by: Dr Tim Trodd (Functional Medicine)

Inactivity and malnutrition "bad diet" are the single most important factors in poor health. Any focus on health should be built on a foundation of a healthy diet and physical activity.

What About Diet?

Food contains protein, fat, sugar, minerals, vitamins, fiber and numerous bioactive compounds such as polyphenols. Our diet also directly effects our microbiome, a healthy microbiome is a key need for health. Everybody starting a longevity program must consider diet. It is a truth that as we age we need less calories and we become worse at handling sugar, we will need to eat less and avoid simple carbohydrates If you look at the diets of societies that age well, they have some things in common. They maintain energy balance, they contain a lot of fresh foods, they do not consume junk food or processed food, they contain few simple carbohydrates, they consume a wide range of vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruits.
A given food can have a different quality depending on how it is produced, for instance grain fed meat has a completely different and less beneficial fat profile to grass fed meat Any diet will need to accommodate personal preferences and food allergies and intolerances. This is a complicated area with no set solution. Professional input and monitoring should be available to all going on a Medicine 3.0, Healthspan and Longevity program. Diet Key Areas: Sufficient Protein, Healthy Fats, Complex Carbohydrates, Energy Balance, Vitamin Dense, Mineral Dense, Wide Variety of plant based foods.

What About Exercise?

Exercise is integral to a healthy aging program. This should be aimed at maintaining aerobic capacity (think of this as “fitness”) and muscle mass or strength. Without active management we will all lose aerobic capacity and strength as we age, it will then come to a point where we lose the ability to walk, rise and use our hands, leading to some form of assisted living. It is never too late to start a fitness program, but earlier is better. This means that your fitness program has to be sustainable. All programs should have an element of Zone 2 (cardio exercise at a moderate level) training, strengthening and social. In my view few people can incorporate high intensity training for the long term, it just hurts
too much. An overlooked need is the need to get outside in nature. Look at the attached graphic from a recent article in the BMJ. Exercise is more effective than SSRI’s (drugs such as Prozac, Lexapro and Effexor) and the most effective exercise of all is walking. In my view this reflects the truth that when walking you are usually in nature, earthed, in a quiet environment and away from the stress of the modern world, with a benefit all its own.

Exercise Key Areas: Zone 2, Strength, Flexibility, Balance, Social, Nature.

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Topics: Health & Wellness, Wellness & Functional Medicine

Dr Tim Trodd

Dr Tim Trodd

Family Medicine, Functional Medicine, General Practice

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