By Ammitai Worob
According to the census bureau, the largest growing age demographic in the US and worldwide are centenarians — folks living past 100 years old. Do you think you'll live past 100?
Would you want to live that long? If you're like most people, the answer doesn't have much to do with chronological age, but on how you would be able to function, physically, mentally, and socially. If we're likely to live a long time and we want to make sure we're healthy to enjoy those years, how do we do it?
First, let's ask: "How do we know if we're healthy?" Most people's answer would be simple — they'd say that if they feel healthy, they are healthy. But what about the tens of thousands of people walking around with breast cancer, colon cancer, heart disease, and so on? They probably don't have any symptoms, but clearly they aren't healthy. So we get mammograms, prostate exams, colorectal exams, blood labs, and more. With these early detection measures we should have terrific health outcomes, right?
It's not news to most of us that despite exponentially outspending any other country when it comes to "health care," here in the US we are literally crippled by our poor health. Unsustainable cost aside (and this is obviously a major issue, but beyond the scope of this short article), we continue to see rising numbers in almost every lifestyle-related chronic disease: diabetes, heart disease, many types of cancer, several types of mental illness, and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease.
By Ammitai Worob, D.C.
If you're like me, you've found yourself at GreenStar wandering into the Wellness section and standing in a state of semi-awe before a myriad of nutritional supplements ranging from A to Zinc. All those different brands, labels, combinations! If you didn't go in for something specific, you probably left in a swirl of confused thoughts like, "I wonder what makes one probiotic better than another" or "Isn't garlic supposed to be good for heart health? Should I be taking that?" Maybe you also subscribe to Dr. Mercola's e-newsletter or pick up the occasional health magazine and find yourself wondering, "Could 85 percent of Americans really be magnesium deficient?" or "Am I getting enough protein? And if so is it the right kind?"
In this information age, it's hard to sort out fact from fiction, and it's easy to go down a rabbit hole of information and get lost in the noise. Many food co-op shoppers have chosen to embark on a journey of healthful eating for a full and happy life. This journey can be difficult to navigate, in part because there are so many experts and so few areas of agreement on what is "best" or what is "true." Worse yet, even within one paradigm, the experts often change their minds or find new research that contradicts earlier thought. Just look at two peer-reviewed research articles from last year: British Medical Journal, Feb. 2013: "Women who took calcium supplements doubled their chances of a heart attack and had a higher mortality rate." Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, May 2013: "Women who took calcium supplements lowered their mortality rates."
One fact beyond debate is that the top killers in this country are largely preventable lifestyle-driven diseases. America's top killer, heart disease, is both preventable and reversible. Certain cancers and associated diseases, such as lung cancer and respiratory diseases, can also be prevented in the majority of cases. And do you know that the fourth leading cause of death in the US is iatrogenic (caused by medical intervention)? Yes, it's true — just behind heart disease, cancer, and stroke, the next most potent killer is medical care itself. Old Ben Franklin clearly had it right: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. (At some point, the focus of our health-care system will be forced, kicking and screaming, to face this reality. Our current system is wholly unsustainable. But that's a topic for another discussion.)
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Recently, a number of prominent food cooperatives from throughout New York state have issued statements clearly addressing the dangers posed to our communities and our co-ops by the unsafe and resource-intensive process of hydrofracturing ("hydrofracking") for natural gas. As an institution that is firmly against this practice, we are proud to stand alongside our fello...