For many of us there is a paradox between the idea of living a long life and the idea of getting old, one being desirable the other less so. However the idea of living a long, meaningful and healthy life like some of the heroes of the nutrition movement is perhaps the most desirable idea.
It is interesting to note that the founding fathers of the nutrition and health movement all achieved a lot and lived a long time.
The founding fathers
Linus Pauling was known for his belief that nutrition could prevent, ameliorate or cure many diseases, slow the aging process, and alleviate suffering, won 2 Nobel prizes along with becoming one of the two most revered scientists of the 20th century and lived to 93 years old!
Dr E M Widdowson and Professor R A McCance were known for their belief that a knowledge of the chemical composition of foods is the first essential in the dietary treatment of disease, founded the Composition of Foods which is still the go to handbook for the nutritional analysis of food and lived to 94 and 95 years old!
Nevin S Scrimshaw was known for his belief that nutrition is an important factor in essentially all infectious and chronic diseases in all populations, founded MIT's Department of Nutrition and Food Science and the International Nutrition Foundation and lived to 95 years old!
We can go back even further to 1747 when James Lind conducted the first controlled clinical nutrition trial involving using citrus fruits to cure sailors of scurvy. James was born in 1726 and lived for 78 years at a time when the average life expectancy was around 40!
We have moved on
Since 1747 we have moved from the simple administration of fruit to diseased sailors to the emerging understanding today that what our grandparents ate and what we eat affects every level of our gene expression and whether or not we go on to develop ill health and disease (epigenetics).
Settle for the average
This new science of epigenetics all gets a bit technical so we can probably settle for the fact that the average age of the early nutritionists was 91 including someone born 270 years ago. And the average achievement level was somewhere between the discovery of a cure for a rampant disease and the founding of a Worldwide renowned institution!
In an age marked by a rise in chronic and infectious disease there is comfort to be found in gaining a better understanding of the impact of nutrition on health from the work of these pioneers.
Live long and prosper
Find out how you can improve your nutrition and therefore your health by keeping a food diary on CheckYourFood.com
Matt Wright Founder of checkyourfood.com “Always on the side of information”
Director - Nutrient expert, researcher & data miner
I am responsible for the scientific research and data oversight at the CheckYourFood Group. A great journey of discovery for me as I uncover the myriad of goodness that natural food contains and facilitate others to promote health and wellbeing.
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