An Apple a Day...
Scientists are confirming that old saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away". Apples, especially the skin of red apples as well as other fruits and veggies, help stave off Alzheimer's, as well as some cancers and other diseases, according to reports in Science Daily: Compound In Apples May Help Fight Alzheimer's Disease and for the more technically minded: Researchers Reveal Apples' Protective Ways: Molecular Mechanism Of Flavonoid-rich Fruit Discovered.
Cooking doesn't destroy most of these valuable nutrients, but peeling often does. Whenever possible, cook with scrubbed, unpeeled apples for the shortest time possible, as I do with Apple Soufflé Pancakes. Other foods have high amounts of these nutrients, especially quercetin. According to Science Daily:
I read a sobering speculation the other day - some scientists and dietitians believe that the present generation will live 10 to 15 years less than their parents and grandparents, reversing a trend towards a longer life-span, up from the 35 to 40 years life expectancy of our ancestors not so many generations ago. Although many strides have been made in medicine, especially early detection of formerly fatal diseases that can be cured, many supplements having been added to foods such as folic acid, trans-fats being pretty much discouraged, and smoking being down (although rising amongst the youngest generation), never-the-less, this is the first generation that eats primarily a man-made "diet"; frozen microwave goodies, fast food, soft drinks, fruit "ades", cookies and chips, etc.
Eating a better diet as one ages is certainly important and valuable, but the groundwork for health is built in youth. Osteoporosis is prevented mainly by being active and building bones when young, and a healthy body is built then too. There's a big difference between an after school snack of a bag of chips and a candy bar, and a big red crunchy apple. If the foundation isn't well done, the building will never be as strong.
What's the answer? When I was young, treats and desserts were usually calcium rich puddings, custards, fruit tarts and pies, or fresh berries with a little cream and sugar, and we didn't get any unless we finished our dinner (which included veggies and often beans). For the more adventurous or less affluent, a neighbor's apple or other fruit tree was fair game for a snack. City living and less adult supervision has pretty much eliminated all that. But there's things you CAN do: