Extend Your Life Expectancy? Take A Hint From South Korea!

 

Did you know the life expectancy for people living in the US is declining and the level of health here lags behind that of most other countries? Plus, according to a recent study, we have the highest infant and maternal mortality rates of any of the countries in study, AND the highest obesity rate.

If you are concerned about these statistics, you may want to start mirroring some of the habits of the South Korean people, including having a diet rich in probiotics and fermented foods…..

 


 Life Expectancy Projected to Soar — Except

in the US

By Dr. Mercola

For the first time in 20 years, life expectancy has actually declined in the U.S.,1,2,3,4 dropping from 76.5 years in 2014 to 76.3 in 2015 for men, and from 81.3 to 81.2 for women. This means American women now die, on average, about one month earlier than they did in 2014, and men lost about two months of lifespan.5

In all, there were 86,212 more deaths in 2015 compared to 2014, and as of 2015, the U.S. ranks 29th out of 43 countries for life expectancy,6 lagging behind countries like Chile, Costa Rica, Slovenia, Korea and the Czech Republic. In 2014, the U.S. ranked 28th.7

Moreover, according to Dr. Peter Muennig, a professor of health policy and management at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, this decline in life expectancy is a “uniquely American phenomenon.” No other developed countries experienced this decline.

Dr. Jiaquan Xu, the report’s lead author, noted the decline in life expectancy is primarily caused by a rise in several categories of preventable deaths,8 again highlighting the failure of the American health care system to properly address the root causes of chronic disease.

Meanwhile, both dietary patterns and health care availability in South Korea — which has made some of the greatest life expectancy gains — offer valuable hints at what Americans need to do to change course.

Analysis Suggests South Koreans May Soon Outlive the Rest of the World

Another extensive analysis9 of longevity patterns in 35 industrialized nations projects life expectancy at birth in the U.S. will continue to lag, such that by 2030, it will be on par with the Czech Republic, Croatia and Mexico.10,11,12

Meanwhile, South Koreans of both sexes and Hungarian men and have made the greatest life expectancy gains. By 2030, South Korean women are projected to have an average lifespan of 90.8, making it the first nation to break the 90-year life expectancy barrier.

This is a significant feat, considering South Korea ranked 29th for women’s life expectancy in 1985.13 As for the cause of the U.S.’ failure to keep pace, The Washington Post notes:14

“The reasons for the United States’ lag are well known. It has the highest infant and maternal mortality rates of any of the countries in the study, and the highest obesity rate.

It is the only one without universal health insurance coverage and has the ‘largest share of unmet health care needs due to financial costs,’ the researchers wrote …

In contrast to the United States, South Korea ‘has a remarkable investment in early childhood nutrition,’ has been taking advantage of medical advances and technology across its population and has some of the world’s lowest obesity and hypertension rates …

‘They seem to be getting a lot of things right at the same time, and getting them right for almost everyone,’ [lead author Majid Ezzati] said.”

Differences in Diet Offer Valuable Clues

Japan has long been noted for its longevity, but that’s starting to change as Western dietary influences have crept in. Again and again, we see health outcomes decline when countries adopt a Western style diet with processed foods as a staple.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s use of nutritional supplements, especially probiotics for both adults and infants has risen, and their fermented food and omega-3 intake is among the highest in the world. In my view, this is what you would call a major clue.

Research15 published last year showed South Korea, along with Japan, the Primorskry region of Russia, Denmark, Norway and Greenland and a few other indigenous regions had the highest blood levels of the animal-based omega-3 fats eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) — the latter of which is a primary structural component of every cell in your body.

Americans and Canadians both have “very low” levels, which may increase the risk of chronic disease. Use of vitamins and dietary supplements in South Korea also rose by 4 percent in 2016, and probiotic sales rose by 7 percent.

According to Euromonitor, “these products are increasingly seen as essential consumer health items among South Koreans.”16 South Koreans also consume 2 million tons of kimchi each year — a traditional dish of fermented cabbage. As noted in a previous Food First article:17

“[K]imchi is the one food that most Koreans simply ‘cannot live without.’18 … [It] seems to make its way into every meal of the day. In autumn, South Korean employers even give their workers a customary ‘kimchi bonus,’ helping to subsidize the ingredients for their annual kimchi supply.19

Considering that most Americans eat a primarily processed food diet, high in sugars and low in healthy fats, fiber and fermented foods, it shouldn’t come as a major shock that life expectancy might suffer.

Advertisements might lead you to believe this processed fare will give you all the nutrition you need for a long and happy life, but your body cannot be fooled.

Chronic Illness and Opioid Addiction Take Toll on Americans

The cost of health care in the U.S. is also the highest in the world, and continues to rise. Health care now accounts for 17 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).20 But even though the U.S. spends more than $3 trillion on health care each year, it is the worst performing system ranked by multiple aspects of care.21

Recent research also reveals HALF of all Americans live with chronic illness,22 and in my view, this has everything to do with diet. According to study authors Elizabeth Reisinger Walker, Ph.D., an assistant research professor, and Dr. Benjamin Druss, professor at Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University:23

“The health of individuals in the [USA] is increasingly being defined by complexity and multi-morbidity, the co-occurrence of two or more chronic medical conditions.”

Addiction to opioid painkillers appears to be another significant contributor to declining life expectancy in the U.S.24,25 Deaths from synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, rose by a whopping 73 percent between 2014 and 2015. Prescription pain killers alone killed 17,536 people last year.

According to Robert Anderson, who oversees death statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything like this. Certainly not in modern times.”

For the rest of the article:http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/03/08/us-life-expectancy-declines

Related Self-help Health posts:

Should You Be Taking Probiotics?

Probiotics: The Good For You Bacteria

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to give Self-help Health a follow so you don’t miss out on future posts. Also check out the To Your Health page at my website Evolution Made Easier and my other blog for more helpful information, tips, tools and resources.

Disclaimer: Please not that any information provided here is as a guideline only, and not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

 

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