- Dr Rangan Chatterjee has come up with a seven-point plan for the over-40s
- One is turning the kitchen into a zone free of crisps, biscuits and chocolate
- Another is regular monitoring of blood pressure and blood sugar levels
- Dr Chatterjee is convinced his advice will lead to profound health benefits
There are plenty of doctors who believe in prescribing a pill for every ill.
But Dr Rangan Chatterjee is not one of them.
Instead, the GP has come up with a seven-point lifestyle plan for those in their 40s which should allow them to enjoy old age ailment-free.
From turning the kitchen into a zone free of crisps, biscuits and chocolate to eating more nuts and cutting carbohydrates, Dr Chatterjee is convinced his advice will lead to profound health benefits for the middle-aged.
Dr Chatterjee, who runs a busy surgery in Oldham, is taking part in a new three-part BBC series, Doctor in the House, which begins later this month. It will see him monitor three families for several weeks to examine how the way in which they live affects their health.
Speaking to Radio Times, Dr Chatterjee said: ‘The reality is that the ten-minute appointment slot [for GPs to see patients] is not remotely enough to get to grips with the chronic lifestyle problems we see today.’
Lifestyle, he believes, is at the root of the majority of the issues he sees every day – including Type 2 diabetes and stomach ailments.
‘The current system lends itself to giving a pill for every ill, but in doing so we are often suppressing the symptoms, not getting to the root cause,’ he said.
Dr Chatterjee believes that in 95 per cent of cases, changes to lifestyle and nutrition could prevent or reverse a health problem.
At his own surgery, he has started offering diabetics the option of an hour-long group consultation on managing their condition.
He said: ‘I do a talk on how they can help themselves.’
JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED :
1. CHECK BLOOD PRESSURE
Blood pressure should be checked at least once a year, as it is a good indicator of overall health. Most pharmacists can do this for you.
2. TEST YOUR BLOOD SUGAR
Once a year, ask your GP to test your blood sugar. This HbA1c test, as it is known, can tell you whether you are at risk of developing diabetes.
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Refined carbohydrates, such as sugary cereals, sandwiches and pasta, can lead to visceral fat building up inside the abdominal cavity. This is associated with diabetes and heart disease. To check visceral fat level, measure your hip/waist ratio (or ask your practice nurse to do this.) Your waist measurement should be lower than your hip.
Our lives are stressful and I see how my patients struggle to switch off. I think meditation is a brilliant way to remove yourself from life, even if it’s just for ten minutes a day.
It is important to make the home a ‘junk free zone’. Snack on nuts, seeds, olives and avocados – good fats that keep hunger at bay, Dr Chatterjee advises
5. RELAX ON CHOLESTEROL
People falsely think that if their cholesterol is low they are healthy … and if it is high, they need to take a statin. That is over-simplistic …in isolation it won’t really tell you anything useful in terms of long-term health.
6. FAST FOR FITNESS
As humans, we have all evolved from periods of fasting … I tend to recommend at least ten hours, so if you take your first meal at 8am you could finish eating at 6pm. There is research indicating long-term benefits to the immune system.
7. JUNK THE JUNK FOOD
Make your home a junk food-free zone. Instead, snack on nuts, seeds, olives and avocados – good fats that keep us full.