Going for longer life

By Herbert Vego

OCCASIONALLY, I take my visitors to Farm to Table Restaurant on Megaworld Boulevard, Iloilo City.  Thanks to feature writer Andrea Ortega Guanco for specifying in an article that this “lifestyle restaurant uses fresh produce and local ingredients – organic vegetables, meat from grass-fed cows and free-range chicken and eggs, among others.”

The restaurateur owner herself, Pauline Gorriceta-Banusing, had “prescribed” the organic delicacy to her hubby Gus to keep him looking younger.

Another good reason is that Gus is the only son of my relative, coffee mate and stone’s throw neighbor in Antique, the late Augusto “Baby” Banusing.

Patronizing Pauline’s organic vegetable and fruit salads could be one of the reasons why I have stayed alive and literally kicking at age 73.

The growing number of diners there must have discovered the fountain of youth that has eluded previous searchers for thousands of years. It’s true, age is just a number.

In the Old Testament, a Hebrew patriarch named Methuselah lived for 969 years. Since then, man has been searching for his lost key to longevity.

History records the pioneering quest of Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon for the fountain of youth. Discovering Florida and its beautiful unpolluted beaches, he spent the rest of his life there until 1521 when a poisoned arrow wound cut it short; he was 61.

Nevertheless, it was a “ripe old age” by 16th-century standard when cures for diseases had yet to be discovered.

Since then, people have enjoyed longer lives because of advances in nutrition and medicine. In the United States, the Bureau of Census has confirmed that the life expectancy of Americans has gradually accelerated. Americans born in 1900 could expect to live an average of 47.5 years. An American born today, could hope to reach 76 or more.

According to the website Macrotrends, the life average expectancy in the Philippines today is 71.53 years. Luckier we who have surpassed that number.

But we want to live not just longer but healthier, too. We want to know why some die young while others grow very old. After all, nobody is exempted from wear and tear. Over time, everybody’s body deteriorates because it is not capable of replenishing all damaged cells. This is often apparent among the old who become senile due to declining number of brain cells.

Way back in the 1950s, a scientist from the University of Nebraska, Denham Harmon, announced that he had found the reason behind aging. It is now widely known as the free radical theory. Free radicals are chemicals that rob the body of its normal health by depriving the cells of oxygen, in effect triggering diseases, including all forms of cancer. This damage known as oxidation is comparable to rust-destruction of metals. Therefore, to rise to the “impossible” age of Methuselah, one should wipe out free radicals.

Fortunately, like all other animals, the human being has an immune system that could produce antioxidants to fight free radicals. The older the body, however, the less it is capable of producing them. There is now an urgent need for acquiring them from food and food supplements.

Studies have shown that people with sufficient vitamins E and C, among others, have lower risk of heart diseases. It’s because these antioxidants minimize fatty deposits in the arteries, thus preventing atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries.

Wrong choices of food, on the other hand, may trigger organ malfunction. It is universally accepted, for instance, that too much sugar may damage certain body proteins, notably collagen. Since collagen helps form bones, teeth, skin and tendons, such damage could worsen from tooth decay to arthritis and diabetes.

Perhaps, had Ponce de Leon not died due to a poisoned wound, he could truly have found the fountain of youth in healthy habits. Remember, he had spent his adult life in a beachfront house in Florida so he could swim at sea, breathe clean air and eat the most nutritious foods.

To this day, we are told to eat mostly fresh fruits and vegetables and only a little meat, maintain a weight ideal for our age, exercise daily, shun stress, minimize alcohol intake, sleep at least six hours daily and drink plenty of water.

That sounds familiar. But does everybody follow?



THOUSANDS of words have been written about the tripartite agreement among Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas, MORE Power President Roel Castro and Energy Regulatory Commission chair Monalisa Dimalanta.  But what is this agreement that calls for adoption of a net metering system which promises to cut energy cost?

“What is net metering,” I asked MORE Power’s Engr. Bailey Del Castillo, vice president for network development and operations.

To put his answer in the fewest words, it is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid. For example, if a residential customer has a photovoltaic (PV) system on their roof, it may generate more electricity than the home uses during daylight hours.

Based on the ERC’s new approved rules for distributed energy resources (DERs) with capacities up to 1 megawatt – it used to be only 100 kilowatts — owners of renewable energy systems may be remunerated for up to 30% of the surplus power they inject into the grid.

Under the Renewable Energy (RE) Act of 2008, with the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, house owners and commercial establishments can now partly satisfy their electricity demand by themselves.