According to the World Health Organisation, the population of people 65 and over is growing rapidly. So we invited Dr Joothica Ranade on the show to discuss how one can age healthily.

Dr Ranade is a general practitioner who has been qualified and practising for over 41 years in North West London. Her special interests include Community Paediatrics, Substance Misuse and Minor Surgery.

We began by discussing what a good diet entails. According to Dr Ranade, you should include the following foods in your diet to ensure healthy eating:

  • Salad
  • Vegetables
  • Fibre
  • Protein
  • Liquids
  • Fruit
  • Meat – and if you are vegetarian avoid eating just the gravy as this contains a lot of fat
  • Fish

Top Tip: take one spoon of carbohydrates out of your plate and replace it with salad or vegetables.

Dr Ranade also urged people to visit their GP and an expert practitioner who will be able to assess one’s individual dietary requirements. She also suggested visiting a dietician as they will be able to draw up a customised, individual diet plan for you.

We then moved on to talking about lifestyle and exercise. Dr Ranade stated that walking and swimming are great exercises and that being healthy is a lifestyle not a quick fix.

She also stated that giving up smoking and alcohol will lead to better health.

When discussing lifestyle, Dr Ranade stated that socialising is very important for the elderly. Isolation and alienation are a result of the elderly not going out to social clubs and meeting new people, and that socialising is a big part of healthy ageing.

However, ageing healthily does not begin at a certain age. Everyone can begin being healthy from any age and the younger you start the better it is in the long-run.

With the summer coming up, Dr Ranade stated that the elderly are more vulnerable to heat stroke so they should take necessary precautions. These include avoiding the sun, wearing thin, long-sleeved tops and keep the skin covered, wear a hat and sunglasses, apply lotion, and drink plenty of water.

Dr Ranade left us with some lovely top tips on ageing healthily:

  • Everyone has to age so do it gracefully
  • Take ageing gracefully in your stride
  • Live it up
  • Have a social life

She also wanted to leave viewers with the message that they should visit a GP whenever they feel they have a problem and need help. GPs can spot signs of illness early for early prevention and that people, particularly of the South Asian community, should feel comfortable speaking about their problems knowing GPs are there to help.

As part of our general election special coverage, I went and asked you for your opinions on the healthcare system and whether you feel you are receiving adequate help from the NHS. There were mixed opinions with some feeling that the NHS is morally shrinking, with more money being invested in it but there being a lack of human contact.

One woman stated that her husband works for the NHS and feels it is going downhill with long waiting times for patients and long working hours for staff.

Other opinions reflected the other side of the coin. A couple told me they have always had satisfactory service and get an appointment whenever they need one. They also feel the Conservative Party have been good for the country.

And a young man suggested the UK look to other countries at how they fund the NHS. He expressed the opinion that greater privatisation of the NHS will cause less strain on the government. So, private contributions could ultimately help a public service.