Functional Foods and the Baby Boomers
~ June 1997 No.9 ~
Functional foods, probiotics and nutraceutics are quickly moving from the realm of science fiction into the mainstream medical field. No longer do you have to search for such foods in little health food stores. They are in the drug stores, the grocery and the department stores. What is driving this? One factor has to be the “baby boomers”. Much has been written about the baby boomers and how their numbers have changed the economy, the health system and the environment. According to David Foot’s book Boom Bust and Echo, many of the trends that we are seeing in things such as housing prices, popularity of golf vs tennis even prostitution all can be explained by demographics or the study of population. Because of their large numbers any trend that caught the baby boomer’s eye from marijuana to going to university to minivans was guaranteed to be popular and well publicized.
So now that the baby boomers are entering their fifties, reality is starting to wake many of them up. Gray or thinning hair, bulging waist lines, sagging breasts; all are reminders that time is marching on. In an attempt to prolong health and well being, people of this generation are trying just about anything that might keep them young or that might ensure a good quality of life, well into their golden years. Ab crunchers, dye for hair and beards, and plastic surgery, are all directed to one particular age group – the baby boomers. So I don’t think that it is a coincidence that we are hearing and reading more and more about functional foods. Many people are searching for the magic bullet; that one thing that will restore youth or do away with chronic disease. I believe that the belief that the search for magic cure is naïve. However, as more evidence is gathered, there is good reason to be modifying and supplementing our diets. So, unlike so many other things that have become fads as the baby boomers advanced through the decades, eating food that is good for your health is here to stay.