Aging is a process, not a one-time event. You don’t wake up one day and realize you’re old. The same nutritional issues that affect seniors, from heart disease to aging skin, begin in the middle years. The majority of the disease and dysfunction associated with aging are now understood to result from lifestyle choices. In short, it is not the number of years that causes deterioration but how you choose to spend them.
If you are willing to change what you eat, how you supplement, and how you live, you can make the most of our healthy middle years and postpone or even prevent the feeble elderly years. The earlier you begin to age-proof your diet, the better. However, it is never too late. The plan is simple if you follow these simple guidelines.
1. Increase your current fruit and vegetable consumption
You can adopt this essential diet habit to slow, stop, or even reverse the aging process. Oxygen fragments known as oxidants or free radicals are a major underlying cause of all age-related illnesses, ranging from heart disease and memory loss to cancer and cataracts. If left unchecked, these oxidants cause cell and tissue damage, worsening as we age. Fortunately, the body has a radical system known as antioxidants that deactivates and eliminates these harmful oxidants.
Over 12,000 antioxidant compounds have been identified in colorful fruits and vegetables. Many of these compounds also reduce inflammation, which is at the root of many diseases ranging from heart disease to Alzheimer’s. Increasing your intake of natural products lowers your risk for all age-related diseases. It helps stack the deck to extend the healthy middle years into your 80s or beyond, but research shows you will also look and feel younger and have an easier time controlling your waistline.
2. Real food will help you stay lean
Getting rid of the extra weight is right up there, with quitting smoking as one of the best ways to extend your healthy adult years into your 70s and 80s. Being overweight is a risk factor for so many diseases, including incontinence in older adults, especially men seeing the recent spike in the sale of adult diapers for men. With more than eight out of every people now struggling with obesity, simply losing weight would add years to your life and years to your life.
Even if you are unable to achieve the ideal body weight, overweight people would reduce their risk of most age-related diseases and extend their healthy years if they lost 10% of their current body weight. You’ll find that losing weight isn’t so difficult if you stick to a straightforward rule: limit your intake of fast and processed foods and focus on whole foods. Processed foods not only add pounds but also hasten the aging process. When your diet foods are natural, you automatically reduce calories.
3. Good fat vs bad fat
Some fats like trans fats and saturated fats accelerate aging and increase the risk of heart disease, memory loss, cancer, and other diseases. One should avoid pro-aging foods, such as red meat, fatty dairy products, and anything made with hydrogenated vegetable oils. Another advantage of reducing saturated and trans fats is that it may improve your love life. After consuming high-fat meals, men’s blood testosterone levels drop by 50%. Furthermore, a high-fat diet clogs arteries, a common cause of impotence.
4. Take the right supplements
As you get older, you require more vitamins. Take, for example, vitamin D. When our skin is exposed to sunlight, our bodies produce vitamin D, but this ability fades with age. People in their twenties produce only 80% of the vitamin D that their bodies produced when they were in third grade. By the time a person reaches their 70s, that output has dropped to only 40%. As a result, dietary sources become increasingly important in maintaining strong bones throughout life.
So, while 200IU was sufficient in your twenties, you will require up to 1000IU in your forties and fifties. The same holds for B12, calcium, and other nutrients. It is unrealistic to expect people to obtain these levels of nutrients solely through diet, so don’t take chances and fill in the gaps with a moderate-dose multiple vitamin and mineral supplement.
5. Start moving
You can’t avoid it: you have to exercise. To burn fat and keep your heart and mind in good shape, you need daily aerobic exercises (such as brisk walking, swimming, biking, or jogging) and at least twice-weekly strengthening activities (weightlifting), even if it’s just lifting milk jugs in the kitchen. The good news is that you are a complete package. Dietary recommendations to protect your heart will also benefit brain health and help you maintain a glowing complexion. Consume wisely.
Longevity may appear beyond your control, but many healthy habits can lead to a long life. Drinking coffee or tea, exercising, getting enough sleep, and limiting your alcohol consumption are all examples. These habits, when combined, can improve your health and set you on the path to a long life.