In fact, aging is a natural part of our lives, but the passage of time will inevitably result in some physical changes like more wrinkles and blemishes, greying and thinning hair, decreased muscle mass and bone loss. In addition, it also brings with it a greater likelihood to experience malnutrition, weaker bones, slowed cognitive function, and weakened immune system function.
However, this process is unique to each of us and even though genetics may play a role in our aging process, the physical changes we face with are significantly influenced by our lifestyle and dietary choices. What’s more, our personal view and outlook on the aging process also impacts the way how we experience our golden years. For example, two people of the same age can experience aging very differently. Namely, the first person remains healthy, mobile and active, whereas the other does not.
In order to make sure that we remain healthy, mobile and active throughout the lifespan, we have to do those things in our younger years, which will properly nourish and support our body throughout the aging journey.
Bear in mind, in our younger years, it is of great importance to include the following strategies to improve the nutritional and lifestyle habits to foster a healthier present as well as future.
Keep Yourself Healthy with These Habits:
– Consume a nutrient dense diet; implement a wide variety of vegetables from a wide array of colours, some fruits, essential fatty acids, adequate complete proteins and complex carbohydrates, and high fibre food.
– Drink lots of high quality fresh water for at least 8/8oz glasses on a daily basis.
– Start your day with the juice of half a lemon in water. Whether it is cold or boiling, this beverage will gently cleanse your digestive tract, kidneys and liver.
– Avoid saturated fats like margarine, shortening, trans-fats, as well as overheated oils or fats, which lend to cell degeneration.
– Avoid concentrated and refined sugars of all types as they can weaken the immune system and lead to weight gain.
– Avoid smoking and alcohol.
– Keep your bowels moving at least once a day! Moreover, the intestines can hold up to 65 pounds of waste! Actually, it takes water and fibre to keep the bowels moving.
– Practice exercises on a regular basis; stretch each morning and take part in some kind of aerobic activity three times a week. Also, walk more and drive less.
– Maintain a healthy weight by consuming wholesome, high quality food, also eating only when genuinely hungry and as much as needed to satisfy the hunger.
– Recognize if stress is becoming problematic and include effective coping strategies, such as meditation, relaxation techniques, yoga, exercise, etc.
– Get adequate good quality sleep since it gives our bodies a break and leads to repair and rejuvenation.
– Don’t allow the number to dictate how you feel or what you do, just think young!
– Act young; do the things you love and those that make you smile and laugh.
– Pay attention to symptoms and learn how to recognize potential problems before they develop into more serious health issues.
– Take a good quality, whole foods multi-vitamin, containing Folic acid, B vitamins; B6, and B12, as they are all associated with healthy cognitive function.
Remember, it is never too late to start, even if you have never eaten healthy or lived healthy. Now, you can still make those positive changes that will have a lasting positive effect on your health and wellness because your body is constantly renewing itself and almost every cell in your body is being continually regenerated.
But, in our advanced years, it is of great importance to implement the following strategies to address and support the changes that commonly occur as we age.
The Connection between the Advanced Age and Higher Risk of Malnutrition and Related Deficiencies:
As we age, we will probably become malnourished since we tend to eat less, so the food becomes less appetizing, our appetites get smaller, and we have diminished enzyme availability needed to properly break down foods. Moreover, we also tend to have less stomach acid to help with digestion and absorb less of the nutrients from the foods we do eat. Additionally, in those age we are at an increased risk of becoming deficient in vital nutrients as well as too often we are at an increased risk of dehydration from a lack of consuming adequate amounts of water and water-dense foods.
What Can Be Done
– It is advisable to plan out your healthy weekly meal plan and grocery list to ensure that you remain on budget and you are choosing good quality wholesome food products.
– Look for the help of a family member or community program for grocery shopping and food preparation as having your meals prepared for the week will help to make sure you are not missing meals or reaching for unhealthy quick and easy alternatives.
– Make sure that your food choices will perfectly support proper digestion and absorption, so avoid foods that you are intolerant or allergic to, as well as avoid refined, processed, sugary junk foods and unhealthy fats.
– Eat live, natural and whole foods, which are locally grown and in-season. Add more vegetables, whole grains, and fiber into your daily routine. Plus, choose healthy fats from lean meats, such as chicken and healthy oils, such as coconut oil, flaxseed or hemp oil, extra virgin olive oil, and grape seed oil. Eat fresh fish, for instance cod, salmon, mackerel, herring, and flounder.
– Support digestive weaknesses by taking a good digestive enzyme and pro-biotic supplement.
– Recognize nutrient deficiencies and make sure that good quality supplementations are included into your routine as needed.
The Relationship between Advanced Age and Decreased Speed in Completing Cognitive Tasks and Remembering Details:
As we age, we may experience some memory changes as well as changes with our speed of completing thinking tasks, for example mathematics. On the other hand, nutrition is crucial for our brain health; our sending and receiving stations are built out of essential fats, amino acids or proteins, and phospholipids and the message itself, the neurotransmitter, like serotonin, dopamine, is often made up of amino acids or protein and important vitamins and minerals.
What Can Be Done
Our diet should include the 4 essentials for our brain, like good fats, glucose in the form of good carbohydrates, amino acids that are the break-down materials of protein and various other essential vitamins and minerals.
- Good Fats: Choose healthy fats, such as fatty fish, olive oil, avocados, and nuts, because our bodies need a constant supply of good fats to support and protect our brain cells.
- Glucose: Consume more complex carbohydrates, for instance whole grains, vegetables, brown rice, and so on. They are broken down more slowly and can provide your body with a more consistent energy source and help stabilize your mood.
- Protein or amino acids: Did you know that proteins are the building blocks for tissue growth and repair, and the cells cannot be formed without a lack of protein in our diets? Essential amino acids for our brain include Tyrosine for physical and mental performance, Tryptophan or mood enhancer, and GABA anxiety reducer.
- Essential vitamins and minerals: B vitamins actually support the nervous system and are extremely useful in case you suffer from anxiety, stress, and depression; On the contrary, Vitamins B3, B9, and B12 are especially important for our brain health, whereas Calcium and Magnesium are excellent for good brain health. Manganese is responsible for optimal brain and nerve function. Ultimately, water is crucial for great internal organ function and proper elimination, as dehydration has negative impact on our entire system, including our brain.
The Link between Advanced Age and Weaker Bones and Greater Joint Pain:
As we age, we may experience changes in our bone health. However, women are at higher risk as they are no longer producing as much estrogen needed in the calcium absorption. That’s not all, our posture isn’t quite what it was, and we may be creaky and stiff and experience more joint pain.
What Can Be Done
– Reduce your acidic load by removing tobacco, caffeine, and carbonated drinks from your daily routine.
– Manage the stress effectively by enjoying the outdoors and the things you love doing.
– Eat a whole foods diet with fresh, good quality food choices, which will help ensure you get important nutrients for your bones, like calcium, Vitamin B, C, D, K, magnesium, copper, zinc, potassium, manganese, and boron.
– Get an adequate intake of protein; since protein deficiency results in bone loss.
– Eat a diet abundant in vegetables and an adequate amount of fruit, for example 3 servings a day.
– Enough safe, good quality drinking water (about 8-8 oz. glasses a day).
– Exercise on regular basis, for instance extremely beneficial is incorporating some weight bearing exercises into your daily routine.
The Relation between Advanced Age and a Weaker Immune System and Higher Risk of Infections and Illness:
As we age, we are actually more susceptible to illness, for example colds, flu or certain infections.
What Can Be Done
- Add Active Acidophilus Cultures: It is present in many yogurts and promotes a strong digestive system. But, it is recommended to avoid yogurt that contains sugar, since this cancels out the positive effects of the good bacterial culture.
- Add More Garlic: Garlic possesses extraordinary antibiotic properties that help in the prevention of various diseases. Add at least one clove every day in your meals.
- Eat More Sweet Potatoes: They are one of the most nutritious vegetables. To be more specific, just ¾ cup of baked sweet potato provides you with 60% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C and over 300% of the vitamin A. But, Yams do not contain vitamin A.
- Eat More Cashews and Pumpkin Seeds: They are abundant in zinc that is needed for optimal immune function.
- Consume More Blueberries: They are a great source of cancer-fighting antioxidants, vitamins A, C, and E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and fibre containing zero fat.
- Substitute Coffee with Green Tea: They are high in antioxidants. Even though tea contains caffeine, but green tea has considerably smaller caffeine amount than coffee and black tea. Also, choose organic, since tea and coffee are two of the most highly pesticide-sprayed products that are available for human consumption. Consume 1 to 3 cups of it on a daily basis.
- Consume Broccoli: It is extremely rich source of the phytochemical sulforaphane that is powerful anti-cancer agent. It’s also abundant in beta-carotene that is excellent for the eyes and immune system, and rich in fibre and vitamin C.
- Choose Healthy Fats: They are present in fatty fish, olive oil, nuts, and avocados and help the immune system function optimally.
- Drink More Water: It helps flush out bad bugs, like bacteria. You can determine the amount of water your body needs by taking your weight in pounds, then add a zero and that’s how many millilitres your body requires. In case you are active or sick you need more water.
- Exercise on Regular Basis: It creates immune-enhancing chemicals and increases oxygen that helps fight antigens more effectively.
- Practice Relaxation and Stress Reduction: Keep in mind that a positive mental attitude makes a great difference in how the body fights disease. The immune system is the next to go once adrenals weaken from stress.
- Get Enough Sleep: It is actually the foundation of immunity. Specifically, those people who get less than eight hours of restful sleep will deal with decreased immunity.
- Include Mind/Body/Spirit into Your Day: Definitely, prayer, yoga, meditation, positive thinking, or tai chi has a beneficial role when it comes to promoting a positive outlook on life as well as overall wellness.
- Avoid Sugar Consumption: Just a teaspoon of sugar weakens the immune system for several hours.
- Wash Your Hands Regularly: Hand washing reduces your chance of spreading a virus to your mouth, nose, or other people. In case your immune system is strong, it can fight off the virus, but washing your hands actually provides a bit of extra protection.
Whether you are in your 20’s or your 70’s remember that it is never too late to foster overall health and wellness by implementing a good quality nutrient dense diet rich in fresh and local foods, effective stress management, adequate sleep, and regular exercise into your daily routine.