Ageing Wisely: Correct Nutrition for Longevity
Aging means that all of us will grow old someday. However, there are people who are not prone to ageing that easily. Could healthy nutrition be the key to a healthy, happier and longer life?
Is ageing a disease?
Ageing is often associated with the development of one or more chronic diseases, but it doesn’t have to be so. Experts say that you don’t necessarily have to be old to suffer a heart attack or a stroke, to develop type 2 diabetes mellitus, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, or to break your hip from osteoporosis, even though all of those things are commonly connected to aging. The risk of becoming disabled increases through insufficient physical activity, genetic predisposition and poor nutrition.
Forget about ageing, adopt the right nutrition
So, what is the optimal nutrition that can prevent or decrease the risk of diseases connected with ageing, including joint inflammation and deterioration of vision and memory?
The most beneficial diet is highly dependent on fresh vegetables, fruits and beans – foods that contain fewer calories but are rich in nutrients. Experts say that the antioxidant components contained in fruits, beans and whole grains are highly responsible for slowing down the ageing process. Antioxidants such as vitamins C & E, polyphenols & anthocyanins fight free radicals — unstable forms of oxygen than can damage normal functioning of your body’s cells.
Free radicals are the result of normal metabolism. Your body makes them as a response to intense ultraviolet light, air pollution, smoking and industrial smoke.
Depositing free radicals contribute to ageing of the body and the development of a number of illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and inflammatory processes including osteoarthritis. What is worse, ageing increases the development of a number of free radicals. It means that your nutrition must be even better than ever before. The question is: what can provide such nutrition?
Nutrition that helps fight ageing
Antioxidants are very often mentioned when it comes to life longevity, but antioxidants alone aren’t enough to slow ageing. One should also optimize the intake of many other useful nutrients, including proteins, calcium and vitamin D. Make use of such harmful components as saturated fats and trans-fats in one’s nutrition as low as possible. Despite the fact that none of the above-listed are a source of pure rejuvenation, their consumption on a daily basis can slow the ageing process substantially.
Nuts are a good source of protein. They don’t contain cholesterol and are the finest replacement for fats from meat. Researchers showed that the risk of stroke decreases among people who eat foods rich in vitamin E (including nuts) when a group of 35,000 women was studied.
The best sources to consider: almond thanks to its high vitamin E content, pecan as it contains many antioxidants, and walnut as it has more omega-3 fatty acids.
- Add a handful of crushed nuts to your daily breakfast — wholegrains, yoghurts, salads and vegetables.
- Have a mouthful of almonds (about 24 nuts) to provide yourself half your daily requirement of vitamin E.
- Prepare a sandwich with peanut butter and wholegrain bread.
- Make a paste with one average-sized frozen banana, half a teaspoon of fat-free yoghurt, a quarter cup of crushed walnuts and two teaspoons of sugar (optional).
Fish contains many omega-3 fatty acids which decrease the risk of arterial thrombosis, lower the level of triglycerides (lipids) in the blood, contribute to lower arterial pressure and even reduce the risk of sudden death. Fish is a rich source of protein and it contains a relatively small amount of saturated fat and cholesterol.
The best sources are salmon, sardines and canned tuna. These fish contain the highest amount of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Prepare at least two fish dishes a week instead of using fatty meat.
- Add canned tuna or salmon to your salads instead of chicken and cheese.
Olive oil is a rich source of monounsaturated fats and is good for the heart useful for the heart vegetative components. In addition, olive oil doesn’t contain the trans-fats that can be found in some margarines and other foods. One study showed that the more saturated and trans-fats were consumed by elderly people aged 65 and over, the faster their cognitive abilities declined.
The ideal source is extra virgin olive oil as this is the most beneficial for health. Recently, experts discovered that extra virgin olive oil is better than any other type of oil and can increase the level of lipoprotein (good cholesterol) in men. Extra virgin olive oil also contains oleocanthal — a substance that can imitate the action of anti-inflammatory medicines including aspirin and ibuprofen.
- Olive oil is useful. But don’t consume too much as it also contains many calories. Restrict yourself to using just 5-7 teaspoons a day.
- Prepare a salad sauce using one part olive oil and three parts balsamic vinegar.
- Choose olive oil over butter and margarine.
- Chop some broccoli, sweet potato, a normal potato and a carrot, coat them in olive oil and stew in the oven at 205°C until they’re ready to eat.