Articles

Healthy Aging

28th September 2016 | Written by Louise Blanchfield

As we get older our bodies don’t work as effectively as they did when we were younger and our recovery times from injury get longer. I have heard GPs saying that if you look after yourself in your 30s and 40s then the diseases that usually appear in your 50s can be delayed or even avoided.

So, how do we eat to not only make us feel good but also delay some of the downsides of advancing in age?

In general:

  • Eat a varied diet of wholefoods with plenty of fruit and vegetables
  • Stick to wholegrain versions of bread and pasta
  • Avoid processed food – these deplete vitamins and minerals from the body to process them
  • Avoid high sugar food – this depletes vitamins and minerals from the body to process it
  • Avoid caffeine – coffee, tea, fizzy drinks – these stimulate your adrenals which are your stress system and put extra ‘load’ on your body
  • Avoid alcohol – this depletes vitamins and minerals from the body to process it
  • Avoid skipping meals – this causes cortisol release – your stress hormone which puts extra strain on your body
  • Balance your blood sugar – see other article on the food physio website
  • Avoid overeating – again, it causes extra ‘load’ on your system
  • Eat balanced snacks and meals that always contain protein, complex unrefined carbohydrates, and the right fats (coconut milk, olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, flax oil)
  • Exercise regularly – choose sports that suit your age and you enjoy – you won’t keep doing something if it’s not fun to do
  • Get involved with your local community –research shows that if you feel valued and have a purpose you live longer
  • Reduce stress – for obvious reasons!
  • Get your 10 minutes of sunshine a day so you get your vitamin D (if it’s safe for you or take a supplement if living in a northern country between October and march)
  • Get your 8 hours of sleep a night
  • Be happy!

We can also eat to make an extra effort to delay ageing…these foods include:

  • Eat 8-10 fruits and vegetables per day – they contain antioxidants that ‘mop up’ damage in our bodies. Include cooked tomatoes, broccoli, sweet potatoes, sprouts, carrots, spinach, strawberries, peppers, oranges and apples for example
  • Eat blueberries regularly as they may delay ageing itself due to their powerful antioxidant abilities
  • Drink green tea – this can help delay skin ageing!

Other nutrients that can help include:

  • Resveratrol – found in red wine! One glass a day only though as more than this has negative effects on health. Unfortunately, for women even one glass can increase the risk of hormone related cancers (breast & ovarian) so this is more aimed at men. Life can be so unfair!
  • Turmeric – is extremely anti-inflammatory and an all round excellent spice to include in your cooking regularly
  • Folic acid – found in green leafy vegetables – it helps your liver to function well by increasing what we call methylation (it’s a way to detox)
  • B Vitamins, especially B12 – this can be reduced in the elderly (as we get older stomach acid production declines and we need this to extract B12 from our diet) and is needed for optimum nerve health amongst other things
  • Omega 3s – find them in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines plus ground linseed – they’re strongly anti-inflammatory
  • Magnesium – found in dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds – needed for multiple reasons in the body. It relaxes muscles, is needed or energy production, helps calcium use in the body, dilates blood vessels and is a very calming mineral that can help you sleep
  • Calcium – to maintain good bone health

 

Of course, we are all different and what’s right for one person is not right for all. So, if you have any existing health issues your requirements may be greater than those around you or you may need to avoid particular foods. The only way to get a programme that’s specific to you is to book your own individual programme here now. It will not only make you feel better now but can also help you reduce the stress on your body produced from day to day life and help you age as best you can!

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