We all know that eating a healthy diet is good for us, but more specifically it can help with healthy aging. There is more and more research suggesting that the type of foods we eat is related to longevity of life. Eating healthy not only makes you look younger and feel younger, it may even slow down the aging process. First, eating healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish and nuts increases the body’s overall health and can reduce the risk of conditions such as heart disease and diabetes which can lead to an earlier age of death. As we grow older the body systems need more help to do their jobs and promote healthy aging. This help is available by making sure you get the right nutrition to support the body during the aging process.
Foods For Healthy Aging
For a healthier, longer life here are some tips on foods and nutrients you can add to your diet and how they help with healthy aging.
Bright Colored Fruits and Vegetables
These foods are full of antioxidants. Antioxidants help prevent damage to healthy cells from free radicals and fight off disease. One way to tell if you are getting enough antioxidants in your diet for healthy aging is to look in the mirror. Wrinkles can be a sign of cell damage or cells that are dying. Antioxidant rich foods include tomatoes, leafy greens, blueberries, raspberries, carrots, peaches, bell peppers, cantaloupe, cherries, brussel sprouts, broccoli, and beets.
The antioxidant resveratrol can help the body with healthy aging by reducing your risk of cancer, heart disease and early aging. This antioxidant is found in grapes, peanuts and red wine. The antioxidants vitamin C, zinc and beta-carotene, such as found in spinach, kale and other dark green leafy vegetables, can help with eye health and vision problems that occur as we age. Yellow and green vegetables are particularly helpful in keeping skin looking more youthful.
Getting enough foods with omega-3 fatty acids in the diet can help lower cholesterol, fight inflammation, increase brain health as we age and reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and heart attack. There is some research that suggests it can also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The best food sources for omega-3 is fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, herring and lake trout. Other food sources for omega-3 are flaxseed, blue green algae, walnuts, olive oil, edamame, wild rice, soybean oil, spinach, kale and chia seeds
Whole grains are rich in fiber that help keep blood vessels healthy, may reduce the risk of cancer, are good for heart health, reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes and keeps blood sugar levels balanced. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the risk of death from heart disease can be reduced by 17% for every additional 10 grams of fiber you eat daily. Good food sources for fiber include oats, brown rice, barley, wheat, quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, apples and raspberries.
Low fat dairy foods give you the calcium and vitamin D needed for bone health and help prevent osteoporosis. Choosing low fat dairy helps in the fight against high cholesterol levels while still getting the nutrients that keep bones strong and healthy. As we age the body doesn’t produce as much new bone to replace the natural process of bone loss. Other food sources for calcium include spinach, bok choy, mustard greens, sardines, fortified cereals and juices, beans, tofu, and fish. Vitamin D can also be found in cod liver oil, fish such as tuna and salmon, and egg yolks
Most of us know there are different types of fats and that some are good fats and some are not. Monounsaturated fatty acids can actually help with healthy aging and help us live longer. It can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. Nuts such as almonds and pistachios, olive oil and avocado are good sources of these healthy fats.
As we age we have more damage to body cells. The body needs protein to repair these cells. Beans are a good source of protein as an alternative to red meat. This is a good way to get the protein you need without the saturated fat found in meats which can increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Fat free milk, egg whites, tofu, chicken, pork, and turkey are other good lean sources for protein.
Supplements for Healthy Aging
In addition to adding the above nutrition into your diet, nutritional supplements can help you get enough antioxidants, omega-3, calcium and other nutrition that you aren’t getting from your food sources. There are other supplements that can also help in the quest for healthy aging.
Stem Cell Support
Stem cells occur naturally in most body organs and tissues and help with our overall general health. They are different than other body cells in that they are able to divide and renew themselves for long periods, and are able to develop into other types of cells. When a stem cell divides, it can either remain a stem cell or become a red blood cell, muscle cell, skin cell or any one of the many other cells in our bodies. These new cells can migrate to the areas they are needed most as we age and where problems are occurring to repair damage.
Adult stem cells are already in our bodies and are not controversial like embryonic stem cell use is. They maintain and renew body tissue, help in maintaining a healthy immune system as well as with other health conditions. As we get older, we don’t produce as many adult stem cells and they don’t regenerate themselves as fast as when we were younger. This is where supplementation can help. Research has shown that certain nutrients such as are present in a stem cell support supplement can help promote the renewal of stem cells. It provides nutrition that supports the growth of stem cells and provides antioxidants that protect existing stem cells from free radical damage. Using this type of supplement can help counteract the reduction in the body’s ability to regenerate stem cells as we age.
According to Dr. Edward Howell, known for his enzyme research, Food Enzymes for Health Longevity:
“Diets deficient in enzymes cause a 30% reduction in life-span.”
Eating mostly processed and cooked foods depletes the active enzymes in our diets. These enzymes are necessary for good digestive health and immune system support. Not getting enough enzymes from the foods we eat puts strain on the pancreas, liver and spleen to replace the enzymes we are not getting from our foods. Adding an enzyme supplement to the diet can insure that we get the necessary enzymes to digest food and reduce stress on the body.
Enzymes can help with healthy aging in a variety of ways. Amylase helps with the well-being of the mind and body and relieves mental fatigue. Not getting enough of this enzyme can result in an unbalanced blood sugar level and mood swings. Lipase helps the body to store and break down fat. A lack of this enzyme can affect circulation, affect the immune system by inhibiting the circulation of white blood cells, increase cholesterol levels and contribute to high blood pressure. Cellulase helps with the breaking down and assimilation of cellulose into glucose which is a form of sugar the body can easily absorb and use for energy. A lack of this enzyme can cause bloating, excessive gas and abdominal pain. To insure you are getting enough enzymes, adding a high quality digestive enzyme supplement to your diet can make a tremendous difference.
Give yourself the best chance at leading a long and healthy life by making sure your diet has the nutrition it needs for healthy aging. Then go a step further and make sure your body is able to use that nutrition to its benefit by adding high quality nutritional supplements. We all want to remain healthy and active as we age and getting the right nutritional help is the key.
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