As I hit the “Big 4-0” today, I might as well embrace it in the best way possible: by discussing optimum nutrition & lifestyle choices.
Ageing is inevitable, but the speed at which we age is not. There is so much you can do to slow the ageing process. We need to consider not only adding years to our life, but how to add life to our years! The decisions we make from our 40s onwards can directly influence our quality of life in later year. For many of us, optimum nutrition can add 10 healthy years to our lives. Genes account for a quarter of how we manage the ageing process – the rest is down to diet and lifestyle.
Incorporating exercise and optimum nutrition into your everyday lifestyle slows down aging. You will enjoy clearer skin, glossy hair, a firm, toned and fit body, and an agile mind. This can help boost your immunity which helps to protect yourself from physical and mental degenerative diseases and enjoy a healthier, longer life.
Avoid or reduce stress
Sleep well. Avoiding or reducing stress may prove to be an important life extension factor. Prolonged stress causes depletion of the adrenal hormone DHEA. Low DHEA levels are associated with an increased risk of many chronic diseases, including Alzheimer’s, cancer and heart disease, and of ageing in general.
Include the omega-3 and -6 essential fats in your diet
An important component of a healthy ageing diet are the omega-3 and -6 essential fats. Not only do essential fats keep cell membranes smooth and soft, they also help the membranes to do a better job of controlling what goes in and out of cells. Without enough fats in the cell membranes, they are not able to retain water and lose their plumpness. So include plenty of healthy fatty foods in your diet, such as fish, coconut oil, butter, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. Have seeds in salads, as snacks, or ground up and on granola, yoghurt or soup.
Eat whole grains
Given the importance of keeping our digestive tract and liver in good working order, it is important to have a diet that includes unprocessed foods naturally high in fibre, such as whole grains, vegetables, lentils and beans.
Eat more raw food
Cooking destroys enzymes and vitamins, and minerals may be thrown out with the cooking liquid. Overcooking leads to free radical formation and poor absorption of nutrients and any process that turns food brown produces carcinogenic compounds. So cut down on the microwave, cooker, grill oven and toaster, and start eating more salads, fresh juices and blended foods.
Eat more antioxidant foods
The deeper the pigment, the more antioxidants a fruit or vegetable contains. Carrots and tomatoes contain beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, vitamin C is found in fruit and veg and vitamin E is found in seeds, nuts and fish. Anthocyanidins are high in blue and purple foods, such as berries and red grapes.
Exercise 30 mins daily
Cardio exercise is an all-natural way to lift your mood, improve your memory, and protect your brain against age-related cognitive decline. In other words, it’s the closest thing to a miracle drug that we have. A wealth of research suggests that any type of exercise that raises your heart rate and gets you moving and sweating for a sustained period of time has a significant and beneficial effect on the brain as well as your heart.
Following a blood sugar balancing lifestyle
It often seems like there can’t be a single best diet for your health. But a growing body of research suggests that a meal plan focusing on vegetables, protein, and healthy fats has key benefits for losing weight, keeping the mind sharp, and protecting the heart and brain as you age.
No other habit has been so strongly tied to death. In addition to cancer, smoking causes heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis
Sticking to a healthy body weight
When it comes to quickly assessing the health of large groups of people, a measure called body mass index, or BMI, can be helpful. Generally speaking, a BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered within the “healthy range” for healthy adults over age 20. Because of this, it makes sense that the latest study used this BMI range to define what they considered an “optimal” body weight. Essentially, they found that people who fell within that BMI range tended to outlive people who fell outside of it and were either overweight or underweight.