Your future depends on how you understand the concept of nutrition and how you can initiate repair in your enemy within! People are changing much more quickly than their physical and social environments, that most women expected to live in their 80s, may unfortunately discover the health care and social systems haven’t quite caught up. Aging does not come without challenges.
Living longer may put you in a dilemma for facing the risk of chronic diseases as well as discovering that the American health care system is not equipped to deal with long term conditions on a large scale. Do today’s medical practitioners have the skills and right understanding to properly treat older adults or the Baby Boomer population? Do they fully understand the needs of an aging adult?
Aging but healthy is a concept not fully understood by the humans. Growing old gracefully with less wrinkles and a healthy, strong body requires a real investment. Most people focused on preparing for their financial futures, but failed to devote time for personal health and wellness.
Wellness is the state of being aware about keeping a healthy and fulfilling life, which involves a dynamic process of change and growth. Maintaining an optimal level of wellness is critical to living a better quality of life. General optimal wellness may include nutrition, food choices, portions, and subduing stress.
There are 8 dimensions of wellness, which you may not be aware of. They are the Emotional, Environmental, Financial, Intellectual, Occupational, Physical, Social, and Spiritual. For this discussion, we are going to discuss about the Physical Wellness, which promotes the proper care of the body for optimal health and functioning. This means taking the responsibility of your own health.
Aging but healthy refers to achieving optimal levels of activity and maintaining the proper nutrition that leads to an improved overall Emotional Wellness. Understanding the relationship between the physical and mental health is important in developing a balanced physical wellness and an aging but healthy diet meal plan.
Aging but healthy do not focus on chronological age, but the concept of biological age. Staying healthy and feeling your best is important at any age. As you grow older, you experienced a number of life’s major changes.
The way most people handle these changes is the key to staying healthy. Coping with change can be difficult for you, but you need to ultimately find and follow your own unique formula for staying healthy as you age, that may directly relate to your eating habits, environment, and relationships.
Healthy aging means continually reinventing yourself and finding new ways to adapt to change as you pass through landmark ages of 60, 70 and 80 or beyond. If you believe in, and have confidence, you can set up a positive environment for change no matter what your age.
Focus on the things you can control and accept the things you can’t change. Let go and let God! This has been my motto ever since I got struck by my herniated discs.
Face your limitations with grace and dignity. Accept what you cannot do and rejoice in what you can do to effect change in your life!
The key recipe in aging but healthy, is your ability to still find meaning and joy in life. Getting older doesn’t necessarily mean you have bigger medical condition issues or living a poor quality of life. It is always about you and how you perceive life!
Height. By age 80, it is common to have lost as much as 2 inches in height, because of normal changes related to posture and compression of joints, spinal bones, and spinal discs.
Hearing. May be difficult for you to hear, which includes changes in tone and experiencing a less clear speech. This speed up after 55.
Vision. The eyes become less flexible, that at the age of 40, most people need reading glasses. Your night vision and visual sharpness normally decline.
Hair. Gradually thins as the pigment cells decline. Gray hair growth increases.
Skin. More lined and wrinkled, less elastic, drier, and experienced pigmentation.
Sleep. Changes in the circadian rhythm, sleep less at night, lighter sleep, wake up during the night, and wake up early in the morning.
There are many physical changes that we can discuss, but we have to focus only in the aspect of nutrition for this article. As you age, lean body mass is lost, and you experience a decrease of your basal energy metabolism.
As your body fat increases with age, your metabolic rate also becomes slower. To avoid gaining weight, you should follow a low carb diet, as well as try to increase your physical activity for energy balance.
Nutrition can be the major factor in all changes that were noted above. Aging can definitely slow the immune system’s response in making antibodies.
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Nutrition for healthy aging
How your body ages depend on your lifestyle choices. Nutrition is an important determinant of health for most people over the age of 65. Many elderly face an increased risk for malnutrition. Eating right and being physically active are keys to staying healthy throughout life.
As you grow older, your nutrient needs also changes, where variety and eating lots of fruits and vegetables can just be the simple answer. An anti aging fat loss diet meal plan that is low in saturated fats with five or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day can go a long way toward enhancing your health.
Nutrition experts recommend consuming as much of a variety of colors and types of fruits and vegetables as you can. The amount you should eat depends on your age, sex and activity level.
In general, women over 50 should eat 2 cups of vegetables and 1 ½ cups of fruit daily. Men over 50 should eat 2 ½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit daily.
Carbohydrates categorized as high glycemic load are found in table sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and white flour. They quickly stress the pancreas and raise the high blood glucose levels.
Brown rice and cereals or 7 grain cooked cereal are much healthier, because they give you the fiber you need to prevent diabetes and heart disease.
The cost of good food may be quite a challenge, especially if your pension is not enough for your cost of living allowance. Getting older means that you now have special nutritional needs and issues that can make it more difficult to eat the right balance of nutritious foods.
If you do not adjust your eating patterns and take your new needs into consideration when you eat, you may begin to suffer from malnutrition or a nutrient imbalance. This is pretty scary at old age!
These are common problems among older people
- Under nutrition, when you do not eat enough food. This may lead to an extreme weight loss.
- Over nutrition, when you become less physically active but continue to eat as you did when you were younger. This can lead to obesity.
Aging but healthy is not a myth. This is very possible as long as you faithfully work on your aging senior’s diet meal plan and daily fitness routines. There has been an increasing scientific and clinical interest in the interactions of nutrition and health as part of the human aging process due to the important role that nutrition plays with lifespan.
Diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, or high triglycerides are all nutrition related problems you can modify. As you grow older and gain weight, your body moves toward a state of insulin resistance or Metabolic syndrome, which is also closely linked to overweight and a lack of physical activity.
As we all know, aging results in chronic low grade inflammation that is associated with an increased risk for disease, mortality and poor physical functioning. To reshape the future of nutrition and aging, you have to keep Aging but Healthy as your goal as you grow older.
Constant exposure to the environment, the things you eat, and stress from both inside and outside the human body can cause you to age over time! A well-balanced diet full of essential nutrients can help support a healthy life. Like everything else, the cardiovascular system goes through the aging process.
You should understand that eating right and staying fit are important no matter what your age. Choosing healthy foods is a smart thing to do, no matter how old you are! It is also important to understand that older adults have special nutrient needs to maintain good health.
Maintaining a healthy weight and getting needed nutrients is one of the most important things you can do for a healthy aging. Food provides nutrients you need as you age. Choose mostly plant foods, limit red meat, and avoid processed meat.
Learn how to eat for the way your body is designed. Understand the basic building blocks of nutrition and what they mean for your body and your health. If you understand how your body works, eating well becomes simple.
Use these tips to choose foods for better health at each stage of life. Aim to maintain a healthy weight throughout life. You have the power to improve your health. Health is a choice!
Most people do not get enough Vitamin B12. You can get this from fortified cereal, lean meat, and some fish and seafood, or if you are lazy like me, just go get a Vitamin B12 supplement.
Fiber and low calorie diet
Eat more fiber rich foods to lower your risk for heart disease, prevent Type 2 diabetes, and control your weight. Along with fruits and vegetables, eat more nuts, beans and peas. Kinds of whole grains may include brown rice, wild rice, oatmeal, quinoa, barley, bulgur, and spelt.
A high fiber diet makes you feel full longer, lowers blood sugar levels, lowers blood cholesterol levels, prevents constipation, protects the lining of the colon, dilutes harmful substances in the colon, and prevents cancer. Give your body a chance to adjust to more fiber and drink plenty of water.
Plant based foods
Research shows that by eating more foods that come from plants and less meat and dairy foods from animals, you promote a good digestion as well as maintain a healthy weight. The plant based foods contain the phytochemical natural compounds that prevent cell damage, which over time, may lead to cancer.
The best way to get these phytochemicals is to eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans. Aim to eat at least 7 servings of vegetables and fruits per day, which is equal to about 2 cups of each.
Eating enough protein is important in maintaining muscle mass, which you begin to lose as you get older. For lower cancer risk, try to limit animal based foods and add more beans and moderate amounts of nuts. Soy foods, fish and poultry can be good sources of protein.
If you eat meat, try to limit the amount to 18 ounces or less per week. Avoid processed meat except for special occasions. Researchers have found convincing evidence that links colorectal cancer risk to eating too much red meat (beef, lamb, and pork). The link with processed meat, such as ham, bacon, sausage, and bologna is even stronger. Eat these types of food occasionally!
This cannot be obtained from foods alone. Go out and get some sunlight during early mornings.
What to avoid?
- Avoid trans fat and saturated fat
- Avoid consuming salt and high sodium foods. Too much sodium may worsen high blood pressure and increase the risk of stroke while diets high in salted foods and foods preserved in salt can increase the risk for stomach cancer.
- Limit alcohol. Drinking alcohol is a cause of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, breast and colorectum.
Here is the MyPlate for Older Adults to give you an idea of what you should put on your plate, http://hnrca.tufts.edu/myplate/files/MPFOA2015.pdfMPFOA2015
Designed for the policy makers and health professionals, the MyPlate Dietary Guidelines aimed to help people improve their overall eating patterns. A large body of evidence now shows that healthy eating patterns and a regular physical activity can help people achieve and maintain good health and reduce the risk of chronic disease.nutrition-for-healthy-aging
See the PDF below from the US Department of Health and Human Service and the US Department of Agriculture about the Dietary Guideline for Americans2015-2020_Dietary_Guidelines
Italian researchers tested the effects of cocoa flavanols in 90 healthy 61- to 85-year-olds whose memories and thinking skills were in good shape for their ages. Participants drank a special brew of cocoa flavanols each day. One group’s brew contained a low amount of cocoa flavanols (48 milligrams [mg] a day), another’s contained a medium amount (520 mg), and the third’s contained a high amount (993 mg).
After eight weeks, people who consumed medium and high amounts of cocoa flavanols every day made significant improvements on tests that measured attention, executive function, and memory. The findings were published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
A similar study by these researchers published in 2012 showed that daily consumption of cocoa flavanols was associated with improved thinking skills in older adults who did have thinking problems, a condition called mild cognitive impairment. And both studies found that cocoa flavanols were associated with reduced blood pressure and improved insulin resistance.
Flavanols in cocoa have been studied for many years. They have been shown to help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and heart, prevent blood clots, and fight cell damage.
The best way of getting cocoa flavanols is through cocoa powder that is as natural as possible and has not been processed through the Dutch method, which reduces the content of flavanols.
Try to find dark chocolate that has the highest concentration of flavonols per ounce. The darker chocolate with the most concentrated cocoa will be the most beneficial. High quality cocoa powder must be easily dissolved and have good flavor.
Aging Research. Nutrition for a healthy life. https://vimeo.com/158049002
Clifford, J., & Bellows, I. (2015). Nutrition and aging fact sheet no. 9.322. Colorado State University.
Godman, H. (2015). Cocoa: A sweet treat for the brain? Harvard.
Nutrition and aging. John Muir Health.
Nutrition and aging. Aging Research Org.
UC Davis. What is wellness? Shcs.UcDavis.edu
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available at https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/
Aging but healthy can be done! You only have to start changing the way you eat and develop a good anti aging fat loss diet meal plan that does not include eating fast foods, processed foods, and sugary or salty foods. Avoid eating with people who are not in your age group, because for sure you will be tempted to eat the way you eat when you were younger and that is not good for your ageing self. If you cannot avoid eating with your grand kids, then cook your own food and put them on the table for your own consumption. Aging but healthy goals have a lot of challenges and that is one of the major challenges you need to face every day of your life.