How Nutrition Affects Aging
Just as we know that diet can affect our health in many ways, we now know that the way we eat can affect how we age. This is really good news, because it gives people some control over their own aging process. It is clear that what many suspected all along is actually true – you may look and feel older if you eat the wrong food. As we age it becomes even more important to pay attention to diet and nutrition. Holistic nutrition practitioners can guide people in eating foods that promote natural aging and do not accelerate the aging process.
Foods that Promote Natural Aging
Oxidants are the byproducts of normal metabolism that can damage the body. They contribute to a host degenerative diseases associated with aging, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, brain dysfunction, cataracts and the decline of the immune system. We can battle oxidants by eating foods that contain antioxidants such as fruits and vegetables to slow the aging process. Other foods can slow aging by boosting our immune system and cleansing the body of toxic substances.
- Berries: Berries are rich in antioxidants that promote healthy cells and protect against disease.
- Avocados: In addition to a healthy dose of antioxidants, avocados provide vitamin E and potassium.
- Dark Greens: Dark green leafy vegetables fight free radicals with antioxidants. Try kale and spinach to protect you from UV rays.
- Garlic: Garlic is an antibacterial and antiviral food that can give a boost to the immune system.
- Whole Grains: Oats, quinoa and brown rice are good sources of fiber that keep the bowel moving and rid the body of toxins. They also lower the risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
- Nuts: Scientists now tell us that eating nuts can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease, infectious diseases and kidney disease. Studies suggest that seven servings of nuts per week can reduce mortality by 20 percent.
- A Glass of Wine: The resveratrol in red wine can prevent blood clots and protect your heart. But studies suggest that we don’t go overboard – one glass per day is enough.
Food that Can Accelerate the Aging Process
On the other hand, there are some foods that should be avoided to prevent premature aging. Sugar is a big culprit, as well as wheat products like bread, muffins and bagels that can also raise your blood sugar level. Corn based foods like those that contain corn syrup, corn oil, corn cereal and corn chips can also contribute to aging. Trans fats that are found in many processed foods clog the arteries, stiffen blood vessels and age the skin. Trans fats also raise “bad” cholesterol and lower “good” cholesterol levels, which makes it more likely that you will get heart disease.
So to age at a natural pace, reach for a snack of nuts, berries or a glass of wine, and stay away from cookies and corn chips.