When you think about your diet, you may not realize that it can have a significant effect on how you age. While aging is inevitable, there are things you can do to help reduce the signs of aging. Eating a well-balanced diet that is rich in vitamins and nutrients can help reduce your risk of developing certain illnesses and even fight the physical signs of aging. Here are some of the ways your diet can affect your health as you age in positive and negative ways.
Sensory Neurons Delay Aging
Studies have found that sensory neurons can help fight some signs of aging. These include taste and smell, which are associated with food and eating. Just seeing, smelling, and tasting food, can help your brain stay sharp and help improve your mood. These same senses can help reduce obesity. Certain foods can affect your sensory neurons differently and healthy foods tend to have the most positive impacts on these neurons and help reduce the signs of aging.
Amount Of Food Eaten
The amount of food you eat can also affect how you age. People who consume more food or who eat more than their daily caloric recommendation are much more likely to suffer health problems related to aging.
A higher caloric diet can contribute to obesity, heart disease, certain types of cancer, and other health issues. Certain portions of different foods can also have an impact on your weight and overall health. Eating large portions of healthier food is much better than eating large portions of unhealthy foods 一 doing the latter can cause health problems that become more severe as you age.
Memory loss is a problem many people face when they age, but some foods that contain nutrients that will help reduce memory loss and illnesses that contribute to it. Foods that contain Omega-3s can help fight memory loss.
Berries, apples, and chocolate have all been found to help protect the brain from memory loss and certain neurological problems as well as keeping the mind sharp. Other foods such as tomatoes and honey also contain high levels of vitamin B, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and antioxidants that can help improve cognitive ability and fight off diseases that affect the brain and memory.
As you age, you tend to lose energy and feel more tired. You may not be able to do many of the things you could do at a younger age. Even simple things such as walking to the mailbox or tying your shoes can make you feel out of breath and tired. Many foods can help keep you healthy so you are more likely to have plenty of energy.
A healthy diet can help keep your bones and muscles strong so you can work out, which can also increase your energy levels. Many foods contain iron, protein, and vitamin B12, which can help increase your energy levels as well. Brown rice, bananas, and peppermint tea have all been found to naturally boost energy levels.
Your immune system may become weaker with age. This is why some elderly people are more susceptible to common illnesses such as the flu or a cold. It can also be harder for them to fight off these illnesses. If you are worried that your immune system may become weaker as you age, your diet can help you improve it.
Foods that are high in vitamin C, zinc, and magnesium can help boost your immune system. Foods that contain these nutrients include citrus fruits, bell peppers, broccoli, and garlic. Eating a well-balanced diet can help make your immune system stronger as you age.
Bone health is always a concern for aging individuals. Bone density changes with age, causing bones to become brittle and more susceptible to breakage. Certain foods can help improve bone density to help reduce injuries, osteoporosis, and other disorders that affect the bones.
Dairy foods are typically high in vitamin D, which has been found to help build strong bones. Foods such as yogurt, cheese, and milk are great examples. Almonds, artichokes, beans, and asparagus are also high in vitamin D and can help reduce the effects of aging on bone health.
Some people don’t think about the way their dental health affects their overall quality of life and how certain foods can affect their dental health. Foods that are high in sugar can cause dental problems that can lead to cavities, tooth loss, and gum disease. Over time, the sugar weakens teeth and causes them to fail.
Foods that are high in vitamin D and calcium can improve tooth and gum health, and fight off certain oral diseases that are more common in the elderly. Celery, apples, pears, and leafy greens can all help improve the health of your teeth and gums and help you keep your own natural teeth longer.
Skin and Hair Health
If you are worried about gray hair and wrinkles as you age, it could all be affected by your diet. Wrinkles and fine lines are common with aging but it can be a problem many people struggle with. Treating wrinkles and age lines can be as simple as changing your diet.
Many foods contain nutrients that help moisturize the skin and improve elasticity. This helps reduce wrinkles and other physical signs of aging. Avocado, salmon, and buckwheat are a few examples of foods that can help improve your skin’s health.
If you are noticing changes in your hair, there are certain foods that can help with that as well. Almonds, seaweed, and lentils have all been found to help make hair healthier so it’s less likely to lose melanin and turn gray with age. While foods may not be able to reverse gray hair, they can help reduce the amount of gray hair that you see or how fast your hair turns gray.
Oxidative stress can take its toll on the body and it becomes more severe as people age. It can prevent the body from detoxifying, which can lead to toxins and free radicals moving through the organ and bloodstream, causing disease and illness. This can increase a person’s risk for cancer and other health problems.
Your diet can help reduce the oxidative stress in your body. Certain foods contain polyphenols, which have been found to aid in reducing oxidative stress and inflammation throughout the body. This can help reduce general pain, improve mobility, increase organ function, and boost the immune system. Foods such as pecans, goji berries, and dark chocolate are all great at fighting oxidative stress and inflammation.
There are many degenerative diseases that can be prevented with a proper diet. The best way to fight these diseases is to avoid the foods that cause inflammation and other diseases. These are foods that include a lot of preservatives, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and a high amount of sodium. Many snack foods such as candy, cookies, cakes, potato chips, food fried in cooking oil, refined flour, and foods that are processed are some to avoid.
If you must snack between meals, avoid junk food and instead turn to fruits and vegetables. Not only are these foods less likely to have any of the additives that can lead to specific degenerative diseases, but they are more likely to have good vitamins and nutrients that your body needs to help fight off illness, boost energy, reduce the risk of obesity, and have a general feeling of well being.
So, What Should You Eat?
There are so many nutritional discussions out there, it can be hard to know what train of thought to follow. The best plan for you is the plan that works best for your body, lifestyle, budget. Maybe there’s something to be said for a raw, vegan diet to promote youthfulness, but most of us don’t have that kind of time. But you can include some raw plants into your diet. Need a snack? We all know an apple beats a bag of chips for your waistline, but did you know it’s also better for your skin and hair?
In order to stick with a healthful plan, it must be doable. Meal prepping can be a great way to save time and energy during the week and you’ll always have a healthy meal ready to go. Keep a snack in your purse or the car instead of reaching for the tempting treats staring you down at the checkout.
What Do You Drink?
Of course, you know the best thing for you to drink is pure water. It’s just not very exciting. You can make your own infused waters with whatever flavoring you like. Try a combination of flavors, get creative with it!
While caffeine does a reasonable job of keeping fatigue at bay, it can have many undesired side effects such as dehydration and increased anxiety. Being anxious all the time is not only unpleasant and exhausting, but you’ll outwardly notice the signs with worry lines and dull skin.
What About Supplements?
Supplemental vitamins and solutions can be a tricky balance. While most of these products won’t do you harm when taken unnecessarily, your wallet won’t take kindly to it. In most instances, your body can’t use more than it needs, so disposes of the extra. That’s some expensive pee!
A great way to see what you might need to add to your routine is by having a blood panel drawn. This will show where you may have deficiencies. If you’re taking something and it makes you feel good, by all means, stick with it. But if you don’t really notice a difference, it’s just one more thing to do.
Diet’s Connection With Aging
When you think about aging and ways to slow down the signs and reduce common health problems associated with growing older, you may not think about your diet as a contributing factor. The truth is, your diet has a huge impact on your overall health and as you age, your nutritional requirements change and become even more important.
It’s best to maintain a healthful diet and learn good eating habits at an early age and keep them throughout your life, but it’s never too late to get healthier. There are ways to adjust your diet to help improve your health and fight the physical and mental signs of aging. If you need help deciding what you should be eating or which vitamins and nutrients to consume, talk to your doctor or nutritionist and create a diet plan that works best for you.