Diet and Aging

Last week we took a look at bones, vision and hearing and then finished off the week with a delicious salad recipe incorporating some of the foods recommended. This week we finish off our series on aging with the all-important heart and some recommendations for overall health.
How does aging affect our heart?
In the process of aging, blood vessels lose their elasticity and fatty deposition on the artery walls narrows the arteries, resulting in decreased blood flow. These factors make the heart work harder in order to pump blood around the body.
What can we do to help…
Avoiding unhealthy fats such as saturated and trans fatty acids while increasing healthy fats such as monounsaturated fats. Important inclusions to a healthy heart include: Omega 3, CoQ10, fibre, magnesium, folate and antioxidants.
• Oats (they also contain Beta glucan)
• Beans/legumes
• Psyllium
Folic acid/ Folate
• Kale
• Avocado
• Asparagus
*Omega-3 from vegetable sources are now as important as fish! Recent research is demonstrating the importance of ALA omega-3s found in sources such as flaxseed and are recommending incorporating a mixture of both in your diet.
For overall healthy aging and disease prevention
Although aging comes with its own discomforts like aches, pains, sags and forgetfulness; regular exercise, good nutrition, relaxation techniques, keeping stress under control and taking good care of your body and brain can ensure a more active and pain-free old age.
Some nutritional inclusions for overall healthy aging:
• CoQ10 can be beneficial for it effect on the heart, as an antioxidant and can also boost energy levels, which typically decline with age.
• Acetyl-L-Carnitine (an amino acid found in protein) helps maintain the body’s normal enzyme activity, reversing some aspects of the aging process and improving both physical vigour and brain function.
• Vitamin D- countless studies reveal that if people don’t get enough vitamin D, they are more likely to succumb to a wide variety of diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, infection, cancer, and depression.
• B12- As we age our stomach acid decreases and this affects the absorption of certain nutrients including B12. B12 is important for a myriad of body functions including red blood cells.
• Zinc is required for over 300 enzymic reactions in the body; it also plays a vital role in normal immune function. With advancing ageing, there is a progressive decline in immune responses. Zinc also possess antioxidant activity and is especially important for older males as it is required for prostatic health.
• Water is always important. This can also be in the form of herbal teas.
• Focus on antioxidants- these free radical fighting miracles help with all aspects of aging and thus form the basis for healthy aging.

The process of aging is unavoidable, however the effects of which vary from person to person and so does its severity. Why we grow old is an enigma, but it is a universal truth which cannot be challenged, and there is no magic capsule or tablet invented yet to stop the process of ‘aging’.
Points to remember:
• Antioxidants should be a focus
• Vitamin D and Calcium for healthy bones
• Good fats such as omega-3s
• Leafy green vegetables
• Berries for their abundant antioxidant benefits and delicious taste
• Ensure adequate protein intake
• Eat a variety of foods daily
This concludes our 3 week blog on aging, keep a look out for this week’s recipe.


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