Diet and Aging
Aging is normally associated with wrinkles, dark spots, hair loss and many other things, but it is much more than this. Aging is a process not only related to superficial physical changes, but also related to psychological changes.
Gradually and progressively our bodies begin to function less effectively, and that increasing loss of function makes us more vulnerable to disease. The cells in our body are constantly changing, some get destroyed or die; concurrently new cells are formed every minute, this is what accounts for our body’s growth.
Although aging is more visible externally, there are a lot of internal effects of aging as well. As we age, it is important for all of us to know the difference between abnormal and normal course of aging. Over the next 3 weeks we will look at the organs affected and what we can do to help healthy aging.
How does aging affect Skin and Hair?
Skin and hair are our visible indicators of aging. Skin begins to develop wrinkles and dark spots; this is mainly due to the loss of the skins ability to produce oils, resulting in dry and lustreless skin. Hair becomes thinner than normal and loses pigment resulting in changes in hair colour.
What nutrients can help…
Mostly antioxidants of various kinds will be of benefit here. Antoxidants protect the skin form free radical damage. Some examples are:
- CoQ10- Found in hearts, so users usually supplement with this.
- Resveratrol-Found in grape skin, blueberries, red wine, peanuts and also sold as grape seed extract.
- Pterostilbene- Closely related to resveratrol and found in the same foods.
- Green tea
- Goji berries
- Dark chocolate
These foods contain a plethora of antioxidant phytonutrients that synergistically help in the fight against free radicals.
How does aging effect the Brain?
The brain, by far the most complex part of the human body; this complex organ consists of different areas and several types of tissues that undergo structural changes. While some brain regions remain stable others shrink as we age.
As the brain ages it can affect the ability of the brain to encode or decode new memories and facts, while processing speed and reflexes decline. Brain aging can also put one through the risk of having neurological diseases Alzheimer’s and so on.
What nutrients can help…
Omega 3’s are the most important inclusion for a healthy brain, in particular DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)-this particular omega-3 fat is essential for keeping you sharp as you get older.
Omega 3’s can be found in such foods as:
- Flaxseed oil
- Chia seeds
Also important are antioxidants as these can protect the brain.
Keep an eye out for the healthy aging recipe that incorporates some of these essential foods. Next week we will look at how bones, vision and hearing are affected by aging.