Many of us are worried about how we will age on the outside, wrinkles, grey hair etc. But putting our cosmetic aspirations to one side, aging internally is a much more serious issue which can really affect our quality of life. Implementing some of the dietary advice below will having you not just looking great, but feeling great.
- Make protein a part of every meal.
Protein is vital to retaining your muscle mass as you age. We naturally lose muscle as we age, due to lowering testosterone levels, and of course lack of activity. Having effective muscle mass keeps your body strong and balanced which in turn will greatly assist your mobility as you age. Protein can be from such a wide variety of foods, meaning that it’s easy to incorporate it into your diet, if you’re not already doing so. Meats, dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes are just a few of a many options. It’s also important to recognise that we can only digest a certain amount of protein per sitting, believed to be in the range of 20g per meal, so with that in mind try to spread out your intake during the day, and not just have one monster steak!
- Eat an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich diet.
You’re a human being, so you’ve almost certainly heard that you should eat your fruit and veg before, but perhaps knowing exactly how it benefits you will help you make that change. Load up with fruit and veg of all different colour to get those vital antioxidants. Oxidation is a natural process that occurs in cells, creating free radicals, which can damage the body. Naturally it follows that antioxidants help protect you from that damage. You can find them in Berries, Tomatoes and Peppers to name but a few.
In addition, an anti-inflammatory diet is absolutely vital to maintaining good health as we age. Getting Omega-3s incorporated into your diet is the way to do so. You’ll find them in fatty fish, as well as extra virgin olive oil and oils derived from seeds and nuts. And exercise helps massively with inflammation, too.
- Don’t rapidly lose weight.
Maintaining a healthy weight is universally regarded as a positive thing for your health, but where weight is lost rapidly, either unintentionally through illness or intentionally through calorie restriction. Often in cases of fast weight loss, it is muscle mass that is lost, which as we discussed previously, is one of the vital things to retain for mobility and strength.
Nobody is telling you not to lose those excess pounds, far from it. But it’s much better to do it slowly with healthy, nutritious adjustments to your long term diet rather than extreme calorie slashing.
- Cultivate a healthy gut
Research shows that cultivating a healthy gut can have a whole slew of wonderful effects on the body. A diet that is rich in probiotics, high fibre, yogurt with active cultures would help with a healthy body overall. Consumption of fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut are great for your gut, along with fibrous vegetables. Ideally, you’ll find unprocessed sources that are close to their natural state as possible, to reap the most benefits.
- Get the right Vitamin profile
We know that as you age, skin gets thinner, drier and loses elasticity. Compounds called carotenoids can boost the antioxidant capacity of the skin. You’ll find that oranges, peppers, egg yolks and corn are wonderful sources of carotenoids – basically keep an eye out for red, orange, green and yellow coloured foods – natural ones of course! Again, a coloured diet helps immensely.
Additionally, Vitamin E also has great skin benefits, and many Americans don’t get enough. Try adding foods like Almonds and sunflower seeds to your diet to help with this.