Diet and Aging: What to Eat as You Age

Diet and Aging: What to Eat as You Age

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Diet and Aging: What to Eat as You Age

“You are what you eat” 

You’ve probably heard the phrase a million times before, but only because food makes up such a huge part of how the bodily systems function over time. More than physical exercise, diet is a massive contributor to how well you age. But fear not, though it is better to maintain good food habits while young, there’s lots of research-backed diet advice you can follow even in your twilight years. Here are some superfoods as well as the best anti-aging products:  


  • Avocado: It is more than obvious to assume that as you age, fat loss increasingly becomes a Sisyphus-like task; dieting for weeks only to gain back all that you lost in one wedding buffet. But healthy fats are an important part of your daily diet. Avocado is a rich source of fiber and nutrients like folate, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6, C, E, and K. It is also high in good fats which help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. 

  • Pomegranate: Many who are familiar with the science of aging will have heard about the phrase “oxidative stress”. If not, oxidative stress is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body, leading to cell and tissue damage as well as inevitable aging. So how do we fight back? It’s simple: antioxidants! One food rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants is pomegranate. They also contain punicalagin, which is a compound that preserves collagen content in the skin, preventing signs of aging. 

  • Beans: Beans are a wonderful source of fat-free protein. Eating enough protein every day is vital for all age groups, but especially so for senior citizens. The average adult male requires about 56 grams a day, while the average adult woman requires about 46 grams a day. Protein is essential for energy creation, tissue repair, and muscle mass. 

  • Spinach: Green leafy vegetables like spinach are hydrating and rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K, plant-based iron, magnesium, and lutein. These also help with skin and hair growth during the aging process. 

  • Green tea: An ancient method of boosting longevity, daily consumption of green tea has been linked with longer and healthier life due to its high antioxidant content, making it one of the best oxidative stress fighters. Available in various strengths, combinations, and flavors, keeping green tea into your routine has never been easier. 

  • Walnuts: High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, this power-packed snack is a handy way to combat age-related brain diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. A handful of walnuts also make for a convenient, heart-healthy munchie which helps reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) levels in the body.  
  • Water: Perhaps the most underrated of supplements for longevity, water is essential for flushing out toxins created in the body while keeping us hydrated. And as we age, we experience a decreased sensation of thirst, which means we get less water. Be sure to drink at least 1.5 to 2 liters (48 to 64 ounces) of water a day. Avoid replacing water with diuretics and focus on beverages that are decaf (fruit juice, milk, etc).

  • It is also important to note that as you age, your metabolism drops significantly. It becomes harder and harder to lose accumulated weight. Hence it is important to watch your daily caloric intake. Some simple ways to stay fit include: 

    • Physical activity within the bounds of your abilities like a light jog, yoga, pilates, tai chi, and other low impact exercises
    • Resistance training is key to maintaining muscle mass and increasing your metabolic rate. 

    Do not underestimate your abilities either, you are much stronger than you realize! 


    Here’s a quick calorie chart for your reference: 


    Gender 

    Sedentary 

    Moderately Active 

    Active 

    Female (51+)

    1,600

    1,800

    2,000 - 2,200

    Male (51+)

    2,000

    2,200 - 2,400 

    2,400 - 2,800 


    In many cases, food does not always give you everything you need to get your daily nutrients. Anti-aging supplements include calcium, vitamin D, protein in the case of vegetarians, or a general multivitamin or mineral supplement. The best anti-aging products for you will depend on your body, so be sure to check with a healthcare professional before taking a supplement. 

    Food is the best and easiest way to maintain a healthy lifestyle, so be sure to stay active, get enough sleep, drink enough water, and of course, eat right. 

    References:

    https://www.health.harvard.edu/aging/nutrition-and-aging

    https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/estimated-calorie-requirement

    https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324863#:~:text=Oxidative%20stress%20is%20an%20imbalance,role%20in%20the%20aging%20process.

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11052704/

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3151653/

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3664913/

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