Your mother or grandmother may have told you “what you eat and drink today, walks and talks tomorrow”. If you have even a small degree of self-awareness you will have realized that certain foods can make you feel good. You will almost certainly be aware that some foods and drink can provide short-term pleasure, but there is a price to pay tomorrow and beyond.
From recognizing that some foods you consume are not in the best interest of your health, it is no big reach to realize that whatever you put on your plate, every meal, can greatly influence how you look as you age.
Regular exercise is important, but it is increasingly recognized that diet is the single most crucial thing to be considered if you want to feel healthy, look healthy and live genuinely healthy as years go by. Below are some of the most important things to keep in mind when making your anti-aging diet plan. This will help ensure that you remain in your best health and as much as possible, slow down the aging process.
Research shows that adults who have the lowest levels of vitamin D are two times more at risk of dying from any disease compared to people who have adequate levels of vitamin D in their body. Data from scientific research also shows that getting enough vitamin D affords a lower risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, brain disorders and cancer.
Vitamin D is essential for improving the immune system, muscle functioning and for preventing bone health problems. Getting sufficient sunlight exposure is the best way to trigger the production of vitamin D in your body. Where possible get your solar exposure early in the day, before the hours that burn. Make sure as well to eat foods that contain vitamin D such as wild salmon and egg yolks. Other sources of vitamin D include Portobello mushrooms, oily fish and cod liver oil.
An individual’s bone density reduces at a rapid rate once they reach the age of 50. Women who reach this age are more likely to experience a bone fracture, especially after menopause when their bone mass reduces from 3 to 5 per cent every year.
Everybody knows we need calcium to build better bones. It is also necessary for muscle contractions and nerve functions. Calcium is also needed by your body to be able to maintain its level of acidity. Unfortunately, simply increasing intake of calcium will not be sufficient to offset loss of bone mass as we age, experts say. Calcium is of little benefit if other critical bone-forming elements are not present, particularly magnesium and vitamin D.
Keeping your vitamin and mineral levels balanced is far more beneficial than swamping your system with mega-loads of calcium, as this will suppress the actions of other critical elements. Also, unless some weight-bearing exercise, such as standing or walking is undertaken, the body will put little effort into bone growth, regardless of supplementation levels.
Be cautious of taking excessive calcium supplements because too much calcium in the body can increase your risk of suffering from heart disease and kidney stones. The safest and healthiest way to obtain calcium is through dietary sources. Contrary to popular belief, dairy is not the only or even best way to get the calcium your body needs. Foods that are excellent sources of calcium include dark leafy greens, oysters, sesame seeds and almonds.
Many people have overlooked the importance of probiotics in their quest for optimal health. Probiotics play a crucial role in gut health and having enough of them inside our body will help boost our immunity, skin health, lower the levels of bad cholesterol and improve digestive health. They are also beneficial for fighting against gum disease and for better weight control.
Luckily, yogurt is not the only source of these probiotics. You can also get it from drinking kombucha tea or any other fermented tea, miso soup and kefir. You may also obtain some probiotics from sauerkraut and dark chocolate.
Reduce Salt and Sugar!
Experts have gathered enough evidence to prove the link between high sodium and sugar consumption, obesity and accelerated aging.
High Salt Intake Leads to Faster Cell Aging
American researchers found out that teenagers who have excess sodium levels from eating salty foods are beginning to show several signs of faster cell aging. In addition, these eating habits also puts them at greater risk of having heart disease. In another study, researchers from Georgia Regents University claim that reducing salt intake can significantly help slow down the aging process of human cells.
Faster Cell Aging as Manifested in Telomeres Length
The signs of aging were evident in the length of telomeres. Telomeres are those biological caps located at the end of each chromosome that serve as a protection of our DNA against damage. Salt intake contributes to the accumulation of fats in the body and this occurrence was found by experts to shorten the length of telomeres.
This was proven in a study conducted on 766 youngsters aged 14-18 years old. Experts found out that obese adolescents who have higher salt intake had shorter telomeres length. Although telomeres naturally decrease in length as people age, high salt consumption, which also contributes to being overweight or obese is one factor that speeds up its process of shortening.
A team of experts from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey studied the telomeres structure of 1,122 women between the ages 18 to 76 and 119 of these subjects were obese. What they concluded is that as an individual’s body weight increases, the length of their telomeres decreases.
Women who have lean bodies have longer telomeres than women who were obese. Another important discovery from the research is that people who have higher levels of leptin (which is a hormone produced by fat cells) were also found to have shorter telomeres. When telomeres length decreases to an extent that they become too short to divide, they die, then signs of aging begin.
This results in accelerated aging which is made evident in the early onset of signs and symptoms of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other age-related illnesses.
Increased Salt Intake Leads to Increased Sugar Intake
A Finnish study revealed that increased consumption of salty foods increases a person’s risk of being obese or overweight. This is because individuals who have excessive salt consumption also have a higher tendency to consume more sugary beverages. Scientists from the University of Kuopio and University of Helsinki stated that increased salt intake increases the desire to consume sugar-laden fizzy drinks to relieve their thirst. Unfortunately, this diet is devoid of nutrients but high in calories. In combination, high salt and sugar consumption are a large contributor to weight gain, thereby increasing an individual’s risk of serious lifestyle-related illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
Minimizing Salt Intake Can Also Lead to Reduced Mortality Rate
When experts studied the medical data of Finland residents, they were able to ascertain that reducing salt intake by 30 percent was enough to lessen the mortality rate by up to 80 percent in people who suffered from coronary heart disease and stroke. By reducing the consumption of salt the lifespan of Finnish individuals was found to increase by an average of 6 to 7 years.