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Eat well to age well Part 1

Age is a big risk factor for all chronic diseases - cardiovascular disease, cancer and autoimmune disease, including rheumatoid arthritis. But some people seem to age faster than others.

Slow your biological ageing by eating differently

Age is a big risk factor for all chronic diseases - cardiovascular disease, cancer and autoimmune disease, including rheumatoid arthritis.  But some people seem to age faster than others. 

The good news is that eating differently can slow biological ageing and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Biological age or health age is about the function and health of our tissues. You can calculate your health age here. By taking steps to tune up and overhaul our bodies and change some of our habits, we can actually reduce our health age.

As we age, our bodies change in significant ways. 

  • Our metabolism slows. We don't burn calories as quickly as we previously did. If we continue to eat the same amount of the same foods, we are likely to put on weight. Our liver functions more slowly, and we don’t break down toxins as fast as we previously did.
  • We produce less acid and digestive juices. This leads to poor digestion and reduced absorption of many essential vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin B12, folic acid, calcium, magnesium and zinc. So, even if we have a healthy diet, we may not absorb the nutrients needed for proper function of our brains or bodies.  Over time this damage builds up.  
  • Some of us take medications. In some cases these can reduce our absorption of nutrients and interfere with the action of vitamins. Examples of medications that can cause problems include corticosteroids, cholesterol or acid lowering reflux medications, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS), and hormone replacement therapies. Also the liver may require additional nutrients to clear a drug. Your pharmacist has specialised knowledge about drug reactions and the additional nutritional support you may need to counter any effects of your medications. 

 
 Solutions that will help overcome these problems and slow ageing are: 

  • Eat more non-starchy colourful vegetables such as leafy greens. These are packed with nutrients and often low in calories. Eat fresh, whole, unprocessed organic foods and include healthy sources of protein such as grass fed meats, eggs, dairy and fish. These will provide the nutrients your body needs to function efficiently.
  • Eat less ‘nutrient poor’ starchy and sugary foods that simply encourage snacking and add nutritionally empty calories. Limit biscuits, sugary cereals, white bread and packet foods, as many of these contain reduced amounts of the beneficial natural ingredients and are high in starch. Starch is simply broken down in the body into sugars. Avoid soft drinks, sweets, syrups, foods containing fructose, high fructose corn syrup, malt, and lactose. Read the labels.
  • Eat a cleaner diet. Reduce your intake of additives, plasticisers and pesticides that will require detoxification and drain your body of nutrients. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale and bok choy, will assist with some detoxification. It’s likely that your body now takes longer to break down alcohol and caffeine. This means that to keep your body in balance, you would drink a little less alcohol or have longer breaks between alcoholic drinks. If you could not drink caffeine after 4pm in the past, you may need to change and have your last coffee at midday.  
  • Try to assist your digestion by chewing well and eating slowly. Digestion is enhanced when meal times are relaxed enjoyable occasions. Move around after a meal to allow plenty of blood flow to your digestive organs rather than sitting still in a chair in front of the TV.  
  • Exercise will increase your metabolic rate so that you burn calories faster and all your organs (digestive, cardiovascular, etc) function more effectively.

 

Many seniors are meeting the challenge of biological aging and those who make the effort, are usually well rewarded. The above recommendations will enable you to start on the path to better health towards a health age you can be proud of, with the energy and vitality to match.


(PS Part Two of Slowing your biological age is about anti-inflammatory foods and foods that encourage healthy gut organisms.) 




HEALTH WRITER RETIRE & FLOURISH www.retireandflourish.com.au.

 

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