Top 10 Anti-Aging Nutrition Habits
aging is inevitable, physical decrepitude is not. Many
of the outwards signs of growing old can be slowed - and
life may even be prolonged - by maintaining a sensible
Nutrition Habit #1
at consuming a balanced diet that is rich in fiber.
Ensure your diet is 60 to 65 per cent
carbohydrate content - that is, fruits, vegetables ,
breads, pastas and rice.
Of this amount, 55 per cent should be in the form of complex
carbohydrates and whole-grain products, and no more than 10
per cent from simple carbohydrates (cakes etc.). Complement
this with a diet that is 20 to 30 per cent
content, and finally balance off your diet with 15 per cent
protein content - that is, meats, soy and dairy products. It
is important to note that, although
protein deficiency plays a role in the development of
osteoporosis, too much protein can also promote
bone loss. So it is imperative to get the correct amount
of protein and avoid eating protein in excess.
A healthy, balanced diet will help you
maintain a healthy
and provide you with the nutrients for optimal health and
Those aged 60 and older should try to
get the recommended 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day by
consuming a minimum of two servings of fruit, three servings
of vegetables and four servings of whole-grains. But you
should avoid increasing your
intake to great amounts than these listed, because too
much fiber can exacerbate existing impairment of the
gastrointestinal tract. Try to avoid spicy foods if you
suffer from gastrointestinal problems, and this may also
Nutrition Habit #2
Drink more water. Did you know that 50 to 60 per cent of
our total body weight is
Water is our life force. Common complaints like
headaches, lack of energy, tired and lethargic
sensations, injuries, hot flashes and achy joints and
muscles have seen to be associated with dehydration. If
most women would commit to drinking eight glasses of
water every day they would notice a great improvement in
their overall health and energy.
Think of it this way: Every tissue,
cell, organ and system is composed of water and functions
optimally only in the presence of adequate water levels.
Degeneration associated with aging will occur at a quicker
rate if you are dehydrated. And you can't use thirst to
help you determine when you should be drinking water,
because as you age your thirst mechanism does not function
as well as it should.
Consume five small
and snacks throughout the day. Many women who do not eat
breakfast and consume only a very light lunch are
tricked into believing that they are reducing their
when, in fact, they are setting themselves up for a snacking
binge in the late afternoon, followed by an overload at
dinner and into the evening. The result is just the opposite
of what you intend. Total calories consumed during the day
will end up being higher rather than lower! And the scale
gives you the bad news that you are gaining weight.
Your metabolism, the rate at which you burn
calories for internal functions, is like an engine - the
more often you give it fuel, the better it works. When you
deprive your body of food, even for short down to preserve
energy. A slowed
metabolism makes it much more difficult to lose weight and much easier to
gain weight. A diet that is not consistent in calorie
and nutrient intake will also lead to a more rapid loss of
muscle tissue, which we want to avoid at all costs. The
good news is that you can get your body to work for you
instead of against you. The rule should be that you do
not go any longer than four hours during the daytime without
Most of us have been conditioned to believe that dinner
should be the largest meal of the day, so changing your
eating patterns is not going to be easy. It will not happen
overnight. You will probably have to change other old
Nutrition Habit #4
Reduce fat Intake. Dietary
fat is very easily converted to
so controlling your fat intake is important in controlling
the weight gain associated with ageing. Limit any food
choices that are higher than 30 per cent fat content.
Items such as lard, animal shortening,
oils, butterfat, whole-milk solids, shortening and margarine
all are fats.
Some obvious foods to avoid are:
Fried foods -
saturated in fat and oil and calories!
Creams - very high in fat content
Processed foods such as cakes and
cookies and most precooked entrees
Go for wholesome, fresh foods as the
staples in your diet. They will always be higher in
nutrients and lower in fat. Processed foods should only
complement a diet that is rich in fresh fruits, vegetables
and whole wheat grains.
Fat is an amazing fuel that provides us
with a limitless amount of energy. Instead of hating fat and
blaming it for all our problems, we should be astounded and
respect it for its outstanding capabilities. Certain
fatty acids are also necessary for good health, and some
vitamins require fat for absorption into the system. Fat
also helps to keep us insulated and warm. Elderly persons
lost weight due to reduced appetite need to consume a
moderate amount of dietary fat to maintain a healthy weight
Unsaturated fats, especially the
monounsaturated ones, are considered healthier; they are
found in nuts, seeds, vegetable oils and soft margarine
products. Saturated fats are found in animal products such
as beef, butter, dairy products and lard; they tend to raise
blood cholesterol levels, thereby increasing increasing risk
heart disease. Be cautious in consuming coconut or palm
oils; these are vegetable oils, but they contain a large
amount of saturated fat.
Nutrition Habit #5
Reduce salt and sugar intake. By
sugar intake, you can reduce the risk of developing
hypertension and adult-onset
diabetes. Do away with the salt shaker;
there is enough salt in most of the foods we eat without our
adding more. If you want to boost taste of certain foods,
spices such as basil, oregano or pepper.
When it comes to watching your sugar
intake, choose products with a sugar content that is less
than 10 per cent of the total carbohydrate content. It's
important to avoid items such as cakes, cookies and ice
cream. Also limit your intake of no-fat or low-fat
products. You are probably thinking, " What? Limit
no-fat foods? " What do you think makes no-fat products
taste so goods? Sugar, and lots of it. And what do you think
sugar is? A lot of calories! Excess calories, are going to
show up on our
This is why or population continues to get fatter and fatter
in spite of the explosion of no-fat products onto the
Nutrition Habit #6
alcohol, cigarettes and other
drugs. These types of drugs will age you quickly. A
high intake of caffeine, alcohol and nicotine inhibits
the absorption of of calcium into bone and speeds up the
process of bone loss.
Smoking is associated with a 60 per cent
increase in eye damage, an early onset of menopause and an
increased risk of cancer and liver and heart
Caffeine is a very powerful drug with
very quick, noticeable and measurable effects on the central
nervous system, peripheral nervous system and digestive
system. In fact, it's used in many prescription and
over-the-counter pills. Like other drugs it is
habit-forming, and you will find you have to have more and
more caffeine to get the same effect. Caffeine makes a lot
of people nervous, jittery, tense and stressed. It can often
lead to bowel irritation and diarrhea. It is a diuretic that
promotes water loss from the body. Treat caffeine as you
would alcohol - a little bit once in a while is okay.
Moderation is the key. Stick to one or two small cups a
Alcohol contributes to high blood pressure and breast
cancer, and it damages your liver.
Although alcohol is low in fat content, it is very high in
empty calories. It also activates an enzyme that takes up
fat from our bloodstream and stores it in fat cells.
Therefore, any food you consume in combination with
alcohol is more likely to end up in a fat-storage deposit
areas like the hips, thighs and abs. Alcohol also lowers
our inhibitions, making us more likely to make poorer food
Nutrition Habit #7
Control your portion sizes:
If at the end of the day you have eaten excess calories from
any source, you will store these calories as fat. This, of
course, will affect the ageing process.
Let's say you consume an extra 1,000 carbohydrate calories
in the form of plain pasta. It takes about 23 per cent of
these calories to break down the dietary carbohydrate and
store it as body fat, so 770 of the 1,000 extra carbohydrate
calories will be stored as body fat. Now, let's say you
consume an extra 1,000 fat calories in the form of creams.
It takes about three per cent of these calories to break
down the dietary fat and store it as body fat, so 970 of the
1,000 extra fat calories will be stored as body fat.
It is better to have a diet richer in carbohydrates than in
fat, because less of the excess will be stored as body fat,
but you gain weight whether your diet is low in fat or not.
If your diet contains more calories than you expend in a
day, you will gain weight regardless of the source of the
calories. You must pay attention to your
portion sizes no matter what you're eating. We live
in a society that is hooked on super-sizing everything from
shakes and fries and cookies to muffins and bagels and
restaurant entrees. For many of us, it may not be that our
food choices are
poor but that we are eating too much.
When reducing food intake and portion
sizes, do so in the following order:
Reduce alcohol intake
Reduce sugar intake
Reduce starches (pasta, breads, rice)
Nutrition Habit # 8
Lay Emphasis on minimal consumption
of processed foods. While eating out , always order the
smaller portion size where there's choice. At the same time,
Try eating from a smaller plate or bowl. Split meals
with a friend when dining out - for example, order one salad
and on e entree between you and share. Always drink a glass
of water before any meal.
Pay attention to serving sizes listed on labels. Sometimes
what is listed as one serving is unrealistically small, so
you may trick yourself into believing you are consuming an
amount low in caloric and fat content when, in fact you are
eating four times the listed serving size. For example, a
box of macaroni in cheese sauce (not that this would be a
particularly healthy choice) might be listed as four
servings but most people would find it only enough food for
two. When calculating caloric and fat content in such cases
multiply the values listed on the label by two to determine
whether it's a healthy choice. Seniors can experience health
problems form consuming too few calories, however. For this
reason, with age we should ensure that our total caloric
intake for the day does not fall below 1,200 calories.
Nutrition Habit # 9
Detox one a week. Our bodies are constantly
assaulted from pollution, stress, bad posture, sedentary
jobs and our own bad eating habits. Over the months and
years, the effects build up and emerge in many different
forms- from skin eruptions, to headaches, ulcers,
cancer and heart disease.
When we detox, two things happen. First , we stop
overloading our body with harmful substances and secondly,
we give it plenty of the right nutrients to actually speed
up the elimination of toxins and promote cell renewal.
According to WHO, Vitamins A, C and E are vital for health.
These vitamins together with mineral selenium, are known as
antioxidants. They can protect us not only against minor
infections but also serious degenerative diseases such as
cancer and heart disease, as well as conditions which come
with premature ageing. One of the best places to find
anti-oxidants is in fruits and vegetables, taken raw.
Nutrition Habit # 10
Check your intake of calcium. For
those concerned about weight and health, the first things
often cut from the diet are high-fat dairy products. But new
research suggests high dairy intake may be healthier than
once thought, and actually protect overweight adults from
diabetes and heart disease(
Women aged 40 and above should consume 3-4 servings of
fat dairy food daily. Other, non-dairy
sources of calcium include fortified breakfast cereals,
canned fish with edible bones, some nuts, seeds and green
vegetables. If calcium supplements are required, the best
absorption rate is from a dose of 500-600mg of calcium once
or twice daily. Vitamin D supplements may be necessary for
elderly women with inadequate sun exposure.
Experts say that the protective benefits of dairy could be
explained by the fact that it is rich in healthy nutrients
like protein and calcium.
Healthy eating is one part of anti-ageing.
The bottom line is that nutrition in
physical activity, is integrally related and must be
addressed both by individual women and by the community to
prevent disease and to maximize quality of life.
For those that are interested in delving deeper into nutrition and helping
others, you may consider a Concordia
online MPH degree.
Dated 27 September 2011