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Foods That May Slow Aging
March is National Nutrition Month, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics annual nutrition education and information campaign. There are key foods, including antioxidants, that may help to slow aging. It is never too late to improve eating habits and gain health benefits. After all, 75 (years) is the “new 65”.
Key Foods for Aging Well
Fish, fruits and vegetables, along with olive oil, have been linked to longevity. These key dietary components are similar to those of the Mediterranean style diet.
- Fish – Fatty fish rich in omega-3s supports heart health, brain function and memory during aging. Omega-3 rich fish include salmon, mackerel, trout and sardines.
- Fruits and Vegetables – Are protective as they are excellent sources of antioxidants, fiber, phytonutrients, folic acid and vitamin C. Produce nourishes good bacteria in the body which can guard against obesity, type 2 diabetes and constipation.
- Olive Oil – May reduce the risk of heart disease by decreasing LDL cholesterol and insulin resistance. Use olive oil in place of other fats and fatty foods.
Boost Antioxidants to Slow Aging
Antioxidants are powerful substances found naturally in foods that protect cells in the body from damage. Plant foods are especially rich in antioxidants. Are you getting enough antioxidants to support healthy aging?
- To maintain optimal levels of antioxidants, eat small frequent meals.
- Focus on fresh whole foods or minimally processed foods.
- Include plenty of dark green leafy vegetables and a variety of colorful fresh produce. Focus on citrus, strawberries, bell peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and broccoli. The more colors you eat, the more phytonutrients you get!
- Use herbs and spices to enhance flavor and promote healthy aging. Ginger, rosemary and turmeric are packed with antioxidants.
- Black and green teas along with coffee are rich in antioxidants. Just be mindful of what you put in them.
Other Components to Consider
- Optimize Protein – to offset muscle loss associated with aging. Loss of muscle is linked to weakness and loss of mobility. Include protein with each meal (20-30 grams) to maintain or build muscle.
- Maintain Strong Bones – include nutrients important to bone health; vitamin D and K, calcium and magnesium. Dairy products, sardines, salmon, and dark green leafy vegetables provide these nutrients. Ask your physician to see if you need a vitamin D supplement.
- Drink Water – sugary drinks promote inflammation, increasing the risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
- Be Active – keeping active and exercising can maintain or build muscle and strong bones. Check with your physician before beginning an exercise program.
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