Proper Nutrition And Aging: What You Need To Know

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Taking basic steps (like eliminating processed foods and adding color to your diet) to improve your nutrition can have a significant effect on your rate of aging and overall health. So, get started today and feel better tomorrow!

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This article was checked for nutritional accuracy by: Kathryn Bubeck, Registered Dietician

Making even the smallest changes to your eating habits can have a significant impact on your health.

Eating well not only improves your overall health but also reduces the risk of diseases and conditions commonly associated with age.

Outlined below are some of the ways you could change your eating habits for improved overall health, and look younger for longer.

Lose Some Of The Extra Weight

Being overweight and obese only increases your risk of heart failure, heart attack, high blood pressure, and diabetes, among other risky conditions. Choosing to lose as little as 5 percent of your overall body weight reduces your risk of all these conditions, and is known to improve metabolic fictions in the liver and muscle tissues.

Although you might be determined to shed off all the extra weight, losing as little as 10 pounds (for a 200-pound person) goes a long way in improving your health and overall well-being.

Keep Off Processed Meat

Sausages, hotdogs, and bacon are products of processed meat. The meat is smoked/cured and salted to improve its shelf life and flavor as well. Numerous studies have also linked the consumption of processed meats with poor health, all the more reasons to avoid these meats altogether.

According to a Harvard review, having just one serving of processed meat (bacon, sausage, hotdogs) every day increases your risk of diabetes and heart-related conditions by up to 19 and 42 percent respectively. This isn’t, however, the case when you consume lean and unprocessed red meat.

It’s also worth noting that, both processed and unprocessed meats contain the same levels of cholesterol/saturated fats per serving. The only difference is with the sodium and chemical preservatives used on processed meat.

Other studies have revealed processed meats to contain 4 times more sodium and 50% more nitrate preservatives than fresh meat. Some researchers also believe consuming processed meat increases your risk of colon cancer.

Avoiding these meats and going for fresh, unprocessed meat is one of the best ways to protect yourself from some of these chronic conditions.

Have More Colored Fruits And Vegetables

Colored foods, especially fruits, are potent sources of essential nutrients for an aging body. Although it wouldn’t be wise to depend on just one of these superfoods, blueberries are remarkably good for your overall health.

Blueberries contain phytonutrients that have showed to lower a person’s risk of diabetes by up to 26 percent. This is according to a study conducted on 187,000 health workers.

Having the equivalent of a cup of blueberries every day also reduces your risk of blood pressure significantly.

Blueberries, alongside spinach, kale, cherries, grapes, and other dark colored veggies and fruits are rich sources of fiber, carotenoids, and other essential nutrients for the human body. While it might be impossible to have a cup of blueberries every day, including colored fruits and vegetables in your diet plan can help keep you healthy even in your senior years.

Avoid Packaged Foods When Possible

Most packaged foods have added sugars and preservatives in them. Skipping these foods and going for their healthier alternatives instead, thus reduces your risk of consuming too many sugars unknowingly.

Not all packaged foods are, however, loaded with these sugars and preservatives.

A good example of processed packaged foods (considered unhealthy) that you should avoid, include granola bars, chips, junk food, frozen pizza, noodles, and fast foods. Packaged foods with only one ingredient in them, such as milk, olive oil, nuts, and eggs, are however considered safe. These foods do not contain added preservatives or sugars hence safe for all.

Focusing on a Mediterranean diet plan provides the body with essential nutrients while preserving your youthful look and feel. Health experts recommend having more fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, lean meats, and whole grains for better health.

Take Your Daily Supplements

It’s almost impossible for one to get all the essential nutrients required for healthy growth and development from foods alone. This is one of the reasons doctors and health experts advise us to take nutritional supplements. Most of these supplements, such as vitamin B12 and Vitamin supplements, are essential for healthy brain cell development and skin health.

While vitamin and nutritional supplements do help fill the nutritional gap, you still need to eat healthy to get the full spectrum vitamins. Getting some bit of sunshine every day also helps trigger the production of vitamin D too. Vitamin D is one of the essential nutrients required for healthy skin.

About the Expert

Because I strive to provide you with accurate information, I had this article fact-checked by Kathryn Bubeck, RD, LDN a registered dietician in North Carolina. She has dual bachelor degrees in Nutrition and Health Behavior Management and is currently pursuing a medical degree with a focus on oncology.

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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