You can slow down the process of ageing with a healthy diet that mainly includes fruits and vegetables. Fish, whole grains and dairy foods can also help protect against early ageing
By Sumithra Sathyan
Ahealthy diet may even slow down the impact of aging process and also keep us young and active too. Eating foods such as fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, and whole grains protects against many chronic conditions that could limit our life, including diabetes and heart disease. These foods help keep your blood vessels in good shape, which is important for the heart and other organs of the body. Certain foods can protect eyesight and hearing. Healthy foods may even help preserve memory and protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
Colourful fruits and vegetables
The antioxidants in colourful vegetables and fruits, such as leafy greens, deep red tomatoes, blueberries and carrots help stop unstable molecules from damaging healthy cells. You cannot feel it when some cells are damaged or dying but you can see it as the signs of ageing such as wrinkles.
Vitamin C, zinc and beta-carotene help protect eyesight from macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in the aged. If you already have macular degeneration, eating foods with these nutrients may slow its progress. Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, collard, and mustard greens help the most. A powerful antioxidant in grapes and red wine called resveratrol helps reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and premature ageing.
Eating whole grains rich in fiber, oats, quinoa, barley, wheat, and brown rice lowers your chance of developing Type 2 diabetes. A healthy diet that contains whole grains also keeps blood vessels in peak condition. Your goal is three servings of whole grains a day.
Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil offer many anti-ageing benefits. They protect the heart, reduce the risk of stroke and may even lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Help yourself to two servings a week of fatty fish such as salmon, lake trout or tuna.
The calcium and fortified vitamin D in dairy foods are crucial to strong bones. They help prevent osteoporosis and keep you active in your golden years. Include three cups of low-fat milk, yoghurt, or other dairy products a day to ensure strong bones. By choosing low-fat instead of regular dairy, you’ll help keep your cholesterol levels in check, making you less likely to get heart disease.
The fatty acids in nuts are among the healthiest you can find. If you avoid nuts because you think they’re high in fat, think again. In fact, one study showed that snacking on nuts reduced the risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol by about 20%. You only need to eat 1/4 of an ounce a day to get the benefits- that’s about four almonds.
Beans and lentils
These foods give you loads of plant-based protein, so they’re an age-protecting alternative to red meat with saturated fat, which is linked to heart disease and diabetes. Beans and lentils are inexpensive and easy to add to soups, casseroles and side dishes.
For the best anti-ageing diet, it’s important to limit foods that can harm your body. It’s easy if you follow these three guidelines. Go easy on high-fat meat, high-fat dairy and bakery treats. The saturated fat found in these foods can clog your arteries, which can lead to heart problems. Limit sugar as much as possible. Eating too much sugar can send your blood sugar levels on a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs.
Eating too much salt, a form of sodium, can raise your blood pressure. Over time, high blood pressure can damage many parts of your body, including your kidneys, your eyes, and your brain. Limit sodium to 2,400 mg- about one teaspoon of table salt- a day.
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