Put the gold in your golden years! A little dietary guidance and healthy eating is your new fountain of youth!
Dietary Guidance and Meal Essentials
It’s important to know the meal essentials for health enhancement, disease prevention, and healthy aging. While longevity has been long revered, quality of life is an integral component to living life joyfully. The common consensus of healthy aging is typically thought to include sustaining mobility, autonomy, and cognitive clarity, as well as being disease-free and continuing to eat with healthy digestive ability. At present, our current stats show we are living longer; however, we are sicker than ever and diseases are showing up earlier in our lives.
While the accepted belief is that we simply get old and break down, science shows we can get old without breaking down. Biochemist Earl Stadtman, awarded the National Medal of Science, was quoted as saying, “Aging is a disease. The human lifespan simply reflects the level of free radical damage that accumulates in our cells.” Diet and lifestyle impact the way we age and our rate of disease. Much can be done to safeguard us from debilitating diseases that impair our quality of life. Research done on our centenarians confirms a plant-strong diet is our best insurance for aging with grace. The simple truth is that plant provide anti-oxidative protection.
Aging and disease have been thought of as the oxidation of the body, free radicals rusting us from the inside out. It is believed to cause age spots, memory loss, wrinkling, and organ degeneration. Oxidation can be slowed by eating an anti-oxidant rich diet. Swedish researchers followed more than thirty thousand older women over a period of a dozen years and discovered that those who ate the most antioxidant-rich foods had the lowest stroke risk.[i] Ever wonder what foods are the most anti-oxidant rich? The answer is plants. Plant foods contain roughly sixty-four times more anti-oxidants than animal foods.
I like to look at aging as “wisen-ing” and intend to do it as gracefully as possible given the back side of the 50s has arrived for me. My hopes are that others embrace this attitude as well and become proactive in doing all they can to sustain an optimal state of health no matter what their age. Given 80% of disease is diet and lifestyle related, our role in our own state of health and quality of life is our best insurance of minimizing our risk of disease.
“Our diet is the number one cause of pre-mature death[ii] and the number one cause of disability.”[iii]
Common Nutritional Deficiencies in Older Adults (According to the Health in Aging Foundation )
- Folate (folic acid)
- Vitamin D3
- Omega 3
Ideally, our diet provides us with all required nutrients; however, poor dietary habits, the compromised quality of food, and digestion and absorption challenges, make it harder to reach the sufficient suggested RDIs. It helps to supplement with vitamins and minerals. It is wise to consult with a health practitioner who is well educated in whole-food and natural nutrition and who is familiar with your bio-individual needs.
The Basic Components of a Healthy Diet
- Mostly Plant-Based
- Mostly Alkaline
- Whole, (Unprocessed)
- 50% Raw
- Non Gmo
- Organic/bio or pesticide/herbicide/fungicide free
The Needed Nutrient Essentials
- Amino Acids, (Protein)
- EFA’s, (Healthy fats)
- Vitamins/minerals/-trace minerals (Quality whole foods carbs)
- Synergy of whole foods and elements to enhance absorption
- Healthy bacteria (fermented foods and probiotics) and digestive enzymes
When Planning Well Rounded Meals
- Raw and fermented foods with each meal as digestive aids.
- Breakfast – raw veggies and fruits, whole grains, alkaline proteins, healthy fats
- Lunch – raw, salads, quality carbs, healthy sources of protein
- Dinner – vegetables and quality proteins (mostly plant based – legumes, nuts, seeds, or pseudo non-GMO whole grains such as amaranth, teff, buckwheat, farro, quinoa.)
- Snacks – quality carbs, protein, fat combos – fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, grains
- Sweets – fruits, unrefined natural sugars, quality fats, and whole grain carbs
Refined sugar, non-organic gluten grains, casein (the protein in dairy), refined or processed and GMO foods including oils, agri-protein sources, mono-food diets, food colorings, additives, preservatives, deep-fried, junk foods and candy, etc.
Check out part one and two!
Part 1–Aging and Nutrition Challenges in Older Adults
Part 2–Inflammation and Degenerative Diseases and Diet Basics
Part 3–Dietary Guidance and Meal Essentials
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[i] Del Rio D, Agnoli C, Pellegrini N, et al. Total antioxidant capacity of the diet is associated with lower risk of ischemhic stroke in a large Italian cohort. J Nutr. 2011;141(1):118-23.
i Lenders C, Gorman K., Milch H, et al. A novel nutrition education model: the Boston University experience. Adr Nutr. 2013,4(1):1-7.
[iii] Murray CJ, Atkinson D, Bhalla K, et al. The state of US health, 1990-2010: burden of diseases, injuries, and risk factors. JAMA. 2013;310(6):591-608.