Should anyone promise you an ‘anti-ageing’ diet, run a mile! We’re not here to promote anti-ageing. It’s a fact of life and one which we should all be so privileged to experience. So by no means are we going to be letting you on to some miracle anti-aging dietary tips but what we will be sharing is our advice for supporting healthy ageing! There are so many different areas of ageing which include everything from our physical health: bones and organ health to our mental wellbeing which also encompasses the health of the brain. Therefore, we need to ensure that we’re no only focusing on our dietary intake but also how we’re exercising our mental wellbeing too.
Naturally as we age there is a greater risk for many diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, one disorders and cardiovascular disease. As a result, consuming a nutrient dense diet throughout our lives can help to limit some of these risks but how can we strike the balance between enjoying ourselves and ensuring we’re not causing detrimental damage for later on in life?
- Pack in the omega-3
Omega-3 is well known for it’s role in reducing inflammation and supporting brain and hormone function too. Omega-3 also helps to promote the production of skin cells to maintain that healthy glow too. Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring are the best sources of omega-3. However, for those who choose to avoid fish in their diet opt for sources such as seaweed, walnuts and flaxseeds. Two portions of oily fish per week would be ample, however, the plant sources of omega-3 provide ALA which is required to be converted into EPA and DHA in the body. This conversion process often gives rise to a loss of omega-3. As a result, if you’re relying on plant sources it’s recommended to ensure you’re consuming one plant source of omega-3 per day.
- Limit sugar intake
Excess sugar binds to collagen through a process called glycation which in turn can contribute to the degradation of skin and bone health. Additionally, it can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and can heighten cortisol production in the body. Limiting your sugar intake throughout your lifetime is a crucial element of supporting healthy ageing.
- Limit alcohol intake
Finding a balance with sugar and alcohol can be a tough one and of course the odd glass of wine or beer every now and again isn’t going to have a detrimental impact on your health. However, if you’re consistently drinking more than the recommended 14 units per week you may start to notice how alcohol can be impacting your health. Alcohol metabolism requires nutrients from your stores and therefore can leave you low in nutrients such as magnesium and B-vitamins. As a result, we recommend stocking up on these nutrients when you are drinking, trying to limit your alcohol consumption by having three alcohol free days per week and where possible opt for alcohol free alternatives too.
- Focus on the antioxidants
Antioxidants are a key player in healthy ageing as they help to neutralise free radicals which are produced on a daily basis through normal processes such as digestion, exercise, exposure to the external environment and pollution. However, a build up of free radicals in the body can contribute to ageing as they are unstable molecules which attack healthy cells and create cell damage or cell death. Antioxidants can be found in a huge number of foods including: vegetables and fruits (particularly berries), nuts and seeds, dark chocolate and green tea.
- Ensure you’re 30g of fibre per day
More recently we’ve started to break through into understanding gut health in a little more detail, whilst it’s still early days in relation to ageing we do know that having a healthy gut is associated with many beneficial health outcomes such as improved mental wellbeing and improved immune function. We may just find out a link between gut health and ageing in the not to distant future and therefore optimising your gut health through adequate fibre intake is always a good idea!
Remember ageing is a natural part of life, it’s not something we should shy away from but it is something which we want to experience as optimally as possible!