Growing older is one of life’s certainties. But the average lifespan of Americans is increasing and it has to do with lifestyle choices people are making to slow the aging process. Growing old gracefully isn’t about avoiding wrinkles and gray hair; the ultimate goal is to maintain brain alertness, preserve energy levels and prevent disease. Don’t assume it’s all about genetics. There are choices you can make now that will have a positive effect on your health in the future.
Eat Brain Food
Omega-3 fatty acids may be the brain’s most beneficial food. These fats have been shown to support brain function, reduce inflammation, build and repair cell membranes, and aid with stress management, while also protecting against cardiovascular issues and diabetes. Don’t skimp on omega-3s found in wild salmon, sardines, mackerel and fish oil supplements to slow the aging process.
B vitamins have also been shown to improve cognitive function. Stomach acidity declines with age; therefore B vitamins are often poorly absorbed. In addition, many medications such as acid-blocking drugs for heartburn can interfere with a body’s ability to absorb B vitamins, as can stress. Increase your intake of B vitamins with eggs, beans, nuts, seeds, green vegetables, fish and whole grains.
As we age we are more at risk for vitamin D deficiency because we may spend less time in the sun and also have less capacity to synthesize vitamin D through the skin. Vitamin D boosts the immune system, prevents cancer and supports bone and heart health. It also helps to absorb other nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc. Studies show that only 10 to 15 percent of the calcium in food is absorbed without vitamin D.
Did you know that 70 percent of the immune system lies beneath the gut lining? As we get older, it is important to keep our gut healthy to empower the immune system to fight disease. Daily ingestion of a nutritional probiotic supplement replenishes beneficial bacteria for optimal digestive and immune health. Recent studies also show that probiotics may improve your metabolism and accelerate fat loss. Getting your system back in balance can help you lose unwanted weight often put on during the aging process.