It is a pretty well-known fact that we need to eat healthy to live longer. But as some people age they may find it more difficult to eat healthily. This could be for a number of reasons. Some people may just not feel like eating as much as they used to. Others – especially men – may not know how to cook, and some may just not like to cook but would rather live on takeaways, or ready meals that they can throw in the microwave for five minutes.
Eating healthily for aging is a question of finding the right foods and of using them in the right quantities. One specialist suggests aiming for an intake of 1,800 calories a day and including proteins, calcium, and a heart-healthy diet. Keeping your heart healthy is one of the basics, since about one third of adults over 65 are obese. This can lead to heart disease and diabetes. Foods that help to keep cholesterol low and avoid high blood pressure are all good for your heart.
Foods that are good for the heart include fresh fruits and vegetables, plenty of fish – especially oily fish such as salmon, trout, and mackerel -beans, nuts, chicken and other poultry, cheese, yogurt, whole grains, and olive oil – especially extra virgin olive oil. Ideally, you should have two portions of oily fish each week which will help to prevent heart disease. The fibre in fresh vegetables is also good for the heart.
As people get older, many of them worry about memory loss. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, the number of people in the UK with dementia is steadily increasing. The number of people with dementia in 2013 was 815,827 and of those 773,502 were aged 65 or older. This represented 1.3% of the entire population, and 1 in every 14 people over 65. The total was expected to reach 856,700 at the beginning of 2016.
Alzheimer’s has been connected to inflammation which is caused by –among other things – red meat, white bread, margarine, sugary drinks, and chips. Research into the connection between certain foods and memory loss is still under way.
Adam Drewnowski, director of Nutritional Sciences Program at the University of Washington, is quoted as saying: “I would not want to identify a specific food that prevents memory loss. I probably would tell someone that if you want to be functioning well, then some fruits and antioxidants will do better for you than another slice of cake.”
Antioxidants Reduce Inflammation
Antioxidants, which help to reduce inflammation, are found in many fruits and vegetables. In particular, prunes, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, red grapes, blackberries, plums, tomatoes, spinach, kale, and oranges are all high in antioxidants. In addition, the oily fish such as salmon and mackerel which contain omega-3 fatty acids also help to contain inflammation.
Calcium helps with bone growth, and vitamin D can help absorb calcium. However, there is a problem here because not many foods have much vitamin D in them. However, tinned salmon – which contains omega-3 fatty acids – also has some vitamin D. Milk, yoghurt, and low-fat cheeses all contain calcium.
The other thing that we need to look after as we age is our muscles. The way the body works is that muscles are continually breaking down and being rebuilt. As the body ages more protein is needed to keep the rebuilding going. Lean meats, fish, other types of seafood, beans, low-fat cheese and yoghurts, and milk all help with protein. In addition, eggs are a good source of protein which don’t contain saturated fats.
Drink More Water
The effect of water on the body shouldn’t be underestimated. The body needs water and many of us just don’t drink enough of it. Having recently been on a detox, the first thing I noticed when coming off it, was how thirsty I was. Because I had only drank water and lots of it for 9 days. The first day off the detox I went back to a cup of tea in the morning but I felt dehydrated. I knocked back a glass of water straight away and felt better. To this day I now drink a lot more water and can really feel the difference.
We need water to hydrate cells and remove toxins through our liver and then kidneys. Without water your body dehydrates, slows down and your blood literally ‘thickens’ as your body releases histamines in an effort to store water up in cells.
There are many health benefits to drinking more water including:
- Research shows that drinking plenty of water can reduce your risk of colon cancer by 45% and bladder cancer by 50%.
- Water helps lubricate joints as it acts as a cushion between cartilage and bones, making joints move more easily.
- Improve your memory and general brain function by drinking more. The human brain is 95% water. Dehydration can reduce your mental energy and capacity.
- It is essential for a healthy digestion system as it aids to break down food.
- Water aids circulation by helping our blood flowing around our bodies.
- Aids the transfer of nutrients and oxygen to the cells
- Helps remove toxins from our body. Water softens stools and promotes evacuation of the bowels preventing constipation.
- Water can help regulate body temperature and store extra heat in the body.
- Nourishes skin cells
- Reduces daytime fatigue
- Helps with maintaining a health weight, many people eat when really the body craves water.
The 55-70% water in our body does not replenish itself, so drinking water helps maintain a healthy balance. Water is the best remedy for dehydration, not tea, coffee or alcohol. The best way to ensure you are getting the right amount of water drink twice as much as you normally do. Plenty throughout the day, at least 8 glasses daily. If your a tea or coffee drinker and have a few throughout the day, make sure you drink a glass of water before your normal beverage.