Having a healthy diet helps in so many areas of health from hormones to reducing risk from diseases such as cancer, so it makes a lot of sense to pay attention to what you eat.
Incorporating the following can make a difference to how well you are ageing too.
Antioxidants and ageing
What is needed most are foods rich in antioxidants to help fight free radicals, the unstable oxygen molecules that contribute to the ageing process.
You find them in colourful vegetables and fruit such as berries, beetroot, and tomatoes. Great for helping to reduce your risk of developing cancer and heart disease.
Health benefits of olive oil
There are many health reasons to switch to olive oil: it is a monounsaturated fat that may positively affect memory and contains a compound called oleocanthol which is a natural anti-inflammatory. That means it produces effects similar to ibuprofen and other NSAIDs, but without the side effects.
Extra-virgin olive oil in a study on men showed increased HDL; that’s the good cholesterol that clears fat from blood vessel walls, and helps reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.
Benefits of berries
Berries are a great source of antioxidants because they are polyphenol-rich. Strawberries, blueberries, and acai berries are just some examples where these powerful compounds are found.
They may help combat cancers and degenerative diseases of the brain and it doesn’t matter if they are fresh or frozen, so you can include berries in your diet year-round.
Fish is brain food
P G Wodehouse fans will recognise that Bertie Wooster always turned to fish to activate the old brain cells, so try topping your salad with tuna or salmon instead of chicken.
Fish has been called “brain food” because its fatty acids, DHA and EPA, are important to brain and nervous system development. Eating fish one to two times a week may also lower the risk of dementia.
Omega-3 fats found in fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines can lower cholesterol and triglycerides as well as helping ease the inflammation that leads to atherosclerosis.
Beans and fibre
Beans are a great source of fibre and that may help lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol, prevent constipation, and help digestion.
They also help you feel full longer, and that can help you manage your weight. Add them to salads and soups as they contain complex carbohydrates to help regulate glucose levels, which is important for people with diabetes.
The value of vegetables
They contain fibre, phytonutrients, and plenty of vitamins and minerals that may protect you from diseases.
- If your bones need help then have plenty of dark, leafy greens with vitamin K.
- To boost eye health and help keep skin healthy you need sweet potatoes and carrots for their vitamin A.
- Studies suggest having a serving of tomatoes or tomato products every day may prevent prostate cancer.
The benefits of a Mediterranean diet
The “Mediterranean diet” can be beneficial to heart health, reduce the risks of mild memory impairment, and may ward off certain cancers as well as being a healthy weight to lose weight.
This diet relies on olive oil, fish, vegetables, whole grains, and an occasional glass of red wine and instead of salt, uses spices and herbs for seasoning.
Nuts in moderation
Whether eaten whole or ground into paste, nuts are packed with cholesterol-free protein and other nutrients.
- Almonds are rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects the body from cell damage and helps boosts the immune system.
- The unsaturated fats in walnuts can reduce LDL and raise HDL cholesterol, rich in antioxidants and are an excellent source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids. ,
However, nuts are to be eaten in moderation as they are high in calories, so limit them if watching your weight.
To help aid digestion and balance your internal flora eat yogurt with live cultures or Kefir, a cultured, fermented beverage that tastes a great deal like a yogurt drink but with added probiotic health benefits.
If you drink fortified products, then Vitamin D is found in such milk and that helps increase calcium absorption which is important for bone health.
Good levels of vitamin D may also help reduce the risk of colon, breast, and prostate cancers and also in fatty fish, soy milk, cheese and egg yolks.
If you are at risk from osteoporosis or osteopenia then supplementing with a specialist supplement which contains vitamin D, calcium and boron definitely helps and is best used alongside bioidentical progesterone for maximum bone health.
Eating whole grains can reduce your risk of certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Whole grains are minimally processed, so they retain more nutritional value and their fibre helps prevent digestive problems such as constipation and diverticular disease.
Choose wholegrain breads and pastas and brown or wild rice instead of white and add barley into soups.
Maintain a healthy weight
It is not always easy, but keeping off extra weight puts less pressure on your joints, less strain on your heart, and can reduce your risk of certain cancers.
It gets tougher to do as metabolism slows at menopause and as you lose muscle with age. Look at a diet that includes protein from lean meats, tuna, or beans and a healthy amount of whole grains, fruit and vegetables.
The DASH diet helps with weight loss and incorporates many of the features of the Mediterranean diet. It was originally devised to help lower blood pressure and reduce heart disease risk.
It takes more energy for your body to break down complex carbohydrates, and the added fibre will help you feel fuller and that contributes to weight loss.
Hormone balance is key to aging happily and healthily, but hopefully these simple tips will also give you a boost.