Factors for a Long, Healthy Life
We all have to age, but we also want to do so as healthily as possible.
Staying healthy is a key priority for all of us, and although exercise, supplements and general self-care methods all contribute there are twelve very specific things you can do to ensure you age well.
You may already be including many of these in your general routine, but it doesn’t hurt to check in case you were missing some.
1. Antioxidants and ageing
Free radicals are molecules that can damage healthy cells. They can make you more likely to get certain diseases, like cancer, and speed up ageing.
Foods rich in antioxidants can help fight those molecules so look for the colourful vegetables and fruit are packed with them, so aim for five to nine servings of those each day.
These are a great source of antioxidants and may help prevent cancer and some brain diseases. Whatever the time of year you can enjoy them as frozen berries have plenty of antioxidants, too. C
3. Olive oil
This is a “good” fat and may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Some studies show that it may improve cholesterol levels.
Bertie Wooster loved it because it is known as “brain food” because it contains fatty acids, DHA and EPA, which can help your brain and nervous system work the way they should. Eating fish one or two times a week may also make you less likely to have dementia.
Omega-3 fats found in fatty fish, like salmon and trout, can lower “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides. It can also help ease the inflammation that leads to atherosclerosis, when fatty deposits clog your arteries.
Adding these nutritional powerhouses to your diet three or four times a week can really boost your health.
Their fibre may help with digestion and help lower your chances of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. And because they make you feel full longer, a diet high in fibre may help you lose weight, too.
These have fibre, antioxidants, and loads of vitamins and minerals that may help protect you from chronic diseases.
Dark, leafy greens have vitamin K for strong bones. Sweet potatoes and carrots have vitamin A, which helps keep your eyes and skin healthy and protects against infection.
Results are mixed, but in one study, men who ate 10 or more servings of tomatoes a week lowered their chances of prostate cancer by 35%.
Nuts are packed with cholesterol-free plant protein and other nutrients. Almonds are rich in vitamin E, which can help lower the risk of stroke in women, and pecans have antioxidants.
The unsaturated fats in walnuts can help lower LDL and raise HDL cholesterol. But nuts aren’t fat-free. One ounce of almonds — about 24 nuts — has 160 calories. So enjoy them in moderation.
Drinks fortified with vitamin D, like milk, help your body take in and use calcium. That’s especially important if you’re likely to have osteoporosis, or thinning bones.
Eat yogurt with live cultures to help with digestion.
9. Whole grains
Adding these to your diet may lower your chances of certain types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. The fibre also may help prevent digestive problems like constipation and diverticular disease.
Choose whole-grain breads and pastas, and brown or wild rice instead of white. Drop barley into soups, or add plain oatmeal to meatloaf or hamburgers.
10. Mediterranean lifestyle
People who live near the Mediterranean regularly include olive oil, fish, vegetables, and whole grains in their meals, along with an occasional glass of red wine.
Instead of salt, they use spices and herbs to flavour their foods. This type of diet can be good for heart health, and it may lower your chances of mild memory issues and some kinds of cancer.
11. Stay a healthy weight
Some people find it hard to keep weight on as they get older, especially after an illness or injury. A couple of ideas are having smaller meals with healthy snacks in between, and switching to whole milk instead of skim.
Don’t fill up on foods that are high in sugar or fat, or you won’t get the nutrients you need.
12. Lose weight for better health
Shedding extra pounds can put less pressure on your joints and less strain on your heart, and might lower your chances of diabetes.
It can be harder as you get older, though, because you’re usually less active and you lose muscle. Go with proteins like lean meats, tuna, and beans, and eat more vegetables, whole grains, and fruits rather than too many carbohydrates.
All these factors are important in keeping you healthy throughout your life, and particularly as you age.
For women as we get older our hormones playing an increasingly important part and particularly at menopause the risks from oestrogen dominance are best balanced by diet, exercise, reducing stress and making sure your hormones are in balance.