Diet To Stop Aging

Words: Dr Loredana ORTIZ

Good, balanced nutrition awareness is an important part of any good anti-aging programme. Good nutrition gives your body and mind the nutrients they require; they also give you adequate energy to perform your much-needed daily exercise. It will help your supplements work better since there are certain supplements that are fat soluble and, thus, need to be taken with a meal that contains good fat — for example, selenium, a great antioxidant. Selenium is fat-soluble. It is assimilated much more effectively if you take it with a meal that contains good fat.

I would recommend you to eat some avocado with a meal or, perhaps, dressing your salad, or soup, with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil [Note: When olive oil is exposed to heat most of its health benefits are diminished. Try to use grape seed oil as it has much higher concentrations of gamma linoleic acid and a much higher smoking point than olive oil]. Good nutrition also saves you money. Picture this: healthy persons do not spend as much money on doctors, medicine, and other natural remedies. They use preventative nutrition to stay healthy.

When you eat well, and your nutrition is optimal, you will find that your portions do not become so exacting. For example, if a person were to consume what is considered to be ‘ideal’ breakfast that most Americans eat — sugary cereals, pasteurised, processed ‘juice,’ whole milk [extra hormones please], white bread toast with sugary jelly and butter, and a cup of coffee [more sugar and cream please], they are starving by mid-morning and mentally sluggish throughout the day. This is because of their nutritionally-deficient first morning meal. The best thing to do is to choose whole grains, such as oats and an unlimited abundance of fresh organic fruit — you will now see that you can sustain longer, and some of those pesky allergies that you had when consuming dairy will immediately disappear. You will feel more energetic.

Most elders naturally have slow digestive systems and, thus, feel ‘clogged up.’ Starting your day with a bowl of fibre-rich organic oats is one of the best things you can do for yourself. If you add some wild organic blueberries to the bowl, you have hit the nutritional jackpot. Blueberries are so important for the elderly and for all who are aging every day [that means all of us]. Since blueberries contain anti-carcinogens they help strengthen the immune system and eradicate cells that may be malignant. So, there you have it, folks…

It is, indeed, possible to start your day in a nutritionally sound manner. As you can see a whole food diet brings about the best chance for longer survival. Now, if we can ‘couple’ a diet that is low in saturated fats, and full of organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains, minimal animal protein, high fibre and recommended amount of clean drinking water we are, rest assured, eating well to stopping the age-clock in its track.

Aging Gracefully While Staying Mobile

Aging affects us all, young or old. One way to deal with it comes by staying mobile. Exercise is one of the best ways to avoid the degenerative effects of aging, excess weight gain, and keep the body conditioned, flexible and healthy. When one incorporates exercise in their daily routine, it helps to keep the mind active and the system running.

Exercising does not have to mean joining your local gym and donning ‘gym appropriate’ attire. It simply means moving more. This can be achieved with many different activities. The easiest and cheapest way I know is just walking more. One can aim to walk for 30 minutes every day and see what a world of difference it makes. All of a sudden you will feel more energetic and, perhaps, even your mood will be lifted.

The key to incorporating exercise in your daily life is realising that you are including it even in the most unexpected activities, like dancing, gardening, walking the dog, swimming, or golfing. There are other exercises that are magnificent for the mind, in addition to the body, and they include ta’i chi, yoga, Pilates, jazzercise, and aerobic exercise, which release many endorphins [the feel-good chemicals] in the brain that naturally make you feel happy.

As in all things it is of vital importance that exercise is practiced in moderation, since many negative things occur as with anything done in excess. Aerobic exercise will help you build stamina and endurance as you age and make simple things like walking up the stairs easier. Aerobic exercise is great for the cardiovascular system since it helps tone the heart which, of course, is just another muscle, albeit the most powerful muscle.

The mantra is: stay active. Do speak to your physician/therapist/trainer before you begin any exercise programme.

Best Drinking & Eating Choices

Although caffeine in moderation is not harmful and may actually have benefits, it should not come in the form of coffee. Instead one should drink green tea.

Alcohol should be limited, but if one chooses to drink, red wine should be your choice [within limits, of course].

The British Medical Association reports the findings of a 12-year research programme involving 5,000 meat eaters and 6,100 vegetarians — vegetarians had a 20 per cent lower risk of dying from heart disease and a 39 per cent reduced chance of dying from cancer.

The American Dietetic Association has also published research showing that a vegetarian lifestyle reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, hypertension, obesity, osteoporosis, and biventricular disease.

The key to adopting a restricted calorie lifestyle is by lowering calorie and increasing quality. If you were able to cut out everything from your diet [nutritionally speaking] that is of no use to your body and build on eating only the finest, freshest, best ingredients, such as antioxidants, you would have one part of the ‘longevity’ mystery solved.

Colour Matters

Fruits and vegetables that are ‘dark-skinned’ contain the most bioflavonoids; they act as antioxidants. They neutralise free radicals that can cause damage on a cellular level, as do black, green and orange pekoe teas. Green tea contains epigallocatechin-gallate — this is a great antioxidant that may also help prevent degenerative brain disease.

Herbs For Life

  • Echinacea — helps boost the immune system
  • Ginseng — useful for extra energy [do not use if you have high blood pressure]
  • Bilberry — helps protect the eyes; also good for extra energy
  • Burdock root and red clover — help clean the blood
  • Dandelion and milk thistle — help with liver disorders
  • Garlic — helps with immune function and is also a heart protector
  • Ginkgo biloba — helps with memory and brain function
  • Green tea — fights carcinogens; strong antioxidant
  • Noni — the fruit from this plant helps with pain relief and inflammation, promotes cellular regeneration and may help improve digestion
  • Horsetail — either in tea, or extract, form may help in maintaining the strength of bones and connective tissue
  • Kava kava, St John’s wort, and valerian root — natural sleep aids and relaxants [they have been shown to be especially helpful in the elderly with anxiety and/or sleeping disorders]
  • Nettle — good for hypoglycaemia, arthritis, depression, prostate, and urinary tract disorders, including creatinine issues
  • Saw palmetto — helps in preventing cancer. Useful in treating benign prostate hypertrophy [BPH]
  • Wild yam — may have a rejuvenating effect due to natural steroids present in the herb.

To Prune Juice, Or Not

Although it is important to note that the slimmer and trimmer you are, the longer you will live, you must give your body what it needs and no more. A good suggestion could be to limit your consumption to two main meals and snack throughout the day, while taking care that it is organic and properly washed.

Beans and ‘greens’ are an essential part of a healthy regimen as they help keep the digestive system in good shape, provide you with many antioxidants and help maintain your recommended daily fibre count of 30gm. Since sluggish digestive systems and colon problems are high statistics among senior citizens, it is best to keep a clean and healthy colon by staying regular. The prune juice at your local supermarket is no good; it is full of sugars and preservatives, not to mention it is pasteurised.

You would be better off eating a fresh plum, or an apple, or two. It is also important to note that although one sub-heading in this article starts off with ‘juice’ and ‘prune’ in the same section I would not recommend taking a tub of prunes and sending them through the juicer. Not only would you get a filthy kitchen [supposing that is where you keep your juicer], but you would probably ‘cure’ your juicer from being ‘clogged.’

Dr LOREDANA ORTIZ, ND, who also has certifications in Health and Health Policy, is writer with a ken for detail. She lives and practices natural medicine and wellness in the US.

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