7 ways to age better – starting today!
Just because you are getting older doesn’t mean that you have to put up with illness. Healthy ageing is possible and achievable. If you’re still young, start now. If you are already of an advanced age, start now. It's never too late to get healthy.
Here are my top 7 tips for a healthy old age
Eat real food.
Ready meals and fast food just don’t cut it. You need all the nutrients you can get, especially if your appetite is not what it used to be, and your servings are small. Buy ingredients rather than meals and your body will thank you for it. A slow cooker is an inexpensive gadget that makes cooking a doddle, even if you think you can’t cook. It turns even the more affordable, tougher cuts of meat into melt-in-the-mouth stews. Batch cook and freeze a couple of portions. That way, you can stock your freezer with home-made ready meals.
Eat enough calories.
That is easier said than done, especially if you do not have much of an appetite. The solution is fat. Fat has more than twice the calories of protein and carbohydrates and is a natural flavour enhancer. It is also required to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins vitamin A, D and E. Sadly, fat is unfairly vilified and therefore restricted in official dietary guidelines. The general advice replace saturated fat and cholesterol with man-made vegetable oils has since been found to be detrimental. Vegetable oils are pro-inflammatory, harmful to cognitive health and may actually increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Natural fats that humans have consumed for millennia, such as butter, lard and coconut oil, are preferable. To maintain good cognitive and mental health, you need good amounts of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which is predominantly found in oily fish. 2-3 servings per week are sufficient.
Reduce Sugar in your life
While the official dietary guidelines restrict fat, they encourage us to consume 9-13 servings per day of carbohydrate-based foods. Although the advice says not to take those in the form of sugar, all carbs still end up as sugar in the bloodstream in the end. Refined carbohydrate foods (white bread, white rice, cakes, biscuits, etc.) raise blood sugar levels fast and high. Yet, when appetite is waning, sugary foods may still be the most attractive option. Sadly, a high carbohydrate, high sugar diet is detrimental, especially if you are suffering from diabetes and are at risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. To reduce the sugar in your life, follow a diet with a low glycaemic load. Don't worry, you will barely miss a thing. It means very little sugar and more carbs from vegetables than grains, but because it consists of real food and allows healthy fats, meals are tasty and filling.
Unlike iron from plants, iron from meat does not appear to be affected by low stomach acid levels and is absorbed anyway.
Try green smoothies, which are a delicious way to benefit from the vitamin C, antioxidants and enzymes of raw plants, without having to chew them. They are easy to prepare and consume. Ensure they are not sugar laden.
Consider supplementation. Vitamin D is a nutrient of concern for all ages. You make most of your vitamin D within your skin under the influence of sunlight. Anyone living far from the equator, where sunlight is scarce in winter, is likely deficient. If you are older and perhaps less mobile, you may have even fewer opportunities to enjoy the sun. Yet, vitamin D is a crucial nutrient for bone health. It is needed for the absorption calcium – which may already be limited if stomach acid levels are low. Vitamin D is also essential for a healthy heart, cholesterol metabolism, the brain and more. Unfortunately, there are not many good food sources for it, but oily fish, red meat, liver and egg yolks do contain some. It is possible to get tested and supplement accordingly. Good quality dietary supplements may also help improve the absorption of vitamins and minerals or top up nutrient levels from food. Just make sure to get advice from someone who is trained in the use of dietary supplements. They can interact with medication, and different products are not absorbed in the same way.
Yearly check-in with GP and get tested
It's a good idea, if you don't have to do it more regularly, to check in with your GP once yearly. Here you can ask for your vitamin D, iron levels, magnesium levels and anything else you are concerned about to be checked. They may also want to include other tests. Prevention is always better than a cure!
I have created free resources for you. Feel free to browse and choose the ones that resonate with you.
I warmly invite you to book in for a free 30-minute free chat to see if a personalised nutrition and lifestyle plan might help. It's time to be fabulously you. Book a 30 minute ‘midlife transformation kickstart’ session and explore how to get started now.