Hey team, as promised, this week’s blog is continuing on with our theme of healthy ageing! Last week I talked about the importance of physical activity and the positive effects it can have on health and ageing (so if you haven’t read it, now is the time). This week I’ll be covering some nutrition strategies that can help improve our health and fitness as we age.
Don’t forget, we’re all ageing (wow that’s morbid). The earlier we start focussing on these strategies, the better!
Polyphenols AKA Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables
Including a wide range of polyphenols in your diet may help protect against chronic disease and improve health and ageing. Make sure you’re including plenty of resveratrol, sulforaphane, oleuropein and curcumin. Ok, that’s enough big words.
Basically, a polyphenol is a compound produced by plants to help protect against pests, prevent infections and help with their growth. When we eat these compounds, they appear to have positive effects on our health. There’s no need to worry about exactly what and how much you’re having, but instead include a wide range of fruits and vegetables in your diet to get that polyphenol punch (I need to trademark that), as well as lots of other health-promoting benefits.
I know I harp on about this macronutrient a lot but hopefully, that’s giving you some idea of the importance of including the appropriate amount of high-quality protein in our diets. As we age, we’re at a much greater risk of muscle loss. Muscle is the stuff that helps us continue to move as we age, and also provides protection against a number of chronic diseases. 4-6 protein rich meals per day combined with regular resistance training (see last week’s blog if you’re not convinced) is just what the dietitian ordered.
Bone health is not a very sexy topic in today’s world of health and nutrition, but it is MASSIVELY important. Unfortunately, the degradation of bone occurs somewhat silently, so it’s easy to forget about until the first fracture or sign of osteoporosis occur. To protect against this, we need to make sure we’re getting adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D (and START NOW people.) Fantastic sources of calcium include minimally processed dairy (milk, yoghurt, cheese), tinned fish with bones, nuts, seeds, lentils and beans. For vitamin D, including fatty fish, cheese, whole eggs and some mushrooms. Resistance training is also incredibly effective at bone density. Is anyone seeing a theme here?
Bit of a controversial one, but moderating your intake of saturated fat is also recommended for improving health and ageing. Saturated fat is predominantly found in fatty cuts of meat, butter, coconut oil and lots of processed foods such as biscuits and pastries. You don’t have to go crazy and completely cut them from your diet! Instead, focus on including a wide range of healthier fat sources from foods such as fatty fish, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds. If you’ve heard differently and want more clarification, make sure to shoot me a message! I’m always happy to go more in depth on things.
Combining these strategies with the activity recommendations from last week is an excellent way to start improving not only your current health and fitness, but your life long health. I can’t promise you’ll live forever, but you won’t know until you try…