Conversations about “staying young” and “slowing down the aging process” are everywhere, and all of these discussions can become overwhelming, especially when trying to decipher what’s true and what isn’t.
Most of us have probably heard that what you eat can impact how you age. But what exactly does this mean for us, and how can we develop eating habits that can help us age healthy?
Chances are you’ve at least heard of the Mediterranean diet, especially in conversations about healthy aging. This diet takes inspiration from Italy and Greece and incorporates fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and healthy fats like olives and olive oil. Fish is incorporated on occasion, but it is mostly plant-based. This diet also drastically limits the consumption of processed foods and added sugars.
The Mediterranean diet has been hailed for its impact on slowing cognitive decline, but what does the research actually say? In 2015, Nutrition Progress Review published a systemic review of the relationship between diet, dementia and brain aging.
According to this review, sticking to a Mediterranean diet as you age has been associated with fewer incidents of dementia and Alzheimer’s, as well as slower cognitive aging. This was based on several types of studies (cross-sectional and longitudinal), trials and meta-analyses.
This review attributes certain characteristics of the Mediterranean diet, such as antioxidants and monounsaturated fatty acids, to its impact on brain aging. Patterns in this diet are said to help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which are major contributors to dementia and cognitive decline.
When it comes to aging, science shows that inflammation can be a major culprit in accelerating the process. According to a meta-analysis of Aging Research JournalsChronic low-grade inflammation can be a factor in many chronic diseases and conditions that commonly occur with old age.
This review also found that eating or taking omega-3 supplements can significantly help reduce inflammation as you age. Another study, published in The British Journal of Nutritionshows that along with omega-3s, things like whole grains and fiber, and a variety of fruits and vegetables are also helpful in reducing inflammation as you age.
It is always possible that your doctor will recommend that you supplement certain nutrients as you age, especially if there are specific health areas that require special attention. However, a great deal of research on diet and aging shows that a balanced diet that incorporates several nutrients is more effective than supplementation.
According to a recent article published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, consuming all the important macro and micronutrients in a wide range of foods such as whole grains, lentils, nuts, vegetables, fruits, etc., can have a significant impact on the pursuit of a healthy life as you go. as you age. With that in mind, they also note that a balanced diet that supports healthy aging also aims to limit your intake of added sugars and heavily processed foods.
So while supplementation may be a good idea if your doctor recommends it, focusing on a complete and balanced diet rich in helpful macro and micronutrients is key to slowing the aging process.
Your skin and how quickly it ages is affected by both internal and external factors, but many people are so focused on addressing the external factors (buying the right skin care) that they may not realize how much their complexion is affected by internal factors. well (their food).
According to a report published in Nutrients, there are many different nutrients, vitamins and minerals that play a unique role in slowing down the aging process of the skin. For example, protein helps repair skin tissue, vitamin B helps reduce inflammation and pigmentation, vitamin C helps collagen synthesis, and water is essential for skin hydration and maintenance. reduction of inflammation and signs of aging.
This report also notes that things like smoking, alcohol, a high-fat diet, and added sugars are associated with faster aging and skin damage. But, although your diet plays a key role in your skin’s aging process, we still recommend wearing this SPF!
If you have questions about your diet and healthy aging, talk to your doctor or dietitian about a helpful plan.