In Arizona, about 18% of the population are seniors. You may be one of them. To stay healthy even in your ripe old age, you need the triumvirate of exercise, nutrition, and mental well-being.
But how much food matters in your senior years? Well, a lot.
Here’s What Science Says
Aging is one of the most fascinating topics in research. Despite being common – as everybody ages – it still holds plenty of secrets. That includes the value of nutrition in preventing, or accelerating, the aging process.
So far, science says that:
1. Proper Nutrition Can Improve Cellular Aging in Women
As you age, your body breaks down. That includes your telomeres, the caps at the end of your chromosomes. Multiple studies relate the shortening of telomeres to aging since the more it decreases in length, the higher are the chances of cellular damage.
When your cells experience wear and tear, the risks of chronic diseases increase. For women, their telomere length shortens in every egg cycle.
Fortunately, that can be further delayed with proper nutrition, according to a 2018 US study. It can be as simple as consuming a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while cutting back on sodium, processed food, and added sugar.
2. Low-Fat Diet with Calorie Restriction Can Help Protect an Aging Brain
Aging raises the odds of cognitive decline, and we’re not just talking about memory loss. The average age of dementia is 80 years old, although it can begin as early as 60 to 65 years old.
A 2018 research in Frontiers revealed that a low-fat diet with calorie restriction can help protect the brain. In fact, it can be more effective than exercise in promoting a healthy brain.
Using a mouse model, the team discovered that this combo could prevent the activation of inflammatory immune cells in the brain. Less inflammation means less damage to the nerve cells or neurons.
3. The Right Food Also Lowers the Risk of Depression and Immobility
Over 5 million American older adults suffer from depression, but this isn’t part of normal healthy aging. One common reason is immobility that worsens the feelings of isolation and independence.
The right food, though, can lower such risk and even improve immobility. This is according to a 2013 research by the Society of Nueroscience. When you can maintain your movement or reduce inflexibility, you can also boost the effectiveness of exercise, which releases hormones that enhance your mood.
How Seniors Can Eat Healthily
Knowing you need proper nutrition to age better is one thing. Doing that is another. Unfortunately, you might be one of those older adults who struggle to cook. You can deal with it with these two tips:
1. Consider Moving into an Assisted-living Facility
Contrary to popular belief, choosing to live in an assisted-living facility, doesn’t mean giving up on your freedom. It’s even the other way around.
In these homes, you can carry out your preferred activities and daily tasks as much as you like. The good news is you can call help whenever you need one.
For example, you can rely on professionals to help you cook. They can also track your nutrition to ensure you’re not consuming excessive sodium, fats, and carbohydrates.
2. Subscribe to a Meal Plan
Subscribing to a meal plan saves you the hassle of buying supplies, prepping, and cooking. You can choose the diet you want, such as low-calorie or plant-based, and have them delivered to you anytime.
While this is convenient, it can be costly in the long run. You are also limited to the menu provided unless you’re willing to pay more for a personalized meal.
The more you age, the more you have to pay attention to your nutrition. But aging itself can prevent you from eating right. If you cannot cook, get support from the experts.