In Part One of this series on anti-aging I explained how I am sharing my anti-aging practices focusing on the four big life areas where you can make small changes that will have a powerful impact. These four areas are nutrition, physical conditioning, the quality of your sleep and your emotional reserves.
In this article, we will be looking at the area of nutrition and anti-aging. Your diet is profoundly important and is the one area where you can make small changes and see almost immediate results in the way you look and feel. And when I use the term ‘diet’ I’m not talking about a traditional calorie restricted approach for weight loss. I’m also not talking about fad diets such as drinking nothing but green smoothies for a month and things like that. Yes, you may need to cut back on your daily calorie intake in order to lose extra pounds, but weight loss is not our primary focus here. When you begin to eat with anti-aging in mind, you will may be surprised to find unwanted pounds coming off quite naturally.
What I want you to understand is that current research points to inflammation as the driver behind the development of many of the chronic diseases we have come to accept as an inevitable part of growing older, such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis, diabetes and possibly even Alzheimer’s and cancer. The right kind of nutrition can throw cold water on this damaging inflammatory fire. Plus, there is evidence the foods we eat can actually serve to turn off ‘bad genes’ and flip the switch to turn on ‘good genes!’ In effect, food is actually a powerful drug of sorts and one that has the capacity to dramatically change your health for the better.
So what is an anti-aging diet exactly? Well, turns out it’s really not that complicated. Certain foods have been proven to promote inflammation, such as excess sugar and alcohol as well as highly processed foods such as white flour and ‘junk’ foods with their heavy loads of preservatives and artificial ingredients. It goes without saying you should eliminate or greatly reduce your consumption of these foods. So what do you eat instead?
Here’s how to maintain a healthy and sustainable anti-aging diet:
One – Make fruits and vegetables the centerpiece of your nutritional plan. I’m not talking about fruit juice, but whole fruit, such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges, with healthy fiber and other vitamins and minerals. Choose a variety of colorful vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards prepared simply without pouring fatty or cheese based sauces over them. If you can get fresh, seasonal organic fruits and vegetables, all the better but don’t let that stop you from adding these nutritional powerhouses to your plan.
Two – Consume moderate amounts of healthy fats such as olive oil and nuts in small portions.
Three – Add fish to your diet if it’s not already a part of it. Choose fish which has loads of life giving omega oils such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines.
Four – Limit your consumption of red meat and avoid highly processed foods and sugar. For some people, red wine in moderation is fine and even advisable.
I guarantee if you begin to eat this way, especially if you are a heavy consumer of sugar and other highly processed foods, you will begin to feel better and have more energy almost immediately!
Next time, we’ll focus on your body and how physical conditioning (yes, the dreaded word ‘exercise’) can stave off the effects of aging. I’m not going to advocate going to the gym for hours of cardio a week, though. I’m all about making sustainable changes that will last over time, so that’s the view we’ll come from.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on nutrition, as well as how you are doing in the comments below!