Ageing comes with a whole array of systemic problems that can prove to be troublesome. From physical symptoms (such as wrinkles, weight-gain, white hair) to mental degeneration, growing older can take a severe toll on an individual's health. Indeed, ageing gracefully is no mean feat and interventions to reverse or mitigate these signs can be costly. Instead of tackling the effects of ageing, why not prevent them in the first place?
1. Increase your intake of proteins
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, which in turn make up our bones, muscles and connective tissues. As we age, these tissues will naturally start to break down. To minimise this degenerative process, ensuring that our bodies receive adequate protein is key. Remember to include meat, fish, eggs, poultry and other protein-rich dishes into your meals. For post-menopausal women, ensure that you have a healthy balance of calcium as well to prevent bone-related degenerative diseases, such as osteoporosis.
2. Don’t avoid food with fat content
Even if fat contains twice the calories of carbohydrates and protein, there's no reason to fear it! Think avocado, eggs, nuts and extra-virgin oil – dietary fat is essential to maintaining proper cell function and promoting proper metabolic health. Not only are they intrinsically nutritious, but fat is also essential for the absorption of various micronutrients such as vitamins A, D, E and K. So the next time you read off the label of a food product, don’t be turned away simply by its fat content!
3. Choose food of a low glycaemic index (GI)
Food with low glycaemic index (GI)—such as nuts, whole grains, legumes and fruits—will keep you feeling full for longer and help you to maintain healthy blood sugar levels throughout the day. In addition to facilitating weight management, choosing low-GI food can prevent glucose spikes and high glucose levels, thus reducing your risk of diabetes. To implement this, you can start by replacing white rice with brown rice, and white bread with wholegrain bread. Additionally, do remember that portion sizes also play a role in maintaining a healthy weight. Don't go bonkers and load up at the buffet!
4. Reduce the level of free radicals in your body
Certain types of food preparation—such as deep frying and barbecuing—produce large amounts of free radicals, which are the antithesis of healthy cells. These free radicals damage our cells and disrupt their functions, causing us to age faster. Limit food prepared via these methods and go for steamed, baked, broiled or boiled options instead. Additionally, you would want to increase your intake of anti-oxidants—substances which combat these free radicals. Berries, fruits and leafy vegetables are some common examples of healthy food choices that are jam-packed with anti-oxidants, and they deserve to be a mainstay in your diet!
In addition to dietary changes, do not forget that an active lifestyle is also crucial for keeping fit in your later years. With a combination of lifestyle changes under your belt, ageing gracefully won't have to be a thing of wistful dreams!