How to eat for healthy aging and reduce the risk of chronic disease
Aging is inevitable, but there are many steps that nutrition professionals can take to help their clients improve longevity and eat for healthy aging. From eating more superfoods to lowering stress levels, here are some of the best nutritional strategies to turn back the clock.
These days, it seems that we are all looking for ways to reduce the signs of aging. Whether it’s trying new skin products or exploring botox, we’ve seen it all–however, certain nutritional and lifestyle changes can often be overlooked in the process to turn back the clock. While certain lifestyle changes go a long way towards extending your client’s lifespan, studies have found that consuming foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals is one of the most effective ways to boost health, reduce the risk of chronic disease, and improve longevity . But what foods are anti-aging, and how can you, as a nutrition professional, help your clients improve their diets (and overall lifestyle) so they can live a longer life and age gracefully? Let’s start off by discussing some of the best superfoods you can add to meal plans to increase longevity.
Foods to eat for healthy aging
You can help your clients improve longevity by including more anti-aging foods in their meal plans. By incorporating some of these superfoods, you can help your clients reduce their risk of chronic disease, slow signs of aging, and increase their longevity.
- Red bell peppers. These brightly colored gems are teeming with anti-aging antioxidants, and are rich in vitamin C and carotenoids, all of which fight inflammation and reduce chronic disease [2,3]. To incorporate this vibrant vegetable into your client’s meal plan, try adding it to their morning eggs, mid-afternoon snack, or dinner side salad.
- Nuts. Certain nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts) are rich in vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids; these protect the skin and promote anti-inflammatory properties to aid in longevity . Nuts can be eaten alone as snacks, thrown onto a yogurt bowl, or sprinkled into salads, so go ahead and include them in a meal plan where you can!
- Blueberries. Blueberries are a berry superpower, as they contain a plethora of antioxidants and have a high vitamin A and C content. As such, they help prevent collagen loss and protect the skin from damage, which helps in the aging process [5, 6]. Whether you add them to a smoothie, salad, or a stack of pancakes, these blue gems can easily be incorporated into your client’s meal plan.
Tip: frozen blueberries offer the same nutritional benefits as their fresh counterparts, so you can reap the benefits all year long.
- Spinach. Spinach is another superfood that offers vitamins A, C, E, K, magnesium, and lutein to improve skin and hair health and reduce inflammation . This leafy green can be paired with eggs, tossed with a salad, or blended into a smoothie.
- Avocados. Avocados are an anti-aging powerhouse thanks to their healthy fat content and vitamins A, C, E, K, potassium, and B vitamins. Studies have shown that this combination greatly promotes skin health and protects against damage from the sun’s UV rays, which helps fight the aging process and makes you appear more youthful . Avocados can be spread on your client’s morning toast, whipped up into guacamole, or added into desserts for an extra creamy texture. Definitely a top food to eat for healthy aging!
- Turmeric. This spice offers a plethora of anti-aging benefits due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which is shown to help maintain brain, heart, and lung health, while also protecting against other age-related conditions and diseases [9,10]. To help your clients incorporate turmeric into their diet, try adding it to rice, soups, smoothies, and tea.
Tip: Black pepper helps enhance the absorption of turmeric, so it’s recommended to pair them together for optimal benefits.
- Water. While water is vital to everyday life, many people do not consume enough of it. Research has shown that drinking adequate amounts of water reduces signs of aging and improves skin health . Experts recommended consuming 2.5 to 4 liters of water per day (for women and men, respectively) to stay fully hydrated; however, these needs may increase depending on your client’s activity levels, environment, and health status.
Tip: you can track your client’s water intake with Nutrium.
Improve longevity with nutritional support and lifestyle changes
As a nutrition professional, you can help your clients improve their quality of life with certain lifestyle changes and subsequent nutritional suggestions. Here are some ways that you can help your clients eat for healthy aging and improve longevity.
While we all experience stress, chronic stress can cause premature aging and increase the risk of chronic disease. In fact, studies show that those suffering from chronic stress or anxiety are two times more likely to die from heart disease, stroke, or lung cancer .
To help combat stress, lower cortisol levels, and reduce inflammation, you can include certain nutrient-rich foods (such as those high in vitamin B, omega-3 fatty acids, and magnesium) in your client’s meal plan.
Smoking has also been linked to an increased risk of cancer, certain diseases, chronic inflammation, and an increased risk of mortality, as studies have found that those who smoke lose up to 10 years of life compared to those who don’t smoke . But it’s never too late to quit; research shows that if you stop smoking before 40 years old, you reduce the risk of dying by 90% and can prolong your life by up to 8 years .
To increase the chances of your client being smoke-free, you can add more fruits, vegetables, beans, and milk to their meal plan, as these foods have been shown to help break the habit.
Improve sleep habits
Getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night has been associated with an improved immune function, weight maintenance, reduced stress, and enhanced mental clarity. However, chronic sleep deprivation can lead to a 12% greater risk of early death, as well as inflammation and an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke .
To help achieve a more restful night’s sleep, you can suggest certain supplements and add more sleep-inducing foods (like almonds, turkey, kiwi, chamomile tea, and fatty fish) to your client’s evening meal plan .
Aging is inevitable, but there are many steps that you, as a nutrition professional, can take to help clients turn back the clock. While certain lifestyle changes go a long way towards extending your client’s lifespan, studies have found that consuming a nutritious diet is one of the most effective ways to boost health, reduce the risk of chronic disease, and improve longevity.
Whether you include more superfoods into your client’s meal plan or encourage them to stop smoking, there are many ways in which you can help your clients eat for healthy aging, improve longevity and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
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