Healthy aging is a top priority among most adults today. Across the globe, average life expectancies are getting longer. Since ageing and health problems usually go hand in hand, preoccupation with matters like elderly health care is natural. Older adults are especially vulnerable to degenerative diseases like cancer and heart disease. Health problems like these make aged health care so expensive. Health problems associated with aging also detract greatly from the pleasure of old age.
Healthy Aging: Enjoying Your Older Age
Healthy aging is the key to an enjoyable old age. To someone who has great physical and mental health, aging and a long life are a boon instead of a curse. To a healthy adult, aging presents no great challenge. Yes, old age means one must move slower and ache a little.
However, it doesn’t mean diminished mental faculties and expensive aged health care. A healthy elderly can still enjoy life to the fullest. He can travel to faraway places. He can walk, hike, dance, and even run if he wants. A long life simply means more time to do everything he wants to accomplish – no more, no less.
If you want everything that a long life can offer, prioritize healthy aging, too. Prepare for old age now through the following aging, health and nutrition aging tips for older adults.
A Healthy Diet for Healthy Aging
What type of diet promotes healthy aging? A low-calorie but nutrient-packed diet is best whatever your current age, but it is particularly recommended when you hit 50. Older adults should eat foods that are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. They should also cut down on animal protein, saturated fats, sodium, and sugar. The slogan ‘Lean and Green’ captures the essence of a healthy aging diet.
• Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Have at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Fruits and vegetables (especially green, leafy ones) are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants like Vitamin A, C, E, and lycopene slow down aging. They bind free radicals that cause cell degeneration and cell damage.
Recommended fruits include grapes, kiwi and orange. Avocado is good source of healthy fats that can lower bad cholesterol levels. Vegetables like broccoli, spinach, cabbage and cauliflower are great sources of antioxidants. Broccoli is particularly dense in nutrients. It even has calcium, and this is particularly important if you can’t have dairy products.
• Eat lots of whole grains. Cereals and oats, especially fortified ones, are great choices. These are the better sources of carbohydrates as they are rich in fibers that clean up bad cholesterol. If you can have milk, make milk a regular part of your diet. Just choose the fat-free or low-fat variant.
• Cut down on meat consumption. You still need meat, but you need to cut down on your meat consumption. Moreover, always choose lean meat.
• Don’t go beyond your daily calorie requirement. A healthy diet gives you only the amount of Calories that you actually need. Daily Calorie requirements are computed based on age, sex and amount of physical activity. If you’re overweight, you should control your Calorie intake. Reduce your Calorie intake, too, if you have minimal physical activity. A daily intake of 1,600 Calories is recommended for a non-active woman over 50.
A nutrition-rich diet is not enough to ensure healthy aging. You should also stop smoking, start exercising and maintain your weight within the normal range.
• Stop smoking. Smoking is the root of lung cancer. It is also associated with most other chronic and degenerative diseases. Smoking speeds up physical aging and reduces the effectiveness of antioxidants in fighting cell damage. You should really quit smoking if you want to slow down aging.
• Start exercising. Physical activity promotes overall wellness and health. Aerobic exercises increase oxygen levels in the blood and make for a healthier heart. Balance and core exercises improve stability. They help you avoid falls that cause bone fractures and other injuries. Physical exercise also escalates the rate of metabolism. This helps maintain weight in the normal range.
• Lose weight. Obesity is associated with greater risks of heart disease and other types of degenerative conditions. If you are obese or overweight, start losing weight now. You will become more energetic and mobile after you do.
One final note before we end. Before trying to lose weight and enrolling in a physical fitness training program, consult your doctor. Unsupervised fitness training can lead to serious injury. Ask your doctor to recommend exercises that you can perform given your current state of health. Your doctor should also be able to help you draw up a holistic plan for healthy aging.