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Anti-Aging Through Nutrition

Aging is often associated with disease, ailments, and overall decreased quality of life, but it does not have to be.  The majority of the conditions elderly individuals suffer from is more due to poor diet and decreased physical activity than it is aging.  As such, there are plenty of ways to eat healthy that can actually prevent many of the effects and concerns connected with aging.

For starters, the foundation of any healthy diet should be vegetables, legumes, and fruit.  These foods are typically lower in calories and nutrient dense, ensuring your body is getting the necessary vitamins and minerals to maintain good health.

Countless studies have shown that the antioxidants found in legumes, fruits, vegetables, and whole grain sources are great at slowing down the aging process.  These antioxidants help to inhibit the production of what is termed “free radicals,” which can harm the body by damaging cells.  So, find ways to add more of these sources of food into your diet to stave off those wrinkles and ailments.

In addition, other nutrients that are vital for slowing down the clock on aging is calcium, Vitamin D, and protein.  Calcium can be found in various sources such as low-fat or fat-free milk, cheeses, and yogurt.  Getting more Vitamin D is as simple as getting out in the sun, as your skin actually produces its own Vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight.  The important keys here are that the sun should be high up in the sky, as this is when it will be most effective at helping your body producing Vitamin D.  The second thing is to get at least 10 minutes a day if you are fair skinned, 20-30 minutes if you have darker skin.  While too much can actually have a negative impact on aging (mainly of the skin), too little can also do damage as well, so make sure to get a little bit of sun each day for good health.

While some things should be increased to improve your aging health, there are some that should be avoided.  Two such things are saturated fats and trans fats.  These things can raise your bad cholesterol levels as well as lead to a myriad of other health issues.  Minimizing your intake of foods dense in either of these fats will most certainly prevent wear and tear on your body.

Nuts are a great source of a healthy fat, called mono-unsaturated fat, and is low in cholesterol to boot.  In addition, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that in a group of 35,000 women, those who consumed foods high in Vitamin E such as nuts, significantly lowered their risk of stroke.

Extra virgin olive oil is a great alternative to vegetable oil and should be the only oil found in your kitchen.  It contains heart-healthy fat just like nuts and also has plant components that are beneficial to the body.  It can help increase healthy cholesterol (HDL) and decrease bad cholesterol (LDL).  It can be used in place of margarine, butter, or vegetable oil in various recipes, so swap out the bad oils for good and live a longer, better quality of life.

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