Growing older poses different challenges for each of us. However, avoiding disease and being able to continue doing the things we enjoy long into our lives are common goals for most of us. The science of aging well is rapidly emerging as we learn more and more about how good nutrition and exercise play an important role in staving off Father Time. Making healthy lifestyle choices can positively affect your brain health, as well as slow or even, prevent cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Since these are the three largest health concerns of the baby boomer generation, let’s look at ways we can improve our diet to positively impact our lives.
Brain health. The omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA found in cold water fish, nuts, seeds, olives and avocados (yeah guacamole!) are important at every stage of life. They are part of the process of brain development in children and brain preservation in adults. All of the B vitamins are important for overall health, but folic acid, B12, and B6 are especially important for preserving healthy brain tissue, warding off dementia and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease. The B vitamins are found in all fruits, vegetables, 100% whole grains and lean meats. Vitamin C, found in tropical fruits, tomatoes and cherries, help generate the neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) to keep your brain functioning properly.
Heart Health. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of both men and women. Choosing foods that are high in saturated fats, sugar, and white flour have been linked to having elevated cholesterol and an increased incidence of heart attack. Choose instead foods that are high in Omega 3 fatty acids (again, the fish, nuts, seeds, olives and avocados), a good source of fiber (fruits, vegetables, 100% whole grains, beans and bran), and contain a natural source of probiotics (yogurt, fermented vegetables, kombucha or a supplement). Gut health and heart health appear to be closely related.
Diabetes. The Type 2 diabetes epidemic the planet is currently facing has many scientists saying that the millennial generation will be the first generation in recorded history that is looking at a shorter lifespan than their parents. Foods that are full of white flour and sugar, saturated fats, preservatives, and salt while also being devoid of vitamins, minerals and fiber are causing obesity, zapping our energy and causing an alarming rate of Type 2 diabetes. Switching to lean meat, low-fat dairy, 100% whole grains, and more fresh fruits and vegetables can help achieve healthier weight goals and significantly lower your risk of becoming diabetic.
The power of exercise cannot be underestimated. Having a good exercise routine can help you burn more calories, maintain healthy muscles and bones and has even been proven to boost your mental health. All of this leads to a healthier brain, heart, and body.
Bunny Foxhoven is an accredited Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with the American Dietetics Association and is a Certified Diabetes Educator with the American Association of Diabetes Educators.Posts and blogs created by Bunny on the Wealth Meet Health community are for informational purposes only and are not meant to take the place of your relationship with a health professional. For personal health considerations, please consult a health professional directly.
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