lets know more about nutrition and its role in healthy aging. Essential nutrients are components in food that your body can’t make on its own, and that we need to grow, function, and stay healthy. So we must get these nutrients through our diets.
WHO defines Healthy Ageing “as the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables well being in older age”. From the minute we’re born, we’re aging. Constant exposure to our environment, the things we eat, and stresses from both inside and outside our bodies all cause us to age over time.
Aging is highly complex, but scientists are starting to understand what happens at the cellular and molecular levels. For example, healthy cells are damaged overtime when our immune systems shift from reacting to short-term problems like injuries and infections,to gradually producing chronic inflammation throughout the body.
Time also gradually shortens the telomeres that act as protective caps for our DNA-containing chromosomes. These and other changes make our bodies less and less able to deal with stress from inside and outside of our body, so when damage reachesa critical level, our cells, tissues, and organs may no longer perform normally and our health starts to decline. The changes associated with aging start to happen on some level at day one.
Some aspects of aging are out of our control–like our genetics and our family history–but we can educate ourselves about moderate risk factors and do our best to reduce them through healthy lifestyle and diet choices. Most of us can be healthy and active well into our later years, if we take care of ourselves. It’s no surprise that regular physical activity can help maintain a healthy weight, improve moods and sleep habits, and boost overall health and it’s clear that a well-balanced diet full or nutritious foods, is critical to good health.
But when it comes to understanding which foods are the best choices, much nutrition research has focused on how certain foods or nutrients may have a negative effect on health, or even play a role in disease development
Carbohydrates are the main source of calories,or energy, in the diet. Fats also give us energy and help with normal growth and development, immune function, vitamin absorption, hormone production, and more Proteins, and the amino acids they are made of, are major structural components of our bodies’ cells, and are responsible for building and repair of tissues, and maintenance of muscle.
There are 13 essential vitamins which have important jobs such as keeping our nerves healthy, helping us resist infection, assisting with blood clotting, and keeping our metabolism running.
Minerals are only needed in small amounts but play a vital role in muscle contraction, fluid balance, food digestion, bone building,blood pressure regulation, and more.
Water is also an essential nutrient that delivers other nutrients to cells, regulates the body temperature, acts as a shock absorb-er and lubricant, and helps in the removal of waste from the body. Bio active compounds are not considered essential because they haven’t been shown to lead to deficiencies if they’re missing in the diet.
Bio actives are a big part of nutrition research and scientists are trying to better understand and unlock their potential health benefits. Bio actives that you have likely heard of are carotenoids.
The colorful plant pigments found in bright red, yellow, and orange fruits and vegetables –act as powerful antioxidants and may help to prevent some types of cancer and heart disease, reduce the risk of eye disease, and enhance the immune system and more.
Resveratrol is another bio active found in the skin of grapes, blueberries, raspberries, and mulberries that may reduce the risk of heart disease. Flavanols are a part of the flavanoid family that are found in tea, red wine, and cocoa and may positively influence our cardiovascular health.
Phytosterols are steroid compounds in plants that may lower cholesterol and improve cardiovascular health.
Healthy eating for Healthy aging
Healthy eating is important at every age,but the amount of nutrients we need, and our bodies’ ability to process them, can changeover time and depend on your personal health status. As you age, you may need more Vitamin D and calcium for bone health, more B12 for brain and blood health, and more fiber for a healthy digestive system.
Some people may also need more water as their sense of thirst declines. Your medical conditions, or the medications you take, may also require you to adjust your diet.
It’s important to talk with your health care team when deciding the best nutrition plan for you.
But most people can get the healthy nutrients they need from a well-rounded diet of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains–such as those recommended in the US Dietary Guidelines.
Some people with deficiencies, certain diseases and conditions, or with evolving nutritional needs at different stages of life, may consider dietary supplements to add missing nutrition to their diets.
Supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbals and botanical s, amino acids, enzymes, and bio actives.
You may be one of the many adults that takes a dietary supplement of some kind, but do you know enough about what is safe and what you can trust?
Too often what’s popular one day, seems to make headlines the next for being unsafe.
The Food and Drug Administration that regulates the safety and effectiveness of drugs and medical devices, also regulates dietary supplements. But supplements are not regulated as strictly as drugs, because they have been considered to be more like food than drugs.
For example, companies don’t need to get approval before producing or selling their supplements and don’t have to provide evidence to support their claims about the produce before marketing them.
There are many safe dietary supplement options out there that can help keep you healthy, and even improve your health, but there are others that may not be safe for you.
When choosing a supplement talk to your healthcare team about all the prescription and OTC medications you are taking, and all of the supplements. They can advise you on their safety, as well as how they might interact with your medications.
Avoid mega-doses of supplements, which may be more than your body needs, and even cause you harm. Keep in mind that the term natural doesn’t always mean safe and watch out for claims that seem too good to be true.
When searching for information on-line, turn to trusted sources. Look for authors who are academics, experts in the field, government agency employees, and well-respected members of the medical community.
I hope you all must have found this article on nutrition for healthy aging quite informative and must helped you a lot.