You probably heard your mother say it. Health gurus say it. You might even hear your conscience prod you with it. It’s annoying, it’s frustrating, and unfortunately, it’s very true. You are what you eat. But did you know that eating affects aging?
Most women dream of aging gracefully, but don’t do anything to help the process until the damage is already done. It’s easier to wait until the signs of aging manifest themselves, when there can be no more denial.
The appearance of wrinkles and gray hair serve as a reminder of the passing years and the battle ensues. Lotions and creams are often the weapon of choice, as if those are enough.
Aging isn’t merely external, though. It affects every cell from your brain and organs to muscles and tissues (1). Too often it takes the diagnosis of a disease to make any serious changes.
Fortunately, there are ways to slow some of the effects of aging (2). It’s never too late to stop more damage from being done and it’s never too early to start (3)! Taking control of your health is always beneficial, whether you’re 22 or 82 and what you’re eating affects aging, no doubt about it.
The Importance Of A Proper Diet
The World Health Organization (WHO) has found that degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and diabetes are all affected by diet (4).
In fact, food has such a profound impact that even your childhood diet can influence the onset of disease in later years (5). There is no “getting away” with eating whatever you want.
That may sound dire, but the good news is that eating healthy and maintaining a lean body weight can lessen and even delay the aging process at any point in life (6). Any positive change will yield positive results, so don’t be too discouraged to start.
I Know Eating Affects Aging But I Like My Food To Taste Good
It’s hard to change eating habits if you believe that eating healthy means eating bland or unappealing meals. It doesn’t have to turn into a meaningless existence avoiding all foods that are pleasurable.
What you’re eating affects aging, for sure but: Your brownies don’t have to be made out of beans (more power to those of you that like them).
Instead of focusing on what you can’t have, look at what you can have. Here’s a list of foods to incorporate into your meals, boosting your body’s ability to fight off age.
The beta carotene is essential for skin health, boosting elasticity and giving skin a warm glow. The antioxidants are beneficial for the whole body.
Flavonoids can help lower the risk of Osteoporosis (7). Some teas are rich in antioxidants, helping to boost metabolism and immunity.
Polyphenols found in grapes are good for the heart, brain, colon, eyes, and overall cell health.
The monounsaturated fats are anti-inflammatory and help protect skin.
Full of protein, calcium, and leucine, and helping to build muscle.
The antioxidants found in this superfood can help prevent collagen loss and are rich in vitamins A and C.
Many nuts are a good source of vitamin E and omega-3 fats, helping with skin repair and strengthening cell membranes.
Still Not Convinced…And Unmotivated. And Sad.
It’s hard to work up the motivation to eat healthier when you have to drown out the thoughts of donuts AND find new recipes worthy of your tastebuds. Changing eating habits means new groceries and, well, new habits. That’s hard to do.
It means rethinking every bite, and it means giving yourself grace. It doesn’t mean you have to do a total overhaul all at once, and it doesn’t mean you can’t ever cheat. But keep in mind that what you’re eating affects aging from inside.
To help the process, here are some Ostego recipes to check out. These won’t leave you feeling deprived! And there are lots of other great resources.
Furtherfood.com has 60 anti-aging recipes, from meals to desserts. Blueberry cheesecake scones, ginger maple-glazed salmon, dark chocolate coconut bars, and Asian chicken skewers with bacon-wrapped pineapple are just a few they have listed.
Good Housekeeping’s Anti-aging Power Foods has great recipes worth checking out. Spaghetti with pesto verde, kid-approved cauliflower mac ‘n cheese, and chicken enchiladas can help kickstart your appetite for better eating and a better life.
Ultimately, cutting out sugars and processed foods is your best bet (8). Increase protein for building muscle and add a variety of fruits and vegetables for health-boosting vitamins. Your body will thank you with increased energy, a clearer mind, and better immunity! Age well and live your best life.
1- U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Aging Changes in Organs, Tissues, and Cells.”
2- Whiteman, Honor (2016, March). “The Effects of Aging: Can They Be Reversed?” Medical News Today.
3- John Hopkins Medicine. “It’s Never Too Late: 5 Healthy Steps at Any Age.”
4- World Health Organization. “Nutrition for Older Persons.”
5- Daniella Duque-Guimaraes and Suzanne Ozanne. (2017, March). “Early Nutrition and Aging: Can We Intervene?” Springer.
6- Arthur E. Everett, Sarah N. Hilmer, David G Le Couteur. “Dietary Approaches That Delay Age-related Diseases.” NCBI.
7- Connie M. Weaver, Ph.D., D. Lee Alekel, Ph.D., and Martin J. Ronis, Ph.D. Flavanoid Intake and Bone Health.
8-Connie M. Weaver, Ph.D., D. Lee Alekel, Ph.D., […], and Martin J. Ronis, Ph.D. Days of Real Food. “Real Food Tips: 10 reasons to cut Out Processed Foods.”