Eating to offset the effects of ageing
As we get older many of us find we can’t eat the same as we did when we were young. The body becomes more fragile with age and the chances of becoming ill are higher.
That’s why I always advise clients to look after themselves by making sure that they put back what age takes away. We become more deficient because our digestion works less effectively and the enzymes that breakdown food become depleted. So, it’s important to up our intake of the right nutrients.
The effects of a slower digestion
When you’re not digesting correctly, don’t have the necessary enzymes, or stomach acid to cope with food, your body becomes more acidic, which increases the risk of illness and causes other problems in the gut, like constipation. This leads to haemorrhoids, which can be quite painful, due to straining. Also, when the stool backs up it can develop small pockets in the lining of the colon called diverticulosis. When inflamed it can cause pain, abdominal tenderness and high temperature.
Gas will start to form because you’re not breaking down food correctly and things will start to ferment causing other issues such as a build-up of yeast (the formation of candida) which then causes bloating and alternating bowel motions (between diarrhoea and constipation).
Some may even get GERDS (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) The build-up of acid, when the food from your throat into your stomach comes back up causing pain and a burning sensation.
What can I do to make improvements?
One of the most important things you can do is to drink plenty of water, ideally 1.5 litres per day, this helps to:
- Lubricate the intestines
- Avoid constipation and clear out toxins.
There are simple changes you can make to your diet which would work well as a preventative approach, also minimising side-effects caused by medication. For example, by increasing fibre, this helps clear excess cholesterol. Apples and pears have good amounts of the water-soluble fibre pectin which is great for lowering high triglycerides and preventing colon cancer. Eat more colourful foods, such as berries, which are good sources of antioxidants. Add more red, purple and blue foods such as kidney beans, beetroot, cherries, plumbs, carrots and papaya which contain enzymes to help digestion.
High triglycerides also increase heart disease and strokes as well as making you gain weight.
Arthritis is another disease that plagues us as we age and eating less stodgy things will help, such as:
- Refined carbohydrates
Adding more fresh oily fish such as tuna and salmon are good anti-inflammatories, which helps lubricate our joints and prevents them from getting inflamed. Most people don’t eat a lot of fish and therefore it may make sense to substitute an omega3 capsule once or twice a day.
Caffeine and drinks such as coke are stimulants and better minimised. Try swapping caffeine for decaf. I know you may not like the idea but think of it as one less thing affecting your health, blood pressure and heart (e.g. arrhythmia).
If you like eating meat, opt for the white meat rather than red. Red meat is far harder to digest and can take longer to break down. As we age, we want to love and take care of our digestion and not burden it.
Exercise is always a plus to keep your body healthy and maintain a healthy weight get mental clarity, and a great route to relaxation and peace of mind.
Walking or a little light exercise will keep the weight down taking pressure off the joints. Your knees and ankles will thank you for not making them carry all your body weight!
There is no reason why you can’t maintain good health once you reach 60 and over by making little changes in your lifestyle and diet to aid old age.
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