How to protect your body and brain from age through food and exercise

How healthy is your body? As the years go by, everything from our heart and joints to our brain and gut microbiome is subject to the wear and tear and cumulative effects of poor diet and exercise choices.

The result is that we are increasingly at risk of disease and diseases that can seriously threaten our longevity.

Fortunately, there is a lot we can do to age our bodies and provide protection from middle age onwards. Here are the steps to take:

Brain: Choose dark-colored fruits

Although age is the biggest risk factor for dementia, the condition is not an inevitable part of aging. Certainly, diet plays a role and the more fruits and vegetables you consume, the better according to scientists from Harvard University who found that people who ate the highest amount of flavones and anthocyanins — powerful antioxidant plant compounds — from these foods were 19 percent less likely to . To report confusion and forgetfulness as they get older.

“Polyphenols are compounds found in plants that help maintain cognitive function,” says Dublin nutritionist Avin Bannon.

“All fruits and vegetables contain it but dark-colored fruits like blueberries, red grapes, and blackberries are especially good sources.”

Among the foods that topped the list in the Harvard study were berries, spinach, and onions. With around 180mg of total flavonoids per 100g serving, strawberries are ranked as one of the best brain-boosting foods, with cherries, apples, and pears too.

The Harvard team said that eating just one pear or half an apple a day made a positive difference in cognition when eaten in addition to other flavonoid-rich foods.

Blueberries, which provide 164mg of beneficial anthocyanins per 100g serving, are another powerful brain booster.
Blueberries, which provide 164mg of beneficial anthocyanins per 100g serving, are another powerful brain booster.

Blueberries, which provide 164mg of beneficial anthocyanins per 100g serving, are another powerful brain booster. Nutritionists at the University of Exeter showed that drinking 30ml of blueberry juice (equivalent to 230g of blueberries) per day for 12 weeks improved cognitive function in a group of healthy people between the ages of 65 and 77, compared to those who drank a placebo product. .

In general, the less you eat the better. While two tablespoons of cooked spinach per day helped prevent mental decline in older adults, eating spinach raw on a salad increased the effect by increasing flavonoid intake, Harvard researchers found.

“Omega-3 fatty acids are also something to look at for heart health,” says Bannon.

“DHA, an omega-3 fat that is an important component of nerve cell membranes, and EPA and DHA are believed to enhance neuronal function.” Omega-3s are found in oily fish, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and flaxseeds.

Cardio: Walk daily at a brisk pace

Researchers recently studied data on 88,000 middle-aged adults and found that those who exercised harder to the point of laboring each week had lower rates of heart attacks, strokes, and heart disease over the next seven years.
Researchers recently studied data on 88,000 middle-aged adults and found that those who exercised harder to the point of laboring each week had lower rates of heart attacks, strokes, and heart disease over the next seven years.

According to the Irish Heart Association (IHA), nearly 9,000 lives are lost annually to heart disease.

There are many risk factors for heart disease and poor cardiovascular health, including physical inactivity and poor diet, but the IHA says 90% of them can be controlled and putting measures in place to protect your heart is key. Your first step should be to walk daily and as fast as you can.

Researchers recently studied data on 88,000 middle-aged adults and found that those who exercise more vigorously to the point of labored breathing each week — including walking at a brisk pace of at least 100 steps per minute — have lower rates of heart attacks and strokes, and heart disease on average. over the next seven years. Increasing the time spent doing vigorous exercise by 20% each week reduced the risk of heart disease by 23%.

Eating heart-friendly foods is also beneficial. “Eating a Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables, oily fish, and whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease,” says Bannon.

More recently, scientists have shown that a Nordic diet with plenty of fish, berries, whole grains and nuts can reduce the risk.

Joints: Snack on broccoli

Broccoli is one of the best foods for joint protection
Broccoli is one of the best foods for joint protection

Do you feel more stiffness and pain as you get older? According to a report by HSE’s Get Ireland Active campaign, more than 400,000 people in Ireland suffer from osteoporosis, mostly as a result of damage to cartilage, the soft, rubbery layer that covers the ends of bones, and often due to wear and tear. The older we get. It usually causes pain and discomfort in the knees, hips, hands, and spine joints.

Numerous studies have shown how a diet high in sugar and fat has been shown to worsen arthritis, Bannon says.

“And no supplement will replace a processed diet,” she says.

Professor Ian Clark, a molecular cell biologist at the University of East Anglia, believes that broccoli is one of the best foods for joint protection. It contains sulforaphane, a natural compound that Clark has shown to help slow the destruction of cartilage in joints with early signs of osteoarthritis.

Bones: Try jumping, running and jumping

According to the Irish Osteoporosis Society, one in four men and one in two women over the age of 50 will experience a broken bone as a result of osteoporosis, so maintaining strong bones is key.

The skeleton depends on physical activity — and a bone-friendly diet — to stay healthy.

Daily walking can help increase bone density. Even better is to add resistance exercises — such as weight lifting — and high-impact weight-bearing activity — running, jumping, and jumping. Both forms of exercise provide forces that pull on the skeleton to strengthen it.

According to the authors of a paper published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine on the subject last year, weight training at least twice a week, gradually lifting heavier weights, is something we should all do to protect our bones.

Diet goes hand in hand with exercise for bone health.

Bannon says adults need 700 mg of calcium per day.

While dairy is a decent source (700 mg of calcium equals about three servings of dairy or a small bowl of yogurt plus milk on cereal and about 30 grams of cheese), she says, there are other sources.

Almonds are a great source of calcium
Almonds are a great source of calcium

Almonds, sesame seeds, legumes, fortified soybeans, and nut beverages also contain high levels of calcium.

“Magnesium, phosphorous, protein, potassium, vitamin D and K are all important for bone health, and so we need a healthy, varied, balanced diet for bones,” says Bannon.

Plums are an amazing bone-friendly food because they contain minerals, vitamin K, phenolic compounds, and dietary fiber that combine to promote bone health—eating 5 to 10 per day was shown in a study to increase bone density in women.

Gut: Add fiber to your diet

As we age, the number and diversity of beneficial bacteria that we harbor in our gut microbiome—the large number of bacteria, fungi, and yeasts that live in our gut—that are critical to health, slowly decreases.

It follows that enhancing the health of your microbiome can be important for preventing the body from aging, including warding off stress associated with an increased risk of disease.

Researchers at APC Microbiome Ireland recently showed how eating more high-fiber fruits and vegetables, grains and legumes plus fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir or kombucha for four weeks led to significant changes in the levels of 40 chemicals in the brain and body. that can affect stress in addition to inducing subtle changes in microbial composition and function.

“Using diets that target the microbiome to positively modulate gut-brain communication holds potential for reducing stress and stress-related disorders,” says Professor John Cryan, Vice President of Research and Innovation at APC Microbiome Ireland.

Last month, researchers at Baycrest Aged Care Center in Canada also reported how the gut microbiome is thought to play a role in brain health and dementia risk, while another group of researchers recently confirmed a clear overlap between poor gut health and higher risk of dementia. in age-related diseases.

Most adults do not consume enough fiber and patching it up may be the critical step we can take for long-term gut health.

“It is estimated that 80% of the Irish do not eat enough fibre,” says Bannon.

“Ideally, we should aim to eat 25-35 grams per day.” High-fiber foods like whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables are bulky and filling but also work wonders on your microbiome, Bannon says.

Hearing: Do aerobic exercise

Our hearing deteriorates as we get older but it is exacerbated by exposure to loud noises and it can also be caused by genetic and autoimmune diseases.

About 40% of people over 50 (71% of those over 70) have hearing loss.

“Regular annual hearing testing over the age of 40 is important to monitor for deterioration,” says Gordon Harrison, chief audiologist at Specsavers.

“If you notice a sudden or gradual hearing loss, you should get tested as soon as possible.”

Walking, running, and cycling are all forms of aerobic exercise that promote circulation and increase the supply of nutrients to the ears and ear canals to help maintain hearing.

When researchers from Bellarmine University tracked the levels of aerobic fitness and hearing ability in 1,082 female participants ages 20 to 49, the women with better cardio fitness levels were six percent more likely to have good hearing than those who weren’t.

Psychologists at Curtin University have found that people who meditate daily for 15 minutes at least four days a week have improved auditory skills.
Psychologists at Curtin University have found that people who meditate daily for 15 minutes at least four days a week have improved auditory skills.

Meditation has been shown to improve blood flow to the brain and inside the ears to help preserve hearing.

According to psychologists at Curtin University in Australia, people who meditate daily for 15 minutes at least four days a week have enhanced auditory skills and “greater sensitivity to sounds” compared to non-meditators.

Sight: Eat an orange a day

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which causes progressive deterioration of the central area of ​​the retina, is a major cause of vision loss.

Figures from the Irish Longitudinal Study of Aging indicate that 7.2% of all people over the age of 50 suffer from AMD, which is 25% of all registered blind people in Ireland.

Eating an orange every day is a good idea, as the flavonoids in the fruit seem to help protect against eye disease.

In an Australian study of 3,000 people followed over 15 years, those who ate at least one serving of orange per day had a 60% lower risk of developing AMD, a level of protection not seen from other flavonoid-rich foods like tea. and apples.

“Even eating an orange once a week appears to provide significant benefits,” the University of Sydney researchers wrote.

#protect #body #brain #age #food #exercise

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *