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Condition - Embrace the Ageing Process!

Don’t just add years to your life – Add life to your years…!

By Jackie Newson BSc (Hons) Nutritional Therapy

We all want to live forever don’t we? Or do we? Ill health and poor mobility are just two of the many reasons why realistically, living forever is not desirable. It’s no fun living life restricted to a chair or a bed, or where moving causes enormous discomfort. A life where you can barely hear, have very poor eyesight, or have a chronic debilitating condition, can be a miserable existence.

In fact very few people, maybe 1 in 10,000 die of old age. Most of us become ill and die earlier than nature intended. We now know that for the majority of people the causes of illness in the West are from lifestyle factors such as smoking, poor nutrition and lack of exercise. The average life span for a man in the first world is around 75 years and 82 years for women. However, studies suggest that it is possible for us to live to between 110 and 120. So, how can we achieve this?

Researchers have found a number of communities around the world who live outstandingly long and healthy lives. Further investigations reveal that certain practices these centenarians include in their lives, enables them to reach their golden years with fewer diseases and a high level of vitality and good health. We can all hopefully reap the same benefits by following a few simple rules…

Be Active

We were designed to live active lives and to consume far more calories than is the norm today. However, we are no longer hunter-gatherers and most of us lead quite sedentary lives and therefore burn fewer calories, so we need to start moving! Choose an activity that comes easily, such as cycling, swimming, walking, dancing or tennis. All successful centenarians walk. In fact, walking briskly has the same cardiovascular benefits as running, without the joint problems. It also relieves stress and can aid digestion following a meal – 30 minutes a day is all you need to maintain good health.

Take time to relieve stress

Relax and socialise – maintain a strong support network. Try yoga or pilates or meditate daily.

Have a purpose for living

Why do you get up in the morning? What are you passionate about? What is important to you? Learn something new, paint, play the piano, take dancing lessons, try a new language…

Make family a priority

Invest time and energy in your children, partner and family.

Surround yourself with those who share your values

Choose people who support your healthy habits and challenge you mentally and those you can rely on in case of need. Build strong relationships with those people, meeting regularly. Social support networks are essential to long life and happiness.

Stop eating when you are no longer hungry

  • Interestingly those who live the longest, make a point of eating until they are no longer hungry rather than when they feel full. This means making a conscious effort to listen to your body so that you can recognise the signal that your brain is sending to tell you its time to stop eating! If you find this difficult, supplements containing a P12 Proteinase Inhibitor extracted from white potato can help to promote feelings of fullness, helping you to manage your appetite and hunger more easily.
  • Use small plates, save leftovers and store immediately.
  • Eat more slowly. Chew! Well-digested food means you benefit from better absorption so your body can utilise as much of the important nutrients from your food as possible.

Avoid meat and processed foods

  • Eat small amounts of protein at each meal to maintain blood sugar balance and prevent hunger and cravings.
  • Include beans, pulses, lentils, whole grains, vegetables and fruit daily.
  • Try exchanging some of your meat meals for fish or vegetable protein like soya. Tofu is high in protein, rich in minerals, devoid of cholesterol, complete in the amino acids necessary for human sustenance and rich in phytoestrogens (may help hormone balancing).
  • Try and limit meat to twice a week or less. Include oily fish, to ensure you get enough omega 3 essential fatty acids. These will help to keep your skin, hair and nails in good shape and could help to maintain optimum brain function into old age.
  • Eat five or more portions of vegetables and fruit a day. Vegetables contain a range of vitamins and minerals that are vital for good health. They also guarantee a good supply of a variety of antioxidants, which work in harmony in our bodies. Everything we do requires energy and this process causes free radical damage to the cells in our body. Antioxidants are the first line of defence against free radical damage and could help manage the ageing process. There are antioxidants in every living tissue, although the major antioxidants found in meat, eggs and milk are destroyed during cooking. Antioxidants from plant sources, however, can survive cooking and can  be absorbed by the body. Nutrients within fruit and vegetables also help to stimulate the body to produce it’s own antioxidants and detoxifying enzymes.

Supplements

It’s not always possible to get enough fresh organic fruit and vegetables into our diets so a multivitamin and mineral complex along with an antioxidant supplement would be an easy way to increase your daily levels. For vegetarians or those who don’t like oily fish you can get omega 3 essential fatty acids in liquid or capsule form. Don’t like tofu? Supplementing with a food-form soya-based formula will ensure you don’t miss out on the important isoflavones they contain at whatever age you are!

Incorporating these easy rules into your life will leave you with bright eyes, glowing skin, a sharp mind and boundless energy. Say no to growing old gracefully and embrace the ageing process! 


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