The older we get, the more we want to slow time and delay the natural aging process. Over time, concerns about weight, skin, hair, pain, memory and chronic disease surface. If you want to feel and look your best and fight the signs of aging, focus on these key secrets to success!
Pile up on produce. It is no surprise that loading up on fruits and vegetables will help with weight control – they are low in calories and high in fibre and water which help you stay full and prevent overeating. But fruits and vegetables also provide powerful substances that can slow the aging process and promote longevity. These include phytochemicals, antioxidants and other nutrients known to protect against free radicals (unstable molecules that damage cells), limit inflammation, boost your immune system, and decrease disease. For instance, berries are full of Vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that can help you maintain a healthy complexion and ward off wrinkles and dry skin. Dark leafy greens are high in lutein and zeaxanthin, plant pigments that can help preserve eyesight; and potassium, a mineral that promotes bone health and keeps your blood pressure in check.
Maintain muscle. As we age, we lose muscle, which slows down our metabolism – making us prone to excess fat storage. To help maintain metabolism-boosting muscle:
Get adequate protein. Not only does protein keep you full, it helps you build and maintain muscle. Include a protein source at every meal and snack: white, skinless poultry, lean cuts of meat, fish, seafood, eggs, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, soy, milk, yogurt or low fat cheese.
Include strength training. Most people know to exercise, but many people neglect strength-training activities that help preserve and enhance muscle, reduce body fat, and help burn calories more efficiently. Include at least 2 strength-training sessions a week (20-30 minutes each).
Fit in fat. Some people avoid fat to limit calories – but we need fat to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, keep our skin soft, and fuel our bodies. Food sources of fat have many important roles – nuts, including hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts are full of antioxidants; fatty-fish, including salmon, trout and tuna are high in omega-3s that help reduce heart disease and stroke; olive oil, canola oil and avocado contain monounsaturated fat that helps reduce total and “bad” cholesterol.
Fibre up! Like protein, fibre helps to manage blood sugars, appetite, cravings and weight. Fibre also helps to keep your bowels healthy and reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Women need ~ 25 g of fibre per day. Rich sources include: whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and fruits and vegetables.
Take home tips:
- Include protein at every meal and snack
- Include 2-3 servings milk/alternatives/day
- Choose whole grains vs. white processed grains and sugar
- Eat 2-3 fruits/day
- Eat 1 cup of vegetables at both lunch and dinner (minimum)
- Eat fatty fish 2-3 x / week (3 oz. servings)
- Eat nuts and seeds 3-4 x / week (1/4 cup servings)
- Eat beans and legumes 3-4 x / week (3/4 cup servings)
- Consume 2-3 tsp. of healthy fat every day
- Strength train 2x/week (minimum)