Jenson Mak | Vitality & Healthy Ageing Blog

Dr. Jenson Mak covers the best of living a vital and healthy life at any age.

Tag: food

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Best and Worst Foods for Healthy Ageing: Part 1

 
Most people are well aware of the fact that eating well benefits overall health. There are certain foods that have the ability to help us age in a better manner. But many are unaware that there are also foods that speed up the ageing process. As our bodies begin to naturally age, it is important that we remain aware of what we are consuming and what those foods are doing to our body.
 
Foods to Limit
 
Red/Processed Meat
 
Although the protein levels in many of these types of meats are high, there are other harmful aspects that do not support healthy ageing. When red meat is cooked at high temperatures, it becomes a source for advanced glycation end products (AGEs). These products are harmful molecules that the body produces. AGEs are enemies of your skin, as they break down collagen. When it comes to processed meats, (i.e. bacon, hot dogs, pepperoni) health experts raise concerns about high saturated fat levels as well as nitrates. Both of these factors can cause wrinkles as well as inflammation.
 
Potato Chips/ French Fries
 
These perfect sides to sandwiches and burgers are not likely to help the ageing process. The high levels of salt in these foods leads to water retention, which causes serious bloating. Salty treats such as these usually contain trans fat as well, which should be avoided as we age. Adults should avoid consuming more than 6 grams of salt a day. A small bag of chips can sometimes contain up to 10% of your sodium intake. Additionally, trans fat lowers the “good” kind of cholesterol and raises the levels of the “bad” type of cholesterol. If possibly avoiding these types of food is recommended in order to help the ageing process.
 
Anti-Ageing Boosters
 
Salmon
 
As mentioned in a previous blog, this fish is considered a superfood and does wonder for the body. With high levels of omega 3 fatty acids, salmon not only has the ability to help your insides, but your skin also benefits from its nutrients. One of the leading causes of premature ageing is excessive inflammation. The healthy fats in salmon help eliminate such swelling and puffiness, giving skin a smooth texture.
 
Avocados
 
Over the years, health professionals have continued discovering the endless benefits of avocados. This fruit (yes, it is a fruit), contains monounsaturated fat, one of the healthiest fats out there. This fat helps to keep the skin hydrated, less inflamed, and plumper. Due to its diversity, the avocado has the ability to take the form of many spreads and dressings. Many people find them to serve as great supplements for everyday items such as mayonnaise!
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How Nutrition Impacts Age

A new study – Nutritional Considerations for Health Aging and Reduction in Age-Related Chronic Diseases – featured in Advances in Nutrition found that improving nutritional education within the healthcare system may promote healthier aging and reduce the financial burden of the aging population.

 

It is estimated that by the year 2050, almost 400 million people will be 80 years or older. This estimate is almost three times higher than in 2013. According to the published report, a growing number of this population will be susceptible to a concept known as nutritional frailty – a condition in older adults involving the sudden loss of weight and strength that increases the chance of experiencing disability. The growing number of obese older adults is also vulnerable to nutritional frailty and its associated diseases such as sarcopenia, mental decline, and infectious diseases.

 

The study determined that a specific model describing the various factors that influence food choices needs to be established to increase the understanding behind older adults and their food intake and meal quality. Recently, a new model was designed to monitor food intake in older adults in addition to the inclusion of randomised clinical studies. This model will help determine the specific nutritional requirements and biomarkers needed to further understand the impact of increasing age on areas such as necessary protein intake and muscle turnover. The study’s finding will also help establish new BMI guidelines tailored to the aging population.

 

According to Gilles Bergeron, the executive director at The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science at the New York Academy of Sciences, “A nutritional assessment model that takes into consideration the effect of aging on muscle mass, weight loss and nutrient absorption is crucial to overall wellness in our elderly population,”. He continues, “However, nutrition recommendations are usually based on that of a typical healthy adult, and fail to consider the effect of aging on muscle mass, weight loss, and nutrient absorption and utilisation..”
Simin Nikbin Meydani, director of the Nutritional Immunology Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, agrees with Bergeron’s views on the need for personalised nutrition recommendations stating, “much greater emphasis needs to be placed on prioritising research that will fill the knowledge gaps and provide the kind of data needed by health and nutrition experts if we’re going to address this problem,”. She adds, “There also needs to be more education about on-going nutritional needs for those involved with elder-care — not only in a clinical setting, but also for family members who are responsible for aging adults.”

 

Simin Nikbin Meydani, director of the Nutritional Immunology Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, agrees with Bergeron’s views on the need for personalized nutrition recommendations stating, “much greater emphasis needs to be placed on prioritizing research that will fill the knowledge gaps and provide the kind of data needed by health and nutrition experts if we’re going to address this problem,”. She adds, “There also needs to be more education about on-going nutritional needs for those involved with elder-care — not only in a clinical setting, but also for family members who are responsible for aging adults.”

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