The good news is that you can enjoy dark chocolate without guilt, which is a valuable source of antioxidants and protects blood vessels. We bring you the recommendations of foods that will strengthen your heart, strengthen your bones and stop the aging of your body and mind, and give you a long and healthy life.
Certain populations worldwide enjoy exceptionally long lives. A good example is the habitats of the Pacific island of Okinawa, whose life expectancy is 81 years. For comparison, the world average is only 67 years old. A growing number of research shows that nutrition is one of the most important factors to longevity and vitality.
Nutrition that benefits the heart, brain and bones making these organic systems strong and resistant to changes associated with aging, favors a long and healthy life.
Food for a healthy heart
It is well-known that the heart is not a fan of foods rich in saturated fatty acids that are found in meat and full-fat dairy products. Saturated fats adversely affect cholesterol levels, which in turn harms the health of the heart. But there is also a whole range of foods that contribute to a healthy and strong heart.
Fruits and vegetables are abundant in dietary fibers and many vitamins and minerals and are low in calories. A diet rich in these beneficial foods helps maintain a healthy body weight, and also protects against cardiovascular disease
Whole grains are a true treasury of valuable nutrients, many of which are strong fighters against heart disease
Nuts are rich in unsaturated fatty acids that protect the heart from diseases
Dark chocolate is a valuable source of polyphenols, antioxidants that are believed to reduce high blood pressure and improve the flexibility of blood vessels.
Food for a sharp mind
It is clear that sharp mind supports the vitality and quality of life in later years as well. The basic advice is simple: what is good for the heart, is good for the brain. Specifically, the brain likes a diet based on whole grains, fruits, and vegetables with an abundance of unsaturated fatty acids, the kind found in olive oil. Foods that provide additional protection include:
- Dark berries like blueberries because they contain antioxidants that protect against changes in the brain associated with memory loss and dementia
- Fish, especially those oily like salmon and tuna, is the preferred source of omega-3 fatty acids, which apart from having a beneficial effect on the heart, provide protection from depression and memory loss associated with aging
- Coffee, according to the latest findings, successfully reduces the risk of adverse changes associated with aging, such as cognitive impairment.
Food for strong bones
Loss of bone mass and osteoporosis are among the leading causes of poor mobility in later life. Once an older person remains motionless, her health deteriorates drastically in other aspects. It is well-known that this process can be slowed down and prevented by a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D.
The best sources of these valuable nutrients are:
- Low-fat dairy products, besides being rich in calcium, provide essential proteins for strong bones
- Dark green leafy vegetables are a good source of calcium
- Tofu can also represent a good source of calcium
Food for ‘the swing generation’- anti-aging products
The Western world is faced with a significant increase in the population of elderly people, and it is expected that the share of the geriatric population will continue to grow.
The food industry in developed countries quickly recognized the new market niche and is developing a special category of functional foods targeted to senior citizens. Namely, the food market for so-called swing generation increased by 96 percent from 2000th to 2005th. The population of swing generation is the one with 65 or more years, and they were given that name because of the music that was listened to during their childhood.
Ingredients that are especially popular in this segment are probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, soy and coenzyme Q10. The ingredients that have a favorable effect on the digestive and immune system and interfere with the inflammatory and degenerative processes in the body.
Fewer calories – longer life?
Animal studies have shown that a reduction in energy intake slows the aging process and extend lifespan.
Reducing energy intake in humans causes similar adaptive metabolic processes that are observed in experimental animals (mice, monkeys): it reduces the metabolic, hormonal and inflammatory risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and possibly cancer.
However, the question whether the restriction of calories can extend lifespan or extend life expectancy in people with normal body weight, for now, cannot be answered. But moderation in eating and drinking at an advanced age is certainly a good investment in health and a long life.