How long you live, and how healthy you will remain, depends largely, on how you cared for your body during your earlier years. It also depends on your genetic inheritance, about which you can do little.
These two influences aside, it is never too late to improve your health, by making sure that your diet contains all the elements you need in order to remain strong and comfortable throughout your life. Here's how.
UNDERSTAND WHAT FOODS YOUR BODY NEEDS AND WHY
We know that the best diets consist of lean meats, whole grains, a wide range of the vitamin-rich brightly colored fruits and vegetables, beans, dairy foods, seeds, nuts, and honey. These contain all the vitamins, and minerals your need, in addition to other beneficial ingredients. You can pick and choose among these, but you must choose wisely to make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need. You will need the following.
1. Antioxidants - keep your immune system healthy and are essential to fight the free radicals which can cause disease and cell deterioration. They are considered essential in the fight against cancer and age-related diseases like dementia. The more of the 'bad' foods that you eat, the more antioxidants you will need in order to restore balance.
2. Bioflavanoids - keep your cardiovascular system healthy, and prevent gastrointestinal disorders, in addition to lowering the risk of inflammation. Bioflavanoids are also found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables and in red wine.
3. Probiotics - keep your gastrointestinal tract in good health, your immune system healthy, and assist your body in the absorption of calcium. Probiotics are found in yoghurt, bananas, whole grains, and honey.
*It is important to note that antibiotics destroy both the bad, as well as the good bacteria, some of which are vital for digestion. Those taking antibiotics must take probiotics to restore healthy functioning of the digestive system.
4. Omega 3 and 6 and Fatty Acids - keep the heart healthy and defend against problems such as arthritis, asthma, and macular degeneration. They are found in meats, salmon, flax seed oil, canola oil, and eggs. They also control triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are a type of fat that give us energy, but, in high levels can increase the risk of heart disease.
5. Calcium - is essential for the building of bones. Throughout life, the bones are constantly breaking down and being rebuilt, but as we age, the breaking down of the bone occurs faster than does the building up. It is therefore essential that, as we age, we get adequate calcium in our diet. Calcium is found in dairy products as well as in seeds, nuts, kale, and tofu. Some adults find that as they age, they become lactose intolerant. Those adults should consult their family physician about the advisability of taking supplements, as well as an appropriate dosage.
6. Vitamin D - is essential to help our bodies absorb calcium. Vitamin D is found in fish, especially salmon, sardines, and trout. Fish oil capsules are an excellent way to keep up your vitamin D.
*****It is important to note here that supplements are an excellent choice for some people, but some supplements impact negatively on some prescription medications. When you visit your family physician, always give him/her a list of all the supplements that you are taking. You can ask your pharmacist about interactions as well. They are usually more than willing to help.
7. Iron - is vital for the production of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen throughout the body. Without adequate hemoglobin, we feel lethargic and become ill more easily. Women, as they age, need more iron, than do men. Iron is found in red meats, poultry, fish, nuts, and beans - the dried kind.
8. Phytostorols - are steroid compounds that have the ability to lower the level of bad cholesterol. They are found mainly in fruits and vegetables, nuts, and vegetable oils.
If you look down the list you will see that it contains all the foods we know are good for us; whole grains, lean meat, poultry, and fish, nuts and seeds, and brightly colored vegetables and fruits. Those that need a bit of sweetness in their lives would be wise to use honey or maple syrup. If you consume a variety of these foods daily, you will get all the nutrients your need, and will remain healthy and vibrant all the days of your life.