Staying healthy and feeling your best is important at any age, especially as we get older.
Promoting healthy ageing is about maximising everyone’s ability to continue to do the things that matter to us as we get older.
Many of us fear that ageing means an inevitable decline in our quality of life. But according to health experts, it does not have to be that way.
Dr Sivuyile Madikana, a Herbalife nutrition advisory board member for Southern Africa, notes that ageing is inevitable. “We cannot slow the process of growing older, however, we can work on being healthier and the best versions of ourselves. And with age, many changes occur in our bodies like reduced muscle mass and bone density.”
He also notes that it is important to know what your caloric need is for your age group, sex, and current circumstances.
“Some older adults need fewer calories compared to when they were younger and more active. This could be due to the changes in lifestyle, a slowdown in the metabolic rate, and difference in body composition,” says Madikana.
Below Sivuyile Madikana shares some considerations while gracefully growing wiser.
This is a macronutrient that is critical in the growth and maintenance of our muscles and bones. Our diet should be made up of at least 30% of protein.
However, the older we get we tend to taper down how much protein we are eating.
Some important sources of protein include lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and protein shakes for those who are keen to consume it in a drinkable format.
To prevent the loss of lean muscle, we need to consume enough protein to maintain our muscles.
Healthy fats – these are an important part of our diets because of the benefits they come with.
Healthy fats have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes, and high blood pressure, which are conditions we are more prone to with age.
They lower bad cholesterol, while promoting the increase of “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fats include nuts, salmon, tuna, and many other Mediterranean food sources.
About 30% of the foods and supplements we consume daily should be made up of healthy fats – ensuring a well-balanced diet.
A deficiency in these subsets of nutrients has been associated with physiological and cognitive decline. For example, the older we grow, the less ability our bodies have to absorb Vitamin B12, which is important in the formation of normal red blood cells and the functioning of our metabolism.
Dietary sources include dairy products and fish, however dietary supplements can also increase vitamin B12 intake.
There are other essential dietary minerals such as calcium, zinc, iron, and selenium which contribute to good and healthy bone density. This is not the complete sum of things we can do to age better, however just the beginning.
To live a more wholesome life in our older age, we need to take care of our bodies throughout our lifetime.
Feeding them the right amount of nutrients to maintain a body that will keep functional and hopefully work at preventing non-communicable conditions that would weigh us down.
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