At some point or another, we all tend to worry about the onset of aging. The worries over wrinkles, stressing about gray hair, and experiencing the decline in energy are all things we can come to expect as we gradually make our way over the hill.
But, can some of the physical and psychological onsets of aging be prevented by eating the right diet? Does your food choice have a direct influence on how you age? Our expert explains why you might want to shift the focus from anti-aging products to what you put into your body…
Aging Problem #1: Energy Depletion
One of the most common signs of aging is a steady decline in energy.
“If you find yourself dragging your feet during the day, you may not be getting enough vitamin B12 in your diet,” says Christy Shatlock, MS/RD, and one of the lead dietitians from bistroMD. “Fatigue is a common sign of vitamin B12 deficiency. Usually, it’s due to a lack of animal protein in the diet.”
If you are active, get plenty of sleep, or don’t eat meat, you may want to see your physician about why you feel so fatigued. Chances are, it’s because your source of vitamin B12 has been depleted.
The Fix: “If you want to fight the fatigue that comes with aging, eating more lean protein can make a big difference,” says Christy. “During the day, make sure you eat at least 3-4 ounces of lean protein, or eat non-fat dairy or non-fat yogurt as a snack.”
If you still don’t feel energized, taking a B12 supplement may be your best option. Consult with your physician first.
Aging Problem #2: Joint Pain
Usually, as you start to age, frequent pain in your joints is a common occurrence.
“If you find yourself having increased pain and ache in your joints, you may not be getting enough copper, magnesium, and calcium in your diet,” says Christy. “Magnesium, copper, and calcium are all essential for maintaining joint cartilage and flexibility. Getting more of these nutrients through diet or supplement can actually prevent joint deterioration and ease the pain.”
The Fix: “Broaden your food choice by eating more lean beef, spinach, and nuts,” says Christy. “Each of these foods has a good dose of these nutrients, and can be easily incorporated into any meal or snack.”
If your joints are still aching, your physician may recommend a copper, magnesium, or calcium supplement for you to take daily.
Aging Problem #3: Memory Loss
Memory loss comes with aging, but what you eat, and your personal food choice could play a factor in your brain’s downward spiral of not being able to recall details at the drop of a hat.
“If you feel like your memory is on the decline, it may be because you aren’t getting enough omega-3 fatty acids,” says Christy. “Omega-3 fatty acids are actually some of your brain’s building blocks, and are essential for cognitive function and memory.”
The Fix: “A simple adjustment in your diet should help you get more of those essential omega-3’s,” says Christy. “Eating more fish, like salmon, and eating healthy snacks like walnuts can help. Just keep in mind: if the majority of your fat intake is coming from meat sources, you probably aren’t getting enough omega-3’s.”
For more tips from our team of experts, please visit our health library for more information.