Principal Dietician and National Publicity Secretary, Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Mr. Olusola Malomo, says slowing down ageing requires eating healthy, resting, and exercising adequately.
According to him, individuals have to adopt a nutritional strategy that underpins age-defying midlife health.
Experts suggest the following dietary habits in order to slow down the ageing process:
Avoid saturated fats
Saturated fat is a type of fat in which the fatty acid chains have all or predominantly single bonds. Saturated fats are available in foods like butter, palm and coconut oils, cheese, and red meat.
According to experts, excess saturated fat in one’s diet can lead to heart disease and other health problems.
Malomo advised individuals who want to slow down the ageing process to limit the intake of saturated fats or fats from animals and embrace unsaturated fats.
The World Health Organisation suggests that the intake of saturated fats be reduced to less than 10 percent of total energy intake and trans-fats to less than one percent of total energy intake.
Eat more antioxidant foods
The nutritionist said avoiding foods that increase oxidative stress is a way to be one step away from toxins.
“Individuals that want to embrace an anti-ageing diet should eat more antioxidants. The antioxidants can help to mop up the free radicals out of the cells . Antioxidants can be found in green leafy vegetables, coloured fruits, paw-paw, tomatoes, watermelon, avocado pears. The antioxidants will scavenge for free radicals and mop them out of the cells,” Malomo said.
According to the online portal WebMD, the three major antioxidant vitamins are beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
“You’ll find them in colorful fruits and vegetables, especially those with purple, blue, red, orange, and yellow hues,” it noted.
Limit salt intake
“Limiting salt intake would also help to slow ageing in the body,” Malomo said.
According to WHO, keeping salt intake to less than five grams per day helps to prevent hypertension, and reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke in the adult population.
“Reducing salt intake to the recommended level of less than five grams per day could prevent 1.7 million deaths each year.
“People are often unaware of the amount of salt they consume. In many countries, most salt comes from processed foods (e.g. ready meals; processed meats such as bacon, ham, and salami; cheese; and salty snacks) or from foods consumed frequently in large amounts (e.g. bread). Salt is also added to foods during cooking (e.g. bouillon, stock cubes, soy sauce, and fish sauce) or at the point of consumption (e.g. table salt),” WHO said.
The world health body said salt intake can be reduced by, among others, limiting the amount of salt and high-sodium condiments (e.g. soy sauce, fish sauce, and bouillon) when cooking and preparing foods; not having salt or high-sodium sauces on the table; limiting the consumption of salty snacks; and choosing products with lower sodium content.
Drinking safe water is crucial to human health and well-being.
Drinking water helps to restore the elasticity of the skin and moisturises on a cellular level, which helps to add a more youthful glow.
Malomo said it is expected that one drinks an average of two or more litres of water daily.
“Alcohol consumption should be discouraged because it can fast-track the process of ageing.
“Also, reduce tobacco smoking. Once you eliminate toxins from your food, and eating healthily and exercising, then you are gradually renewing your strength.”
The nutritionist also advised exercising to maintain fitness levels to stay younger, healthier, and more active.
“Do 30 minutes of exercise daily so that the muscles can get in tune with the body. To retain your youthfulness and improve your longevity, ensure to exercise regularly to be active,” says Malomo.
WHO noted that adults aged 18–64 years should do at least 150–300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity; or at least 75–150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity; or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity throughout the week.
The global health body also recommended that adults of that age should do muscle-strengthening activities at a moderate or greater intensity that involve all major muscle groups on two or more days a week, as these provide additional health benefits.
“They may increase moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity to more than 300 minutes, or do more than 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity throughout the week for additional health benefits.
“They should limit the amount of time spent being sedentary. Replacing sedentary time with physical activity of any intensity (including light intensity) provides health benefits, and to help reduce the detrimental effects of high levels of sedentary behaviour on health, all adults and older adults should aim to do more than the recommended levels of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity,” it said.
Eat dietary fibre
“Also, eating food in high dietary fibre. We have them in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, wheat, guinea corn, sorghum; and you are not supposed to take them in excess but your food should gravitate towards eating healthy.
“Tailor what you buy in the market towards making your family healthy, eliminate any food that can cause toxins,” he said.
Malomo said a good rest is important in extending ones life span.
“Stress can add to aging and it will stimulate oxidation; stress can induce free radicals and trigger pressure.
According to him, rest helps slow age-related cognitive decline.
The nutritionist added that eating junk foods, over-salted foods, and saturated foods can predispose one to have problem with sugar control, indigestion, diabetes, and fast track aging.
“If care is not taken with some of these things, it can predispose to cancer. one needs to eat healthily.
“The adequate nutrition does not start in the kitchen, it starts from the choice you make; the more you drive your family toward living healthy, the better,” he said.
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