Successful aging requires continued effort for the best outcome. Do you want to live to one hundred and be bed-bound or live to one hundred and be active? Successfully aging people need to consider healthful behaviors to maintain their independence and health. Conditions that affect people over sixty can be modified and lessened by nutritional strategies:
Cardiovascular disease: High blood pressure, cholesterol/triglycerides, and obesity are modifiable by diet and medication. Weight control allows for better mobility, less pain, and fewer heart attacks. Obesity is associated with sleep apnea, as well, which reduces quality of life because it makes you fatigued in the day time and generally weak.
Cerebrovascular Disease: Such as strokes and dementia are impacted by high blood pressure and diet. First off, quit smoking to decrease your risk of dementia and stroke. Decrease your sodium intake to decrease your blood pressure (1500 mg of sodium a day is about right for an average diet.) Use herbs and spices to flavor your foods. Foods such as cold cuts, cheeses, breads, pizza, pasta dishes, snack foods, and soups have higher levels of sodium, so beware. Consider following the DASH diet: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/dash and http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015-scientific-report/
Diabetes Control: Diabetes affects everything from your eyes to your kidneys. There is a four-fold increased risk of death from heart disease or stroke if you are diabetic. Take your medicines, track your hemoglobin A1C (sugar control measure) and eat food with a low glycemic index. Eat food with less fat and avoid high-sugar content items, but include more vegetables and whole grains to maintain glucose control. It takes a lot of effort if you are diabetic, so don’t let diabetes take your life one leg at a time!
Cancer: Get your recommended screening examinations. Also, maintain a healthy weight since obese people have higher risks of cancer!
Chronic Kidney Disease: Another disease modifiable by diet control – CKD risk is increased if you have hypertension, diabetes, obesity, or cardiovascular disease. A healthy diet and physical activity will maintain your weight and blood pressure, minimizing aging’s impact on your kidneys!
Eat bright colored vegetables (carrots, brocolli) and deep colored fruits (berries) for phytochemical, healthy support.
Chose whole, enriched, fortified grains and cereals, i.e. whole wheat bread.
Chose low and non-fat dairy products: Yogurt and low-lactose milk
Adherence to the Mediterranean diet has been proven in trials to be associated with a decreased risk of early death, decreased heart disease risks, decreased cancer risk, and decreased incidence of dementia and other brain diseases. Eat healthy and you live healthy!
Stop Smoking. Be certain to exercise.
The Mediterranean diet has been shown in a 2013 New England Journal of Medicine study to decrease cardiovascular events. The diet allows moderate alcohol (wine), low meat/meat products, but moderate fish intake. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, and olive oil were the important components in this diet. The study revealed a 30 % risk reduction of cardiovascular events (stroke/heart attacks) among high risk people.
It was believed that the Mediterranean diet creates an environment in the body in which insulin sensitivity is improved, blood lipids status are improved, resistance to oxidation and inflammation occurs, and vasoreactivity is decreased. The key components seem to be olive oil and nuts.
The Lyon Diet Heart study in 1994 showed that a canola based oil spread used for omega 3 fatty acid intake along with increased breads and fruits, but less butter, cream, deli meat, and unprocessed meat decreased the chance of a heart attack from 4% to 1 % (relative risk).
Interestingly, the origins for the notion that meat may be a problem for our hearts resulted from the demonstration that Norwegians lived longer from the ravages of cardiovascular disease during the German occupation in World War 2 because their livestock was taken away. They were forced to eat a plant based diet that was more healthful!
The most interesting article showing that a plant based diet can really make a difference is a study by Essyeltyn et al. linked below. This study demonstrated that following a plant based diet eaten by 198 patients with high risk coronary artery disease (CAD) decreased the event rate of new heart attacks and strokes to 0.6% in follow up, whereas those who ate a regular diet had a 62% rate of new heart attacks and strokes!! So what does this diet include? Here is the list:
Plant Based diet: (Esselstyn et al.)
Flaxseed meal (omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids)
multivitamin and B12.
Excluded are: NO oils, fish, fowl, meat, dairy, nuts, avocados. No fructose, no sucrose, no fruit juice, no salt, no syrup, and no molasses.
Why do the plant based diet? If you are at the end of your rope in cardiovascular status, such as untreatable heart disease or high stroke risk, this diet is VERY EFFECTIVE! It is harsh, but very effective, allowing a much better quality of life and longer life.Check the links below.
Fiber plays an improtant role in our diet. Evidence shows that high amounts of cereal fiber intake is associated with decreased cardiovascular risk after a first hear attack.
There are two forms of fiber. Insoluble fiber, which dissolves in water. Examples of this include oats, beans, peas, apples, rice bran, barley, citrus fruits, strawberries, rice, and peas. Examples of insoluble fiber include whole wheat bread, brussel sprouts, rye, grains, cabbage, carrots, turnips, and apple skins.
The goal of intake for fiber is 25 grams a day, which would be the equivalent of 6 cups of oatmeal (cooked) a day, as an example.
Increasing you rcereal fiber intake after your first Heart attack results in a 35% decrease in risk of death from cardiovascular causes and a 31% decrease in death from any cause.
Increasing fiber intake works by improving your glycemic response and insulin sensitivity. This decreases LDL cholesterol and diabetes risks. You will eat less because you feel full after high fiber meals and ths will tend to lose more weight.
Eating fibers from fruits is less associated with improved outcomes after a first heart attack than cereal fibers.
You need to aim for 6-8 servings of grains per day and 8-10 servings of vegetables and fruits per day. Remember that a half-cup of fruit is a serving while a single cup of leafy vegetables is a full serving.
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