Ageing – eating back the years!
Research has finally identified one of the most important contributors to heart disease, wrinkles, cancer, arthritis, and many more problems associated with ageing – “WE RUST”!
Ironically, the same air that gives us LIFE also causes us to RUST, fruit to turn brown, our bodies’ cells to break down and age. Through a series of chemical changes, oxygen molecules in our bodies lose electrons, making them unstable. These unstable molecules are called “free radicals”!
In frantic attempts to stabilize themselves, free radicals pillage electrons from healthy cells throughout your body. Every time they steal an electron, two things happen
A healthy molecule is damaged
More free radicals are created.
Unless this process is stopped, an increasing number of cells are damaged every day, and our health pays the price!!!
To keep this destructive process under control, nature created an enormous arsenal of antioxidants. These are found as compounds in foods and they can stop free radicals from doing harm. Antioxidants come between free radicals and your body’s healthy cells, offering up their own electrons and preventing yours from being plundered! Even though our bodies naturally produce their own antioxidants, studies clearly show that the antioxidants in food offer superior protection. Three of the strongest antioxidants are:
Each of these nutrients has been shown to be very effective against age-related illnesses like cancer and heart disease. Although you can get some protection from anti-oxidant supplements, most doctors agree that the antioxidants in foods are the better choice and should be your first line of defence.
While it’s important to eat to prevent aging, you also need to adjust your eating habits as you age. As the years pass your nutritional needs change dramatically.
Did you know?
We produce less saliva as we age, so food isn’t as easy to digest and swallow!
We produce less stomach acid, which means that we don’t digest foods or absorb nutrients as well as we used to!
Doctors don’t always think to check for nutritional deficiencies in adults. Unfortunately a simple lack of nutrients can easily be mistaken for more serious illness!
Zinc for example is an essential mineral for maintaining a healthy immune system. It is also one of the nutrients that requires adequate stomach acid to be absorbed. When acid levels decline, getting enough Zinc can be a problem. One of the easiest ways to get Zinc into your body is to have oysters. Just six deliver 77 milligrams of zinc.
If Beta carotene and Vitamin C and E are the best sources of antioxidants then which foods should we be including in our diets to make sure we get adequate amounts?
Squash – packed with Beta-Carotene and much, much more! Judging from the ancient remains found in Mexican Caves, folk have been eating squash for at least 7,000 years. Squash was one of the “three sisters” in early Native American diets (the other two were corn and beans). And they were considered so important that they were often buried with the dead in order to provide them with nourishment on their final journey!
It has taken science a few thousand years to prove what the early Americans knew from experience: Squash is almost overloaded with nourishing compounds. In fact Squash contains such a rich variety of vitamins, minerals and other compounds that scientists have just begun to map its healing potential.
Fresh chili peppers, red and green, are rich source of vitamin C - 100 g fresh chilies provide about 143.7 µg or about 240% of RDA. Vitamin C is a potent water-soluble antioxidant. It is required for the collagen synthesis in the body. Collagen is the main structural protein in the body required for maintaining the integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and bones. Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body protect from scurvy; develop resistance against infectious agents (boosts immunity) and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.
Sunflower Seeds, Almonds and Spinach are the best sources of Vitamin E. The majority of vitamin E's benefits stem from its antioxidant qualities. That means it combines with oxygen and destroys free radicals. It protects polyunsaturated fats and other oxygen-sensitive compounds such as vitamin A from being destroyed by damaging oxidation reactions.
Vitamin E's antioxidant properties are also important to cell membranes. For example, vitamin E protects lung cells that are in constant contact with oxygen and white blood cells that help fight disease.
But the benefits of vitamin E's antioxidant role may actually go much further. There is significant evidence vitamin E can protect against heart disease and may slow the deterioration associated with aging. Critics scoffed at such claims in the past, but an understanding of the importance of vitamin E's antioxidant role may be beginning to pay off. However, as with beta-carotene, the effect of vitamin E in preventing heart disease may be both timing-sensitive and dose sensitive.
Vitamin E also acts as an antioxidant in foods. The vitamin E in vegetable oils helps keep them from being oxidized and turning rancid. Likewise, it protects vitamin A in foods from being oxidized. This
makes vitamin E a useful food preservative.
One of the most rewarding aspects of this website is the research component. It is a road of discovery that I want to share with you. I hope to include some recipes using these fabulous foods in the near future.
...and remember...have a fabulous retirementLIFE....