Tag Archives: healthy aging

Nutrition: What You Need to Know for Healthy Aging – Johns Hopkins

When it comes to healthy aging and your diet, there are plenty of mixed up “facts” that need to be unraveled, says Johns Hopkins registered dietitian Kathleen Johnson, M.A., R.D., L.D.N. Here, she separates nutrition fact from fiction.

Photo by Tristan Le on Pexels.com

Myth: You should avoid dairy as you get older.

Truth: Only if it aggravates your stomach or digestive system.

Our bodies often become less tolerant of certain foods as we get older, says Johnson. Dairy is one of them because production of the enzyme lactase, which aids in the digestion of dairy, decreases as we age.

But unless you’re not feeling well after having dairy products (symptoms such as gas and bloating), there’s no need to start shunning dairy.

Myth: You can only get calcium from dairy.

Truth: Many other foods are surprisingly good sources.

If you can’t tolerate dairy anymore (see above), you can still meet the daily recommended amount (1,300 milligrams to help prevent osteoporosis) by eating foods such as bok choy (79 milligrams per serving) and white beans (96 milligrams). Other foods with calcium: spinach (146 milligrams), salmon (181 milligrams) and sardines (325 milligrams).

Myth: You should switch to a low-carb, high-protein diet.

Truth: It’s better to follow a well-balanced eating plan that helps you maintain a healthy weight.

Protein does help build muscle mass — something our body naturally loses after the age of 50 (thus the importance of resistance training). However, Johnson says, what’s most important for those over 50 is achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

For that goal, she says, “practicing moderation, and making sure the largest food on your plate is a vegetable, followed by whole grains and protein” is important. One eating plan that most medical experts support for healthy aging is the Mediterranean diet.

Myth: You should avoid saturated fats.

Truth: Some can be good for you. Instead, focus on eating more healthy fats.

“There is good nutrition science supporting the benefits of good monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats,” Johnson says — fats found in foods such as nuts and fatty fish.

“Just don’t make fats — of any type — the largest part of your diet,” she says. Bear in mind that fats help our bodies absorb many key vitamins and minerals for healthy aging.

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Gut Microbiome Implicated in Healthy Aging and Longevity

The gut microbiome is an integral component of the body, but its importance in the human aging process is unclear. Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) researchers and their collaborators have identified distinct signatures in the gut microbiome that are associated with either healthy or unhealthy aging trajectories, which in turn predict survival in a population of older individuals. The work was just published in the journal Nature Metabolism,

Data from over 9,000 people reveal a distinct gut microbiome signature that is associated with healthy aging and survival in the latest decades of life.

The research team analyzed gut microbiome, phenotypic and clinical data from over 9,000 people – between the ages of 18 and 101 years old – across three independent cohorts. The team focused, in particular, on longitudinal data from a cohort of over 900 community-dwelling older individuals (78-98 years old), allowing them to track health and survival outcomes.

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Foods to Eat for a Leaner Body

Another fine food for thought infographic. Never forget that healthy eating is healthy aging.

The only thing missing is coconut oil. Check out Why Should I Try Coconut Oil? for more details.

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Tony

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