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Nutrients that Support Healthy Aging

Nutrients that Support Healthy Aging


When asked, many people say they would rather live better than just live longer. Part of feeling your best is supporting your body by eating nutritious foods and staying active. As you get older, there are a few areas where your body could use a little extra support. Luckily, it's never too late to start nourishing your body!


When it comes to what to eat to support the aging process, some foods are disadvantageous, while others will help to support your body as you age. Some of these helpful nutrients are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants, and protein.


Healthy fats: 

Fats such as polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 and omega-6) and monounsaturated fats have been shown to be beneficial for your body as you age due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Omega-3 fatty acids are well known to be anti-inflammatory, but did you know that omega-6 fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory properties?1


  • Olive oil: Studies suggest that an eating pattern that is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids may reduce skin aging because of their anti-inflammatory properties.2Specifically, a diet rich in olive oil, which is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, has been linked to a lower risk of chronic health conditions.3
  • Salmon: Fatty fish such as salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. These omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to be protective against heart disease, inflammation, and many other health conditions. It is the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of the polyunsaturated fatty acids have been shown to help reduce the risk.  
  • Walnuts: These nuts have long been praised for their connection to heart health and brain health. This is because they contain both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, as well as protein. Studies have shown that an eating pattern that is abundant in walnuts is linked to improved lipid and cholesterol profiles. Walnuts have also been shown to reduce oxidative stress.4


Antioxidants: 

Free radicals are unstable molecules that are created as a byproduct or formed as a response to stressors. At high levels, free radicals can damage your cells. Foods containing antioxidants have been shown to help stabilize free radicals and further reduce the risk of certain diseases. 


  • Berries: Whether you choose to consume raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, or strawberries you will be getting antioxidant benefits! Berries contain the antioxidants anthocyanins, ellagic acid, and resveratrol.5

  • Citrus fruits: Many people don’t realize that citrus fruits also contain antioxidants. Vitamin C is actually an antioxidant that can help stabilize free radicals. Vitamin C also plays a role in collagen production, which is an important building block of the skin, however, collagen production declines as you age. 

  • Dark leafy greens: Dark leafy greens are another source of vitamin C. They also contain other antioxidants such as carotenoids. Similarly, these antioxidants protect the cells. It is so important to consume a wide variety of vegetables and fruits to get an abundance of antioxidants.6


Protein:

As you age, protein becomes even more essential to prevent the loss of lean body mass. Protein is not only important for those that are looking to build and maintain muscle, but it is also beneficial for bone health. Compared to the general recommendation of 0.8g/kg/d, current studies suggest that older adults should aim to get 1-1.2g of protein/kg of body weight each day to both maintain and gain muscle mass and function.7


Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and it is important to get in all the essential amino acids from your diet. Animal-based proteins and a few plant-based proteins are complete proteins and contain all of these amino acids. 


Getting enough protein tends to be more difficult for older adults and they often eat too little. Expanding your protein options can also provide you with additional nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and fiber. 


  • Chicken: A well-known animal-based protein that contains around 27 grams of protein in a half of a cooked chicken breast. 

  • Tofu: A plant-based protein option that is a complete protein. It also contains around 15.5 grams of protein in a quarter block of tofu. 

  • Eggs:Eggs contain healthy fats and vital nutrients such as choline, B vitamins, and vitamin D. One large egg also contains around 6 grams of protein. 


When it comes to aging, there are many lifestyle adjustments that can be made to support your body through the process and even slow down the signs. Like we’ve mentioned, incorporating healthy fats, antioxidants, and protein in your diet is part of that! Additionally, make sure to incorporate a variety of foods in your eating pattern to ensure you are getting a wide variety of nutrients. Your GenoPalate report can even tell you specific foods that could help support your body! Try our GenoPalate testing kit to make the best diet choices for your health!


Summary:

Didn’t have the time to read the blog? Here’s what you need to know! As you get older, there are a few areas where your bodies could use a little extra support. Some nutrients that are important for the aging process are healthy fats, antioxidants, and protein.


References:

  1. Djuricic I, Calder PC. Beneficial Outcomes of Omega-6 and Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids on Human Health: An Update for 2021.Nutrients. 2021;13(7):2421. Published 2021 Jul 15. doi:10.3390/nu13072421 

  2. Saibandith B, Spencer JPE, Rowland IR, Commane DM. Olive Polyphenols and the Metabolic Syndrome. Molecules. 2017 Jun 29;22(7):1082. Doi: 10.3390/molecules22071082. PMID: 28661446; PMCID: PMC6152042.

  3. Massaro M, Scoditti E, Carluccio MA, et al. Effects of Olive Oil on Blood Pressure: Epidemiological, Clinical, and Mechanistic Evidence.Nutrients. 2020;12(6):1548. Published 2020 May 26. doi:10.3390/nu12061548

    4. (Banel DK, Hu FB. Effects of walnut consumption on blood lipids and other cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis and systematic review.Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;90(1):56-63. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.27457)

Photo of Frankie O'Brien

Written by:

Frankie O'Brien, MS, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian

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