I’M 43 AND STARTING TO NOTICE SIGNS OF AGING. CAN I SLOW DOWN THE PROCESS WITH WHAT I EAT?
THE HARPER TWINS SAY… FIRST OF TWO PARTS
The first physical signs of aging may start to appear around age 25. Aging starts from the inside out. Are you noticing issues like dull skin, fine lines, wrinkles, fragile hair and nails, joint problems and bone inflexibility? We talk a lot about the importance of anti-aging nutrition in our practice. Does it work? Absolutely! Many people think of only fine lines and wrinkles in regard to aging, but natural aging also affects our energy levels, heart function, blood pressure, bone density, bowel function, lean muscle mass, body weight, and risk for developing certain diseases. Ideally, you should start committing to an anti-aging nutritional plan by your mid-20s. But if you missed that boat, don’t worry: It’s really never too late to make changes and still experience incredible anti-aging benefits! Yes, you are what you eat, but we also tell our clients that “you are what you absorb.” Absorbing specific nutrients, such as antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, from foods and supplements is essential to slowing your natural aging process from the inside out. Here are your first two steps in starting your own anti-aging nutrition plan.
1. GET INTO A HEALTHY BODY WEIGHT RANGE
Being either underweight or overweight increases your risk of developing certain health conditions and diseases and contributes to poor aging. The great news? If you’re overweight, losing five to 10 percent of your total body weight dramatically lowers your risk. Maintaining a healthy body weight (body mass index of 18.5 to 24.9) becomes challenging as we age. Your best bet? Focus on eating foods that are naturally low in calories and packed with essential nutrients — potent, antiaging superfoods. Include more fresh fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, legumes, quinoa, chia seeds and hemp seeds daily. Portion control of meals and snacks is also key. Here’s an easy start: At lunch and dinner, portion your plate using the “Plate Method.” Load up half of your plate with salad or fresh vegetables, one-quarter of your plate with lean protein (fish, skinless chicken, tofu), and the last quarter of your plate with a starch (whole wheat pasta, brown rice, whole grain bread).
2. GET ADEQUATE HYDRATION
Most people live in a chronically dehydrated state, and people often don’t feel as thirsty as they age. Chronic dehydration dramatically affects aging from the inside out. Increased dryness is a natural part of aging, which shows up most obviously on the body’s largest organ: our skin. Chronic dehydration further dries out the skin. This contributes to the formation of fine lines and wrinkles and internal health issues. Drink water regularly throughout the day, because it’s required for all body organs to function properly. Keeping your skin hydrated requires adequate water intake, and essential nutrients require water to be transported to cells. We recommend getting your daily fluid intake from water, other beverages and food (like raw fruits and veggies). b
are twin sisters and registered dietitians with a special focus on nutrition for aging well @harpernutrition_twins, harpernutrition.com