Key Vitamins to Support Good Health as We Age
The truth is that we can’t stop the aging process. We can, however, take steps to support our health, as we get older. A diet high in vitamins or a vitamin supplement can make it seem as though we are younger than our chronological age. What’s true is that how we look is a good reflection of how healthy we are on the inside.
Here are some vitamins that you especially need as you age so that you can look and feel younger than you really are:
Vitamin E is also known as alpha tocopherol. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that is especially good for cracked and dry skin when one uses it as a lotion or cream on the skin. It helps the skin hang onto its moisture and is a part of many types of sunscreens. Vitamin E is one of the antioxidant vitamins that fight off oxygen free radicals, which are harmful molecules that are missing an electron.
Free radicals scavenge for anything that can give them an electron; this damages cellular structures, including the DNA, which can lead to cancer. In addition, vitamin E helps the function of the immune system and helps genes express themselves.
You can use vitamin E to keep blood from clotting so your risk of heart attack and stroke will be less. It also keeps away the LDL cholesterol, which causes atherosclerosis. There is also research evidence that vitamin E prevents some of the cognitive decline seen in the elderly because of its antioxidant’s effect on the brain.
Skin can be damaged by the sun even if you are careful and use sunscreen. You can also get free radical damage from certain foods, pollution, radiation, or cigarette smoke inhalation. Vitamin C is a type of antioxidant you can take to fight off that kind of damage. It is an antioxidant in its own right and also helps other antioxidants become regenerated in the body. You can put vitamin C on the skin to protect it from the sun.
Vitamin C taken internally to maximize the production of collagen so your skin will appear more firm and will seem more youthful. You need collagen also for wound healing. Vitamin C can also prevent heart disease and cancer. It may even prevent or delay the production of macular degeneration and cataracts. You can get vitamin C by eating a lot of vegetables and fruits.
Vitamin K can help prevent the dark circles that begin to appear under the eyes as we age. Dark circles are a result of heredity, allergies, and hormones and can make you look older or more tired than you really are. Vitamin K can help prevent the leakage of capillaries about the eyes so the blood doesn’t pool there. Studies have shown that vitamin K constricts the capillaries so they won’t leak. It might help the under-eye circles be less prominent.
Vitamin K is also beneficial for bone health in the elderly as low levels of it are typically associated with lower bone mineral density thereby increasing the risks for hip fractures. Vitamin K promotes brain and nervous system health and research is hopeful in vitamin K being useful for treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's disease. It also protects the heart as it prevents calcification in the valves and aorta. You need more vitamin K than your body makes itself so you can take a multivitamin or use a topical cream containing vitamin K. You can get it also in lettuce, broccoli, spinach, and kale as part of a healthy diet.
Niacin is also known as vitamin B3. It increases the ability of your skin to hold onto moisture so it appears younger. Moist skin is good not only for a better appearance but to keep microbes from invading the body. Dry skin can lead to scaly skin, which is very unsightly and increases the chance that you will look older. Niacin is an excellent exfoliant for scaly skin so that healthy skin cells can rise to the surface. Niacin helps the inside of your body as well.
It increases the HDL or “good” cholesterol and lowers the levels of triglycerides in the body. This helps prevent atherosclerosis or “hardening of the arteries.” Niacin also helps you convert your food into cellular energy. You can get your niacin through eggs, poultry, fish, meat, nuts, and some enriched bread products.
Vitamin A is good for aging for many reasons. It is a great antioxidant, which can help fight oxygen free radical damage in the cells. Oxidation from these molecules is believed to be one of the reasons we get degeneration and disease as we age.
You can use vitamin A cream or solution to lessen the signs of UV damage from the sun. It also acts as a good exfoliator for dry skin and can reduce the appearance of dark circles beneath the eyes. You need vitamin A for bone health as well, so you don’t get osteoporosis.
Retinol is a type of vitamin A you get by eating fatty fish, eggs,liver, supplements, or by buying topical solutions of the vitamin. It has the same effects as prescription retinoids but doesn’t have as many side effects, including redness, scaling, and sun sensitivity. Vitamin A can be taken in a supplement or a topical cream for beauty purposes. Get it from food naturally in carrots, dried apricots, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, fish, liver, dark leafy greens, winter squashes, lettuce, and various tropical fruit.
Best Choices in Anti-Aging Herb Plants
Mankind has been obsessed with eternal life ever since humans came to be. After several thousand years, we’ve pretty much realized that we can’t live forever. Drat. We may have given up on this dream, but eternal youth is still something we long for. Thanks to “miracle creams,” invasive procedures that cost a small fortune and alternative medicines that promise us we’ll be able to drink from the fountain of youth, we still chase the dream that with a bit of savvy and a hard work we could look as good as we did twenty years ago.
The problem is that these largely anti-natural means of slowing down the aging process are just that; they’re not natural. If you prefer to reverse the effects of aging the natural way, you should totally consider checking your own back garden. Plants and herbs are known to contain ingredients that can slow down the aging process, making us feel ever youthful. Let’s take a look at some of the best anti-aging plants.
Milk thistle has been used for well over two thousand years by humans. It has been used to treat an ailing liver as well as snake bites. It has even been used to reverse the poisoning effects of mushrooms. Today, people use milk thistle to treat a range of disorders, including jaundice and gallstones. Thanks to its antioxidant properties, it can also be used to slow down the aging process. It does this by encouraging the production of new skin cells to replace older, dying cells that cause blemishes and sagging skin.
If you enjoy cooking, the chances are that you’ve probably already use rosemary in your dishes. You might not have thought too much of it; you liked the taste and that was about it. It certainly adds a kick to your dishes, but that is not all it does. Rosemary has awesome anti-aging properties that should not be underestimated. It puts moisture into your skin, and can eliminate pesky wrinkles. It can also guard your skin cells against damage from the sun.
Reishi is also known as the “mushroom of immortality” by the Chinese. Enough said.
Ginko Biloba might have a funny name, and you probably won’t actually find it at the bottom of your garden. However, Gingko - which is also available as a supplement - is a widely cultivated plant that enhances your cognitive functioning, thereby reducing your risk of age-related dementia and memory loss.
While a real cat’s claw can give you cat scratch fever and cause your arm to balloon to twice its size, this plant - which is also known by its Spanish name Una de Gato and its Indian name Vilcacora - comes with super anti-aging properties that make it a must-consume. It targets your immune system so that your blood pressure is better regulated, your circulation is enhanced, and your cholesterol levels are kept down.
Okay, grapes themselves are pretty darn divine and were once the food of the gods. However, it’s the grape seed that we’re focusing on here. Grape seeds might be tiny and they might even annoy you when you bite down on the fruit only to realize that you’ve got a seed wedged between your teeth.
Rather than spit the seed out, it’s important that you swallow it as it is rich in antioxidants that combat nasty free radicals in your joints. This basically makes you more flexible and able to continue with your physical activities, as you get older. Perfect.
Super Foods for Seniors - Advice on a Healthy Diet
Activity for Health
Studies show that by remaining energetic you can sustain both your physical and mental health. If you continue with the activities that you like doing it will help to prolong your health. Maintaining your strength will help you keep your independence. Bear in mind, activity doesn't mean joining a work out class. Walking, jogging and doing household work counts as an activity too.
As your age progresses the requirement for energy tends to decline especially if physical activity is limited. But the need for minerals, vitamins and protein tends to remain the same. It's very important that your food choices are nutritionally dense, which means you still need to eat a range of foods to get all the minerals and vitamins you need, but with less calories.
Control Fat Intake
It is strongly recommended to control your intake of fats, especially cutting saturated fat to enhance the health of the heart. Above the age of 75, limiting fat is less likely to be helpful, and isn't suitable if the person is weak, has experienced weight loss or has very little appetite. In fact, in these conditions extra fat may be used to raise the calories in meals and snacks to help weight gain.
Foods High in Fiber
Old people experience bowel and constipation problem mostly due to reduced stomach inactivity. To reduce this, you should try consuming foods, fruit and vegetables which contain high fibers. Bran and too much amount of high fiber foods are not the solution, though; they're too large and may hinder with the absorption of some nutrients. To help your stomach work appropriately, it's also significant to drink plenty of water, around eight glasses per day.
Dehydration can make people feel tired or perplexed, it's vital to drink, even if you have to go to the toilet more often. The danger of dehydration can be higher in older people because your kidney doesn’t do the job as capably as those of younger people. Older people are also not as responsive to the sense of thirst. It is better to drink water more but you can also drink fresh juices, tea and coffee.
Fit and strong older people should limit the intake of drinks and foods which are high in sugar, as it can damage dental health and contribute to weight increase when intake of is too high. But for people who have a poor desire for food, or who have lost weight, sugar-rich foods can be a helpful resource of calories.
Iron for Anemia
Anemia is widespread in older adults. Poor intake of iron, due to changes in the gastrointestinal area, blood loss and the use of medicine - together with a reduced dietary ingestion - may be underlying factors. Make sure your intake of iron is adequate by consuming red meat and foods from non-meat resources every day.
Zinc is important for your health and to support the healing of wounds including pressure ulcers. Good sources of Zinc include meat, shellfish and whole meal bread.
Calcium and Vitamin D
Sufficient intake of vitamin D and calcium may assist to slow the pace of calcium loss from bones, which begins at the age of 30 and speeds up significantly in later years. Foods which are rich in Calcium include dairy products which should be eaten every day.
Vitamin D comes frequently from exposing skin to direct sunlight, although some foods like breakfast cereals, fish and fortified spreads contain Vitamin. As you get older it's wise to take a vitamin D tablet, as your body isn't able to get the desired amount from the diet and weather in some parts of the world.
Low Vitamin C
You may have a low vitamin C if you do not consume fruits and vegetables. This may be since crisp fruit and vegetables are often avoided if your teeth are in poor condition.
Foods You Should Eat
To meet your dietary needs, aim to eat a mixed diet including usual meals and snacks, and drink enough fluid.
Occasionally older people can no longer eat as much food at a solitary sitting, so include more nourishing snacks in between meals to improve nutrient intake.
Ideas for quick and nutritious snacks: