As we get older, we become increasingly susceptible to health problems. Many of the conditions that we commonly associate with ageing can be relieved or prevented through a healthy diet and lifestyle.
- Health issues that become more prevalent as we get older include:
- Memory and concentration difficulties
- Eye and vision problems, including Macular Degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma
- Reduced Immunity, and consequently increased susceptibility to Bronchitis and other respiratory infections
- Circulatory problems, including increased tendency towards Varicose Veins, slow-healing Wounds, and peripheral vascular disease
- Musculoskeletal problems, including Muscle Cramps, Osteoarthirits, Gout and Osteoporosis
- Benign prostatic hypertrophy
- Indigestion and other digestive problems
- Insomnia and Anxiety
- Low iron and Anaemia
- Many of the conditions of ageing are associated with Free Radical Damage to the affected tissues. These include cardiovascular disease, Circulatory Problems, Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy, and vision problems
- Hormonal changes contribute to Osteoporosis and Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy
- Nutritional factors may play a role in some cases, because as we get older, our nutritional requirements change, and so do our dietary habits and our ability to absorb the nutrients in our food; this is a contributing factor to anaemia and some other health problems
- Dietary and lifestyle factors throughout the course of life have a significant impact on health in the senior years. For example, calcium intake and vitamin D levels throughout life influence the risk of Osteoporosis; smoking at any age has consequences for your respiratory health; and weight problems increase your risk of developing Osteoarthirits
- In addition, taking increased numbers of medications as you get older may predispose you to adverse effects or interactions from your medicines, and may exacerbate any nutritional deficits that are present
Nutritional & Herbal Support
- Brahmi has been shown to help improve and maintain memory
- Bilberry is a rich source of antioxidant compounds called anthocyanosides, which support the health of the capillaries, in particular those of the eyes, maintaining healthy eyes.
- Grape seed supports the health of the capillaries and other blood vessels, and improves Circulatory Problems
- Turmeric may provide temporary relief of the pain of arthirits that may occur in older adults
- White Willow Bark is traditionally used in herbal medicine for the relief of minor joint pain and may provide temporary relief of minor low back pain.
- Magnesium assists in prevention of dietary vitamin B6 deficiency, and helps maintain bone integrity
- Withania is traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine to relieve general debility, especially during old age, and improve overall health
- To promote immunity, take a multivitamin that's been specially formulated, combining a broad spectrum of nutrients with immune-boosting herbs such as Echinacea and Reishi mushroom.
- Zinc play an important role in the body and supplementation may be particularly beneficial for the health of seniors, because the ability to absorb zinc declines with age
- Taking a broad-spectrum digestive enzyme supplement works with your body's own gastric secretions to support your digestion of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and cellulose, and consequently may help optimise the absorption of nutrients from your diet
Diet & Lifestyle advice
- Regular health checks are recommended as you get older; talk to your doctor for more information
- Adopting an antioxidant-rich Mediterranean-style diet, rich in olive oil, vegetables, legumes, seafood and fruit, and including small to moderate quantities of red wine is an enjoyable way to help maintain health as you get older
- Avoid the consumption of trans fats whenever possible by eliminating takeaway and processed foods from your diet. Choose unrefined polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, from fish, nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil and avocados
- Decrease or limit your consumption of Cholesterol and saturated fats from offal, meat and dairy products, instead choosing lean cuts of meat, skim milk, and reduced-fat cheeses and yoghurts
- Eating plenty of high-fibre low glycaemic index (GI) foods helps to maintain bowel function, healthy Cholesterol levels and blood sugar balance; good sources include psyllium, oats, barley and fibre from legumes and pulses. Avoid high GI carbohydrates such as sugars, wheat products (e.g. bread), and potatoes, which are metabolised quickly, leading to blood sugar fluctuations
- Exercise both your body and your brain every day. A brisk 30-minute walk or other form of moderate activity helps maintain cardiovascular and mental health and also helps you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Weight-bearing exercise is particularly important for musculoskeletal health may help to maintain bone density. Similarly, performing mental puzzles or engaging in stimulating conversation on a daily basis can help to maintain memory and cognitive function
- Don't smoke
If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional. Information provided is of a general nature and should not replace that of your healthcare professional.