OCBC Silver Years

Age-defying secrets

Everyone wants to look youthful forever and will do everything possible to attain that effect.

One wise thing to do would be to eat foods that maximise anti-oxidant intake while minimising the free radical load. This will actively resist the ageing factor.

While it may sound a bit intimidating, it is not quite as difficult to achieve. Following a low-fat, vegetable and fruit-rich diet – simple rule of thumb that anyone can follow. The anti-ageing food plan focuses on organically grown, unprocessed, chemical-free foods.

Foods contain combinations of nutrients and other healthful substances. However, no single food can supply all nutrients in the amounts you need. For example, oranges provide vitamin C but not vitamin B12; cheese provides vitamin B12 but not vitamin C. To make sure you get all of the nutrients and other substances needed for health, choose the recommended number of daily servings from each of the five major food groups: grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, meat and beans.

By following a healthy diet plan, you can protect your immune and cardiovascular systems from damage, prevent diseases of degeneration, and slow the ageing process. Essentially, you accomplish two goals: first you boost your intake of disease-fighting essential nutrients, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and fibre – the substances that reinforce your body’s healing powers, increase its resistance to diseases, and extend life span. Second, you sidestep disease-causing substances – the fats, sugar, white flour, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, additives, and preservatives that undermine health and shorten life span.

Trading your carbo-fat-rich diet for a fruit-veggie-centric one works both for health and looks. Fibres and lentils are, currently, the magic words of the much touted beauty-heath food regime.

Foods to include

Before you begin the anti-ageing food plan, you have to make a commitment to stick with the diet that will substitute the meats, the dairy products, and the highly refined and processed fare with the following foods:

Grains - What you need is a diet, which is high in complex carbohydrates and low in protein and fat. So you will be getting many of your daily calories from grains such as wheat, rye, oats (oatmeal and oat bran), millet, rice (brown, not white), and corn. For the most nutritional value, stick with organic, whole, minimally processed grains and grain products as much as possible.

Legumes - Legumes are seed-pods – beans, peas, lentils, and the like. Stock your pantry with all kinds: adzuki beans, anasazi beans, black beans, brown beans, chickpeas, green beans, green peas, kidney beans, lima beans, mung beans, navy beans, pinto beans, and, of course, soybeans and soy products (such as tofu, tempeh, and soy milk).

Fruits - You can’t go wrong in this group either – simply choose whatever is in season. Fresh fruits are preferable to frozen, since the freezing process can destroy some of the nutrients. As for juices, purchase organic products made from whole fruits or try making your own from organically grown whole fruits. Avoid juices made from concentrate as well as those with added sugar or with preservatives.

Vegetables - Vegetables are the most nutritious elements in an anti-ageing diet plan. They are also the best sources of protective phytochemicals. We are fortunate to have so many varieties of vegetables made available to us today. There is a whole range of green, yellow and red vegetables to choose from. No matter which ones you choose, you will get bountiful amounts of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and fibre. It is always a good idea to plan a menu that includes vegetables of all colours because that is the easiest way of ensuring that most of the vitamins and other essentials are available to you.

Beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, garlic, green beans, kale, leeks, onions, peas, peppers (all kinds), potatoes (sweet and white), spinach, sprouts (all kinds), squash (all kinds), string beans, and tomatoes are especially recommended for their nutritional value.

For longevity, and youthful life, you will need to have a balanced and nutritious diet.

Foods to skip

Refined carbohydrates such as white sugar, white flour, and processed foods are also a taboo for those following the anti-ageing diet. Refined carbohydrates have had their vitamins, minerals, and fibre stripped away, so they are of little nutritional value.

In contrast, complex carbohydrates are good because they retain their nutrients and they are converted to blood sugar more slowly. This prevents fluctuations in your blood sugar level, reduces fat storage, and supports weight loss and maintenance. As a bonus, when you eat a lot of complex carbohydrates, your diet automatically becomes low in fat and protein. In fact, because the foods have such good nutritional profiles, you can eat as much as you like.

Degeneration or Regeneration

The body is designed to heal and repair itself with the aid of proper nutrition. The body requires two vital materials to complete this - energy and raw material. These two requirements are needed to maintain the cell’s proper functioning. The body is made up of cells and all cells are living. All living things need food. Each cell needs the proper food to keep it strong. Cells die and replace themselves at various intervals. To understand anti-ageing, understand that when a cell replaces itself it has three options that it can replace itself with:

  1. A cell may replace itself with a weaker cell each time. A cell will do this if it hasn’t had the right nutritional foods made available to it. This process is called degeneration.
  2. A cell can replace itself with the same strength cell. This means the body doesn’t improve. That is, you have a chronic condition.
  3. The cell is capable of replacing itself with a stronger and better cell. This will happen only if the cell has an abundance of energy and the right raw materials. This process is called regeneration.

Regeneration is an anti-ageing process

Many of the foods that we have been told are good for us, in actual fact, may cause degeneration. Foods which usually cause degeneration and ageing are those with high levels of carbohydrate, sugar, milk (especially homogenised milk), tea, coffee, chocolate, cola, cigarettes, white flour, microwave-cooked foods, chemicals such as fluoride, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, processed foods, colourings, additives, monosodium glutamate (MSG), preserved meat, margarine, olestra, hydrogenated oils, deep fried foods, puffed grains, soy products which have not been fermented (soy milk & tofu) and meat and eggs raised by ‘abnormal’ methods which have many toxins and hormones.

Foods which can help regeneration and anti-ageing include fruit and vegetables especially sprouts, green leafy vegetables, legumes (such as lentils), Celtic sea salt, spirulina, seaweed, wheat grass juice, barley greens, Aloe Vera, anti-oxidants (e.g. vitamin C, vitamin E, Pycnogenol, coenzyme Q10), olive oil, evening primrose oil, foods with omega 3 fatty acids (flaxseed oil) and omega 4 & 5 fatty acids (evening primrose and fish oil).

In addition, frequent drinks of good water are crucial. Health would improve if we would just drink more water.

Nutritionists like to divide food into a number of different groups. You could, however, divide food up into two food groups – one group that produces acids when it is digested and the other group that produces alkalis when it is digested. Our bodies are constantly producing waste products, just the way exhaust gases come from the back of our cars.

Waste products are acidic - they are called toxins. Toxins cause tiredness, pain and ageing. Therefore, if you want more energy and less pain, you need to eat less acid-producing food.

Foods that produce acids are carbohydrates and proteins. ‘Foods’ such as tea, coffee, soft drinks, sugar, flavourings, artificial sweeteners and preserved meats are even more acidic, and pollutants (like heavy metals) and pesticides are even worse.

Anyone who has studied chemistry knows that you need an alkali to neutralise an acid. The only foods that produce alkalis are fruits and vegetables, particularly leafy, green vegetables, such as sprouts, parsley and cabbage. That is why people should eat lots of fruits and especially vegetables, for an anti-ageing effect. We all know that raw is best, when it comes to vegetables. And steamed is much, much better than boiled (as it retains the vitamins and minerals), and boiled is a hundred times better than fried.

Once you begin to understand this, it is easy to see why so many people are suffering from health problems. Take a look at what people put into their shopping carts the next time you are at the supermarket. You will find a whole lot of white bread, soft drinks and preserved foods. Glance through what people have on their plates next time you are in a restaurant - lots of carbohydrate and protein, and very few vegetables, except maybe for salad.

This is not to say that we don’t need protein and complex carbohydrates. We do - the key is balance. We need to balance the acid-producing foods we eat with much more alkali-producing foods, especially if we suffer from symptoms such as tiredness, pain, illness, gastric and skin problems.

The other thing to bear in mind is that the body has hundreds of different chemical reactions going on, for which it needs at least 90 different things, including vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Therefore, people need more variety in their diet; to ensure that they get everything their body needs.


Source: © Council for Third Age. Reproduced with permission. View original source.

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