There are many aspects of aging that we, unfortunately, have no control over. Thankfully, however, we can make changes to our diet and lifestyle that will actually have a lasting effect on the rate at which we age and how gracefully we can do it.
Take your eating habits, for example. Things like eating too much added sugar, not getting enough fiber, and eating late at night may all seem harmless enough at first, but these can actually wreak havoc on your health, especially after the age of 50.
To find out which habits may actually be helpful, we talked with registered dietitian Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD at Balance One Supplements to learn which eating habits she considers to slow down aging after 50.
Read on to find out what she suggests, and for more healthy aging tips, make sure to check out Popular Foods for Reducing Inflammation After 50.
Incorporating more of a plant-based diet into your daily life has been shown to slow the aging process in a number of ways.
“The benefits of a plant-based diet include increased longevity, reducing inflammation, helping with weight loss, lowering lipid levels, stabilizing blood pressure, and helping to reduce the number of advanced glycation end products (AGEs),” says Best.
According to Best, these AGE compounds, which are found in many processed foods and animal products like processed red meat (think: bacon and sausages), are often associated with heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.
“Not only do they age a person internally, but externally as well by causing oxidative damage to the skin, which can lead to wrinkles and fine lines,” says Best.
Gluten can be harmless for most people, but some may have a gluten intolerance or allergy without even realizing it. And according to Best, not being aware of this when you have it can greatly speed up the aging process.
“Those with a gluten intolerance might experience inflammation and gastrointestinal issues when they consume this protein. This inflammation can lead to quicker aging as the body is in a constant state of hyper-immunity,” says Best, “so cells can become damaged and your overall health can decrease as a result.”
Whole foods include anything that is in its “natural” form without any type of processing done to it. This includes vegetables, fruits, non-processed animal products, whole grains, beans, legumes, and nuts.
“Eating whole foods means you aren’t eating as many processed foods, which significantly reduces the number of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) that are consumed, as well as lowers your consumption of inflammatory refined carbohydrates,” says Best.
And finally, eating similarly to the traditional Mediterranean diet can help slow your aging process by integrating healthier fats and lowering your intake of ultra-processed foods.
“While the Mediterranean diet focuses primarily on fish and seafood as the source of protein, it does allow for red meat as well,” says Best, “and its integration of healthy fats gives you a larger amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which are naturally anti-inflammatory and aid in healthy aging.”
As you can see, many of these eating habits are centered around lowering your intake of inflammatory, AGE-heavy foods like processed foods and refined carbohydrates, while incorporating plenty of whole foods and vegetables.
Read these next: