Aging Nutritionally and Gracefully
By Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team
If there is one thing working against us when it comes to aging it’s..…TIME. It is true that as we get older, we age. While we can’t turn back time, we can try to keep our bodies as healthy as possible to help us feel better, stronger, and more energized. Here are three of our favorite books that discuss diet, health, and lifestyle recommendations that can help you feel younger by keeping your mind and body in a state of wellness:
This book describes the aging process in a fun, easy-to-read way. It does an excellent job of intertwining medicine and nutrition. It has tons of useful tools like the YOU Tool 2 “Ultimate Work Up”-a fantastic list of tests you should be sure to inquire about at your next doctor’s visit. You also offers a 14-day plan that includes dietary changes, exercise routines, meditation, and relaxation plans. This book reminds you that caring for the mind and body together are equally important. It also includes interesting little known facts. For example Roizen and Oz note that you should remove your dry-cleaned clothing from the plastic-wrap, as soon as you get home to prevent the chemicals from becoming trapped. There is a great chapter on other toxins that you may find in your environment as well. I am going to head to my closet right now to remove the plastic from my dry-cleaning.
In Younger Next Week , my colleague registered dietitian Elisa Zied points out that crash dieting is not the solution to aging. In fact she explains that crash dieting increases cortisol levels, leading to both weight gain and aging! Zied’s 7-day vitality plan offers manageable ways to make permanent lifestyle changes that can lead to improved health and wellness. This plan is supposed to be repeated weekly so that it eventually becomes a lifestyle. Elisa states “it’s about finding a sustainable balance in your food and food choices” (Page 189). Finding balance, not only in food choices, but also in our schedules is important. Elisa offers countless examples of structured meal plans, tasty recipes, and creative “stressipes” to get you started on living a more balanced life. I am really excited to try Strawberry-Walnut Cinnamon French toast (Page 216) for breakfast next weekend!
This book may look intimidating at first, but when you crack it open it has some very practical advice. Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating is one of my favorites! Dr. Willett provides a review of some of the quick-fix diets and why they do not work. He also includes his own version of the USDA pyramid, which I find to be very useful. This is a great book if you want to learn about nutrition science. This book focuses more on the diet component of lifestyle changes and includes some really wonderful recipes, menus guides, and cooking tips to help you feel comfortable trying new ingredients. This book may be a little more of challenging read than our other two recommendations, but it is certainly worth it.
Ultimately these books can aid the work you are doing with your RD and/or MD. Remember to help yourself feel your best, make small daily changes in your life. Think balance not CONTROL! Aim for the middle ground – “The Grey Zone” – the healthy diet mentality should steer clear of black and white, all or nothing thinking. Healthy diets are learning which foods work for you. Try to think of these foods as “everyday” foods and “sometimes” foods, when meal and snack planning. Choose to exercise to help your bodies physically and mentally, not just to lose weight. Take time to relax – again both physically and mentally!! Oftentimes quick fixes may be appealing when trying to become healthy, but this typically ends up backfiring. Instead, consider taking small manageable steps, such as meditating for one minute each night, to achieve permanent behavior change.
Want more information on nutrition and aging? Check out this recently published article by the Nutrition Society:
Jessica C. Kiefte-de Jong, John C. Mathers and Oscar H. Franco. Nutrition and healthy ageing: the key ingredients . Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, available on CJO2014. doi:10.1017/S0029665113003881.