The diet we consume, influences our health to a great extent and is the very basis of living a longer life. Ideally, a healthy diet includes foods containing vitamin E, C, and other components, like fibers, monounsaturated fats, and omega-3 fats. The diet, which takes into account, the nutritional needs of the body and contains minimum amount of toxicants, can be referred to as a healthy diet. In order to live a long life, it is necessary to include foods containing Vitamin E and C. Avoiding foods containing high fat content, and consuming vegetables and fruits, is the key to slow down the process of aging.
Vitamin E: This ‘vital amine’ is known for its powerful antioxidant activity, which protects the heart. Vitamin E blocks the free radicals and thus, prevents oxidation of the LDL cholesterol, which is important from the point of view of preventing heart diseases. Some of the free radicals are responsible for damaging the DNA and carrying out mutations in the genes that lead to the development of cancer. Some free radicals affect the brain and cause Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin E neutralizes these free radicals and protects us from cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. As per the research conducted by Martha Clare Morris at Rush Institute for Healthy Aging in Chicago, people who consume foods containing vitamin E have 70% lesser risk of contracting diseases than others. Sunflower oil, safflower oil, wheat germ, corn oil, and almonds are rick in vitamin E.
Vitamin C: The intake of foods containing vitamin C is important to maintain health and prevent aging. It helps in making the arteries flexible and thus, prevents the possibility of a heart attack. Vitamin C is found in lemons, cabbage, cauliflower, mangoes, cantaloupe, oranges, okra, papayas, pineapple, watermelon, etc.
Monounsaturated Fats: It is a general conception that reducing the consumption of fats is necessary in order to maintain good health. However, monounsaturated fats prove to be useful in lowering the cholesterol levels and simultaneously, preservation of HDL cholesterol, which is good for health. Fibrinogen is the component in the blood, which aids in blood clotting. By reducing the levels of fibrinogen, the monounsaturated fats minimize the risk of heart attacks. One can include nuts and olive oil in his diet for increasing the level of monounsaturated fats. The variety of nuts and olive oils contain polyphenolic compounds, which have antioxidants that are good for the health of the heart. These compounds also minimize the risk of diabetes by controlling the levels of insulin and glucose. The diet containing monounsaturated fats include, hazelnuts, almonds, peanut oil, avocados, olive oil, canola oil, etc.
Omega-3 Fats: The omega-3 essential fatty acids are helpful for the inhibition of inflammation. Inflammation poses the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and heart diseases. The omega-3 fats, which are found in walnuts, flaxseeds, etc., minimize the risk of cardiac arrhythmia and also improve functioning of the brain and heart. The foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are canola oil, soybean oil, walnut oil, etc.
Fibrous Food: The intake of high fiber diet has many benefits, like, prevention of colon cancer, diabetes, and reduction in cholesterol levels. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, etc., are the foods that contain fibers aplenty. The most important use of consuming fibrous foods is that, they facilitate ‘slow digestion’ in the stomach and ‘quick peristalsis’ in the intestines. Slow digestion in the stomach means the insulin is released moderately and the levels of sugar in the blood rise slowly. The rapid peristalsis or quick movement of the food through intestines, helps in reducing the risk of colon cancer. The overall effect of the above processes is that, the risk of diabetes is reduced to a large extent. The carcinogens too, are quickly expelled from the body with the help of fibers. The fibrous food, which is one of the important parts of a balanced diet, includes, brown rice, bananas, apples (with skin), green peas, broccoli, oatmeal, lentil, kidney beans, pears, oranges, raspberries, strawberries, etc.
The most important thing that one should keep in mind while planning the diet, is to make it balanced. Many nutritionists and physicians recommend a low-calorie diet. As per the studies of John Phelan, a biologist from the University of California, Los Angeles, starving the body won’t bring about an exceptional change in terms of increasing the life span. His quote explains the viewpoint in a better way. “Our message is that suffering years of misery to remain super-skinny is not going to have a big payoff in terms of a longer life.” Thus, intake of a balanced diet is important in order to provide the body with all the necessary nutrients.
For a healthy and longer life, diet is one of the most crucial things to be followed. Inclusion of the above vital nutrients in the diet would surely be useful for extending your lifespan.