Eating For Green Anti-Aging: what role carbohydrates, sugar, protein, fat, vegetables and fruits play in aging. What to eat to age well.
If you’re serious about green anti-aging, starting right now eat with a sense of purpose: ask yourself whom and what you’re feeding? A baby is fed to grow; a teen must eat to mature; a young adult needs a lot of nutrition to reproduce, raise a family, succeed in a career. What are YOU feeding? At our stage of life, unless you’re preparing to run a marathon or climb Mount Everest, your goal shouldn’t be to cram as many calories as possible into each meal but to prevent disease, slow down aging and protect what you have.
First and foremost, the human being is an omnivore. We need meat as much vegetables and fruit.
Second, an aging body needs few carbohydrates, some protein and plenty of vegetables and fruit.
1/ Try to reduce carbs to a bare minimum: aging bodies don’t need many of them. Wheat sensitivity is common. Generally speaking, carbohydrates contribute to weight gain, clog and slow down digestive system.
2/ Avoid sugar like the “poison” it is. Sugar feeds inflammation (low level inflammation fosters many diseases!); sugar feeds cancer; creates blood sugar spikes; increases blood pressure; the list is long.
3/ It may not be politically correct, but I believe in eating meat. Meat supplies us with unique nutrients not available from other sources. (Proteins from plant sources are not as nutritious, not as easily absorbable and don’t meet the same nutritional needs.)
Poultry and chicken in particular, is a good – low fat – source of protein.
Both, pork and beef – in our age, lean cuts are better! – provide excellent quality protein.
In addition, pork is rich in vitamins B vitamins, especially thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), pantothenic acid (B5), Niacin (B3) and some B12 as well as minerals such as Selenium, Zinc, Potassium, Magnesium, Iron and Copper.
Beef on the other hand is loaded with precious amino acids which are not available from any other source. It supplies also vitamin B2, B3, B6 and B12 as well as minerals (Selenium, Zinc, Phosphorus, Choline and Iron). Many of the nutrients in beef (except of vitamin B12 and amino acids) are available from plant sources, but are not as easily absorbable as from a beef consumption.
Beef fat is rich in linoleic and palmiotelic acids which are known anti-carcinogens. Red meat has positive effect on the brain and heart function; it promotes the development of lean muscles and balances hormones. A shortage of ANIMAL protein can lead to depression and other mental disorders.
Yes, from ethical point of view I’m disgusted with myself; from environmental perspective, I’m disgusted with myself, too. However, I grew up eating meat and it served me well. I watch wild animals on TV and they didn’t change their carnivore ways, either. I would never kill an animal to eat it, I’m certain. But until the day I’ll have to kill another living creature for food, I believe in eating meat, in moderation.
4/ I believe also in eating fat. Transfats, of course are still a no-no. (Transfats can be found mainly in foods and snacks made with shortening or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.) Most authorities on health will tell you that eating monounsaturated fats (olive, canola, peanut oil and other nut oils) and polyunsaturated fats (as in sunflower and corn oil as well as in fatty fish) are good for you while saturated fats (such as butter) are pure poison. Personally, I see no harm in eating monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (I wouldn’t touch corn oil though!) BUT I believe in nutritional and therapeutic value of butter most experts warn against.
Just like meat (and beef, in particular) contains valuable nutrients not available from other sources so does butter. Butter contains wonderful nutrients we need. To name only few: butter contains numerous fat-soluble vitamins and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) which is known for preventing cancer and atherosclerosis and is credited with preventing food allergies. It contains Butyric Acid, an anti-carcinogenic short-chain fatty acid, credited with relieving symptoms of IBS.
Against popular belief, butter doesn’t contribute to weight gain, the opposite: if you include nutritious butter in your diet, you’ll eat less and will lose weight. Bad cholesterol? The role of cholesterol is largely misunderstood, expect its definition to change. A few small servings of butter a day don’t pose a health risk. Finally, the human brain in its entirety is made of saturated fat, not olive oil….
5/ Vegetables and fruits which are abundant in vitamins including antioxidants and phytochemicals that support normal function of cells and strengthen the immune system HAVE TO be the food you eat most of. Both, fruits and veggies are low on calories, supply valuable nutrients as well as soluble and insoluble fiber that detoxifies the body and promotes regularity. From where I’m standing, bright-colored fruits and vegetables have to constitute a solid HALF of the green anti-aging diet.
I may not advocate the Atkins Diet, but I believe in eating small portions of nutrition-dense foods and eat 5 small meals every day. There are few carbohydrates in my diet, 3-4 oz of meat a day, a little butter 2 times a day, and yes, “unlimited” fruit and vegetables. I’m NEVER hungry and maintain the same body weight all my adult life. (I don’t overburden my digestive system with excess food, junk food, flour or sugar.) I’m eating enough for my age and lifestyle. I don’t have any chronic diseases, I sleep well and have a nice energy level. The foods I eat are nutritious and support my quest for anti-aging: they don’t overburden my body; they have protective properties; they prevent disease and don’t accelerate aging. A similar way of eating might support your anti-aging efforts as well.
Of course, this article is only an introduction to the subject and by no means complete (I’m sure you noticed, I failed to mention fish and didn’t specify what particular foods a person determined to age well should eat, daily!), there will be more detailed and specific posts. Until then, give eating for green anti-aging a thought.
IMPORTANT: I didn’t mention it within the post but it goes without saying today: organic is better when it comes to vegetables, fruit and meat!