Note: Today we’re featuring a guest post by Deane Alban from BeBrainFit.com. Deane has focused her life’s work on helping to keep folks sharp and healthy into their later years. Here she discusses why those in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s (and so on) should consider a real food diet.
Good Food: It’s Not Just For Kids Anymore
An informal survey of 6,000 paleo followers found the majority were in their 20’s and 30’s with a mere 3% over age 60. Well, folks, this has got to change. Bad eating contributes to a “who’s who” of diseases common in us older folks. Arthritis, obesity, osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and Alzheimer’s can be directly related to diet.
The Proof Is In The Bone Broth (and Kale, and…)
Here are 10 ways a Paleo diet can keep you healthy as you approach midlife and beyond.
1. Getting older invariably means (voluntarily) eating less. (I can’t eat as much as I used and believe me, sometimes I try!) Eating nutritionally dense food is the best way to meet your body’s nutritional requirements and prevent loss of muscle mass and strength.
2. Digestion often gets worse with age which means fewer nutrients are absorbed. Fermented unpasteurized sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir improve digestion by restoring proper intestinal flora. Avoiding processed foods that contribute to digestive tract inflammation is another important step in improving absorption of nutrients.
3. You’ve probably known seniors with a huge sweet tooth. These folks haven’t lost their willpower – their sense of taste and smell has diminished! This can be caused or exacerbated by zinc deficiency. Red meat and shellfish are excellent sources of zinc. Since grain products decrease zinc absorption (and are lower nutrient foods in general), avoiding them also helps.
4. Vitamin B12 deficiencies are rampant due both to poor diet and poor absorption. Symptoms include fatigue, easy bruising, unexplained weight loss, and digestive tract distress. Eating plenty of high-quality (ideally naturally-fed) meat ensures you’ll get enough B12. Salmon, lamb, shrimp and beef are all good sources of vitamin B12.
5. The risk of insulin resistance and diabetes increases with age. 25% of all adults over 65 have diabetes. Minimizing processed carbohydrates and eating plenty of protein and fat (and nutritious veggies!) helps to balance blood sugar levels.
6. One of the best ways to fight aging is to reduce chronic inflammation. It’s the underlying cause of 7 of the top 10 leading causes of death. The good balance of fatty acids in wild salmon and grass-fed meat fights inflammation, and eating lots of richly-colored vegetables provides anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. So does trading in “vegetable oil” and canola oil for coconut oil, avocado and butter from grass-fed cows.
7. Bone broth is great for reducing the pain of arthritis. Chicken cartilage was found to beat glucosamine and chondroitin supplements for reducing both pain and stiffness.
8. Keeping osteoporosis at bay doesn’t mean drinking a lot of milk. Leafy green vegetables and bone broth provides all the vitamins and minerals needed for strong bones. Include some weight-bearing exercise to ensure your bones continue to stay strong instead of losing strength as you age.
9. There is little point in having a healthy body if your brain is degenerating. One of the worst things for your brain is excessive carbohydrate consumption. Some researchers believe that Alzheimer’s is a form of insulin resistance of the brain and are even calling it “type 3 diabetes”. So choosing more nutrient-dense foods and relying far less on sugar and refined carbohydrate sources like bread, pasta and rice helps keep your brain in tip-top shape.
10. Your brain is largely made up of fat. Cholesterol is an essential component of every brain cell. Eating plenty of meat and butter can help keep your cholesterol levels up. Huh? Turns out low cholesterol levels have been found to increase the risk of suicide, depression, and dementia. Conversely, the risk of dementia is reduced by 70% in those with high cholesterol. You read that right — high cholesterol reduces risk of dementia.
Jazz artist Eubie Blake famously said on his 92nd birthday, “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.” It’s never too late to start taking better care of yourself. Take the first step by eating a diet based on nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods like meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit, and naturally-occurring fats starting today.
Deane Alban is the co-founder of BeBrainFit.com. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and has taught and written about natural health for over 20 years. Brain fog, senior moments, and other signs of mental decline are not inevitable as we age. But modern life takes a toll on our brains … even when we follow a “healthy” lifestyle. Deane teaches the best ways to stay mentally sharp for life in her new brand course 21 Days to a Brighter Brain.
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Thanks for the encouragement. I am 55 years old and was diagnosed with “morbid obesity” many years ago and did nothing about it until April 1, 2014. It was on that day my wife and I started the Whole30 program of eating. It has changed my life! In 25 days I had lost 25 pounds! And don’t feel deprived. On day 29 I can honestly say I haven’t felt this good in years and many of the “sugar” cravings I had are gone! I have a long way to go to get my body back in good health, but I am committed and with the Whole30 I know I can do it. It is the only program I have ever tried that I think will work because I don’t view it as a diet. I know it is now how I will eat for the rest of my life, which I know now will be much longer now that I am eating more healthy. — Keith
Thanks for the encouragement. My doctor recommended me to the web sit and I have half been following the program(not done the 30 days yet) I am 69 with metabolic syndrom and I have improved my numbers in just 1 month. I am thinking of doing the 30 day at the end of the month. This article has encouraged me to go the step further.
I was introduced to Paleo by my triathlon obsessed brother in law. Being well into my 50’s and recovering from a burst appendix has made me look again at my diet. I guess Paleo by definition cuts out all the added sugar that is added to processed food so that has to be a good thing in itself. As a natural meat eater I can see the logic behind grass fed meat as well. I do struggle to avoid grain though – it just seems to crop up as the sandwich seems to be the common solution for hunger when I am outside the home and not fully in control of what I eat.
Usha Rajagopal says
A nice and informative article for every old and middle aged person who are getting tired of with the food restriction.
5 Best Foods for Weight Loss says
Weight loss is a simple math; there are many healthy foods that can help you to be slim and healthy. Some foods even kick up your metabolism.
After 40 years of eating mostly a vegan or vegetarian diet, I changed to paleo, egg and dairy free a year ago, due to health reasons, healing my gut and reducing general inflammation. Now , at 61 years, I feel lighter and more alert than I have for years. It is true, its never too late. I recently gave my mother, now 90, the latest Wheat Belly book to read, although that is a little harder mountain to climb!