Why do some people seem to look younger as they age? The answer may lie in the choices they make every day. Consider this, I know a man named Joel, who is 77 years old has been cycling for 33 years. When winter comes around, he loves to ski, which he has been doing for 42 years. Joel keeps up with the youngest of our cycling group, some of whom are 35 years his junior. He climbs mountains and completes a 40 mile ride without any more difficulty than the rest of the group. And, to top it off, he looks like he’s 15 years younger than he really is. What’s his secret? Is it the exercise? Or the foods he’s eating? It may just be both.
Studies show that exercise is one of the key components to healthy aging. In a New York Times article, Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, a researcher at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario who has been studying the effects of exercise on mice, believes “exercise alters the course of aging.” There are studies in older humans, as well, that confirms the benefits of exercise to positively affect the aging process.
So, up until now, we’ve all heard that regular exercise helps control weight, prevent or manage a wide range of health problems or concerns, and now promotes healthy aging. But, what else can we do?
Eating well is one of the simplest changes to make but, for some of us, it can be incredibly challenging. Making the switch from fried, fatty foods to nutrient-rich dark, green, leafy vegetables, whole wheat breads and pastas, sweet, juicy fruits, and foods rich in healthy omega 3s is not always an easy task. The truth, however, is that this is one of the most important things you can do to combat health issues associated with aging. Nutrient packed foods are “power foods”. The more often you replace nutrient lacking foods with nutrient-rich foods, the healthier you’ll be.
Most of us, however, will likely not eat enough unrefined grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and omega-3 laden fish to reap the benefits of a healthier body and optimize the aging process. In this case, there are supplemental foods that can be used to fill in the void and play an important role in overall health and well-being.
Two “superfood” powerhouses are flax and chia seeds. Both types of seeds are good sources of dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have been clinically shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke while helping to reduce symptoms of hypertension, joint pain, and an array of other ailments. As an added bonus, chia seeds contain high levels of antioxidants and calcium for bone health. These nutritious seeds are also a good source of magnesium, phosphorous, zinc and manganese.
Flax seeds have the added benefit of providing dietary lignans to the diet. Lignans are estrogen-like compounds that are beneficial for bone and heart health and, also, menopausal symptoms. Although most plant foods and other high fiber foods do contain dietary lignans, most of us don’t eat enough fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and whole grains to reap the benefits of these compounds in our bodies.
Studies have shown that high intake of dietary lignans support breast and prostate health, cardiovascular health, blood glucose metabolism, while reducing the risk of insulin sensitivity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
Flax seeds and chia seeds are nutritional powerhouses which can help promote healthy aging. Sprinkle flax seeds on yogurt, salad, cereal, or in smoothies. Enjoy chia in oatmeal and baked goods or add water and drink it as a tasty gel which can also be added to recipes as an egg substitute. Or, better yet, Carrington Farms has combined the two super foods into what could be the best kept secret to healthy aging — a ready to eat flax chia blend which combines all of the benefits of both seeds in one package. Just sprinkle on a serving a day to experience a tasty, nutritious blend that is overflowing with health benefits.
So, the secret is out…to give your body the boost it needs to age well, exercise and make sure you’re eating the right foods and including the flax/chia powerhouse to your day.