Want to Reach the Milestone of 100 Years Old?

nutrition and longevity

Nutrition for Quality of Life and Longevity

One of the key strategies to optimize your chances of living to 100 lies in the realm of nutrition. Our health is influenced by a myriad of factors, some within our control and some beyond it. Lifestyle factors and choices we make day-to-day exert a significant influence on our overall health and longevity. Thus, it’s crucial to maximize control over these modifiable aspects of our lives.

Longevity, in this context, encompasses not only the length of life but also its qualitative aspects, emphasizing the importance of maximizing both longevity and health span.

Among lifestyle factors, nutrition stands out as perhaps the most influential. What we eat has a profound impact on various aspects of our health, including gene expression, inflammation, and mental well-being. The cumulative effect of our dietary choices over time significantly shapes our longevity, either positively or negatively.

Navigating what constitutes a truly nourishing diet can be daunting. However, certain principles are true for everyone. Highly regarded diets such as the MIND diet, DASH diet, and various other diets that target specific diseases all seem to follow patterns in the types of foods, plant-rich, unprocessed, whole foods. Perhaps the most well-known and effective longevity diet – the Mediterranean emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats like fish and olive oil. It is associated with increased life expectancy and improvements in various diseases, including heart disease, a leading cause of mortality in the United States.

The Mediterranean diet checklist:

  • Daily intake:
    • Berries
    • Dark chocolate
    • Green tea
    • Leafy greens
    • Olive oil
  • Weekly intake:
    • Beans
    • Flaxseeds
    • Soy
    • Salmon

Energy and Cognitive Benefits

Moreover, energy levels are among the most noticeable aspects of our health affected by nutrition as we age. Balanced meals comprising fiber, healthy fats, and protein, as advocated by the Mediterranean diet, contribute to stable blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of diabetes and promoting sustained energy throughout the day. For instance, a meal like grilled salmon (protein + healthy fat) with vegetables (fiber)  cooked in quinoa (fiber + protein) provides protein, healthy fats, and fiber, offering a balanced nutritional profile.

Cognitive health is another area profoundly influenced by nutrition, particularly as we age. While some cognitive decline is inevitable with aging, certain nutrients have been associated with preserving cognitive function in older adults. These include omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish like salmon and tuna, flavonoids/anthocyanins abundant in berries, and choline present in eggs and fatty fish.

In summary, incorporating fiber, healthy fats, and protein into each meal, with an emphasis on Mediterranean diet principles, can mitigate the impact of age-related diseases, bolstering energy levels and cognitive function, and supporting overall bone and muscle health.

For More Information on Nutrition from RVNAhealth

Monica Marcello, RVNAhealth Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Educator. Available for Osteoporosis consultations.

If you’re interested in learning more or need help with osteoporosis and nutrition, our RVNAhealth Nutritionist, Monica Marcello, RD, regularly holds informational presentations and cooking classes out in the communities we serve. You can also connect with Monica by signing up for her monthly nutrition newsletter or by contacting her with questions at nutrition@rvnahealth.org.

About Monica: Monica Marcello, MS, RD is RVNAhealth’s registered dietitian and nutrition educator who promotes holistic health, longevity, and quality of life. Monica’s areas of expertise include disease prevention and treatment for many chronic and acute conditions.

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