Approaching Aging The Natural Way

Home » Approaching Aging The Natural Way
Reading Time: 4 minutes

A Natural Approach to Healthy Aging

With age comes certain perks – wisdom, maturity, inner strength. But those extra years also bring on a need to pay closer attention to your health.

The older we get, the more we’re at risk for health issues, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and more. If we want to avoid a life of prescription pills, we have to start the process of healthy aging now.

The way you take care of your body when you’re young will determine how it performs when you’re older.

The good news is that your body was built to last. But there are several things you can do to increase the longevity and quality of your life.

When it comes to healthy aging, our bodies rely on us to provide the kind of nutrients, self-care, and well-being required to keep us running like well-oiled machines.

Diet

Your diet provides the fuel with which you live your life, so it’s vital that you pay attention to it. If you aren’t eating right, you’ll eventually burn out.

As you probably know, mobility can become a major issue as you get older. Luckily, a proper diet can help with this.

Your diet should consist mainly of foods like:

  • Protein
  • Good fats (avocados, fatty fish, eggs, etc.)
  • Unprocessed carbohydrates
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

And it’s essential that you modify your overall diet instead of just incorporating one or two of these foods.

An examination of over 54,000 women found that those who consumed a healthier diet were less likely to develop physical impairments compared to women who did not maintain a healthy diet.

Specifically, a higher intake of vegetables and fruits and a lower intake of sugary drinks, trans-fats, sodium, and alcohol were associated with lower rates of physical impairments.

What you put into your body determines what you get out of it. So take the time now to assess what you’re eating and what improvements you can make.

Nutrition

Another thing to keep an eye on is your nutrient intake.

Many people suffer from micronutrient deficiency. When we’re young, our bodies can work overtime to make up for it, but this affects us more when we get older.

Here are some of the most common nutrient deficiencies in older adults.

Vitamin B12

The risk of vitamin B12 deficiency increases with age. 6.9% of US adults aged 51–70 years and 15% of those over 70 years are B12 deficient.

Advanced age can make it harder to absorb the B12 found in meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, and eggs. Try increasing your intake of fortified foods rich in B12.

In older generations, Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to anemia, neuropathy, and cognitive impairment. Often, doctors might wave these symptoms away as signs of old age, but a nutrient deficiency might be to blame and should be considered.

Vitamin D

This nutrient is necessary for bone health and skeletal muscle performance, yet a large number of people are deficient. 

Because osteoporosis is so prevalent in older populations, it’s critical that you keep up with your Vitamin D requirements.

Roughly 30% of people over the age of 65 falls every year, with 10–15% of these falls resulting in a fracture.

Vitamin D supplements, or a diet tailored to increase Vitamin D, help reduce the risk of further fractures.

In fact, the National Osteoporosis Foundation conducted studies on over 30,000 participants who had reported 195 hip fractures and 2231 total fractures.

They found that Calcium and Vitamin D supplementation reduced the risk of total fractures by 15% and the risk of hip fractures by 30%.

Magnesium

Magnesium is important to your body for a wide array of reasons. It plays a part in regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure – all issues that many older generations battle.

Magnesium also works to keep your heart healthy.

Studies of over 300,000 participants found that higher levels of magnesium in the blood corresponded with a 30% lowered risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Magnesium also helps to lower blood pressure for people with insulin resistance, prediabetes, and other chronic illnesses. 

The truth is, a large part of the population doesn’t receive enough magnesium. In 2005-2006, 48% of the US population consumed less than the necessary amount of magnesium from food.

Regulating your micronutrient consumption isn’t something that you should only worry about later in life.

Healthy aging is a result of early self-care. It’s never too soon to prepare your body for the life that lies ahead of you.

Exercise

Our bodies need to move. In fact, our bone health depends on it. As we get older, we have to stay active to maintain muscle mass.

Of course, it doesn’t need to be anything rigorous. You don’t need to be running marathons at 80 years old to stay healthy. (But kudos to you if you want to.)

All that matters is that you keep moving.

A study conducted by Osteoporosis International found that physical exercise positively influences muscle mass and muscle function in individuals 60 years and older.

It has the most positive effect on improving gait speed, balance, and other tests of physical performance.

Because it can be hard to teach an old dog new tricks, you have to get used to moving around and staying active now so that you’re already in the habit later.

Sleep

People say you can sleep when you’re dead, but when something as wonderful as sleep exists, why deprive yourself of it?

Our bodies need to shut down and recover every night, but many of us don’t allow it to. This, of course, is not good for us long term.

With 50% of older individuals experiencing insomnia, it’s time to realize the importance of sleep in not only our daily lives but also in our overall health.

Sleep is responsible for some of the most important restorative functions in our bodies, such as tissue repair, muscle growth, and protein synthesis.

These occur almost exclusively during sleep, so if you’re not getting enough shuteye, then your body doesn’t have the chance to restore itself.

It’s easy to get out of rhythm when it comes to your sleep schedule, so you have to be proactive.

Healthy aging is a result of self-care when you’re younger. It’s never too early to start preparing your body for the days ahead, but there will come a time when it’s too late.

Start your path toward a long and healthy life now. Come into my office today, and we’ll figure out how to optimize your health naturally.

About The Author:

Dr. Karen Threlkel

Dr. Karen Threlkel

Dr. Threlkel received her degree of Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine from The National University of Natural Medicine Medicine in Portland, Oregon. She also holds a Bachelor Degree in Kinesiology from UMD. She is licensed in Naturopathic Medicine by the Government of the District of Columbia Department of Health. Dr. Threlkel is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, past president & current member of the Washington DC Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

Share This Article With Someone You Know!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on email
Email

Check out more below!

7 Flowers That Help With Cramps

It’s that time of the month again. You get your heating pad and some ice cream and prepare for pain. If you

Scroll to Top