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Nutrition topic: Aging gracefully

Nutrition topic: Aging gracefully

My aunt Bert (short for Bertha) will be 100 years old this week. Wow. Amazing to think of the life she has lived between 1910 and 2010. And from what I've observed, Bert seems to have truly "lived" this journey with her whole mind and body.
For as long as I can remember, Bert has been beautiful and vibrant - both mentally and physically. And as she approaches the end of her life's journey, I continue to marvel at her beautiful and vibrant spirit.
How has Bert managed to age so...gracefully? She no doubt was blessed with good genes from her parents. According to a position paper on aging from the American Dietetic Association, researchers believe some people possess certain "longevity-enabling genes" that protect the body from chronic diseases (like diabetes and heart disease) and slow down the aging process. Amongst "centenarians" at least one such genetic marker has been identified.
Bert was also blessed to live the U.S., the country with the greatest number of centenarians, according the Census Bureau. Japan has the second highest number of people over the age of 100. Bert didn't pick her genetic code. But she has made other choices in her lifetime that have positively contributed to her long and healthy life: She did not smoke. She enjoyed cooking and eating good food that helped keep her Audrey Hepburn-like figure.
Well into her 90's, Bert was on the go. She walked. She stretched. She exercised regularly in her water aerobics class. Physical activity, say experts, helps control weight and blood pressure and help prevent type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.
Being active also helps manage arthritis that often hits in later years. Physical activity also keeps the brain popping, say researchers.
What activities are most beneficial? Stretches, aerobic and strength...all can "significantly postpone many age-related disabilities."
If Bert has any nutritional secret, it's that she never dislikes any food that is put in front of her. For 100 years, she has enjoyed a variety of nourishing foods. Perhaps Bert has what researchers have identified as "protective nutritional factors" common to the over-100 gang including elevated levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) omega 3 fatty acids found primarily in fish that protect the body against inflammatory diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
Barbara Quinn is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.


Updated : 2021-05-17 03:56 GMT+08:00