Living Well: Vitamin & Mineral Nutrition
The Art and Science of Aging Well
Antioxidants: Metabolic disease fighters that strengthen the body’s cells and prevent illnesses.
Aging is natural. It’s programmed into our genetics and there’s nothing we can do about it. It’s how the species ensures its continued existence on this planet. But what’s the secret to longevity? Some say antioxidants could be an important factor in determining how long each of us has on this earth.
Aging. As we age a couple of things happen. We experience a slow-down of energy, slight or severe compression of the bones in the spine, graying hair or hair loss, thickening of the abdominal area, slower repairing of wounds, lines, wrinkles and age spots. Hearing loss, circulatory, gastrointestinal, blood pressure and memory loss problems may occur also.
Absorption. Perhaps the most significant consequence of aging is that older people can no longer absorb vitamins as well as they could when they were younger. Translation: The aging body cannot get as much nutritional value from food—regardless of a healthy diet or not. Overcooked or starch-laden foods like white bread, mashed potatoes, fatty meats and sugary desserts or snacks, while satisfying, should be avoided.
Minimizing the damage. Antioxidants can help minimize “free radical” damage or destruction of the immune system commonly associated with aging. Free radicals are unstable byproducts of normal cellular processes that can cause bodily damage when combined with environmental and lifestyle toxins. A daily regimen of vitamins C, E, and A—plus beta-carotene and selenium can help heal damaged cells by eliminating free radicals.