Are you ageing well? What does this concept even mean? Well… if you think about it, we are all ageing, aren’t we? But are we ageing well? According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 3.3 million Australians fall into the ‘over 65 years’ category.
If this is you, it may be a good time to start prioritising your long-term health. To ‘age well’ we must place a greater focus on nutrition, lifestyle and supportive strategies to ensure long-term health and wellbeing.
So with this in mind – let’s start by talking about your gut health!
How Gut Health Plays a Role in Ageing
The gut is the birthplace of many diseases, chronic illnesses and overall imbalance in the body. This is why nutrition is key to a healthy future. As we age, it is often the case that appetite decreases.
Try not to skip meals. Even if your meals are small, it is important to keep nutrients coming into the body regularly for optimum cellular function.
Ways to Improve Gut Health
Focus on lean proteins, slow-release digestible fibres and leafy green vegetables. Try to shop organic. I know it can be more expensive, but organic produce is free from pesticides.
Pesticides are toxic and can place an extra burden on the liver as well as increasing oxidative stress causing inflammation. Inflammation has a negative impact on memory, sleep and mood. It can also flare up joint pain.
Drink filtered water where you can for the same reason. It’s toxin-free! Lastly, try and keep inflammatory foods to a minimum. These include alcohol, caffeine, refined sugar, gluten, dairy and trans-fatty acids.
Still enjoy a glass of red wine with friends and a square of dark chocolate, just don’t go nuts guys! Be kind to yourself. Life is about balance.
Keep your Body and Mind Active
Your health and wellbeing rely on a healthy body and mind. Keep moving. It’s important. Exercise doesn’t have to be punishing. It can be as simple as walking with friends. Keeping exercise regular is key. So lock it in. Exercise will prevent your joints from stiffening, giving you the freedom to enjoy the things you love. Not much of a walker? Try golf, aqua-aerobics, swimming, yoga or tai chi.
Mindful activities will keep your brain active and your memory sharp. Cards, bridge, sudoku, crosswords, reading, knitting, gardening, meditation, travel, fishing, writing, arts and crafts and puzzles all help.
Finally, social connection is my prescription to you. It gives us purpose and a sense of belonging. Spending time with family and friends improves self-esteem and elevates mood. Humans are social creatures by nature and interaction with others can benefit your mind, body and soul.
If you live alone, consider joining a community group, church or charity organisation. Let’s take care of each other. Check-in with your friends. They need you! Most importantly, practise self-care. You have worked hard. Now practise good health so you can enjoy your life.
I wish you all the very best health outcomes for many years to come and remember to take your probiotics.