Friday, June 3, 2016

Two More Food Habits That Age You

Nutrition, not age, determines the body's internal chemistry, affecting the quality and resilience of virtually every organ, cell, and system in the body. The condition of your skin, and quality of your bones, brain and connective tissue are all influenced by your diet. Your eating habits play a big role in determining how quickly you see and feel the effects of aging. Here are two more habits to avoid.

A weakness for convenience foods
Partially hydrogenated oils, a source of trans fats, take their aging toll by promoting inflammation. Chronic inflammation ages the body by shortening the telomeres - the caps at the ends of your chromosomes that are key to protecting your genes. Prematurely shortened telomeres are linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. A legal loophole allows foods with trans fats to be labeled as "trans fat free". Restaurant food and take-out fare can also contain these damaging fats.

THE FIX - Eat fewer processed foods. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store where produce and fresh foods are displayed. A diet high in phytonutrients and antioxidants is linked to longer telomeres, so eat plenty of leafy greens, berries, cruciferous vegetables and drink green tea.

Eating when you are stressed
The release of adrenaline and cortisol - fight-or-flight chemicals - diverts blood to your limbs and away from your stomach. Food may ferment in your intestines, upsetting the balance of good and bad bacteria. Stressed eating may lead to distracted eating. You may eat more than you intended or eat foods you wouldn't have chosen under better circumstances. Eating on-the-go can contribute to both the release of stress hormones and distracted eating.

THE FIX - If you are stressed, drink a glass of water and go for a five-minute walk. Whenever possible, eat in places where you can feel calm and happy. Sit at a table to eat. Use plates and utensils - don't eat out of the Styrofoam box. Your body will be able to break down and absorb key nutrients more efficiently. 

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food

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