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eat well to live long

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According to recent estimates, children born at the beginning of the twenty-first century have a life expectancy of about one hundred years.

The aging of the Italian and global population is there for all to see; Thanks to scientific advances and an overall improvement in the quality of life, we are witnessing a constant increase in the average age of individuals.

Aging actively and in self-sufficiency therefore represents the fundamental premise for enjoying this long period of life in peace.
Like any important objective, even that of curbing the negative effects linked to the passage of time must be pursued with the right amount of commitment and determination.

Some simple measures, to be adopted from childhood, can help us face old age with serenity and vigor.

On the tables of industrialized countries, food has never been as abundant as in recent decades. Despite this, the qualitative aspect of food is often insufficient to maintain the optimal efficiency of the precious human machine. It is in fact a high-calorie food, not very satiating and poor in nutritional principles such as mineral salts and vitamins.

This paradox is at the basis of the growing rate of obesity, a serious problem that is spreading in a fearful and worrying way.

One of the fundamental prerequisites for extending and improving your life is to maintain your body weight within normal limits. This measure, not always easy to adopt, is able to prevent, on its own, a very long list of pathologies. Furthermore, according to studies successfully conducted on many laboratory animals, an overall reduction in caloric intake would seem to be one of the best ways to persist in the state of psychophysical efficiency that characterizes youth.

Without leading to malnutrition, which is an aggravating factor of the aging process, it is important to cover the needs of all the essential nutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates but also, and above all, vitamins and minerals) without exaggerating with calories.

Vitamins

On a qualitative level, the nutrients that are most frequently lacking in the diet of Westerners are minerals such as calcium, iron and zinc, and some vitamins (A, E, D, Folate, B1, B2 and C). It is therefore essential to ensure in your diet a correct intake of foods rich in vitamins and minerals such as fruit, vegetables, good fats (vegetable oils excluding tropical ones) and whole foods. Some vitamins and in particular E, or tocopherol, have demonstrated very strong antioxidant properties capable of mitigating, on their own, the impact of aging

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In the article “vitamin supplements” we demonstrated that it is not always easy to cover the needs of these nutrients and how, in some circumstances, specific integration is necessary. A good intake of calcium and vitamin D is also important to prevent osteoporosis.

Antioxidants, Diet and Sport

To defend itself from free radicals, our body combines antioxidants deriving from the diet with very effective endogenous systems. A relationship has been demonstrated between the efficiency of these mechanisms and the lifespan of many animal species. The best way to increase the power of these endogenous antioxidant systems is the regular practice of physical activity. This healthy habit explains why physical exercise makes people who practice it regularly appear more beautiful and younger. Sport also helps build a winning mentality and improve the mind-body relationship. Psychological crises caused by the inability to react strongly to some unpleasant life events contribute to accelerating the physical decay of the organism.

Sport is also the best way to establish a positive hormonal framework in a completely natural way.

There are several theories, very popular in the States and recently also in our country, which portray hormone replacement therapy as the best method to win the fight against premature aging.

The production and secretion of the hormones on which this therapy is based (GH, testosterone and its precursor DHEA), is in fact significantly higher in subjects who lead an active lifestyle and maintain their weight within the norm.

One of the most dangerous allies of aging is hyperglycemia, a condition typically associated with diabetes. We know that in most cases there is a genetic predisposition to the disease and that this is heavily influenced by the person's lifestyle (diet too high in sugar and reduced physical activity).

The fibers contained in fruit, vegetables and whole foods have a long list of beneficial factors including: stabilizing effect on blood sugar, increased sense of satiety, hypocholesterolemic action, prevention of overweight and obesity, improvement of the functionality of the gastrointestinal tract and reduction the incidence of some forms of cancer.

Tumors

Risk factors in diet

Esophageal cancer

Abuse of wine, beer and especially spirits;
deficiency of vitamin C, iron, zinc (shortage of fresh fruit and vegetables); Nitrites and nitrates from preserved meats; frequent consumption of very hot foods

Stomach cancer

Nitrates and especially nitrites contained in sausages, dried and smoked foods; see the dedicated article: nitrites and nitrates

Colon-rectal cancer

Excessive consumption of preserved meats, red meat, trans and hydrogenated fats, very salty foods; calcium supplements (uncertain relationship) and/or lack of fiber in the diet

Prostate cancer High consumption of red meat, low consumption of vegetable fibers and legumes (soya), high consumption of dairy products
Breast cancer High consumption of alcohol and animal fats, low consumption of vegetable fibers and legumes (soya)
Liver Tumor Abuse of alcohol and consumption of foods contaminated with toxins (e.g. some types of mushrooms or cereals contaminated with aflatoxins)

Pancreatic tumor

Excess alcohol, Excessive consumption of red meat

Water and Hydration

In the elderly, but also in many adults and very young people, dehydration is an often underestimated problem.

The decrease in thirst linked to ageing, associated with a diet that too often replaces water with alcohol and sugary drinks, is responsible for a reduction in protein synthesis and an increase in adipose tissue. This worsening of body composition opens the doors to obesity and decreases physical and mental efficiency.

You should therefore make an effort to sip water throughout the day, even if you are not thirsty.

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