Successful Aging, Part Two: DIET PLANS THAT HELP US TO AGE BEAUTIFULLY
In Part 1, we discussed how exercise helps us to stay youthful and strong.
Part 2 is about Feeding.
The adage is “You are what you eat.” We now know that it is not only what you eat; the timing of meals plays significant roles in our health too.
The foods we eat fall into one of 3 categories mainly, Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fats.
Fruits, Vegetables, Milk, and Grains provide the body with energy for our daily activities. When ingested and digested, carbohydrates enter the circulation in the form of Glucose, which is then used to produce ATP, the fuel molecule that drives most activities of the body.
Carbohydrates consumption causes the Pancreas to release insulin. Insulin allows Glucose to enter Muscles and Fat cells, where they are used for Energy production.
Unbalanced-High-carbohydrate Diet is Unhealthy
Surplus glucose is stored in the Liver and Muscles as Glycogen and in Fat cells for Triglycerides production.
When a diet is unbalanced and the Carbohydrates provide greater than 60% of calories, serum Triglyceride levels tends to rise. High levels of triglycerides impede blood circulation.
It has, therefore, been recommended that Calories provided by Carbohydrate should form less than 50- 60% of the total daily calorie intake.
Insulin enables sugars and the products of Fats digestion (Fatty Acid and monoglycerides) to leave the general circulation and enter the Fat cells. Fat cells are then able to produce more Triglycerides. The Triglycerides and Fatty acids are then stored as White Fat in the body and this leads to Weight gain and Obesity.
Person with high Triglyceride and bad cholesterol levels should limit their carbohydrate intake to less than 50% of the total energy consumption per day.
Many people have successfully lost weight by lowering the portions of carbohydrates in their diets.
After ingestion, and subsequent digestion in the Stomach and Intestines, proteins are absorbed as Amino Acids into the bloodstream.
In addition to being used to build and repair tissues, including muscles and tendons, Proteins are used to produce hormones and Enzymes for the body’s metabolism.
Higher intake of proteins activates Growth hormone receptors in the body to release Insulin and Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1) hormones.
Dietary sources of Proteins: (a.) Plants including, Legumes, Nuts, and Green leafy vegetables including Cabbages. (b.) Animals including Meat, Fish Poultry, Eggs. NB:
. 1 oz of Meat (Beef, chicken/Turkey, Fish) provide 7grams of protein
. 1 oz of Seafood(lobster/shrimp) provides 6grams of protein
. 1 whole egg has 6 grams of protein
. ½ cup of Beans has 6-8 grams of protein,
. ½ Lentil has 9 grams of protein.
. 1oz (¼ cup) of nuts has 6 grams of protein
. 1 cup chopped Broccoli has 2.6 grams of protein
.1 cup of brussels sprout has 3 grams of protein.
Unbalanced Diet, High in Protein is Unhealthy
High intake of proteins leads to excess generation of IGF-1. High IGF-1 levels have been associated with Obesity, Diabetes, certain types of Cancers and a Shortened Lifespan (decreased Longevity.)
Epidemiologic Studies indicate that Diets low in proteins, including animal protein are Associated with . Increase in Longevity and
. Reduction in certain types of cancers like Prostate, Breast and Intestinal cancers
IGF-1 production decrease with advancing age so in the Elderly persons, restricting their intake of proteins to decrease IGF-1 levels may be a disadvantage.
Elderly persons who are losing their muscle strength/mass are encouraged to increase their daily protein intake by eating more Eggs, Fish and lean meat.
Recommended Dietary Allowance is 0.8G/KG BWT.
QUESTION: Do Elderly persons need to restrict their intake of proteins to 0.8g/Kg Body Weight.?
ANSWER: Elderly persons and those who do not want to look thin and frail may go up on their protein intake to nearly twice RDA. (1.2-1.5G/KG BWT.) A 70kg Man requires 56g (0.8x70) proteins daily.
Fats generate Energy for the body to keep us active and warm
Fats are found in protective cell walls and fats are necessary for cells-divisions and growth.
Fats help in the absorption of fat- soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K).
Solid fats (aka Bad Fat) include Saturated and Trans fats. Solid Fats raise Bad Cholesterol levels in the body.
Liquid fat (Good fat) include the monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats
Trans Fats are produces when hydrogen is commercially added to liquid oils to make them more solid (and tasty). Trans Fats could be found in Fried foods and pastries.
Dietary sources of Saturated fats include Meat and animal products like Butter and Cheese
Unsaturated fats are found in Fishes, Plants and vegetable oils.
Bile salts help the intestine to digest fats by breaking the normally large sized fats structures into smaller fragments for the digestive enzymes to act properly. Fats digestive products are Fatty Acids and Monoglycerides, which are then absorbed into the blood stream
The Saturated and Trans-fats raise triglycerides levels, Unsaturated fats lower triglycerides levels.
HEALTHY ADULT MEALS
For Adults, following a meal plan similar to the DASH eating plan is great for good health.
The DASH Eating Plan.
DASH is the acronym for Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension
This meal plan has no strict and fast rules, just eat your regular food types. It recommends food that are lower in sodium, Rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, fibers, protein. The plan encourages us to eat
. Fruits, Vegetables and Whole Grains
. Fish, Poultry, Beans, Nuts and Vegetable oils
The Dash meal plan recommends a
. Cut back on Sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets
. Cut back on Fatty meats
. Cut back on Sodium (salt) to less than 1500-2300mg sodium daily.
Conversion factor 2.5g salt = 1000 mg sodium
(5 g of salt (a teaspoon of granulated salt) contains roughly 2000mg of sodium)
TIME REGULATED FEEDING.
All physiological processes in the body have been synchronized with the 24-hour day and night cycle/rhythm.
In the brain, specifically in the hypothalamus and directly above the optic chiasm, is the pair of aggregate of neurons known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). The SCN (the circadian pacemaker) sets the body’s natural clock to sync with daylight and to time the production of hormones, and other biologic chemicals so that the body organs and tissues can function with maximum efficiency.
Social interactions, Food intake, Exercise can disrupt the circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythm disruption causes metabolic imbalance and may lead to many diseases.
The circadian rhythm has synchronized our feeding times with daytime. Eating at nighttime disrupts the circadian rhythm and this may lead to Heart diseases, Diabetes and Cancers.
Traditionally, most people eat their meals within 12 hours each day, and only a few people have the bad habit of eating during both day and night times.
Scientists have demonstrated in both animals and human studies that restricting all caloric intake to daytimes and within less than 10-12 hours each day has many health benefits.
. We tend to sleep better
. We gain less weight and
. We prevent or improve heart diseases.
TIME REGULATED FASTING
Carbohydrates are the primary sources of fuel for the body. During fasting, when Glucose supply becomes inadequate, the body starts to burn fats.
An end product after fat-burning is a Ketone labelled Beta-hydroxy-butyric-acid (BHBA).
BHBA helps the brain to produce Brain-derived-Neurotrophic-Factor (BDNF.)
BDNF helps in the following ways:
. prevents Neurodegenerative conditions (Parkinson’s, Dementia)
. Promotes Memory and Learning, and
. Alleviates Depression and Anxiety.
Fasting for longer hours, (16-18 hours) each day, also known as Time Restricted fasting (TRF), has many health benefits. After fasting for 18 hours and upon waking up, the following are observed in the blood the next day (1)
. There is an increase in levels of KETONES which subsequently, causes
. An increase in BDNF production
. There is an increase in level of SIRTUIN-1, an Antioxidant and Anti-Aging protein
. There is an increase in levels of LC3A, structural proteins that clear abnormal proteins, and debris from cells. It is the accumulation of these debris in cells that lead to chronic diseases.
. There is an increase in Mammalian Target of Rapamycin (MTOR). MTOR regulates protein synthesis and Cell growth
So, Time Restricted Fasting promotes Cognition, Learning, Memory, and prevents chronic Diseases, Cancers and Aging.
EARLY TIME REGULATED FASTING (eTRF)
The circadian rhythm of metabolism favors eating all meals earlier in the Day, with the last meal served before 2- 3 p.m. daily.
Early Time Regulated Fasting (eTRF) is a 6-hour, Early day Feeding period (usually from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.) which allows for an 18-hour fasting period, in the evening and dark hours. eTRF allows feeding to be aligned with the circadian rhythm of metabolism.
The health benefits achieved by practicing eTRF, are not solely based on weight loss; those who keep their weight, by consuming adequate calories will benefit from eTRF. (2)
For prediabetic persons (persons with large belly circumference, elevated blood pressure and elevated triglycerides,) the study confirmed the following benefits from practicing eFTR.
. Lowering of the 24-hour glucose levels and improving Insulin sensitivity
. Lowering of both Systolic and Diastolic blood pressures
. Improves cardiometabolic health
. The positive anti-Aging effect and all benefits associated with intermittent fasting.
QUESTION: How many meals can I eat within the 6-hour period?
ANSWER: 2-3 meals/day. Eating all three meals close together (short-inter-meal-intervals) within 6-hours makes insulin activity more efficient.
QUESTION: Wouldn’t early feeding lead to much hunger in the afternoon/evening?
ANSWER: Despite the 18 hours of fasting each day, early feeding decreases appetite. Early-TRF
lowers the levels of the hunger and appetite stimulating hormone (Ghrelin); makes hunger even- keeled; Increases stomach fullness and Reduces the desire to eat (3)
QUESTION: If I go to parties on weekends, should I avoid meals and drinks served at the party?
ANSWER: No. The benefits of eTRF remain intact despite week-end partying.
Successful aging involves a well-balanced-Dietary plan, composed of Fruit, Vegetables, whole Grains, Legumes, Nuts, moderate amount of Fish,Poultry and Vegetable oils. Avoid simple sugars,sweets, sweetened beverages, Fatty meats and salted food. Eat all meals earlier during the day and within 6-8 hours, on as many days of the week as possible.
. (1.) ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31151228
(2.) ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc 6627766
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