iconimg Friday, September 04, 2015

Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 04, 2013
Growing old is inevitable, but with small changes in your diet and lifestyle, you can certainly control the pace With advancing age, our bodies are bound to depriciate due to the presence of free radicals in our body that are produced due to body’s metabolism. These radicals damage the DNA of our cells and cause degeneration. Another major molecular mechanism whereby damage accrues is Glycation. Glycation is what happens when sugar mixes with proteins and fats to form advance glycation end products (AGEs). Presence of AGEs in the body causes protein fibres to become stiff and malformed. Tissue damage results in inflammation, and debilitating conditions such as cataracts, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and arteriosclerosis follow.

Free radicals and AGEs are produced continually in the body and their effect keeps building up gradually over the course of a lifetime. Ageing and death are thus inevitable but the extent of damage that these processes can cause can be controlled. Smoking, consuming processed food and exposure to chemicals, add to body’s free radical burden. By being careful in avoiding such practices, we can slow down our aging process and substantially decrease  the agony of facing problems that come with old age.
Must remember
Eat a balanced diet with lots of fresh, raw, dark-coloured fruits and veggies.
To avoid ingesting preformed AGEs, turn down heat when you cook because the browning effect of high-heat cooking leads to glycation. 
Antioxidants combat free radicals. Good sources include pomegranate, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, mulberries, cherries, grapes (black) and peanuts. Even though a few very potent antioxidants are also found in red wine, it won’t be wise to drink wine in hopes of extending life because alcohol can poison your brain and also harm your body’s delicate hormonal balance.
While a sufficient amount of fat must be consumed to meet the requirement of essential fatty acids, its upper limit must be taken care of.

Choosing foods that contain unsaturated fats as opposed to the saturated ones is important. Balance of omega–6s to omega–3s is crucial. Found in fish body oil, walnuts, and in oils of flaxseed and soy bean, omega-3s have numerous benefits as regards to your cardiac health.

Avoid full cream milk and choose only lean cuts of animal food. Eat a few nuts everyday.

Green tea, apart from being a good source of very potent antioxidants, has been proven to significantly interfere with the glycation process too.

Regular, moderate-to-vigorous exercise can slow down the onset of the aging process. Yoga and relaxation are always helpful to combat health problems.

Avoid pharmaceutical drugs till the time it is possible. They can have drastic side effects. Adhere to a healthy lifestyle, so that you are less likely to need drugs in the first place.

(Inputs from Kavita Wadhwa, health expert)