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Nutrition for Youthfulness at Any Age

posted Jun 13, 2019, 12:15 PM by Evangelina DiSpirito, RDN, E-RYT   [ updated Jun 17, 2019, 8:02 AM ]
Ever wonder why some people look younger as the years go by, while others seem to be aging at a rapid rate?  Sure, genetics plays a role, but what you consume physically and mentally on a daily basis is a big determinant of how well you will look and feel 5 or 10 years from now.  Consuming the right foods, beverages and lifestyle practices can keep you looking and feeling younger with each passing birthday.  New age aging is in your control more than ever, with the right approach, you can live longer, happier and more youthful with each passing year.

What happens when we age?

Years of exposure to contaminants in the air we breathe, ultraviolet rays from the sun we absorb and excess sugar, protein, fat and artificial ingredients from foods and beverages we digest can produce free radicals in the body and start us on the path to aging-related conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis. Before we get diagnosed with health problems, nutritional imbalances can start to show in the skin, hair and internal organs, as well as damage the cellular functions we need to conserve our youthfulness. 

By: Evangelina DiSpirito, RDN, LDN, E-RYT

Our bodies are efficient in detoxifying in the early years of life, however, as we advance in years the body’s ability to absorb and detoxify nutrients becomes less efficient.  This happens because of diminished hormones, digestive enzymes that help with repairing and regenerating the cells.   Therefore, the unhealthier eating and lifestyle practices we adopt, we generate more free radicals, which in turn accelerate aging.  

 What about diets that promote anti-aging?

Diets, to name few, vegan, ketogenic and intermittent fasting, have been reported to have beneficial effects in staving off age-related conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer as well as slow the development Alzheimer’s disease. However, the restrictive nature of these diets may have some emotional and mental consequences that could lead to yoyo dieting.  This is because in vegan diets, it’s hard to get B12 which is a supplement that, if deficient can lead to neurological impairment, and lack of energy.  Ketogenic diets remove the rich antioxidant and high fiber foods such as citrus fruits, whole grains, and beans from your plan, and in intermittent fasting, you deprive your brain of nutrients for about 8 to 12 hours a day.

Research shows that your body shifts into ketosis for fuel at least on Keto and Intermittent fasting, but you have to endure many physical and emotional symptoms first.  The flu-like symptoms caused by very low blood sugar, the headaches, and sleeplessness, can start to leave you feeling tired and anxious in the first stage of keto and intermittent fasting.  Additionally, ketogenic and intermittent fasting diets have the potential to deplete our bodies of nutrients that are essential for good health.  For long-term results, these diets may have their benefits in making the body more insulin sensitive, but these diets can be very hard to adhere to.  However, for short-term success may be worth exploring safely with an experienced Registered Dietitian who specializes in therapeutic ketosis plans.

It is important to note that ketosis in a ketogenic diet is not the same as ketoacidosis, which is a life-threatening condition in persons with diabetes, specifically, Type 1 diabetes.   

Power foods that ensure youthfully aging:

 Properties of foods we eat can boost the immune system, repair and build the body.  Nutrition habits that incorporate anti-aging foods will not only extend lifespan but help you to look and feel better and live longer.  Below is a list of a variety of foods to eat every day.    

Foods that contain or are precursors to anti-aging nutrients.

Anti-Aging Nutrients

Recipe Idea

Carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach

Vitamin A:

Retinal the active ingredient in anti-wrinkle creams is derived from vitamin A.

Smoothies: ½ cup sweet potato or shredded carrots, soy milk, and cinnamon, with ice. Blend well.

Kale, spinach, strawberries, blueberries, grapefruit, mandarins, blackberries, raspberries

Vitamin C: Boost immune system and is needed for the generation of collagen which is a vital protein for youthful skin and body.

Kale spinach salad with strawberries.

Nuts and seeds:  almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds

Vitamin E: Protect against free radicals. Free radicals can destroy healthy cells and accelerate aging.

Trail mix with almonds, peanuts and sunflower seed.

Legumes, spinach, broccoli

 Folic Acid: Lowers bad cholesterol, protects brain cells and arteries.

Steamed broccoli is a quick easy side dish.

Clams, nutritional yeast, beef, salmon, haddock, tuna, trout, yogurt, fortified cereals

Vitamin B12: As we age, vitamin B12 is not easily absorbed.  Vitamin B12 is required for proper red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis.

Grilled salmon salad for easy dinner.

Soybeans, soymilk, edamame, tofu

Phytoestrogens: Precursors to estrogen in the body.   As we age, estrogen levels drop.  Adding soy to meals may be beneficial to hormonal balance.

Tofu pesto salad.  See ILC recipes. Access through the ILC website.

 Ground Flaxseed, chia seed, walnuts, canola oil

salmon, Herring,

Omega-3’s (ALA, EPA, and DHA)

Good for healthy skin, brain and heart health.

Grapes, red wine, fresh pomegranate

Stilbenoids (Resveratrol and Pterostilbene) a group of flavonoids that are strong antioxidants.

Frozen grapes make a cool summer-time snack.

Spices: ginger, turmeric, cayenne pepper

Bioactive compounds rich in antioxidants that fight oxidative stress in the brain and body. Boost the immune system and fight cancer.

Grate some ginger in your green tea or water.  Season dishes with cayenne instead of pepper.


Attitude and aging

Adopt a youthful attitude to keep you young as you advance in years.  Identify what your belief system is about what your age number means.  How you identify with your age number can be a driving force on the habits that you take on with each passing year.   The “I’m too old to do that workout” or “be the weight I was when I was 25” is not based on fact, but based on a mindset. Changing your mindset changes you how you age.   So, set your mind on adopting healthy eating and lifestyle habits to help you look and feel your best, no matter the age.


1.        Diabetes. 2015 May;64(5):1576-90. Calorie Restriction Prevents Metabolic Aging Caused by Abnormal SIRT1 Function in Adipose Tissues. doi: 10.2337/db14-1180. Epub 2014 Dec 4


3.       BMJ 2018;361:k2139Forouhi NG, Krauss RM, Taubes G et al. Dietary fat and cardiometabolic health: evidence, controversies, and consensus for guidance.  doi: 10.1136/bmj.k2139