I love junk food, am I putting myself at risk?
Eating “bad foods” occasionally and in moderation will not put you at risk for age-related and diet-related diseases (unless you have a pre-existing condition like diabetes or heart disease).
The key is understanding what moderation is, specifically that it is splurging on occasion and in small amounts, allowing you to enjoy the occasional indulgence with little risk to your health.
Alternatively, if you indulge too much or worse yet all the time then yes you are most certainly putting yourself at very high risk for various lifestyle diseases, including heart disease, stroke, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and possibly premature death.
As I get older, I am concerned about my health, should I cut back sugar?
There are multiple reasons to be concerned about sugar intake no matter your age. As you get older age-related disease becomes an increasing concern. Since many of these age-related diseases can be linked to obesity, sugar intake should be monitored closely.
The Heart Association suggests that men eat no more than 150 calories from added sugar a day and women eat no more than 100 calories from added sugar a day.
Some of the other reasons you will want to limit your intake of sugar is that it has been linked to inflammation in the body, it may cause heart disease, increased risk for type 2 diabetes, and it causes weight gain. Refined sugar is really at best a useless food and at worst a harmful indulgence with zero nutritional value.
Is a plant diet good for healthy ageing?
Plant-based diets are wonderful at any age. They are good for your waistline and provide you with ample vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. There is only one concern when eating a plant-based diet, and that is that you are getting enough protein. Essential proteins are proteins that cannot be produced by your body. Most complete essential proteins are only found in meat products. While plants may have a portion of a complete protein typically on their own, they do not have the entire protein chain. So when eating a plant-based diet, you need to make sure to eat certain foods.
Plant-based complete proteins:
- Combined Proteins
- Beans and rice
- Ezekiel bread
- Hummus and pita
- Spirulina with grains or nuts
Assuming that you get your dietary allowance of protein, there is no reason not to enjoy a plant-based diet.
Are there any ways to make vegetables more enjoyable?
If you are not used to eating a vegetable-rich diet, vegetables can taste bland and flavourless.
Incorporating vegetables into your diet may be a slow process at first, but there are things that you can do to make them taste better.
- Decrease your sugar and junk intake. High amounts of sugar and fat in the diet can make whole food taste flavourless. As you decrease your intake of junk food, you will begin to appreciate the taste of real food.
- Roast vegetables with herbs and spices. Steamed bland vegetables tend to be tasteless! Try roasting your vegetables with some extra virgin olive oil and your favourite blend of salt-free spices and this should give you great tasting dishes.
- Grill them on the barbecue! Barbecued vegetables are amazing, they are even better if you marinade them first. You can marinade vegetables just as you would marinade meat and it gives them an amazing flavor especially after being cooked over an open flame.