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Almost seventeen million people in Italy are over 60 years old and, of these, four million have exceeded 80: a vast array of citizens who have longer and longer life prospects, according to Eurostat data. Yet the “recipe” to keep healthy even in old age is there, and how! The World Health Organization has given clear indications on its latest and most recent report on World Reporting on Aging and Health (1) . Starting early to have good habits and to follow healthy lifestyles helps to look out for the elderly with a solid health patrimony, which is then maintained by planning constant physical activity, cultivating social relationships and adopting a healthy diet, with very reduced amounts of animal protein, refined foods and sugars. Beware of those three! Some foods are enemies of a peaceful aging, so it is good to know them and avoid them as much as possible.
Cooking salt. Excess sodium retains fluids, promoting hypertension; in addition, it increases the elimination of calcium through the urine. Better to opt for whole sea salt, which contains less sodium and many trace elements; get used to little use, partly replacing with gomasio (which among other things abounds in calcium) and with aromatic herbs, also generally rich in this mineral and with digestive properties. In addition to salt it is good to reduce (or eliminate) nuts, sausages, packaged products in general, cheeses and some drugs and supplements. Sugar and refined foods They have a high glycemic index and carry a greater influx of glucose into the blood and then insulin. There is no risk of overweight, obesity and diabetes: insulin increases the acidity in the bone tissue which, as a consequence, releases and loses calcium. Insulin levels also increase when we consume animal protein, especially those contained in milk and dairy products.
For strong bones: here are the main foods friendly to healthy and strong bones, useful in the prevention of osteoporosis.
Whole grains: corn, wheat, buckwheat, millet etc, for the content of calcium, silicon and other minerals; wholegrain sourdough bread (contains assimilable calcium).
Sesame: the richest of calcium among oil seeds. Prunes: very studied, 8 per day strengthen the bones of menopausal women. Legumes: chickpeas, beans, lentils, grass peas, dried peas, lupins, soy in the form of milk, tofu, tempeh and miso are excellent sources of minerals and vitamins of group B. Like whole grains they contain phytoestrogens, which undermine the trophic action against the bone produced by estrogen during the fertile age and are therefore very useful during the menopause.
Flax and chia seeds, walnuts, algae and purslane: rich in Omega 3, they are very effective in strengthening the bones. For non-vegetarians, there is also fish: eating anchovies with herring or shrimp with the shell will have an excellent supply of organic calcium. Keep active Physical exercise has a significant positive influence on well-being, from different points of view: physical form, strength, endurance, balance, flexibility, metabolism, energy, but also mood, concentration, memory, mental health and even sociality. It is essential therefore not to stop and continue to carry out some type of activity to exploit these benefits. This is not necessarily a sport, you can also dance, do gardening or work at home.
Above all, you need to take advantage of small trips to leave the car in the garage and walk or ride a bike. With the movement you do cardiovascular prevention (heart attack, stroke, etc.), you can reduce or eliminate drugs for hypertension and diabetes, regulate the levels of good and bad cholesterol. Compared to sedentary people of the same age, active seniors are less likely to suffer from coronary heart disease, hypertension, heart attack, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer. They also run less risk of falls or fractures and have better cognitive functions. Meditation This type of practice does not only have positive implications on mental wellbeing, it is also useful for maintaining physical health and for counteracting the typical annoyances of age. In fact, various studies have shown that relaxation and meditation exercises positively influence blood pressure, as well as quality of life. Mindfulness, for example, is a technique that is very useful for the elderly who suffer from depression, anxiety, loneliness, even chronic pain. Positive results are also obtained on insomnia.a
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