Each year it seems that the fast pace of modern living gets a little faster. As we get older we’d like to enjoy our golden years with as few health concerns as possible. Yet, the idea of being free of nagging health ailments can feel like so much wishful thinking. Naturopathic doctors believe there’s a better path to healthy aging. A way that emphasizes keeping your body and mind healthy throughout life so you can live your best life at any age.
Traditional Age Related Health Concerns
A commonly held belief as we age, is that our bodies become more susceptible to chronic diseases. This belief may come from personal experience with a loved one or it can from pop culture depictions in movies and magazines.
These health challenges include cardiovascular risk factors, cognitive function as well as bone and joint challenges. And with the tendency of traditional medicine to treat rather than cure, many elders experience ‘poly-pharmaceutical’ situations from using too many pharmaceuticals. Pharmaceuticals, which also have risks associated with them, do not heal any of these health concerns.
What’s important to note is the health imbalances we traditionally associate with aging don’t just appear as we reach a more advanced age. A closer look will normally show that we’ve set the stage for them throughout our lifetimes.
They are an accumulation of all the lifestyle choices we make along the way. When it comes to how healthy we feel at any given time, it doesn’t matter what age you are – good health habits make all the difference!
Healthy Aging and Dietary Changes
Our bodies change as we age. These changes have a definite impact on wellness function.
As an example, we’re born with a certain amount of enzymes and stomach acid. As we age, that amount declines. That decline affects our ability to absorb nutrients as well. In particular, the potential to assimilate minerals such as B12, calcium, iron, and magnesium declines.
As we age, our caloric needs also decrease, usually due to less muscle mass and less physical activity. Although we need more nutrition to support aging processes, that doesn’t mean we’re able to absorb nutrition as well.
The key is to determine how to best balance your specific dietary needs with your body’s processing ability. For instance, if you are experiencing digestive problems or not absorbing food properly then it may be necessary to take vitamin and mineral supplements or even eat smaller meals more frequently.
With the help of a naturopath, there are ways to figure out what works for you personally in order to optimize your nutritional intake.
A Note on Genetic Risk Factors
When discussing healthy aging a lot of talk naturally focuses on the ‘genetic risk factors.’ The challenge with this is that it places healthy aging in the realm of things that are seemingly out of our control.
Here at Synergetics Health & Wellness, we believe too much is thrown under the heading of genetics. We feel this way because of non-genetic factors that have been shown to be able to switch genes on and off. Factors such as toxins, stress, and gut dysfunction.
However, through the field of epigenetics, we know that healthy genes can also be switched back on with a healthy, supportive diet, stress-management tools, and proper digestion.
Setting aside genetics, there are healthy aging factors that are mostly hereditary. These include our eating habits, our well-being, our style of stress management, and our habits. Our environment plays a large role in our daily lifestyle choices, including exercise patterns, diets, sleep patterns and more.
One of the most significant environmental influences is what we watch on TV. Research shows that people who watch less than an hour of TV per day live about seven years longer than those who watch more than three hours per day.
It’s important to be aware of some of the potentially harmful components of our home culture. We model what we learn there to a great extent. Generally, we “live what we learn.”
The Proactive Approach to Healthy Aging
The naturopathic approach to healthy aging is all about prevention. That means living a healthy lifestyle now, so you can avoid age-related diseases down the road. And it’s never too late to start! Even if you’re already dealing with some health issues, making changes to your lifestyle can help improve your overall health and well-being.
At Synergetics Health & Wellness, our goal is determine what health path you are on currently, and work proactively and preventively to assure your later years will be more vital, supportive and healthful. If you are already nearing your senior years, contact me to begin your journey on a solid footing.
It is critical to establish healthy eating, exercise and mental habits immediately and begin to establish well-being and consistency in your daily lifestyle choices.