Healthy Alternatives as You Age: The Whole30 Way
 
Adult and child holding hands.

Healthy Alternatives as You Age: The Whole30 Way

By Dr Trushna Bhatt

It's pretty ironic how as children we can't wait to grow up, yet when we actually age all we want is to become children, again! We want their healthy, blemish-free skins, boundless enthusiasm and stamina, and zest for life! However, as much as we would love to turn the clock back, ageing is irreversible. While we can't control the fact that we do age, we definitely have a strong say in how well we age by picking healthy alternatives in diet and lifestyle. Healthy ageing means maintaining optimal social and physical functioning even in your advanced years.

Why Post-Retirement Life Should Be About You

Abbott's recent Ensure Dreams Survey, which involved several older adults from across India, showed that many of them had unfulfilled dreams at this late stage in life. These aspirations included personal wishes as well as those involving their children.

The most intriguing and thought-provoking detail that emerged from this survey was that several of these seniors were unhappy about not being able to travel, socialize and indulge in other routine activities simply because they weren't physically strong enough to do so. This made them lonely, sad and discontent, further increasing their medical issues.

A healthy lifestyle during your childhood and adult years is what will ensure that you're fighting fit as a grandma or grandpa. So, if you're wondering how to start making healthy changes in life, remember that physical exercise and choosing healthy alternatives in your diet are pretty much the crux of it.

Yes, eating right in terms of quantity and quality will boost the positive effects too. While healthy eating is essential at all stages of life, eating well is especially important for older adults because their bodies limit what can and cannot be digested in addition to specific lists of medically permitted foods. According to a study published in the Journal of Gerontology, exercise combined with a healthy diet is most effective in reducing health risks and age-related issues.

For natural and simple living, give some of these diet lifestyles a try.

The Health Mantra: Eat Fresh, Eat Well

The simplest mantra for a healthy diet is to eat foods that are minimally processed, seasonally available and locally grown because they're fresh, nutrient-dense and preservative-free. Even Ayurveda emphasizes a Saatvik diet for healthy living in terms of mind, body and spirit. A Saatvik diet is vegetarian and organic, with fresh fruits and vegetables in their purest and basic forms comprising an intrinsic part of the diet. Saatvik foods should be grown on fertile soil without pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers or anything unnatural, harvested at the correct time of the year and eaten with most of their nutrients intact, undamaged by processing.

Such a diet is probably responsible for the longevity of ancient rishi munis (who easily pushed past 100 years), whose staple diet featured the fresh fruits and vegetables that they sourced in the forests.

The Whole30 Diet

The Whole30 diet that's currently the rage in America operates on the same principle, wherein it emphasises the need for whole foods in their natural forms with minimum added ingredients. This diet program strongly prohibits sugar in any form and recommends that dairy products, grains, legumes and any kind of processed foods be avoided. The bottom line is to keep it natural and simple.

The fundamental reasoning is that a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables is nutrient-dense and calorie-poor, easier to digest and ideal for all ages and health conditions.

As a slight, practical modification to suit the Indian context, a moderate amount of grains and dairy products may be allowed to make your diet sustainable and more nutrient-rich.

Stick to the Basics

Luckily, our Indian style of cooking is not reliant on canned and tinned foods. It utilises foods in their natural forms with minimal or no processing. Some modest Indian recipes, such as khichadi and dalia with added seasonal vegetables, are powerhouses of nutrients and fibre and are ideal for maintaining family health, including the elderly with dental issues. As preached by Whole30 and the traditional Indian diet protocols, the closer we are to nature, the healthier we are and will be.

When to Supplement

A regular, balanced diet is crucial to meet daily nutritional requirements. However, some nutritional gaps may exist. Filling these gaps with help of supplements might help. Even when you're eating your share of fruits and veggies, you may still fall short of some vitamins and minerals and these deficiencies can show up in several tiny ways, like making older adults weak, forgetful or generally tired. So, it's a good idea to get in touch with your nutritionist, who can help you zero in on the type and amount of supplements you can add to your daily routine to help you stay fit, both in body and mind.

As they say, add life to your years, not just years to your life!

Disclaimer: This publication / editorial / article is meant for awareness/educational purposes and does not constitute or imply an endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation of any Products. Please consult your doctor/ healthcare practitioner before starting any diet, medication or exercise.