How Food Affects Aging

Sunrise Senior Living  |  July 22, 2016
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Food is essential for survival, but it's also one of life's little pleasures! As you likely know by this point, good senior nutrition can be as tasty as it is healthy. But should you be reading more into how it affects aging?

The answer is yes! Scientists believe that both the taste and smell of foods can actually affect aging, explained Medical News Today. Here's how they believe it all works:

Sensory Neurons Delay Aging
Sometimes, zones that are closely connected in the brain can make different experiences related. For example, scientists believe hearing certain music plays a part in memory recall. Similarly, researchers at the Pohang University of Science and Technology in Korea believe that the anti-aging protein called FOXO is affected by the smell or taste of foods as these activate sensory neurons. Sensory neurons are believed to control the rate at which various animals age. According to MNT, the researchers surmised that the smell and taste of food shortens the lifespan of said sensory neurons producing insulin.

Other Important Senior Nutrition Facts
The body reacts to the foods you eat in many of different ways. The National Institute on Aging explained that the amount you eat also has an affect on your body. It requires energy to metabolize food. This digestion process therefore creates stress on your body. The more you eat, the more your body stresses. Overeating may even lead to a shorter life, or health issues like cardiovascular diseases or diabetes, said the source. 

One of the best way to a long, happy life is through good nutrition. A balanced diet will help stave off loads of different health risks like stroke, bone loss, high cholesterol and even cancer, explained the NIH Senior Healthy. This diet then also gives your body more energy to get up and be active, which consequently helps you manage your weight. It's important to note that less active bodies need to adjust their diets to their inactivity.

According to U.S. News and World Report, older women only need 1,600 to 2,200 calories each day, depending on their activity level whereas older men need 2,000 to 2,800. The appropriate diet needs to be rich in protein in order to protect immune systems and bone strength. Registered dietitian Amy Campbell explained that seniors don't necessarily need to follow a specific diet plan, but it is important for them to get a well-rounded diet that includes plenty of protein whether that be from animals or other sources like lentils, beans or chickpeas.