Let’s face it, aging is part of life and how we choose to age is within our control. What you eat can make a huge difference on how you look and feel. Here are a few common age-related diseases and some tips on which foods can help reduce your risk of developing them.

To help prevent basic cell damage :

Colourful fruits and vegetables offer up loads of antioxidants that help stop free radicals from damaging healthy cells. Include leafy greens, deep red tomatoes, blueberries and carrots to help prevent cell damage. At each meal fill about half of your plate with fruits and vegetables.

To help with macular degeneration :

Three particular antioxidants; vitamin c, zinc and beta-carotene help protect your vision from macular degeneration which is the leading cause of blindness after age 65. Choose spinach, kale, collard or mustard greens or bright-coloured produce to ensure you get a good supply of these antioxidants.

To help with heart disease or cancer :

A powerful antioxidant in grapes and red wine, called reservatrol may help lower your odds of getting heart disease or cancer. Beans and lentils are also loaded with fibre and plant-based protein so they are a good age-protecting alternative to red meat.

To help with Type 2 Diabetes :

Eating whole grains high in fiber like oats, quinoa, barley and brown rice may help lower your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. A healthy diet that contains whole grains also keeps blood vessels in peak condition.

To reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s :

Omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish offer many anti-aging benefits; they help protect your heart, lower your odds of having a stroke and may even help guard against Alzheimer’s disease.

To reduce your risk of high blood pressure and help lower high cholesterol :

The fats in nuts are among the healthiest. Snacking on nuts may cut your risk of high blood pressure and control high cholesterol. To get the benefit, eat ¼ oz of nuts or about 4 almonds.

Not only should we add foods for healthy aging but we need to limit some foods that may harm the body:

Go easy on high-fat meat, high-fat dairy and baked treats.

The saturated fat found in these foods can lead to clogged arteries and heart problems.

Don’t add sugar.

Eating too much sugar can send your blood sugar levels on a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs. Over time, excess calories may cause insulin resistance, which can lead to Type 2 diabetes. Sugar also suppresses the immune system.

Eat less salt.

Too much salt can raise your blood pressure which over time, can damage other parts of your body including brain, arteries and kidneys. Limit daily sodium intake to 2,400 milligrams or about 1 teaspoon of table salt.

Dr. Karen Gillman is dedicated to healthy eating for more than 25 years, Karen Gilman is passionate about helping others eat well and love what they eat. Karen graduated from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in 2011 where she received a diploma in Natural Nutrition. Karen is also a certified food handler and a member of the Canadian Association of Holistic Nutrition Professionals.

You can make an appointment at the Pinewood Natural Health Centre with Karen Gilman by emailing

Phone: (416) 656-8100

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