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How to age like "cathedrals"

Aging is inevitable (and certainly better than the alternative). And while no one can control how they age, we can slow down the process with the smart choices we make along the way. From food and exercise to friendships and retirement goals, it all affects how quickly or slowly our bodies age.


Here are some easy-to-follow tips to keep your body and mind fit. The good news is that it's never too late to start.


Small changes in eating habits will reduce the risk of many diseases associated with aging.

Lose weight, but a little


Less weight will definitely improve your health. Just 5% lighter has been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease and improve liver metabolic function, fat and muscle status. If you weigh 90 kg. and manage to lose only 4.5 kg., you will noticeably feel healthier. We all want to shed more pounds, but if we start with this relatively modest goal of 5% and stick to it, we are sure to succeed.

Avoid processed meats


Processed meats (salami, sausages, ham, etc.) are either salted, dried, or smoked to improve their flavor and to keep them longer. A number of studies have found a link between the consumption of processed meats and health problems. According to a Harvard study, just one meal a day of processed meat (bacon, salami, or deli meat) leads to a 42% higher risk of heart problems and a 19% higher risk of diabetes! As for the consumption of unprocessed red meat, no such dependence was found.

It turns out that the reason processed meats have a similar effect isn't because of unsaturated fat or cholesterol, since both types of meat contain the same amounts per serving. The huge difference is in the levels of sodium and chemical preservatives. Processed meats contain 3 times more sodium and 50% more nitrate preservatives than unprocessed meats. Other studies have found a link between processed meats and the risk of colon cancer.

Eat blue and other colorful foods


While it's not a good idea to tie your health to just one "superfood," blueberries definitely deserve special attention. In a study of the eating habits of 187,000 healthy working men and women, eating 3 or more servings of blueberries per week was associated with a 26% lower risk of diabetes. Another study found that one cup of blueberries a day lowered blood pressure. Most of us cannot afford such a quantity of blueberries daily, not only because of the price, but also because we cannot always find them on the market in Bulgaria. But the bottom line here is that adding as many dark colored fruits or vegetables to your diet as possible - blueberries, cherries, spinach, kale - is an excellent idea. They are loaded with many nutrients, fiber and carotenoids.

Avoid packaged foods


The best nutritional strategy to age well is to avoid processed foods and drinks. This will immediately eliminate the added sugars in the food. How to tell if food is processed is easiest when you buy it in a package that needs to be opened. Think chips, waffles, junk food, fast food, frozen pizza and what not. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Some unprocessed foods are also packaged by necessity – eg nuts, eggs, olive oil, milk, etc. Try to live by the one ingredient rule. If the package only contains one ingredient (ground turkey, for example), you've probably made a good choice.


Once you cut back on packaged foods, you'll start eating a lot more fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish, and whole grains.


In fact, this is exactly what the well-known Mediterranean diet is, proven by dozens of studies as one of the healthiest in the world. You can find a lot of information about it, but if you prefer another diet, follow it. Whether it's a vegetarian/vegan diet or another trendy way of eating, the important thing to know is that they're all based on whole, real foods that don't come packaged.

What about supplements?


Study after study seems to debunk the benefits of taking supplements. Omega 3 is one of the most widely used to combat the effects of aging, but a number of studies show that there may not actually be that much benefit from supplemental intake. There is evidence that Vitamin B12 is good for the brain, but we get it well through food if we eat right. Recently, Vit D has become more popular, but very few people are actually deficient in Vit D, and studies show that healthy people probably do not benefit from supplementation. What we recommend you do though - periodic blood tests for key vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately, in Bulgaria these tests are quite expensive and although they are of key importance for the body, they are not supported by the Health Insurance Fund.

A good tip about supplements: spend your money on supplements very carefully, it is preferable to invest it in quality running shoes or in healthy and tasty food to share with loved ones. In any case, it will most likely bring you much more joy and health than supplements.


Our advice on supplements is for those of us who enjoy good health and age at a rhythmic pace, the rest of us should consult and follow the advice of our doctor. If the doctor determines that supplements are necessary, take action, but don't be swayed by every ad you see on TV. More walks with friends, learning something new will keep your body and brain much healthier for many years than 3 x 2 Ginkgo Biloba pills a day.


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We wish you success!

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