Nutrition : stop the bad habits that cause ageing

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Nutrition : stop the bad habits that cause ageing
Nutrition : stop the bad habits that cause ageing © Anete Lusina / Pexels

The body is a wonderful machine. But, by eating certain foods every day that rob us of our youth, the damaging effects on our organs, our muscles, our health are increased... and we age without even blowing out our birthday candles!

Too much sugar : wrinkles love it

Why should you avoid it? Excess sugar (glucose, fructose) causes weight gain, but also accelerated cell ageing. Consumed in large quantities, glucose and fructose cause the glycation of proteins in the body. This phenomenon, which leads to the formation of toxins, deteriorates the skin's collagen, making it less elastic... and thus more wrinkled!

Get back on track. The French consume 50g to 60g of sugar per day. The WHO, whose recommendation until 2014 was 50g/day, is now calling for this threshold to be lowered to 25g (or 6 teaspoons). The right daily dose: 2 to 3 pieces of fresh fruit or compotes without added sugar, 1 teaspoon of low-fat jam in yoghurt, no sweetened drinks. Cut out ready-made meals, cartoned soup, cereals... rich in hidden sugars, and limit pastries and sweets to 2 per week.

Deli meats, my friend, increase cardiovascular risk!

Why should you avoid it? By increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease by 56% (the leading cause of death in the world and the second in France), fried foods and deli meats certainly make us age faster. In addition, their saturated fatty acids, suspected of promoting the proliferation of tumours, increase the risk of colorectal cancer and “feed” the risk factors of heart disease: cholesterol, diabetes, etc.

Get back on track. In terms of the fattiest cold meats, you should be satisfied with one treat per month (30% fat: mortadella, pâté, sausages, etc.). You should rather choose meats with 4 to 5% fat: lean white ham, sliced poultry, bresaola, Grisons beef, bacon, etc. The right amount per day: 1 slice of ham or 6 slices of bresaola.

Not enough good fat : bye-bye memory !

Why do you need to eat good fat? It's a proven fact: people who consume the most DHA, the main omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (found in oily fish), have a significantly lower chance of developing Alzheimer's. And this is true from the very first serving, since those who eat oily fish once a week have a 35% lower risk of developing the disease, compared to those who hardly ever eat it.

Get back on track. It is essential to boost your meals with different sources of omega-3. The right amount per week: 2 portions of fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines... fresh, frozen or canned) and omega-3 rich oils (walnuts, rapeseed, flax) in dressings, as they do not tolerate heat well.

Too little protein, beware of muscle loss

Why do you need to eat protein? Protein needs do not decrease with age. From the age of 50, they even increase by about 20%, to preserve muscle mass and strength (the loss of which increases risks of falls, fractures, etc.), as well as certain essential vitamins.

Get back on track. Focus on high-quality animal proteins (eggs, wild fish, white or red meat with 5% fat content: minced beef, rump steak, etc.), alternating with vegetable proteins (pulses, cereals). The right daily dose: 1 to 1.2 g of protein per kg of weight, i.e. 60 to 72 g of protein/day if you weigh 60 kg. Equivalents: 2 eggs = 12.5g of protein; 120g of fish = 16 to 23g; 100g of meat = 17 to 29g.

Poorly controlled cooking, poorly protected organs

Why should you avoid it? Our organs age faster when they are deficient in vitamins and minerals. Hence the interest in eliminating water-based and pressure cooker preparations, whose high temperatures and prolonged soaking destroy 90% of vitamins and minerals. The same goes for barbecuing and frying: when heated or placed in direct contact with flames, the fatty acids contained in the food develop chemical compounds (aromatic hydrocarbons) that are carcinogenic.

Get back on track. Fruits, vegetables, sprouted seeds but also ultra-fresh meat and fish warrant being eaten raw. The intake of vitamins, minerals and fibres is optimal, slowing down the deterioration of the organs and ensuring good digestion, the fibres having proved their benefit against certain cancers (colon, breast, prostate). Use healthy cooking methods – gentle steaming, wok cooking, stewing, en papillote, earthen casserole, griddled – which preserve the nutritional qualities of the food by cooking it in its juices (without fat) and do not generate any health-damaging compounds.

When having an apéritif is a habit, the brain pays the price !

Why should you avoid it? When consumed in excess, alcohol impairs mental health by accelerating cognitive decline. A recent study showed that regular drinkers (at least 3 drinks per day) developed Alzheimer's disease on average 4.8 years earlier than those who did not drink or drank little.

Get back on track. You should start by assessing your daily consumption on and seek professional help to limit it if necessary. The right daily dose: 1 to 2 glasses of “good” red wine (with a meal). Only have an apéritif (1 glass) on the weekend, and rest your body by not drinking alcohol for at least 1 to 2 days per week.

Thanks to Dr. Franck Senninger, nutritionist and author of “Les Aliments qui Entretiennent votre Santé”, published by Dauphin.

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