A Naturopath’s Tips for Aging Well Naturally
Getting older, whether we want to admit it or not, is an inevitable part of living. Feeling older, however, does not have to be. Physiologically, our bodies begin to slow down after age 30 and continue to undergo changes after 40, 50 & 60+ years. Making sure we’re supporting our brain and joint health and getting a good night’s rest all set the foundation for healthy aging. Therefore, continuing to protect and support our bodies and minds ensures that they will last us well into our 7th and 8th decades (and beyond!).
With the help of CARP, we have identified several factors associated with aging. Let’s discuss 3 of the top conditions and the natural approach to effectively managing them.
This is defined as the degeneration and inflammation of joints that occurs over time with repeated use and strain. Over 4.6 million Canadians have reported suffering from this type of joint pain, including up to 50% of adults over 65 years of age. While many people choose to believe that arthritis is a natural part of aging, it is important to note that not all older adults experience it. Therefore, protecting the joints while reducing inflammation safely can make a significant impact on day-to-day activities & overall quality of life.
Many people disregard diet as an important factor for joint pain, but they shouldn’t! By eating more of an anti-inflammatory diet (less red meat, wheat and dairy) while including at least 3-4 servings of vegetables daily, you can improve symptoms in as little as one week. Additionally, taking a daily support formula that works on both pain reduction as well as joint health is a must—try looking for combination formulas that contain highly absorbable curcumin, Boswellia (a herb for pain & inflammation), as well as collagen for the best results. If you find you need a bit of additional topical pain reduction, a cooling, methol-based spray can be applied after exercise or while you’re on the go for symptom relief.
Keeping our brains healthy is of utmost importance as we continue to age. Neurodegenerative diseases like dementia & Alzheimer’s are not normal parts of aging and you can reduce your risk by adopting healthy lifestyle changes. Focusing on healthy circulation, reducing inflammation and maintaining good communication between brain cells (neurons) are vital.
Researchers have studied which foods are most protective for memory and have concluded that the MIND diet, based on a combination of the DASH and Mediterranean diets, is best. This includes foods like berries, nuts & seeds, green leafy vegetables, wine, and more, while discouraging overconsumption of fried foods, cheeses, etc..
If you want to take a more targeted approach to brain health, you may consider adding a supplement with gingko biloba, shown to improve circulation & oxygen to the brain.
Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or early wakening can all be classified as insomnia if occurring more than 3 times per week for more than a month. More than 70% of those over 65 years of age complain about sleep concerns—most commonly, the inability to stay asleep throughout the night.
An important first step is to address whether or not there is a medical reason for the insomnia. Conditions like restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, chronic pain and psychological distress can all worsen sleep quality.
Focusing on proper sleep hygiene (regular bed & wake times, a dark room, no screens before bed) is the best place to start. However, consider that a calming nutrient such as magnesium glycinate may be safely added in the evening to help ease the body into a deeper sleep. Other ingredients such as passionflower, melatonin and lavender may also be helpful when taken regularly but are not recommended when taking prescription sleep medication.
Why not consider using natural strategies to better support the aging process, safely & effectively?
To learn more about Well.ca’s partnership with CARP, visit Well.ca/CARP.
Dr. Laura Belus is a Naturopathic Doctor that focuses on detoxification and hormone balance for weight loss, stress management, and greater energy. She believes in making simple, yet powerful, changes to diet & lifestyle habits that create lasting results. She practices in Mississauga and Toronto.