Nutrition integrated into lifestyles with an anti-aging approach

The base of the current anti-aging approach to nutrition includes caloric restriction, fasting, and diet personalization through an optimal protein-amino acid intake, supported by structured and targeted physical activity, lifestyles such as practices like meditation, and the search for an ideal environment to live in. This is thought to improve the quality of the years of our life and reach a so-called state of wellness.

05 July 2021

Posted by: Redazione Sotherga

Reading time: 4 min

Eating together in antiquity

Eating together is typical of the human species. Food represents a true cultural identity of humans. Between the 5th-4th centuries BC, Hippocrates of Cos founded a tradition of thought according to which every living being has its own biotypology given by the combination of four coupled factors hot-cold and dry-humid, which are related to the elements. A person can be defined in perfect health when the various elements – fire, air, earth, water – are combined in a balanced way in their body. In case we are in the presence of an imbalance between them, due to an illness, age, climate or environment in which we live or our work, it is necessary to restore a condition of balance – starting with our diet and lifestyle. In the Middle Ages, on the other hand, more extreme ideals developed: on one hand the excess of the noble and rich class opposed to the principles of restriction and monastic fasting. The addiction to a high consumption of meat and game was an essential component of the dietary behavior of the rich noble class. It was already understood that the lack or excess of food could cause or contribute to the onset of certain diseases, with situations of excess contrasted with others of malnutrition. On the contrary, the monastic alimentary model was opposite to the noble class: eating little, limiting the consumption of meat and preferring vegetables, was seen as a diet of renunciation or destined for the poor class.

 

 

Il mangiatore di fagioli Annibale Carracci (1585)

 

Anti-aging nutrition

But from an anti-aging point of view, in order to give quality to the years of a person’s life and not just add time to it, what are the most conscious choices we can make?

 

The base of the current anti-aging approach to nutrition includes caloric restriction, fasting, and diet personalization through an optimal protein-amino acid intake, supported by structured and targeted physical activity, lifestyles such as practices like meditation, and the search for an ideal environment to live in. This is thought to improve the quality of the years of our life and reach a so-called state of wellness.

 

In this context, it is essential to consider, among the various aspects, the current rhythms and lifestyles, and the environment in which we live, which lead or certainly contribute to incorrect diets. They also have a strong impact on the hormonal component, which has a key role in regulating the delicate processes that govern metabolism and aging, such as the progressive decrease especially of testosterone levels in men and estrogen in women.

 

This problem does not concern only sedentary people, but also athletes who frequently find themselves with macro and micronutrient deficiencies, hormonal imbalances due to conditions of distress, which impact on recovery capacity, performance and fitness. In this context, it can be useful to understand the situation through the use of initial screening tests and exams such as epigenetic hair test, measurement of stress response through HRV heart rate variability, blood tests and body composition.

 

Calorie restriction interspersed with periods of fasting structured within a personalized plan based on needs and stress conditions (training, pace of life and environmental factors) and exercise should be the starting point on a targeted path.

 

 

Exercise: the role of training 

In combination with these nutritional strategies, the anti-aging effect is enhanced by training, if carried out with a certain intensity.

 

Physical exercise can counteract the aging processes indirectly thanks to its benefits on metabolism, having an insulin-sensitizing effect as it improves glucose utilization at peripheral level in an insulin-independent way, thus lowering both glycemia and basal insulin by promoting the triggering of autophagy in visceral organs. Therefore, anti-aging benefits can be obtained with lower caloric restrictions (more sustainable over time), and with greater aesthetic and functional results.

 

For this reason, it is advisable to properly plan and dose training, which should be structured according to 4 main criteria: frequency, intensity, duration and type, with a cadence of at least three days a week with time for rest. This is in addition to good habits of daily physical activity that could be achieved by planning a target of daily steps, as an integral part of your diet and lifestyle plan. For this reason it is useful to set resistance training workouts on a weekly basis, then counter-resistance work with weights, which in addition to having benefits at the level of skeletal muscle have positive effects at the level of bone metabolism (especially essential in women who often suffer from osteopenia and sarcopenia). Both endurance and then aimed at aerobic capacity, but always with duration that is not excessively prolonged over time to control oxidative stress, which there must be exercising a hormetic effect on the body, but not a wearing effect.

 

With a combined dietary approach that involves the use of intermittent fasting windows, usually varying in duration between 16 and 20 hours, you can promote the regenerative processes mentioned above, but proposing it in the ideal conditions and at the right time.

 

Dietary supplementation and nutraceuticals

 

On this basis can then be added useful support tools provided by nutraceuticals that can be a valuable aid to optimize results and better monitor one’s path. The interest for the beneficial effects provided by the use of plants, fruits and vegetables and in general plant based preparations has always been of great interest, since ancient times with their use for the most varied reasons, such as for curative and beauty purposes, and often this has been represented in various works of art, recalling to the “color code”.

 

 

“Fruttivendola” (1580) Vincenzo Campi, Pinacoteca di Brera, Milano

 

In a context of intermittent fasting the use of omega-3 essential fatty acids (appropriately selected) will be optimal if used at the end of the fasting phases, when the regeneration processes of cell membranes are more active and therefore can be incorporated in the best way in the membrane phospholipids, thus avoiding the triggering of lipid peroxidation processes and maximizing the effectiveness of administration, also obtaining an extremely beneficial effect on the skin.

 

The support provided by a targeted dietary supplementation and the use of nutraceuticals, can not only be used with an anti-aging purpose, but also for aspects related to specific aesthetic problems.

 

It is therefore appropriate to follow a dynamic protocol that enhances the synergistic potential obtained between the various interventions, adapting it to individual needs.

Andrea Mancusi – Nutritionist

 

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