Have you ever heard someone say, "My grandparents lived to be old and they ate whatever they wanted to"? Or perhaps they might say, "My grandparents lived to be very old and so I have good genes so I don’t have to eat healthy." I have heard people use these types of excuses as reasons why they can eat unhealthy and still have a healthy aging process.
I have to shed some light on the faulty premises on which these statements are based.
My Grammy lived to be three weeks shy of 100 years old. She was very healthy until the last 18 months of her life. As I mentioned last week she walked everywhere so she exercised for most of her life.
She also ate whole foods for most of her life. When she was growing up in the early 1900s there was no such thing as frozen pizza or Chicken McNuggets. In fact, the first McDonald’s did not open until she was almost 30 years old.
My grammy cooked a whole foods dinner every night for my mom and her sibling. Fast food and eating out were for special occasions. Healthy aging occurred because of healthy eating.
In fact when my grammy was growing up, there was no such thing as whole foods -- it was just food. Modern processed and convenience foods did not become part of American food culture until after the world wars.
So when we talk about our grandparents eating whatever they wanted and aging in a healthy manner, it is because most of the food they ate were whole foods!
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommend a whole food diet for healthy aging. They emphasize eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, poultry, eggs or fish, low or no-fat diary, nuts or beans.
If healthy aging is important to us then we have to eat like our grandparents and start including more whole foods in our diets. We need to stop with the highly processed, junk food, sugary beverages, convenience foods and fast food that make up our standard American diets. This is the key to healthy aging!
Live Vibrantly, Dr. Dae Dr. Daemon Jones
This article was first published on EmpowHer.com. The photo was courtesy of Auremar/PhotoSpin