Slow aging foods vs Fast foods

When we eat according to a Slow Aging approach, this means we take the time to become engaged with our diet and our choices as though they matter. In any diet there is a lot to think about!  There are the calories and the composition. There are the fats and proteins, sugars and fibre. There are the vitamins and other nutrients. So how do we arrive at a ‘slow’ and healthy diet?

Slow aging foods are nutritionally dense foods

We have to eat. So when we are eating, why not make the most of a great opportunity? Many foods contain what are known as ‘empty calories’. These are calories that give us energy, but few other nutrients. Soft drinks, sweets and snacks rich in processed fats and carbohydrate (ie. high-energy foods) are classic examples.

On the other hand, some foods are ‘nutrient-dense’ and deliver a complete nutritional package. If we want to stick to our plan of limiting calorie intake while maintaining a balanced diet, we need to reconnect nutrients with calories and substitute empty-calorie foods with nutrient-dense foods.

Fruit and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds all provide substantial amounts of nutrients (known as phytonutrients) and generally fewer calories. But it is not just plants that have nutrients. Lean meat is more nutrient dense than mince. Low-fat yoghurt is more nutrient-dense than full-cream milk. These foods give us more return for every calorie, so are worth the investment. When we choose foods based on nutrient-density, we will find it’s much easier to achieve a better diet.

Options to slow your mealtime down

  • Plan your meals in advance so that they aren’t last minute
  • Turn off the TV
  • Take the time to cook and savor a meal
  • Take 10 minutes out before you eat to relax and prepare your body for receiving nourishment – practice breathing, do a mini meditation or just involve yourself in the cooking process
  • Sit down at the table and eat with your family
  • Remember to chew and taste your food (and complement the chef)

Last Reviewed 03/Mar/2014

 

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Dr Merlin Thomas

Professor Merlin Thomas is Professor of Medicine at Melbourne’s Monash University, based in the Department of Diabetes. He is both a physician and a scientist. Merlin has a broader interest in all aspects of preventive medicine and ageing. He has published over 270 articles in many of the worlds’ leading medical journals