While we would like to be healthy as we get older, the concept of aging gracefully is generally associated with maintaining a youthful appearance. Healthy aging goes beyond restoring the glow of your skin or seeking products to reduce those unwanted wrinkles. Your diet plays one of the most critical roles in ensuring you not only have clear skin but also help to maintain physical and mental health.
Knowing that our choices today can determine how well our body copes as we age is important. The changes to our body and mind associated with aging include sensory impairment (e.g., loss of vision and taste), loss of mobility, malabsorption, wrinkled and dry skin, and increased vulnerability to diseases.
In this article, we look at the key areas where diet supports healthy aging.
We lose bone mass and bone density as we age. Osteoporosis is a skeletal disorder that compromises bone strength and increases the risk of fracture. According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information, an international resource for the scientific research community based in the USA, the projected number of hip fractures in Asia will increase by 2.28-fold by 2050 compared to 2018, mainly due to the change in population demographics within the two markets with the largest populations - China and India. The same report suggests the direct cost of hip fractures will increase from USD 9.5 billion in 2018 to USD 15 billion by 2050.
The food that you eat can affect your bones. By eating a healthy diet, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and lean proteins, you’ll get sufficient nutrients to keep your bones healthy and functioning.
Several nutrients play a role in improving bone health, such as calcium, vitamin D, protein, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium. As we age, we lose bone mass and density, and women experience an accelerated bone loss rate at menopause.
As consumers become more knowledgeable about healthy aging and disease prevention, they also turn to nutritional supplements tailored to their needs to maintain good health and quality of life. According to marketsandmarkets.com, a leading research, growth advisory, and analytics firm, the global bone and joint health supplements market was estimated to be valued at USD 11.7 billion in 2022. It is projected to reach USD 17.6 billion by 2027, recording a CAGR of 8.5 percent during the forecast period.
One of the most visible changes of aging appears on our skin. The outer skin layer (epidermis) becomes thinner and skin loses elasticity, produces less oil, and becomes more fragile. Skin repairs itself at a slower rate, which also makes wounds heal more slowly. As the production of collagen is significantly reduced in aged skin, the skin loses firmness and wrinkles may start to appear.
We all have a favorite face cream or skincare routine, but there’s no denying that healthy skin starts with nourishment from within. A balanced diet goes a long way in maintaining skin health. Fruits and vegetables contain powerful antioxidants that help to protect the skin from the cellular damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin C supports the immune system, promotes radiant skin, and helps blemishes heal, while vitamin E protects the skin from oxidative (cell) damage, especially photo-aging.
Certain fats, such as the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated varieties found in avocados, oily fish, nuts, and seeds, act as natural moisturizers for your skin. These keep your skin supple from the inside and improve its elasticity.
Skin needs moisture to stay flexible. Drinking plenty of water has always been a recommendation of medical professionals. However, some fruit and vegetables, such as watermelon and cucumber, contribute to healthy skin as some natural liquids have the added benefit of containing essential minerals.
Adding certain nutrients to a well-balanced diet can have targeted benefits for overall health. DKSH offers an extensive portfolio of innovative ingredients to help nutrition, food, and beverage companies adapt and enter this sector, allowing consumers access to the best options to ensure healthy aging.
Anne Tan is Senior Manager of Business Development for Food and Beverage Ingredients Asia Pacific, Performance Materials, based in Kuala Lumpur.