The Biology of Aging: Facts and Figures Seniors Should Know

(4 Minute Read)

The study of aging is incredibly important. Although it’s a process we all go through, the amount of research on aging is sorely lacking. Considering that the number of people in the United States over the age of 65 outnumbers the entire population of Canada, it’s obvious that need for research into the aging process is dire. Understanding the biology of aging doesn’t require a lab coat, but it does require knowledge of the jargon around the science. For the convenience of America’s senior population, here’s a helpful breakdown of all the facts and figures on aging seniors need to know.

About Caloric Restriction

Caloric restriction is an eating practice seniors might want to consider. However, always remember it’s crucial to discuss any potential diet changes with your doctor before engaging in them. However, knowing the language around caloric restriction can help you ask the right questions.  Scientifically speaking, caloric restriction is described as “undernutrition without malnutrition” and is essentially eating 30-40% fewer calories while still maintaining nutrients and vitamins to support a healthy lifestyle. Preliminary results from studies conducted on monkeys demonstrates success in extending lifespans through caloric restriction. This has not been tested in humans yet, but the results in other organisms are promising. Still, it’s important to keep in mind that a calorie restricted diet makes mammals more susceptible to hypothermia and increases healing time for wounds.

Protein p53 and Tumors

Protein p53 is a tumor suppressor—meaning that it acts to combat the cell mutation that causes cancer. It occurs naturally in the body but is disrupted by damage to your DNA. The question of whether aging causes DNA damage or DNA damage causes aging is one that scientists have been arguing for several years. However, regardless of their answer, what seniors need to know is that proper nutrition can help increase DNA repair, making it easier to support protein p53 and the important work it does in protecting our bodies from cancerous cells. Eating lemons, persimmons, strawberries, apples, broccoli, and celery has been shown to aid in DNA repair so keep these around the house and you’ll be taking active steps towards wellness.

Oxidative Damage

ROS, or reactive oxygen species, are oxygen-containing molecules produced naturally when the body turns food into energy. This is a process that we see in many instances of nature; for example, the way an apple browns in the sun or rust occurring on iron. The more we age, the more likely oxidative damage is because our cell’s defenses against it is reduced. Oxidative damage can lead to Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and age-related deafness. However, consuming antioxidants helps boost the body’s ability to protect itself. Examples of foods high in antioxidants are: grapes, blueberries, red berries, nuts, leafy greens, sweet potatoes and other orange vegetables like carrots, green tea, and whole grains.

No matter where you are in the aging process, eating right is one strategy you can employ to slow the cell damage and oxidation and help keep our brains and bodies strong even in old age. However, buying fresh vegetables, supplements, and vitamins can become costly especially considering a large portion of seniors rely on social security to make ends meet. Fortunately, there is a way you can increase financial liquidity after retirement. Did you know if you still maintain a life insurance policy, you can sell all or a portion of your policy for an amount greater than the cash surrender value? This is known as a life settlement and can provide the stability you crave. Contact Life Settlement Advisors to learn more.

Case Study:

Patricia’s two children are grown, married with their own children and live more than a seven-hour drive away. Patricia wanted to be closer to her grandchildren. Her oldest son convinced her to move closer to him. Patricia sold her life insurance policy and used the funds to ease the cost of moving and find a comfortable new living arrangement.

Leo LaGrotte

llagrotte@lsa-llc.com

317-863-5936

 

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