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Smart eating for healthy ageing

Ever stop to think about how today’s lunch might affect you in 20 or 30 years? It’s probably not something most of us would consider, but leading Australian nutritionist and acclaimed author Ngaire Hobbins wants us to take an interest. On a recent visit to Adelaide, Ngaire spoke at a public event at the North Adelaide Community Centre and took some time to chat and share some of her knowledge and tips with the City of Adelaide’s Rebekah Ninnis. 

According to Ngaire, it’s what we do today that determines how well we age. The good news is that we can slow down the ageing process with a little careful consideration to what we eat.

Ngaire is committed to supporting older adults to enjoy vital, independent lives by cheating ageing and cognitive decline with the right diet and nutrition. She challenges us to take a minute to consider how what we do now influences our long-term health.

“It’s not about fad diets, it’s about eating to help your body meet the challenges of later life, prevent premature ageing and starve off dementia, diabetes and more.”

Ngaire’s research suggests that while our brain makes up just two per cent of our body weight, it requires more than a quarter of our energy. If we’re not fuelling our body correctly then we’re going to see some changes to our brain health and overall wellbeing. On the positive side, we can all take steps to ensure our long-term wellbeing and brain health.

“It’s about going back to basics: eating, enjoying real food, being active at a level that works for you and being able to live life to the full,” said Ngaire.

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Here are Ngaire’s top 5 tips for long-term wellbeing and brain health:

  1. Pack each mouthful with as many nutrients as possible.
    Good oils, olive oil, oil from nuts and seeds are great, while low fat options and maintaining your weight in your 20s, 30s and 40s are vital.
  2. Stay active.
    Once we hit 60 it’s much harder to lose weight, and any weight loss after this age has a much higher composition of muscle to fat which we can’t afford to lose as we age.
  3. Wash fruit and vegetables frequently.
    We don’t know yet if there are any negative long-term effects of pesticides and by the time we do, in 20 years or so, it will be too late to fix.
  4. Switch off, disconnect and give your brain a little bit of downtime.
    We’re constantly connected to devices and always ‘on’ in a world where technology is advancing quickly. While technology is enriching our lives in so many ways we also need to take the time to disconnect and allow our brains a chance to reset. Yoga, golf, meditation, prayer are all great examples of how we can achieve this.
  5. Eat food that’s as close as possible to the way it started out.
    Stick to foods that have had minimal change and don’t get hung up on one particular eating plan or fad diet.

Finally, looking after your long-term health doesn’t mean depriving yourself so, if you’re partial to a drink with dinner, Ngaire says a glass of wine or a beer with a meal can be a nice appetite stimulant — in moderation, of course.

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For more information about Ngaire Hobbins, click here.

Rebekah Ninnis

Rebekah Ninnis

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