Support the healthy aging process with nutrition and supplements that can help keep your bones strong, your heart healthy and your mind sharp. We spoke with Karen Carleton, naturopathic doctor at our Portland store, about some of the things we should be thinking about as we age.
“Inflammation is the source of so many of our health complaints,” says Karen. “We all have a certain amount of inflammation, and as we age, that increases.” To combat inflammation, she recommends turmeric, which is not only good for reducing inflammation, but also good for brain health. New Chapter’s Zyflamend incorporates turmeric, and can be beneficial for your blood vessels and joint health as well.
Enzymes are another key inflammation fighter. “If you take them with food it’s going to work more on digestion,” says Karen. “But taken away from food, it works systemically on whole body inflammation.” Wobenzym-N, from Garden of Life, is especially good for systemic inflammation, she says, and she often recommends it for aches and pains, like knee and hip joint pain. She adds that depending on your needs, you can continue to up your dosage and it’s still quite safe.
Of course, good digestive health is important, too. In this vein, Karen recommends a high-quality, well-made probiotic like Dr. Ohirra’s or Pharmax HLC. “They support the immune system, boost digestive health and support good nutrition,” she says.
“Another thing that comes to mind as far as anti-aging is a good antioxidant,” says Karen. Look for anything with dark blue, red and purple pigments, like Natural Factors’ BlueRich Blueberry Concentrate. Or look for products that contain trans-resveratrol, she says, like Reserveage Organics Resveratrol, which in studies has been shown to produce a marked reduction in signs of aging, including greater motor coordination, preserved bone strength and reduced cataract formation.
Bone strength is another important factor in aging. “Calcium-rich food is always the best place to start,” says Karen, but don’t forget about weight-bearing exercise. “Without it you’re not going to build bone.” Even walking helps give that message to your bones that they need to continue being strong, she says. As far as supplements, Karen recommends New Chapter’s Bone Strength Take Care. “It’s plant-based calcium, with small molecules that are easy to digest, and the formula itself has vitamins and minerals that are also important for building bones like vitamins D and K.”
Finally, Karen says, make sure you’re getting essential fatty acids like DHA, which are vital for reducing inflammation, boosting cognitive health, heart health and more. She recommends Nordic Naturals’ DHA, from fish oil, or Bluebonnet’s Vegetarian DHA, from algae.