Factors which influence ageing.

Ageing - The process of growing old.

The Four Key Factors Influencing Ageing and Health in Old Age:

Genes - The genetic theory of ageing believes that lifespan is determined by the genes we inherit. According to the theory, out potential age is primarily determined at the moment of conception. People with parents who have lived longer lives are more likely to live longer themselves. Also identical twins (who have the exact same genes) have closer lifespan than siblings.

Some genes are beneficial and enhance longevity - a gene that helps a person metabolize cholesterol would reduce a person’s risk of heart disease, for example. But some genes are harmful, like those that increase the risk of cancer. Some gene mutations are inherited too, and may shorten lifespan.

Mutation also can happen after birth, since exposure to toxins, free radical and radiation.

It is estimated that genes can explain a maximum of 35% of lifespan. The other determinants your behaviour and exposures.

Environment - Environmental factors are the key drivers in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

In recent studies it has highlighted that air pollution is harmful to the brain, in addition to the lungs, heart, nose and blood vessels. These studies found evidence starting at young ages of inflammation and cellular damage, associated to both early Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Sun exposure: if excessive, it reduces elasticity and increases the risk for skin cancer.

Sedentary lifestyle: it leads to muscle weakness and decreased exercise capacity.

Overeating: it contributes to acid reflux disease, constipation, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and hypertension.

Nutrition - Eating omega-3 rich foods, such as fish, salad dressing, margarine, and nuts may help lower a level of protein in the blood that has been associated with increasing Alzheimer's disease.

Also eating food which contain high fats, salts will increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer.

There is also evidence to show that a healthy diet will prevent the development of an eye condition, although the link isn't as strong as it is for other conditions such as heart disease. However, eating a healthy balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables may help to keep your eyes as healthy as they can possibly be.

Becoming overweight you are more likely to have:

  • High blood pressure.
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • Heart disease.
  • Stroke.
  • Some cancers.

What is a healthy balanced diet?

In order to obtain good health everyone must consume a balanced diet. To do this we must eat recommended amounts of food from the five food groups. These five food groups contain the seven components of a balanced diet they are: protein, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, minerals, fibre and water.

The first component of a balanced diet is protein. Proteins are made up of long chains of amino acids, for example collagen is a protein and is vital for the strength, elasticity and composition of hair and skin. Protein performs vast array of functions within living organisms, including catalyzing metabolic reactions, replicating DNA, responding to stimuli, and transporting molecules from one location to another.

The second component of a balanced diet is carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are broken down in the liver into glucose. Carbohydrates also protect muscles and help regulate the amount of sugar circulating in the blood. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, so this means it provides energy to the body.

The third component of a balanced diet is lipids. Lipids in the body store energy and are serving as components of hormones and vitamins. Lipids are a groups of naturally occurring molecules that include fats, waxes, sterols. fat-soluble vitamins (such as vitamins A, D, E, and K), monoglycerides, diglycerides, triglycerides and phospholipids.

The fourth component of a balanced diet is vitamins. Vitamins are essential nutrient your body needs in small amounts to work properly. There are two types of vitamins: fat-soluble and water-soluble.

Fat-soluble vitamins are found mainly in fatty foods, such as dairy foods, liver and oily fish. While your body needs these vitamins every day to work properly, you do no need to eat food containing them every day. This is because your stores these vitamins in your liver and fatty tissues for future use. These stores can build up, and if you have much more than you need it can be harmful. The fat-soluble vitamins are: vitamins A, D,E and K.

Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body, so you need to have them more frequently. If you have more than you need, your body gets rid of the extra vitamins when you urinate. As the body does not store water-soluble vitamins, these vitamins are generally not harmful. Water-soluble vitamins are found it fruit, vegetables and grains. The water-soluble vitamins are vitamin C, vitamin B and folic acid.

The fifth component of a balanced diet is minerals. Minerals help your body to grow, develop and stay healthy. The body uses minerals to perform many different functions, such as building strong bones to transmitting nerves impulses.

The sixth component of a balanced diet is fibre. Fibre can’t be digested so it helps clean out the intestine by moving bowel movement along. Fire can help to prevent heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and some cancers, and can also improve digestive health. Fibre is only found in foods that come from plants. Foods such as meat, fish and dairy products don’t contain fibre.

The are two different types of fibre: soluble fibre and insoluble fibre.

Soluble fibre can be digested by your body. It may reduce the amount of cholesterol in your blood. It can help soften your stools and make them easier to pass. Soluble- fibre are found in foods such as oats, barley and rye. Also in fruits, such as bananas and apples. Root vegetables such as carrots and potatoes.

Insoluble fibre can’t be digested. It passes through your gut without being broken down and helps other foods move through your digestive system more easily. Insoluble fibre keeps your bowel healthy and helps prevent digestive problems. If you have diarrhoea you should limit the amount of insoluble fibres in your diet. Good sources of insoluble fibre include: wholemeal bread, bran, cereals, nuts and seeds.

The seventh component of balanced diet is water. Water makes up about two-thirds of the weight of a healthy body. Most of the chemical reactions that happen in our cells need water in order to take place. We also need water so that our blood can carry nutrients around the body and get rid of waste. When your body doesn’t have enough water, we become dehydrated. It’s important to replace the fluid we lose when we breathe, sweat or urinate.

Daily intake table for an adult.

Daily intake levels.

A table of a adults average daily intake, for a balanced diet.

  • Energy -8, 700 kilojoules
  • Protein -50 grams
  • Fat -70 grams
  • Carbohydrates -310 grams
  • Sugars -90 grams
  • Sodium (salt) -2.3 grams
  • Dietary Fibre -30 grams
  • Saturated Fatty Acids -24 grams