Aging is a natural process that occurs for every person. It isn’t possible to prevent all aging-related changes to your body, but you can help slow the process with a healthy diet. Consider these five tips as you plan your meals and snacks.

1. Consume Vitamin E

Vitamin E promotes healthy brain function, but it also helps keep skin soft and smooth. You can find vitamin E in numerous foods, including:

  •             Spinach
  •             Almonds
  •             Blueberries
  •             Sunflower seeds
  •             Broccoli
  •             Hazelnuts
  •             Squash
  •             Shellfish

If allergies or personal preferences prevent you from eating these foods, consider supplementing your diet with vitamin E capsules.

2. Reduce Sugar Consumption

Many older adults crave sweets, but regularly chugging soda or devouring packages of cookies can speed up the aging process. That’s because sugar damages collagen, the protein that gives skin its firmness and elasticity. Sugar also affects your cognitive performance, which is worrisome if you currently experience symptoms of dementia or similar conditions.

Reducing sugar consumption is tricky because sugar lurks in nearly every processed food. You may expect to find sugar in fruit juice or candy, but it’s also found in many varieties of salad dressing, bread, ketchup and lunch meat. To reduce daily sugar intake, opt for unprocessed foods whenever possible, and fill your plate with proteins and leafy greens.

3. Avoid Overeating

If you’re full, stop eating. That advice might seem obvious, but you may feel like you’re wasting food if you don’t finish a meal. If that’s the case, offer leftovers to a friend, or place uneaten food in a plastic baggie or storage container.

When you overeat, it saps your energy. This results in physical and mental fatigue. Overeating also leads to weight gain, which can put pressure on your joints and bones. Many older adults assume joint pain is an unavoidable aging-related effect, but sometimes you can reduce or eliminate joint pain by keeping your weight at a healthy level.

4. Drink Plenty of Water

Your body needs water to thrive. If you don’t drink enough water, you may feel tired, dizzy or disoriented. A lack of water also causes dry skin, and that can make wrinkles more noticeable.

Wondering if you’re already drinking enough water? Some experts recommend drinking 8 cups per day, but your doctor may suggest something different. Speak to a medical provider before you drastically increase your water intake in case it interacts with medication or triggers symptoms from a dormant health condition.

5. Don’t Forget Vitamin B12

Many people fail to get enough vitamin B12. That’s partly because it’s difficult to get enough B12 from natural sources, especially if you aren’t much of a meat eater. However, it’s an essential nutrient that protects everything from nerve function to mental health. It also strengthens hair and helps prevent premature graying.

If you choose to supplement rather than incorporate more B12 into your meals, don’t be alarmed by sprays and capsules with high B12 percentages like 1,000 percent. Many people struggle with B12 absorption, so your body probably won’t get overloaded by highly concentrated supplements.

You can’t stop time from passing, but you can postpone the way aging affects your body. Slow the aging process by incorporating healthy habits like the ones above.