From time to time, most of us wish we could stop the clock on the aging process, but scientists still haven’t found the key to keeping us forever young. As we get older, the body’s machinery begins to function a little less smoothly and we become susceptible to age-related and degenerative diseases. But there are certain foods that can help counteract the negative effects aging has on the body.
Let’s face it: no one wants to age. Unfortunately, it’s inevitable. But at what rate are you aging?
The way we live our lives determines whether or not we age with grace. Although there are anti-aging creams galore on the market, did you know that certain foods that can reduce the signs of aging as well?
Here are the best Anti-Aging Food:
Whether you eat them in slices or mashed into guacamole, avocados are a fruit that has long been hailed for its anti-aging properties. Avocados are a great source of vitamin E and potassium, as well as monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. The vitamins and minerals in avocados have been shown to reduce cholesterol, improve skin health and lower blood pressure.
Avocados are also rich in folates (also called folic acid or vitamin B). Folates have been linked to heart attack prevention and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Avocados also contain oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that has been shown to lower bad cholesterol, increase good cholesterol and protect against blood clots.
Recent studies of the health benefits of garlic have pointed to hydrogen sulfide as one source of garlic’s many health benefits. Hydrogen sulfide is an antioxidant, it relaxes the arteries and promotes blood flow, and studies have even linked it to cancer defense. The body naturally produces hydrogen sulfide, but adding garlic to your diet causes your cells to produce more of this beneficial compound
It’s well known that eating whole grains is good for your digestive system — all that fiber keeps you regular and helps rid the body of unwanted substances, such as bad cholesterol and fats. Fiber also helps control your appetite and keep blood sugar low [source: Beare]. But a diet rich in whole grains, including oats, whole wheat and brown rice, has other anti-aging benefits because they’re rich in vitamins and minerals. Eating whole grains has also been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
The key is to make sure the grains you’re eating aren’t refined, because it’s the refining process that strips away many of the essential vitamins and minerals that make the grains so good for you in the first place.
White wine doesn’t have as much resveratrol as red wine because resveratrol is found primarily in the skins of the grapes. The red coloring in red wine comes from the extra time the wine is in contact with the grape skins, so red wine ends up having more resveratrol than white wine. You can also get resveratrol by eating grapes and drinking grape juice.
Nuts are known for the protein they provide, but that’s not all these small nutrient-rich foods can do for you. Nuts of all kinds are a good source of unsaturated fats. Like coldwater fish, nuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for heart health. They’re also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including potassium, which helps lower blood pressure; vitamin E, which helps prevent cell damage; and calcium to maintain strong bones.
Another great benefit of eating nuts is that they can fill you up without packing on the pounds. That’s because up to 20 percent of the calories in nuts doesn’t get absorbed by the body, making them a great snack between meals
Like fruits, vegetables are one of the best sources of antioxidants available and they can go a long way toward fighting free radicals and slowing the effects of aging. The best vegetables for finding antioxidants are green, leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale. Two of the antioxidants found are lutin and zeaxanthin, which have also been shown to protect against the negative effects of UV exposure
A popular dietary supplement in recent years has been fish oil, and there’s certainly good reason for that trend. Eating fish, or taking fish oil supplements, provides the body with omega-3 fatty acids that help protect against heart disease, reduce inflammation, decrease the risk of arrhythmia and lower blood pressure. Omega-3 fatty acids are found largely in coldwater fish, including salmon, herring, tuna and sardines.
Studies have even shown that people who eat a lot of fish live longer. One study of middle-aged American men found that those who ate fish two to three times per week had a 40 percent lower mortality rate than those who did not. In men who had previously suffered a heart attack, eating fish twice a week actually lowered their mortality rates by 29 percent.
Fish is also a great source of protein and, unlike other meats, is low in saturated fat. The American Heart Association recommends eating omega-3-rich fish at least two times per week
Because beans have so many health benefits, they’re sometimes called a “super food” — an informal term for foods that benefit the body in many different ways. Super foods help you meet several of your dietary needs and are great sources of essential vitamins and minerals. Many also help fight disease and sickness, making them powerful anti-aging tools. Other super foods you might want to get your hands on include blueberries, yogurt, eggs, nuts, broccoli and sweet potatoes.
Some of the most visible signs of the aging process can be seen in our skin. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation ages the skin more quickly. But did you know that eating (or drinking) dark chocolate has been shown to help protect the skin against the harmful effects of UV exposure? Cocoa beans, from which chocolate is made, have a higher antioxidant capacity than any other food, and the high concentration of antioxidant flavanols in cocoa beans helps reduce inflammation of the skin caused by exposure to UV light. Furthermore, eating dark chocolate can increase circulation in the skin and improve its ability to retain moisture, which can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and help you look younger
“Antioxidant” is definitely a buzzword when it comes to healthy food, but what exactly does it mean? Antioxidants are substances that protect our bodies against free radicals — unstable molecules that are produced when our bodies break down food, or by exposure to pollution and radiation. Free radicals can damage our body’s healthy cells, and are thought to play a part in the onset of certain diseases, including Alzheimer’s, cancer and heart disease.