Reduce stress, don’t smoke, exercise frequently and have lots of sex and you’ll live a long and fruitful life, correct? Probably. But don’t under-rate diet, as it’s arguably the most influential factor in your arsenal of anti-aging secrets.
Think about it. A bad diet, laden with sugar, preservatives and unhealthy fats contributes to obesity, diabetes, lowered sex drive and a variety of ailments that speed the aging process. But a healthy diet provides the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that generate the cells required to grow hair, preserve skin and keep a little jump in your stride.
Healthy diet is fundamental to aging well. Below are some of the best anti-aging foods you’ll find in a super market near you.
Water – The Basis of Life
No water, no life. Pretty simple. Sixty per cent of the human body is water, and it’s vital to basic functioning. Water transports minerals and vitamins throughout the body, and among other things, water is necessary for basic reactions, enzymes and to flush out toxic compounds. Aim for eight glasses of water each day.
Eggs – Full of Protein
Eggs can provide all the essential amino acids required to build and sustain muscle tissue and maintain a healthy immune system. Eggs are a great source of protein and assist in regeneration. A recent Harvard study found that egg yolks lower LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and raise the healthy HDL cholesterol.
Sardines – Protein, Omega-3 and Vitamins
Another great source of protein. Sardines offer essential amino acids and provide a healthy wallop of Omega-3 fatty acids, which, among many benefits, transport fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins E, D an K into the cell. Sardines are high in calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper, which support healthy bones and can elevate mood and mental health. Don’t worry about mercury levels with sardines either – they’re low in the fish food chain and don’t accumulate toxins like larger fish.
Flaxseed – Lots of Fiber
For general health, weight loss, and breast health, fresh-ground flaxseed is a nifty little anti-aging secret. Flaxseed is high in fiber, which aids in digestion and transition, and provides an abundance of essential fatty acids, like Alpha Linoeic acid. Flaxseed may also lower LDL cholesterol, especially in women. Experts suggest 35 mg of fiber for Americans each day. Considering the average American only gets 12 mg on a daily basis, flaxseed can fill a nutritional void.
Olive Oil – Prevents Cardiovascular Disease
A regular staple in the Mediterranean diet, (which is high in vegetables and fish, and is a great anti-aging staple by itself) olive oil provides monounsaturated fat, lowers LDL cholesterol, raises HDL, and decreases risk of cardiovascular disease in the process.
Cruciferous Vegetables – Fight Cancer
True power foods, cruciferous vegetables are the ones your parents told you to eat as a kid, and with good reason. Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, bok choy, mustard greens and brussels sprouts (among others) all belong to this family and are loaded with vitamins, minerals, folic acid and phytochemicals that prevent cardiovascular disease and cancers. They’re high in antioxidants, which protect against the free radicals responsible for lost cells that contribute to aging. Eat your vegetables.
Berries – Bursting with Goodness
Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and cranberries are some of best-known berries, and like all berries, they’re loaded with phytochemicals and antioxidants, protect against cancers and cardiovascular disease. Blue berries are particularly beneficial, as they’re among the highest in antioxidants, and research now links them to prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease. A word of caution with berries, they’re also high in pesticides. Rinse thoroughly, or go organic.
Lemons – A Ray of Sunshine
A day without orange juice may be like a day without sunshine, but lemons pack a higher dose of Vitamin C and anti-inflammatory properties than their citrus cousin. They’re also a bile emulsifier and have enough antioxidants to make you add a lemon a day to your nutritional lexicon. But a warning, lemons can set off allergic reactions.
Sprouts – A Power Plant
Sprouts are miniature versions of the plants they come from, such as broccoli, cauliflower (and others). They also pack 30 to 50 times the concentrations of nutrients found in the mother plant. Sprouts fight cancer and protect you from carcinogens and free radicals. Sprouts are all about anti-aging.
This is a subjective list of course. Salmon, quinoa, low-fat dairy and almonds, among others, frequently pop up on health lists and are justifiably touted for their nutritional value. But the fact that the foods listed here are mentioned just as frequently, and with their high levels of antioxidants, antiflammatory, regeneration-assisting and HDL-boosting nutrients, they’re some of the best anti-aging foods around, and make aging healthy and nutritious.