All of us are looking for the fountain of youth. Unfortunately no one has found it just yet, so until we do we're going to have to start eating healthier. Food, as it turns out, is the closest thing we've found. The foods below will give you a fighting chance of slowing down the aging process and make sure that as you age, you age well.
Green Tea has been a part of the Chinese lifestyle for centuries. Unsurprisingly, the Chinese are noted for their long lifespans. While this can be attributed to a number of influences, the effect of antioxidant packed green tea cannot be underestimated. The antioxidants are responsible for helping the body in a number of ways, including repairing sun damage and warding off free-radicals (which can accelerate aging). It's considered to be an adaptogen, helping your body cope with the everyday stressors of modern life. Just be sure you don't over steep it, or it can get bitter.
Here again we have an anti-oxidant powerhouse. Regular blueberry intake is linked with lower risk of heart disease and has been found to help reduce the risk for heart disease. Blend a blueberry smoothie, or add blueberries to a bowl of oatmeal.
Antioxidants....Again...Notice the theme here? The red color in these fruits comes from its concentration of antioxidants. Additionally, they’re high in flavonoids called anthocyanidins which happen to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions. In a recent study, people eating a large number of flavonoids (including anthocyanidins) saw a decrease in the cognitive aging process. Since they're delicious, you can add raspberries to smoothies, granola, ice cream, or just eat them for dessert with a little whipped cream.
Yes, the picture above is actually of plums, but prunes are kind of gross-looking in pictures and nobody likes looking at gross pictures, right? Anyway, prunes are just dried plums....... In either form, they contain potassium, which can improve your bone density and protect against osteoporosis. They're also famous for helping with the G.I. tract (keeping you "regular") which is due largely to their high fiber content. Don't go overboard though, once they're dried the sugar content gets pretty concentrated.
Regularly spicing up your food with hot red chile peppers may help you live longer. People who regularly ate the peppers had a 13 percent lower risk of death, versus people who didn’t eat them, found a study in PLOS One. It’s possible that the capsaicin in the peppers helps protect against heart disease. Whatever the reason for the protective benefit, spice up scrambled eggs with chile peppers, or add them to homemade tacos.
With cauliflower rice and pizza in vogue, it’s a good thing the cruciferous veggie may help boost mind health. “In studies, subjects who ate the most cruciferous vegetables performed better at cognitive tests,” says Moon. “Their brains were almost two years cognitively younger.” Not a cauliflower fan? Try broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale or arugula — all cruciferous veggies shown to help your mind.
Tomatoes get their red color from the antioxidant lycopene. And that lycopene may help protect your skin against damage from UV light — and the wrinkles caused by it. You’re better able to absorb the lycopene in cooked tomatoes (the kind found in tomato paste), versus fresh ones, shows research out of the United Kingdom. So add tomato sauce to your whole-grain spaghetti — as well as some steamed cauliflower for an even bigger antiaging boost.
Found in curry, this spice may help keep your joints young. “Although the cause of arthritis is still not completely known, many experts believe it’s derived from inflammation in the cartilage,” says Natalie Rizzo, M.S., R.D., owner of NutritionalaNatalie.com in New York City. “Because turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory, studies suggest it may help reduce the symptoms associated with arthritis.” In fact, research out of Thailand shows that supplementing with turmeric for a month was as effective as using ibuprofen to reduce arthritis-associated knee pain. Add a dash of turmeric to savory oatmeal, or enjoy a turmeric latte.
“Salmon is a food that could help keep your brain sharp, your mood balanced and your skin supple,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, author of Read It Before You Eat It. The fish is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which help protect your memory function and skin health — and may play a role in fighting depression. Choose the canned variety once in a while, as canned salmon with bones boasts calcium, needed to help protect your bones and help prevent osteoporosis.
Cook up an omelet for breakfast, and you could help your eyes. The yolks contain nutrients that may help decrease your risk of age-related macular degeneration, as well as cataracts. “Unfortunately, eyesight is one of the first things to go as we age,” says Emily Kyle, M.S., RDN, owner of Emily Kyle Nutrition. “Thankfully, a diet rich in farm-fresh eggs can help combat the loss of vision through two powerful nutrients: lutein and zeaxanthin.” Additionally, the amino acids found in eggs help rebuild and repair tissues that may deteriorate as you get older.
“Yogurt has two nutrients, calcium and protein, that are absolutely vital for aging,” says Rizzo. These nutrients can lower the risk of bone fracture and help prevent loss of bone mineral density — and certain yogurts like Greek yogurt are very high in protein, which may help prevent muscle loss. “A consequence of aging is the loss of muscle, known as sarcopenia, and protein in these yogurts helps prevent that,” says Rizzo. Additionally, many yogurts offer probiotics, good bacteria that can help protect the gut as you age. Have a yogurt parfait, or make a veggie dip out of plain Greek yogurt and herbs.
Regularly eating a mix of nuts (such as almonds, pistachios and peanuts) may help you live longer. People who regularly eat them have a lower risk of death from heart disease, cancer and respiratory disease, according to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine. Keep your own DIY mix stocked for healthy snacking.