Do you see the signs of aging? Though we can’t stop it from happening, we can start reversing its effects. One way to go into aging reversal mode is to eat a diet filled with nutrient-rich, super foods that protect your cells and lead to better immunity, vitality and skin quality. Eating a healthier diet will result in reduced oxidative damage and inflammation and a slower aging process.
Knowing how to eat right early in life is key, though it’s never too late to improve your diet at any age. If you choose to eat right early on in life, you will reap the benefits in your later years, as my 85-year-old client, Marlene is doing. Her secrets to living a long, vibrant, healthy life are simple: Get all the basics of a healthy diet. Marlene said, “I have been eating plenty of fruits and vegetables my entire life. I consume healthy proteins, such as fish and other seafood, whole grains, some low-fat dairy and healthy fats, and less salt.” All good advice for anyone looking to lead a healthier lifestyle.
Being a fruit and vegetable lover ensures Marlene an abundant intake of antioxidants. Growing up in New Orleans, she became a seafood lover early on, so she gets her Omega 3-rich foods. She loves grains, beans, rice and oatmeal, which all make up a healthy diet. She also exercises at the YMCA three days per week. She has a small pour of Chardonnay (1/4 cup) every night, then enjoys a good night’s sleep. Laughter and spiritual strength round out her day and contribute to her overall happiness and well-being.
As we get older, it takes more work to fuel our bodies with good nutrition so they can run as they are supposed to. Our bodies change — not just in how they look, but also in how they work. The list below contains what I call the 10 Aging Reversal Foods especially helpful for older adults.
- Blueberries: Blueberries are one of the best foods to fight the signs of aging because they contain more antioxidants than any other fruit. They also contain a high fiber content and have plenty of vitamin C, which helps prevent wrinkles and keep your cells healthy.
- Nuts: All nuts are anti-aging because they are full of omega-3s, unsaturated fats (the good kind), fiber, protein and other significant micronutrients. Aim to have 5 servings (one ounce) per week.
- Fiber: Getting enough fiber in the diet can help keep you youthful. In fact, according to a recent study in the Journals of Gerontology, older people who ate fiber-rich diets were 80% more likely to live longer and stay healthier than those who didn’t. The study goes on to say that after a decade, those who had “aged successfully” (meaning they were free of cancer, heart disease and diabetes, and had good overall cognitive, physical, and cardiovascular function) consumed an average of 29 grams of fiber per day. Fiber from foods like vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and legumes plays a key role in your digestive system. It can help prevent or ease constipation as well as lower your cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammation. Fiber also can help you to lose weight, control blood sugar levels and lower your chances of diabetes.
- Fatty fish: Heart-healthy fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are rich in lean protein to build lean muscle and omega-3 fatty acids, supporting heart, brain and nervous system health. Consuming foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids can be part of a healthy diet with the bonus of providing shiny and healthy skin and hair. Aim for at least two servings of heart-healthy fish a week.
- Pineapple: This tropical fruit can add moisture to your skin and make it appear younger because it is rich in a mineral called manganese, which is needed to activate an enzyme called Prolidase. Prolidase provides the amino acid proline for the formation of collagen. This replaces the collagen we naturally lose as we age, helping to maintain our skin strength and elasticity.
- Yogurt: Low-fat yogurt has a variety of anti-aging health benefits because it provides a good source of calcium, phosphorus and Vitamin D. And, as we age, our bones are naturally getting thinner. Therefore, yogurt – especially when fortified with Vitamin D – can help to combat the progression of bone loss. Yogurt also helps you digest your food due to the high probiotic content and it is a good source of protein, too. Plus it goes really well with the fresh fruit we keep talking about!
- Dark Chocolate: Not milk chocolate, but dark chocolate is loaded with flavanols, which may make you appear younger because it has the effect of increasing blood flow to your skin. Flavanols can also protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun.
- Cooked Tomatoes: While raw tomatoes do provide the body with lycopene, an antioxidant that protects the skin from damage, researchers believe that heating or mashing tomatoes makes it easier to absorb more lycopene. Tomatoes and other foods high in lycopene, such as watermelon, grapefruit, papaya, red bell peppers and red cabbage all have lycopene, which can help protect you against prostate cancer and may help prevent lung cancer.
- Red Wine: The mechanism that makes red wine good for anti-aging is the high concentration of antioxidants called polyphenols including resveratrol, which has unique protective anti-aging properties. Alcohol may help lower “bad” cholesterol, prevent blood clots, and ease your blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the recommendation is no more than one drink a day for women and two a day for men.
- Lemon And Lime Juice: As humans, our bodies don’t make a lot of Vitamin C, necessary for maintaining optimal health and keeping your skin looking younger, smoother and brighter with fewer wrinkles. Try getting into the habit of adding fresh lemon or lime to your water every day.