What does aging mean to you? In many people’s minds it means your health is going downhill, things start to ache, sag, get wrinkled and not work right. This doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. While looking older with wrinkles and gray hair is perfectly natural, some of the symptoms of poor health are not. A lot of people think just because they are older that’s it, there’s nothing to be done, but there are quite a few things you can do to look and feel healthier and younger such as follow a healthy diet and get sufficient exercise.
The Importance of Diet
Diet is particularly important and there are a lot of foods you can eat that will help slow the aging process instead of speed it up. Foods high in antioxidants in particular help to keep you looking and feeling young. Oxidation is a process that breaks down molecules and cells. If you leave a banana on the counter for a long time it starts to turn brown, as does any fruit. That is oxidation. In human bodies’ oxidation can be seen in graying hair, age spots, wrinkles, organs not functioning as well and the body losing its resilience. Consuming fruits and vegetables is the best way to up your anti-oxidant level. But it’s not just antioxidants that help keep your body young. Your body needs a whole host of nutrients such as Vitamins, minerals and healthy oils.
Here is a list of some great foods that have anti-aging properties:
- Avocado – They are full of healthy fats that your body and brain need to function properly. Your body replaces cells constantly. Every cell of your body is made up of lipids/fats and it’s important to give your body healthy building blocks to make new cells. The healthy fats in avocado can help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow which can help reduce your risk of cognitive decline as well as keeping your skin healthy and hydrated.
- Berries – Blueberries in particular are loaded with antioxidants as well as flavonoids. Flavonoids can help improve your long and short term memory. Other berries such as strawberries and blackberries also have beneficial effects on the brain by protecting the cells from inflammation and other damage. They are also high in Vitamin C which helps your skin stay healthy but increasing your collagen production.
- Watermelon – Not only is watermelon extremely hydrating but it is loaded with antioxidants, minerals and electrolytes. These are the components your skin needs to stay hydrated and healthy looking.
- Apples – According to studies at Cornell University, apples are full of compounds that help protect your brain from neurodegenerative damage. An apple a day may keep the doctor away and help lower your chances of getting Alzheimer’s.
- Kale – Ok, now we are getting into some foods not everyone is a fan of. Kale has gotten a lot of attention lately and there is good reason for it. This hardy, leafy green is full of omega-3 fatty acids. Again, these are the healthy fats your body needs to make new cells. Your brain in particular is made up of mostly these kinds of fats. Consuming healthy omega-3 fats can help prevent cognitive decline, reverse cell shrinkage that happens with age and improve the longevity of your mental functions.
- Spinach – This leafy green is loaded with Vitamin C, minerals like calcium and iron, Vitamin E which can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fiber. All fruits and vegetables have fiber which can help keep your bowels regular but also helps reduce cholesterol.
- Pomegranate – Not the easiest fruit to eat but there are plenty of pomegranate juices out there that taste great. (just make sure you don’t buy one that’s loaded with added sugar or other ingredients) Pomegranate contains high levels of vitamins and minerals that help boost your collagen production thereby keeping your skin wrinkle-free and firm. They also can improve your cellular health.
- Tomatoes – OK, now we’re back to foods most people like. Tomatoes are loaded with a substance called lycopene. Lycopene can protect your skin from free radical damage and helps keep it firm by reducing the breakdown of collagen. It’s also anti-inflammatory which can help with reducing your chances of Alzheimer’s and other diseases. It also helps with the health of your eyes and vision.
- Cinnamon – Last but not least is the spice cinnamon. It is full of antioxidants and also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It helps your body fight infections, repair damaged tissue and protects your brain from free radical damage. It also has been studied in relation to lowering blood sugar and thereby reducing your risk of diabetes.
Keeping your kitchen stocked with these foods can be a great prescription for longevity and lasting health.