How you treat your body, including what toxins you expose it to, what activities you participate in, how much sleep you treat it to, and most importantly - what foods you feed it - can really impact both the quality and length of your life.
This week, I wanted to discuss 7 common foods that are packed with some of the most powerful anti-aging nutrients available to help you maintain a healthy body and mind long into your senior years.
And I'm not talking about expensive, impossible-to find "superfoods" from some exotic Amazon forest here. In fact, you may be surprised to see some of the foods on this list.... (Hint: You probably have most of them in your kitchen right now!)
Not only do the monounsaturated fats contained in olive oil support healthy arteries and a healthy heart, but olive oil also contains polyphenols, a potent anti-oxidant that may help prevent a number of age-related diseases. You should use organic extra virgin olive oil whenever possible, but if you can't find organic, at least make sure it's extra-virgin, and cold-pressed. Non-virgin olive oils are often pressed using high-heat methods, which destroys the polyphenols and can even create harmful compounds like those found in processed vegetable oils - not good! If you want to age slower, instead of faster, do yourself a favor and be sure to choose extra-virgin.
Anti-Aging Food #2: Red Wine
You heard right - a daily glass of red wine may indeed have a positive effect on your health due to its resveratrol content. Resveratrol is a unique anti-oxidant that can help fight diabetes, heart disease, and age-related memory loss. That said, moderation of course is key! Drinking a lot of any alcohol isn't so good for anyone, and can even accelerate the aging process. And don't worry - if you're a hard-core teetotaler, try dark grape juice instead and you will still get some great benefits. But if you like a glass of wine with your dinner, there's no need to feel guilty about it - go right ahead and enjoy!
Anti-Aging Food #3: Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, a mineral which aids in the production of the anti-oxidant glutathione to help slow down the skin aging process, and it's also great for your brain. They aren't the cheapest nuts, but they pack a hefty punch in a small package. In fact, some studies show that just 2 nuts a day will provide you with enough selenium to reap the anti-aging benefits! Be sure to choose raw nuts, which are healthier for you than roasted, and they maintain more of their anti-aging properties.
Anti-Aging Food #4: Tomatoes
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which has been shown to support heart health and healthy cholesterol levels as you age. Lycopene also acts as a natural sun block to help keep skin youthful and protected from harmful UV rays. If you're one of those odd people who doesn't like raw tomatoes, you'll be pleased to know that cooking tomatoes actually increases their available lycopene, so bring on the spaghetti sauce! And if you're allergic to tomatoes - or simply can't stand them - watermelon is also a good source of this antioxidant.
Anti-Aging Food #5: Raspberries & Blueberries
You've probably heard about how great berries are for your health, but if not, now you know! These two berries contain important anti-oxidants to help offset inflammation and oxidative stress that contribute to skin aging and wrinkles. Just one serving of either or these berries contains more anti-oxidants than 10 servings of most other fruits and vegetables - plus they're just plain yummy! Eat them with oatmeal or yogurt, in smoothies, or all by themselves - fresh or frozen, you've got health on your side when you chow down on these berries. Be sure to choose organic whenever possible - especially for raspberries - to avoid harmful chemicals that can counteract some of their great benefits.
Anti-Aging Food #6: Beans
Yes, this "musical fruit" has some interesting benefits. :-) The unique proteins in beans have actually been shown to thicken and strengthen your hair cells, so you can enjoy a full head of healthy hair as you age. Pretty much all types of beans are really good for you, but I recommend you stay away from soybeans, as the jury is still out on some of the potentially harmful effects of soy on hormone levels. If you do eat soy, be sure it's fermented - such as tempeh or natto - which helps to negate some of the toxic properties of soy.
Anti-Aging Food #7: Organic Pastured Eggs
Despite the bad rap eggs get because of their cholesterol content (which is based on completely erroneous science - see our previous posts on this here and here), eggs are rich in biotin and iron which help to promote healthy, youthful skin and hair. Eggs from chickens raised on pasture also contain healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, and higher levels of vitamins A and D. This is why you should make sure to choose eggs that are not only organic, but that come from hens that were allowed to free-range on pasture and eat the grass, plants, bugs, and worms they naturally love to eat.
So there you have it! 7 foods that can help keep you young and healthy for years to come - and best of all, you don't have to make a special trip to the rainforest to find them - they're readily accessible just about anywhere!
Now it's time for me to go start on dinner, which includes tomatoes, olive oil, oh, and of course, red wine! :-)
To your health,