In part 2 of Anti-Aging Foods we are going to continue the discussion about “The Importance Of Diet For Healthy Aging”
Blueberries are highly nutrient rich fruits that should be enjoyed every day. These delicious low calorie fruits are loaded with antioxidants to fight free radicals that can damage cells in the body and cause wrinkles. They contain compounds that help prevent inflammation and oxidative damage, both of which are linked to age-related memory and motor function issues.
A study published by Tufts University reports that the blue color of blueberries results from anthocyanins, which help prevent oxidative stress, one of the key components of unhealthy aging. Anthocyanins also promote the production of dopamine in the brain helping to keep memory function healthy and boost positive mood.
Blueberries have more antioxidants than almost any other fruit. These antioxidants help protect skin cells against harmful UV-related damage from sun exposure, pollution and stress. Vitamin C keeps your skin looking youthful and wrinkle-free.
Here are more benefits of blueberries:
• Reduce risks of cancer
• Reduce cholesterol levels
• Reduce risks of heart disease and stroke
• May reduce risks of neurological diseases
• Brain and memory health
• Support immune system health
• Improve urinary tract health
• Improve vision and eye health
• Black raspberries are powerful cancer fighters. They’re harder to find fresh, so it’s more likely you’ll find them in the frozen section.
• Cherries are rich in the anti-cancer agent known as queritrin.
• Strawberries contain natural anti-inflammatory agents called phytonutrients that protect your heart in addition to having cancer-fighting properties. They also contain large amounts of vitamin C, which helps prevent wrinkles and dryness of the skin, both symptoms of aging, one cup of strawberries delivers about 150% of the daily recommended amount.
• Blackberries help prevent chronic diseases and reduce the risk of cancer since they contain a healthy dose of antioxidants, ellagic acid, as well as vitamins C and E.
• Cranberries are chock-full of polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant. Polyphenols may help reduce the risk of cancer, as well as inhibit the growth of cancer cells, and reduce inflammation from gum disease and stomach ulcers.
• Acai berries contain antioxidants and are capable of destroying cultured human cancer cells. They can be mainly found in Brazil.
Fresh Raw Garlic
Garlic is known as the triple-threat since it has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties mainly due to the antioxidant, allicin, which is what gives garlic its potent taste and smell.
It protects the body from several types of cancer, is known to improve blood flow by relaxing blood vessels, may help prevent plaque from building up in the arteries, lower cholesterol, and help regulate blood pressure.
Once it’s been cut, garlic tends to lose its potency within one hour. So the best way to eat it is to take freshly chopped or pressed garlic, wait a few minutes so you get the maximum benefits then eat it, preferably by swallowing it whole, rather than chewing it. Powdered or dried garlic doesn’t have the same effect as fresh garlic does.
Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, turnip greens, collard greens, and romaine lettuce, are nutrient dense power vegetables, true gifts from nature.
Kale is truly a nutrition powerhouse!
• It is an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamin K1, vitamin C, beta carotene (converted in the body to vitamin A), copper and manganese
• It is a very good source of vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin B2, calcium, fiber and potassium
• It is a good source of iron, magnesium vitamin B1, omega-3 fats, phosphorus, protein, folate, and vitamin B3
Kale can do so much for your body, and many of its benefits are directly related to healthier aging:
• Prevents oxidative stress that accelerates aging
• Protects from damage caused by free radicals
• Immune system health
• Healthy blood pressure
• Healthy blood clotting
• Reduced risk for cancer
• Skin health
• Healthy cholesterol for heart health
• Contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which numerous studies have shown to greatly reduce risks for age related macular degeneration and cataracts, two of the most common eye disorders in older people
Romaine lettuce is high in beta-carotene, which turns into vitamin A in the body and supports skin health by increasing new skin cell growth.
Spinach is also packed with antioxidants shown in studies to fight cancer, like beta-carotene, vitamin C, and sulforaphane. Vitamin C also keeps your hair and skin looking shiny and smooth, while minimizing dryness.
Spinach also contains folate, which helps preserve short-term memory. Folate also reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer since it slows down low-grade inflammations caused by the wear and tear of DNA. Spinach also has the ability to destroy dangerous free radicals that wreak havoc on our cells.
Some leafy greens, like collard greens, salad greens, kale and spinach, contain the all-important vitamin K1, which offers numerous benefits:
• Plays a major role in keeping veins healthy and relaxed, and helps prevent varicose veins
• Important for maintaining strong bones
• Helps regulate blood sugar levels
• Healthy blood clotting
• Heart health
• May protect from Alzheimer’s disease
• Reduced risks of certain cancers, such as lung and liver cancer
Caution: Vitamin K1 interferes with blood thinner medications, ask your doctor.
Broccoli is a dark green vegetable that is part of the cruciferous family. While all cruciferous vegetables are highly health promoting, broccoli contains the most isothiocyanates (organosulfur compounds), of all the vegetables in this family.
• Isothiocyanates promote the release of cancer-fighting genes and decreasing those that promote their propagation.
• Studies have found that eating ample amounts of cruciferous vegetables is linked to lower risks of lung and colon cancer, due to their high content of sulforaphane, a compound within the isothiocyanate group.
• Folate is another important vitamin provided by broccoli that is believed to decrease the risk of breast cancer in women.
• Vitamin K in broccoli supports bone health. The high amounts of vitamin C in this wonderful vegetable promotes youthful skin by enhancing collagen production lost due to aging, and is a key antioxidant for preventing damage caused by free radicals.
• Broccoli is also high in fiber and the Department of Internal Medicine and Nutritional Sciences Program at the University of Kentucky confirms that a high fiber diet significantly lowers risk factors for chronic diseases, which are associated with aging, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and digestive disorders.
Other Cruciferous Vegetables:
• Bok choi
• Broccoli rabe
• Brussels sprout
• Chinese broccoli
• Chinese cabbage
• Collard greens
• – seeds and leaves
• Pak choi
Swiss chard is a great anti-aging vegetable choice providing you with chlorophyll, a nutrient that is believed to block the effects of chemicals that cause cancer. It is very low in calories and nutrient dense, so can be enjoyed liberally every single day.
One cup of Swiss chard gives a day’s worth of vitamin K and beta-carotene for healthy bones, and eyes. The potassium in this dark leafy green helps to lower blood pressure, while magnesium and alpha-lipoic acid promote healthy blood sugar and insulin levels.
Tomatoes get their gorgeous red color from lycopene, a pigment that helps keep your skin smooth and glowing. It also protects the skin from harmful UV radiations and helps prevent wrinkles.
Since lycopene is a powerful antioxidant, it is advised for heart health, strong bones, and possible cancer prevention. Lycopene can help to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood.
The nutrients found in tomatoes are linked to prevention of the sticking together of blood platelets in the arteries, which helps reduce risks for stroke and heart attack.
Cooking tomatoes doubles their lycopene power and maximizes their anti-aging effects.
Other foods that contain lycopene:
• Pink Grapefruit
• Red Peppers
Watermelon is a source of lycopene, which protects the skin from UV rays. Packed with lycopene, watermelon acts as a natural protector from the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays that damage and ages the skin, and creates sunspots. Watermelon is also packed with water to help hydrate and plump your skin for all natural anti-aging.
This salad favorite is great for skin. Cucumbers have the highest water content of any food.
Cucumbers with an unwaxed peel offer silica to boost collagen production and reduce wrinkles for younger looking skin.
Soy provides phytoestrogens, which are compounds that behave like estrogen and have been related to a decrease in cardiovascular disease and bone loss. Phytoestrogens mimic estrogen the female hormone that is depleted during menopause, making soy foods a possible option to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopausal women suffering from symptoms.
Tofu, as well as other types of soy food, such as edamame and soymilk, is rich in isoflavones, which help keep your skin taut and youthful by preserving collagen in skin cells, and preventing the breakdown of collagen, which happens as we age.
This exotic fruit is packed with vitamin C, which boosts collagen production for smooth, youthful-looking skin. To get your dose of vitamin C, eat 2 cups of guava weekly.
Bell peppers have high amounts of vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, which may prevent certain types of cancers and cardiovascular disease.
They go great with everything, on the grill, in your stir-fry and in stews. Even when eaten raw as snacks with dips or in salads, they provide 158% of the daily value of vitamin C, which plays a great role in the healing of wounds, in fighting off infections and bolstering the functioning of the immune system and skin health.
Oranges are also wonderful sources of vitamin C, which helps boost the immune system and builds collagen, which makes your skin more supple and younger-looking.
Blood oranges are very delicious and contain anthocyanins, which are antioxidants that combat free-radical damage and UV rays.
Black currant contains a compound called anthocyanosides, which helps protect your eyesight and improves vision. On top of that, black currant contains triple the amount of vitamin C found in oranges, which helps boost your immune system and keep your skin taut and wrinkle-free.
These juicy fruits are rich in manganese, which is essential for activating a certain enzyme called prolidase. This enzyme provides the amino acids needed for the formation of collagen in the skin, providing you with healthy, youthful, radiant skin.