As we get older, many people wish they could reverse time or at least slow down the clock on the biological aging process. After a certain point, the body’s mechanisms just stop working as well as they used to and we become more vulnerable to certain degenerative diseases. But you don’t have to go down without a fight. There are a whole range of foods readily available that can help combat the negative effects that aging has on the body. They might not make you physically younger, but what they will do is improve your overall vitality and help protect you from illness, which can result in a longer, more active life. So if you’re hoping to look and feel young well into your retirement, here are eight foods that you should probably start eating more of.
Berries are an excellent source vitamin C, which is a vital component for repairing damaged body tissues. But, more importantly, berries are an excellent source of antioxidants (substances that protect us against unstable molecules that are produced when our bodies break down food or become exposed to pollution and radiation). Dark berries in particular are packed with certain antioxidants called anthocyanins which have been promoted for their protection against diabetes and cancer. According to a number of studies, eating blueberries can also help improve your memory by slowing down and even reversing neurological degeneration.
Beans have a lot of associated health benefits. Not only are they packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, but they’re also a great source of healthy protein and cholesterol-lowering fiber. Furthermore, some beans, such as kidney and soy beans, contain a compound called genistein which is a protease inhibitor believed to help ward off cancer. In the past, studies have shown that people with high levels of genistein exhibited the lowest rates of prostate and breast cancers of any other test group.
6. Whole Grains
Eating whole grains is great for your digestive system because they’re loaded with fiber that helps the body rid itself of unwanted substance like excess fats and bad cholesterol. But fiber also plays an important role in regulating your appetite and blood sugar levels. A diet rich in oats and brown rice has numerous anti-aging benefits because those foods have high concentrations of vitamins and minerals that have been linked to a lower risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. However, these health benefits are only associated with whole grains and not refined grains. The reason being that the process of refining the grains removes a lot of the healthy vitamins and minerals.
5. Dark Chocolate
Wrinkles are a tell-tale sign of the aging process, and if you’ve been exposed to a lot of ultraviolet radiation from the sun, this can accentuate the wrinkles on your skin. Eating dark chocolate has been shown to provide protection against the harmful effects of UV light exposure and even reduce the number of visible wrinkles on the skin.
Like berries, the cocoa beans used to make chocolate are rich in antioxidants which help to reduce the inflammation in the skin brought on by exposure to UV light. In addition, eating (or drinking) dark chocolate can increase blood circulation to the skin and improve its ability to retain moisture, which helps your skins stay smooth and lessens the appearance of wrinkles. However, these skin enhancing benefits are generally only associated with dark chocolate, since the process involved in making other chocolates usually strips away a lot of the antioxidant flavanols.
Garlic has been promoted as a health booster for ages, either in its raw form or cooked into any number of tasty dishes. And rightly so. There are many anti-aging benefits to be had from garlic, including reduced inflammation as well as lower cholesterol and blood pressure. However, garlic’s biggest contribution to our continued health would have to be the way it bolsters our immune system. It’s been used by the medical community for centuries to help fight off infections and modern scientific studies have since proven its antiviral and antibacterial effects. Garlic has even been shown to reduce the spread of cancer cells. In several studies, subjects who ate a lot of garlic drastically reduced their risk of getting certain stomach or intestinal cancers. Other studies have also linked garlic consumption to diminished rates of breast cancer and pancreatic cancers.
Avocados are another food that has long been praised for its health-maintaining properties. Not only are they great sources of potassium, vitamin E and antioxidants, but they’re also known to lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and improve the health of skin and other tissues. Furthermore, avocados are rich in both folic acids and oleic acid. Folic acids, like vitamin B, can reduce the risk of osteoporosis and heart attack, while oleic acid is a monounsaturated fat that can help rid the body of bad cholesterol and protect against harmful blood clots.
Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats found in fish that have been shown to be beneficial for lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, protecting the heart, and decreasing the risk of arrhythmia. Many cold water fish including salmon, tuna, herring, and sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids, and people that eat a lot of fish have demonstrated the life-lengthening effects it can have. In one study involving middle-aged American men, it was shown that those who ate fish two or three times a week had a 40% lower mortality rate than those who didn’t eat any fish. And for men who had suffered a previous heart attack, eating fish twice a week was able to lower their mortality rate by nearly 30%. Fish is also a great source of protein since, unlike a lot of other meats, it’s low in saturated fat.
Much like fish, nuts are healthy because they provide a lot of protein and contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are very good for the heart. However, what a lot of people might not know is that nuts are also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including bone-strengthening calcium, cell-shielding vitamin E, and blood pressure-lowering potassium. Another great reason to add more nuts to your diet is because roughly 20% of the calories found in nuts don’t get absorbed into the body. So people who are more weight-conscious can enjoy nuts without worrying too much about their waistline.