What causes aging?

Some of the known causes of aging are a complex interaction of environmental, dietary and internal changes. As we get older, the body’s machinery begins to function a little less smoothly and we become susceptible to age-related and degenerative diseases.

But there are certain foods that can help counteract the negative effects aging has on the body

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Certain foods possess anti-aging qualities that will improve your skin, boost your energy, and even fight off disease.

Green leafy vegetables

These can go a long way toward fighting free radicals and slowing the effects of aging. The best vegetables for finding antioxidants are green, leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale. Two of the antioxidants found are lutin and zeaxanthin, which have also been shown to protect against the negative effects of UV exposure [1].

Vegetables are a fantastic source of vitamins and minerals, great for the immune system and bone health, helping the body fortify itself against sickness and disease. Eating lots of veggies could even lower risk of dementia and slow rates of cognitive decline in older age. [2].

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Beans

Because beans have so many health benefits, they’re sometimes called a “super food”. They have unique antioxidants that can block enzymes, called α-glucosidase and pancreatic lipase, that lead to weight gain and diabetes. Beans highest in these antioxidants include mung and aduki beans. [3]

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Cinnamon

Research shows that cinnamon may decrease the post-meal insulin spike. And the more controlled the spike, the less likely you are to store body fat. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon on your favorite foods daily — yogurt, oats or in a smoothie – it not only tastes great, but may help slim your waistline. And, it’s a powerful antioxidant to boot.

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Green tea

Green tea is a rich source of flavonoids, which support healthy inflammatory balance and protect your body against free radicals promoting general health and longevity.

Chinese researchers found that people who drank 3 cups of green tea per day slowed down the aging process because it improved their DNA structure and was associated with significantly longer telomere lengths, which corresponds to “approximately a difference of 5 years of life.” That’s 5 added years! [4]

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Dark chocolate

Cocoa, the major ingredient of dark chocolate, contains relatively high amounts of flavonoid epicatechin. The epicatechin in chocolate, like other flavonoids, is neuroprotective. [5]

Some of the most visible signs of the aging process can be seen in our skin. Did you know that eating (or drinking) dark chocolate has been shown to help protect the skin against the harmful effects of UV exposure? Aim for 1 ounce of dark chocolate per day that’s at least 70 percent cacao.

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Red wine or grapes

Red wine contains a potent antioxidant called resveratrol. Animal research suggests high amounts of resveratrol may prevent cell death in the heart and brain. [6] Women should aim for one drink per day, while men can have two. You can also get resveratrol by eating dark skin grapes and drinking grape juice.

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Spices like turmeric

Curcumin — the active ingredient in the spice turmeric that gives curry its yellow color —acts both as an immune booster and potent anti-inflammatory. Louisiana State University researchers found that curcumin— may have cancer destroying abilities.

It affects over 100 different pathways once it gets into a cell. You don’t need to eat out at an Indian restaurant for the benefit. Just add 1 to 2 tablespoons to chicken, veggies or rice.

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Fish

As we age, it’s common for brain function to decline. Omega-3 fats, like those found in wild salmon, however, can protect the skin, brain, eyes, heart and joints.

The American Heart Association suggests up to 12 ounces of fatty fish per week. Omega-3 fatty acids are found largely in coldwater fish, including salmon, herring, tuna and sardines.

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Oat bran or rice bran

Bran is one easy way to load up on essential nutrients like magnesium, iron and Vit B6. Most people don’t eat enough fiber. Since fiber also helps fill you up, it may reduce the risk of middle-age weight gain when combined with other smart nutrition choices.

Fiber also helps control your appetite and keep blood sugar low. Sprinkle some oat/rice bran on yogurt, porridge or add in your smoothies.

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Bell Peppers 

Vitamin C is also necessary for creating ATP, dopamine, peptide hormones, and tyrosine. As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C helps lessen oxidative stress to the body and is thought to lower cancer risk.

High vitamin C foods include bell peppers. Eat eight strips of yellow or red peppers per day to get the recommended daily dose of vitamin C.

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Berries – blackberries and blueberries

Berries are super rich in antioxidants, such as flavonols and anthocyanins, which promote cell health and can protect against disease.

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Nuts and seeds

Nuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for heart health. They’re also a good source of vitamin E, which helps prevent cell damage; and calcium to maintain strong bones. Selenium, a powerful mineral that aids in the production of the antioxidant glutathione, can be found in Brazil nuts.

This mineral repairs cell damage and slows down the skin’s aging process. Just two nuts a day will help you stop the aging process in its tracks. Zinc, which is found in pumpkin seeds, may help to decrease overall inflammation inside the body. Eat 1/4 cup to get your daily dose of zinc.

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Here is a recipe to boost your longevity Anti aging Super Foods Chocolate Smoothie

While you may not always have control over your environment, you do have a large amount of control over your diet, which in turn battles inflammation, Advanced Glycation End products (AGE’s) and oxidation – the things that accelerate and cause aging.

You can actually stop and prevent much of your body’s aging by making changes in your diet. And, the best thing is, changing your diet not only changes the way the world sees you, but it makes a very definite change in how you FEEL inside!

References:

[1] http://www.nature.com/jid/journal/v121/n2/full/5601868a.html

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22836704

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22889371

[4] http://telovite.com/telovite/telomere-protectors/

[5] http://www.anti-agingfirewalls.com/2009/09/15/health-and-longevity-benefits-of-dark-chocolate/

[6] http://hms.harvard.edu/news/new-study-validates-longevity-pathway-3-7-13

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