Age is but a number, however, Like Ponce de Leon, many of us would like to slow down the effects that increasing numbers have on the body. You may not know it, but you have more control over looking and feeling younger than you realize. Many signs of aging that we assume are unavoidable, such as wrinkles, decreased mobility, and hearing and vision changes, can actually be delayed by the foods you choose to eat. The true fountain of youth is the combination of food and water. The better you feed your body, the more gracefully and gorgeously you’ll age.
Exactly what foods can you eat to help you stay strong? Include the following foods, which are rich in vitamins and minerals, in your nutritional plan to age effortlessly and flawlessly.
Along with blackberries, strawberries, and plums, blueberries have the highest total antioxidant capacity of any food. Antioxidants are thought to aid in protecting the body against detrimental effects of free radicals the cells and age associated diseases. With all these benefits, the effects of blueberries on the skin are limitless.
Try eating: 1 cup of blueberries before going to bed with a 1/2 cup fat free ricotta cheese. Sprinkle with cinnamon for an age-defying treat!
Collagen is the connective tissue in your skin that makes it look young, smooth, and elastic. It is activated by vitamin C, which can be found in citrus fruits. Researchers discovered that women 40 or older who had great amounts of vitamin C were 11% less likely to develop wrinkles. The recommended daily intake for visible anti-aging affects is 75 mg, the amount in a tennis ball size orange. Try A Clementine, grapefruit, Mandarin, tangerine, kumquat, minneola, tangelo, lemon, orange, Meyer’s lemon, pummelo, Satsuma, or any other citrus fruit, list goes on and on.
Get adventurous: Try adding whole kumquats to your favorite salad for a citrus twist to keep your skin more elastic than ever.
ONIONS, BANANAS, RICE, AND CHERRIES
What looks to be like an awkward bunch is actually a group that contains phytochemicals that boosts melatonin, the hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain. The hormone’s anti-aging effects are tied to the fact it helps one sleep. Sleep, in turn, leads to the production of the major anti-aging hormone, HGH (human growth hormone).
Create: A Costa Rican high-melatonin-producing inspired dish, using tilapia marinated in a lime, onion, banana marinade, served over a bed of rice and topped with cherry chutney.
THE NUCLEIC ACID FOOD GROUP
Although not considered an official food group by the FDA, nucleic acids are essential for aging gracefully. Nucleic acids are what make up out DNA and RNA. The body can produce its own nucleic acids, but they are broken down at an accelerated rate during the aging process and need to be supplied from external sources. Wheat germ, brand, spinach, asparagus, mushrooms, fish (especially salmon), oatmeal, and onion are all nucleic-rich.
Youth on a plate: For the ultimate stay-young breakfast, try 1/2 cup egg whites or egg beaters, 1/2 cup mushrooms, and 1/2 cup asparagus, for an incredible omelet.
Pumpkin is rich in alpha-and beta-carotene (more commonly known as the great precursor to vitamin A). Vitamin A is the most important vitamin in protecting your skin against free radical damage and helps DNA repair. This makes it a popular ingredient in facial masks. Other high vitamin A foods and carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes, mango, apricots, and cantaloupe. These vitamin A foods promote rich and clear skin.
Try this: For an age defying facial or a balanced snack… 1/2 ripe mango, 1 cup pumpkin puree, 1/4 sup Greek yogurt, and 1 tsp honey.
OMEGA 3-RICH FOODS
Be choosy with your fish. Always try to order salmon, sardines, or lake trout. They are high in omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EHA, which have shown to decrease inflammation in the body. Anti-inflammatory foods play a big role in reducing DNA damage on aging by fighting those processes that negatively your body over time. Additionally they can take the bat to the “Big Five:” heart disease, stroke, Cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s by aiding in disease prevention.
The perfect snack: 2 oz of salmon on whole wheat crackers, topped with an olive.
Originally from PRO Pulse September-October 2009
By Chelsey Bobcek