The foods you eat have an effect on how well your body deals with the aging process. Superfoods can help. Here is our list of the top superfoods for anti-aging to protect your health in your golden years.
We already learned how certain foods slow down the aging process in Part 1.
Now, meet the superfoods that may help slow aging of the body’s cells and add years to your life and (healthy!) life to your years.
You may already be eating some of these foods—good for you! Some of them may be new to you—be brave and try some new foods to enjoy their health benefits. For creative ways to prepare the foods on this list, check out the Trim Down Club Recipes.
Without further ado…
Our tasty green friend the avocado is rich in the same monounsaturated fat found in olive oil, which is highly resistant to free radical oxidation and reduces your risk of heart disease. Pair this with vitamin E, another important antioxidant, folic acid for DNA protection, potassium, and other nutrients.
Bottom line: Avocados reduce cholesterol, enhance skin health, and support a healthy heart.
Lycopene makes tomatoes red—and can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, while lowering cholesterol. It also acts as a natural sunblock, preventing UV damage that causes sun spots, dryness and wrinkles. Unlike many other fruits and vegetables, cooking actually improves the anti-aging effects of tomatoes.
Bottom line: Make a delicious avocado-and-tomato salad with olive oil for a delicious antioxidant boost.
3. Whole Grains
While processed grains and white flour are actually detrimental to your health, whole grains reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, and many digestive disorders. Certain fibers, such as the soluble fiber found in oats, also help balance blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and may support positive bacteria or ‘probiotics’ in the intestines. Probiotics help boost the decline in immune system function that typically occurs as we age. In addition to fiber, whole grains are rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as various phytonutrients found in research to help stabilize blood pressure and may protect against cell damage.
*It is important to note that modern grain production has changed basic grain plants, so even whole grains can be a problem for some people. Fortunately, ‘ancient’ or ‘heirloom’ grains are increasingly available, due to growing awareness of the issue. Such grains include quinoa, millet, amaranth, groats from oats and buckwheat, and the original wheats themselves, einkorn wheat or ‘farro,’ green wheat or ‘freekeh,’ Khorasan wheat or ‘Kamut®,’ and of course, spelt.
Bottom line: Check out some heirloom whole grains for a helpful immune system boost.
All types of berries—blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, currants, and more—are high in antioxidant flavonols and anthocyanins. These phytonutrients protect cells from free radical damage, lowering your risk of such degenerative disorders as cancer, diabetes, vision loss. They also decrease susceptibility to infection, and nerve and brain disorders. As we age, berries may help preserve memory and coordination.
Berries are also rich in fiber and vitamins, particularly vitamin C, which protects the collagen in our skin and other body tissues, and may protect our DNA from sun damage.
Bottom line: Berries are antioxidant powerhouses, and good for your skin, too.
5. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous veggies include Brussels sprouts, all types of broccoli (including broccolini, cauliflower-broccoli hybrids, rabe, and rapini,); cabbage (including bok choy), cauliflower, horseradish (and wasabi), kale, kohlrabi, radish, rutabaga, turnip, and water- and other cresses.
Cruciferous vegetables are antioxidant-rich foods packed with phytochemicals that fight free radicals, help detoxify the liver, and protect eye health in advancing age.
They are also high in vitamin K and calcium, important for bone and cardiovascular health, as well as magnesium, potassium, and folic acid, which support healthy blood pressure and heart function.
While kale gets lots of attention as a superfood, all the vegetables in this group are sources of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), converted in the body to the important types of omega-3 fats found in fish. These anti-inflammatory fats protect brain integrity, and are linked to healthy blood fat levels that support cardiovascular health.
Some cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and spinach, are also excellent sources of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that supports skin health.
Bottom line: Eat your Brussels sprouts, they’re good for your liver, eyes, bones, brain, heart, skin…