by Paula Campbell, Nutritionist
Eating a healthy and balanced diet of the proper foods is vital to looking and feeling young. Anti-aging nutrition can help you to live longer, feel better, and avoid illness and disease.
Given the lack of nutritious eating habits in society today, it’s no surprise that average life expectancy is predicted to decline in the years ahead. The good news is that if anti-aging foods are eaten on a regular basis, this trend can be reversed.
Anti-aging nutrition is based on a healthy lifestyle and proper diet. In addition, stress is a main contributing factor that can make us look and feel older than our chronological age.
Large amounts of stress leads to a flood of free radical cells coursing through the body. This production of free radicals sets the stage for a variety of life-threatening ailments and diseases.
The body becomes less efficient at absorbing vitamins and minerals as we get older, which is why it becomes vital to eat more nutrient-rich foods. While nobody can live forever, it is possible to slow down or delay the aging process through proper nutrition.
The modern diet is not good for you because it often contains too many highly acidic foods. Everyday foods like red meat, dairy and coffee along with artificial preservatives and sweeteners can do major damage to the body.
Fruits and Vegetables: Colorful fruits and vegetables like leafy greens, carrots, red tomatoes and blueberries contain antioxidants that help stop unstable molecules from damaging the body’s healthy cells. Try to eat six to eight servings of fresh vegetables per day.
Whole Grains: Whole grains like oats, quinoa, barley, wheat, and brown rice are fiber-rich and will lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Eating whole grains also keeps your blood vessels in top condition. Try to eat three servings of whole grains per day.
Beans and Lentils: These are loaded with plant-based protein, and are an anti-aging alternative to the saturated fat in red meat, which is linked to heart disease and diabetes. Try adding beans and lentils to soups and side dishes.
Fish: The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil provide a host of anti-aging benefits. Omega-3s protect your heart, reduce stroke risk, and may even lower the risk of getting Alzheimer’s. Try to eat two to three servings per week of fatty fish like tuna, salmon or lake trout. If you don’t like fish, consider taking fish oil supplements.
Dairy Products: These foods contain calcium and fortified vitamin D to help build strong bones. Try to consume three cups of low-fat milk, yogurt, or other dairy products each and every day to give yourself strong bones for life.
Nuts: The essential fatty acids found in nuts are very healthy. One study found that eating just a few nuts a day lowered the risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol by around twenty percent.
In addition, the prevalence of fast food restaurants makes it easy to forget about healthy eating habits for the sake of convenience. But what many people fail to realize is that high-calorie, high-fat junk food is a major contributor to obesity and premature aging.
As the body ages, it’s a good idea to begin eating more alkaline foods. For example, most vegetables are alkaline, especially spinach, broccoli, cabbage and other leafy greens. A raw foods diet of mainly alkaline foods can be a terrific anti-aging regimen.
Whole grains, nuts, and certain fruits like kiwi fruit and apples are also alkaline-forming. A variety of these foods should be part of your anti-aging diet for better health and longer life. Alkaline foods play a major role in vegetarian nutrition.
If you are too busy to prepare nutritious anti-aging meals each day, you may want to consider taking anti-aging supplements. For example, if you are 35 and older, omega-3 fatty acid supplements can be taken to compensate for not eating enough fish.
The fatty acids in fish and omega-3 capsules are fundamental to good health. Another important anti-aging supplement is Vitamin B, because it is considered to help with stress reduction.
An area of anti-aging nutrition that is often overlooked is the type of liquids we drink. Bear in mind that the vast majority of soft drinks sold in stores do the body more harm than good.
It’s much healthier to drink pure mineral water at regular intervals during the day. Staying adequately hydrated is a simple and effective way to ward off disease and preserve the body’s vitality.
One more key point: while eating the right anti-aging foods is important, it’s also vital to avoid foods that cause you to age more quickly. These include processed sugars, salt and saturated fats found in meat products. Eating less meat and processed foods and more fresh fruits and vegetables will help you to live longer and feel better.
(published July 14, 2011)