Many people invest thousands of dollars trying to look younger, from preventing wrinkles to dying grey hair. But aging is much more than our appearance, in fact, aging starts from the inside and can affect cognitive function, our ability to move, and the onset of disease.
The best way to hold onto your youth naturally, actually starts with the foods you eat.
Here are the top 5 foods to eat to prevent aging:
1. Oily fish (salmon, tuna, and sardines)
Omega-3 fats, derived from oily fish are the antiaging pinnacle nutrient. Omega 3’s are the building blocks for your brain, helping to transmit brain signals along nerves and helping to prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia (1). Omegas also have very powerful anti-inflammatory properties which protect cardiovascular function, lower blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and reduce blood clotting (and subsequently reduce your risk of stroke).
Asides from keeping your brain healthy, oily fish is abundant in protein, another nutrient necessary for optimal health, particularly as we age. After the age of 30, we begin to lose muscle mass. The old saying use it or lose it is particularly true for muscles. To hold on to our muscles (and therefore strength, coordination, and mobility) we need to include weight-bearing exercise into our lifestyles and support our muscle maintenance with protein. Inadequate protein intake among adults results in sarcopenia, extreme loss of muscle, resulting in loss of strength, coordination, and independence.
Oily fish is also a great source of zinc, vitamin D, and B12, all of which we need more of as we age. To ensure you’re getting enough of their amazing benefits we suggest ensuring you get at least two servings of oily fish a week!
Blueberries are packed with a special type of antioxidant called anthocyanins, amazing at protecting your DNA, skin, eyes, and cells from the damage of free radicles. Blackberries have different antioxidants to blueberries that are particularly beneficial for protecting the brain from aging, while cranberries have anti-bacterial properties preventing bacteria from forming along the urinary tract.
To ensure you get all the different types of antioxidants berries have to offer, it’s best to eat a variety to maximize looking after your youth! Plus, whether frozen or fresh, they’re jam-packed full of nutrients (2).
3. Green Tea
30 per cent of the dry weight of green tea is made up of antioxidants called catechins (3). These antioxidants are linked to the prevention of many types of cancers and protect the liver against damage from toxins derived from alcohol and drugs. (3)
Consumption of the antioxidants in green tea is also linked to having stronger bones, which is imperative as we age and bone density can dwindle (4). In fact, consumption of up to three cups of green tea a day is associated with a 30 per cent reduction in hip fractures in 50-year-old people (4).
Consider including green tea to get your fluids in. You could even try a floral green jasmine tea or add a slice of lemon for flavour!
Yoghurt is an amazing source of protein and calcium which protects our bones from osteoporosis and fractures and prevents muscle loss as we age.
Yoghurt is also particularly high in probiotics which keep our immune system thriving, reduces IBS symptoms such as constipation, and reduces the risk of obesity by altering the gut microbiota (5). Yogurt is also a great source of B vitamins, including vitamin B12, of which we need more of as we age due to our stomach decreasing its ability to absorb vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is one of the major energy vitamins, needed to break down food to be used as energy in the body.
One cup of yoghurt provides 60 per cent of an adult’s daily needs (5).
The nutrient that gives turmeric its bright yellow colour, curcumin, is known for its anti-inflammatory and DNA-repairing properties as an antioxidant.
One study investigated 8 weeks of supplementing 1000mg of turmeric with people living with arthritis and found supplementing had the same benefits as taking anti-inflammatory medications (6,7).
Research also suggests turmeric may help to keep your brain young by fighting diseases such as dementia with its antioxidant effects (6).
The process of aging is certainly linked to what we put in our bodies. Choose whole foods as much as possible and aim for a balanced diet with low GI carbohydrates, healthy fats, and lean proteins.
Lifestyle plays a huge role and eating aside, one of the best things you can also do to keep yourself young, is to keep your mind and body active as you age.
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.