THE BEST ANTI-AGING FOOD GROUPS … Some Standards—and Some Surprises
These 5 food groups hold a wealth of health-promoting powers, not only for helping you lose weight, but also to help you slow down the aging clock. Be sure to incorporate them into your diet…not only when planning meals, but also for fast and delicious snacking.
• Fruits and vegetables are a no-brainer when it comes to managing weight. But did you also know that, according to many recent studies, certain ones have surprising anti-aging powers.
• Berries of all hues, for example, are antioxidant-rich. That means they combat free radicals, molecules that can cause widespread cell damage and chronic inflammation…persistent inflammations that contribute to aging. Berries also pack a beauty bonus: they are chocked full of vitamin C, another potent antioxidant than can help keep your complexion smooth.
• Also packing highly significant anti-aging benefits are broccoli, spinach and other dark leafy greens. These veggies are prime sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, plant pigments that protect the eyes from the harmful effects of ultraviolet light. They are also rich in vitamin K, a nutrient that helps reduce bone loss.
• Protein becomes an even more critical dietary component in your 40s, when muscle mass begins to decline at a rate of up to one-percent a year. To maintain your metabolism-boosting muscle, eat plenty of the right kinds of protein: skinless chicken, turkey breast, lean beef and pork, eggs, beans and seafood.
• And don’t forget protein-rich dairy products. The calcium, phosphorus and potassium in fat-free milk and yogurt help to keep your blood pressure down, your weight in check, and your bones strong.
3. OMEGA-3-RICH FISH AND NUTS
• Fatty acids in seafood can help mitigate the effects of chronic inflammation. The omega-3s in fatty fish like salmon and tuna are the most potent in this regard. There’s also encouraging new data that suggests that these fats act on an area of the brain that promotes improved moods and attitude.
• Omega-3 fats are also found in plant sources, like walnuts and flaxseed—which is great news if you’re not particularly fond of fish.
4. WHOLE GRAINS
• These diet-friendly foods include whole wheat, oats, and brown rice as well as the bread, cereals and other edibles derived from them. They offer a powerhouse of protection against conditions and illnesses that advance aging, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, colon cancer, high blood pressure, and gum disease. Key to their effectiveness is their low ranking on the glycemic index, which rates the effects of different carbohydrates on blood sugar levels.
• Refined grains don’t offer the same benefits as whole grains because many key nutrients are filtered out during their processing.
5. RED WINE, COFFEE, TEA
• The resveratrol in red wine offers three key anti-aging benefits: it’s a power antioxidant; it’s an inflammation damper; and it’s an artery protector. Research also suggests that it may counteract cell death in both the heart and brain, offering greater potential for longevity. To gain these benefits from red wine, limit yourself to one 5-ounce glass a day. More could be harmful.
• Not an alcohol drinker? Turn on the coffee maker! Java, believe it or not, appears to lower the risk of diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. And new evidence is also suggesting that coffee-drinkers have a lower risk if dying from heart disease. Coffee also contains chlorogenic acids, antioxidants that can also play a key role in promoting well-being.
• Don’t like coffee? Heat up the tea kettle! Drinking tea may lower your risk of heart attack…will help strengthen your immune system…will help protect tooth enamel…and will help prevent memory loss associated with aging. Choose green, black, white or oolong. Their polyphenols, fluoride and caffeine—which are thought to contribute to these powers—are largely missing from herbal brews.