Anti Aging Foods Guide
Aging is a natural process associated with several physiological changes that occur over the course of years. Unfortunately, this process also increases the risk of numerous conditions that range in severity from completely benign (e.g., wrinkles) to absolutely debilitating (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease, coronary artery disease).
It is not all doom and gloom, as there is a lot you can do to slow down the process of aging and reduce your risk of many ailments. One of the most impactful lifestyle habits that you could do to counter age-related deterioration is to include anti-aging foods in your diet.
The bad news is that for the sake of money, the online community is willing to spread all sorts of misinformation and false claims about foods and products that do not carry any real benefits. For this reason, we decided to write this comprehensive guideline to share with you the best anti-aging foods that are backed up by credible scientific sources.
Oxidative stress and aging
Before we delve into our list of anti-aging foods, it would be helpful to discuss one of the major drivers of this process. In our bodies, the cells stock compounds known as reactive oxygen species or free radicals, which are used to destroy the components of foreign pathogens (e.g., bacteria, viruses, fungi).
However, reactive oxygen species have one major flaw: The inability to distinguish between foreign pathogens and self-tissues. As a safety net, the cells also stock antioxidants (intrinsic and dietary) to maintain balance. Unfortunately, this process is not perfect, as the number of free radicals often exceeds that of antioxidants, leading to a metabolic state known as oxidative stress.
This pathological process predisposes people to premature aging, as well as a wide range of maladies. For this reason, many of the foods listed below will exert their action by eradicating reactive oxygen species to restore the lost balance.
Anti-aging foods for men
Nuts: an anti-inflammatory food
There are different kinds of nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, pistachios, peanuts), all of which have proven to be effective in preventing chronic diseases, protecting the skin, and extending longevity. In fact, according to a study done by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, nuts can even reduce inflammation, which is the number one driver of premature aging.
The active ingredients found in nuts (e.g., omega-3 fatty acids, fibers, vitamins, minerals) offer potent anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the risk of multiple conditions. In a research paper published by the New England Journal of Medicine, professor Ying –an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School– found that eating nuts several times a week lowers your risk of death by 20%.
Anti-aging benefits of eating salmon
Fatty fish like tuna and salmon are not uniquely a great source of protein since they’re loaded in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation and optimize the structural integrity of cellular membranes. Consequently, individuals who regularly consume fatty fish are known to have healthier and more hydrated skins relative to their counterparts.
Additionally, salmon contains astaxanthin, which is a compound that neutralizes the action of reactive oxygen species, and therefore, reduces intracellular oxidative stress. When scientists from Japan tried to identify more benefits of astaxanthin, they found that it can improve physical and sexual performance in men.
Anti-aging foods for women
Beet juice anti-aging
Drinking beet juice offers multiple health benefits to your body, including the prevention of premature aging. Researchers believe that the potent action of beet juice is due to its rich content in nitrates, which stimulate vasodilation (expansion) of vessels to improve blood flow. Elderly adults who follow a nitrate-rich diet are less likely to experience arterial occlusions and ischemia.
Another interesting benefit to nitrates is the improved blood flow to the frontal lobe of the brain, which is the area responsible for executive behavior, planning, and movements. Keep in mind that the frontal lobe is severely impacted with dementia, which explains the lower incidence of this disease in individuals who adopt a nitrate-rich diet.
Green tea anti-aging benefits
The active ingredients of green tea possess potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties that reduce the risk of multiple age-related pathologies, such as heart disease, strokes, and neurological illnesses.
According to researchers from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, green tea contains ingredients that eradicate reactive oxygen species, which prevent cellular death. Furthermore, Leslie Shen, Ph.D., states that “After 24 weeks, people who consumed 500 mg of green tea polyphenols daily, that’s about 4 to 6 cups of tea-halved their oxidative stress levels.”
Pink grapefruit juice health benefits
Pink grapefruit juice is loaded in a compound known as lycopene, which is a carotenoid that keeps the skin smooth. The anti-aging properties of pink grapefruit were confirmed by a study published in the European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics.
During this study, 20 participants were divided into two groups, where the first group regularly consumed pink grapefruit and the second group did not. By the end of the study, researchers concluded that individuals who drank pink grapefruit had higher lycopene concentrations in their bloodstream, which translated into a smoother skin and fewer wrinkles.
The controversial health benefits of alcohol
Despite the bad reputation around alcohol, the moderate consumption of this substance was shown to reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., dementia, Alzheimer’s disease). These conditions are prevalent in older individuals due to the progressive degeneration of neurons (brain cells), altering bioelectrical transmission inside the brain.
When researchers tried to identify the underlying mechanism to explain this phenomenon, they found conflicting results that are still a topic of debate. You should keep in mind that heavy drinking is detrimental to brain cells, as it induces programmed cell death (i.e., apoptosis), which further exacerbates the situation.
Benefits of drinking cocoa
Heart disease is extremely prevalent all across the world with well-documented risk factors (e.g., advanced age, obesity, unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle). When scientists were comparing the rates of coronary artery disease between different regions of the world, they found that the Kuna people of the San Blas Islands (Panama) had a significantly lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
After careful analysis, scientists concluded that the Kuna drink a lot of cocoa-rich beverages that are loaded with potent antioxidants known as polyphenols. These compounds improve blood circulation and reduce the risk of clogging from atherosclerosis.
Anti-aging fruits and vegetables
Sweet potatoes and anti-aging
Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A, which is an antioxidant that helps restore damaged skin, promotes lesion repair, and ultimately leaves you with radiant skin. This delicious root vegetable is also a great source of vitamins C and E — both of which help minimize wrinkles. In a 2012 study, experts found that people who add sweet potatoes to their daily diet reduced their wrinkles by 11% over the course of 3 years.
Avocado and skin health benefits
If you want to improve your skin complexion, avocados are your go-to fruit. They are packed in anti-inflammatory fatty acids that promote smooth skin, as well as other compounds that possess anti-aging properties:
- Vitamins K, C, E, and A
- B vitamins
Avocados also contain vitamin A, which can help us shed dead skin cells and keep youthful-looking skin. Finally, their carotenoid content can aid in protecting us from the sun’s UV-light and skin cancer.
Papaya anti-aging properties
Papaya is not only delicious, but it is also high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which may help minimize our wrinkles and enhance our skin’s elasticity. These include:
- Vitamins A, C, K, and E
- B vitamins
The diverse nutrients found in Papaya give this fruit the power to slow down the process of aging, hence the need to include it in your diet. One special compound found in Papaya is papain, which is an enzyme that blocks the release of cytokines and other proinflammatory substances.
Why blueberries slow down the aging
Blueberries are loaded in vitamins A and C, as well as an age-defying compound known as anthocyanin. The powerful effects of these antioxidants protect the skin from UV-light emitted from the sun, which reduces the rate of collagen breakdown and the risk of skin cancer.
Benefits of eating broccoli
Broccoli is often referred to as a superfood due to how nutrient-dense it is. Here’s a shortlist of some substances found in broccoli:
- Vitamins C and K
All of these compounds play a role in reducing the rate of age-related deterioration, which protects the skin, heart, and brain.
Aging foods to avoid
Switch from white bread to sprouted bread
Advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) are the result of refined carbs combined with protein. Consequently, this can have a direct effect on chronic diseases, as well as the aging process. In addition, white bread has a high glycemic index, leading to widespread inflammation in the body and ultimately speeding up age-related issues. Avoid these foods that make you look older.
Eating honey instead of sugar
Sugar not only contributes to the formation of collagen-damaging AGEs, but it can also cause unwanted skin problems such as acne. When our sugar levels are elevated, the body starts to produce AGEs. This process is further accelerated if you’re exposed to damaging UV light. Therefore, instead of eating ice cream on the beach, opt for organic, sugar-free yogurt, or a popsicle.
Avoid margarine and butter
Studies showed that steering clear from margarine or butter will improve your skin and minimize wrinkles. Margarine is worse than moderate amounts of real butter because it’s high in partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats), which damage the skin’s elasticity and collagen bonds. Replace them by healthy fat by adding avocado and olive oil to your diet.
Stop eating processed meat
Meats such as hot dogs, bacon, sausage, and pepperoni are examples of processed meats that can be quite damaging to the skin. This is primarily due to their high content of sodium, sulfite, and saturated fats. These compounds cause inflammation and skin dehydration. Try to swap processed meats for eggs, poultry, or beans; they are not only healthy but also inexpensive.
Why should you stop eating dairy
Eliminating dairy products from your diet might be beneficial to your skin. Some have witnessed significant positive changes when they dropped it while others reported less prominent results. Dairy products may amplify inflammation in the body and cause oxidative stress, the driving pathological process of premature aging.
Ant-aging diet plan
Try to make a fruit smoothie out of blueberries, Kiwi, strawberries, and pineapple. This smoothie is full of vitamin C, which protects the skin and boosts energy. If you don’t like smoothies, you can always eat bananas, as they’re rich in vitamin B6 that helps with the skin’s elasticity. Or another anti-inflammatory breakfast combining some of these foods:
- Green tea
- Hot chocolate or cocoa smoothie
To add some flavor use anti-inflammatory spices like ginger, cinnamon and clove.
Healthy mid-morning snack
Eat a few cashew nuts, but don’t remove the skin. These nuts can help clear out the unwanted grey hairs that come along with aging. They are also full of copper, which promotes the production of melanin, restoring your hair’s natural color.
In general nuts, some grains, and dried fruits make perfect for snacks, for example:
- dried dates
- dried raisins
- dried apricots
These foods are full of healthy nutrients but also high in calories. People who are on a low-calorie diet should be very careful not to eat more than the recommended daily portion. Usually one handful for a regular diet.
Lunches that don’t speed-up aging
Researchers consider sweet potatoes to be one of the healthiest vegetables on earth. These veggies can be used to make different dishes for your daily meals. For instance, you can make sweet potato mash, roasted sweet potato, or sweet potato fries. Not only are these delicious, but they contain several nutrients that can help protect your skin. For any lunch idea, you need to include the right amount of nutrients and MyPlate Dietary Guidelines can help you.
Delicious and healthy afternoon snack
Rich in calcium, yogurts are the ideal go-to snack. They contain good bacteria (probiotics), such as Lactobacillus Bulgaricus and Streptococcus Thermophilus, which can help maintain gut health and strengthen the bones.
Best dinner to stay young
Again, salmon is the perfect anti-aging food for dinner. Harold Lancer (board-certified dermatologist) says that salmon is an excellent choice in one’s regular diet. Bear in mind that this doctor helped Victoria Beckham recover her shiny skin after inflicting severe damage. Victoria states that she only had to eat salmon for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The good news is that you can consume grilled, baked, or poached salmon; either way, it is mouth-watering!
Evening snack for better health
Here are some of your best late-night snacks for healthy aging that can also help with weight loss:
- cottage cheese
- Greek yogurt
- peanut butter on a small slice of whole-wheat bread
Aging is a natural, progressive phenomenon that carries several health risks, which is why we need to adopt new lifestyle modifications to fight this process. Hopefully, this article will be your guide towards a healthier and disease-free life.