8 Foods to Keep You Young
Smart eating can help slow down the ageing process and stave off age-related diseases
By Maripet L. Poso
In the fight against ageing, some women are more than willing to try just about anything to stay young looking – from injections and surgery, to hormone intake and inversion therapy. But for others who believe it takes more than nip and tuck to hold the years at bay, changing their lifestyle and eating habits is the way to go.
In our younger days our caloric requirements are high because of the biological changes that our body goes through. As we get old, however, our caloric needs drop, and fiber-rich, nutrient-packed and antioxidant-laden foods become more important as ever. Antioxidants are vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that protect and repair cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are believed to play a big part in a number of age-related chronic diseases.
From your greens to your sweets, it pays to know which ones give you the best anti-ageing benefits.
Dark chocolates contain flavonoids, a group of chemical compounds with antioxidant properties. Flavonoids promote beneficial effects in the cardiovascular system, including decreasing oxidation of bad cholesterol, reducing the risks of blood clots that produce stroke and heart attack, and increasing the immune system. A study in the University of California, San Francisco revealed that small daily doses of flavonoid-rich dark chocolate consumed over a two-week period improved blood vessels’ ability to dilate or expand.
Pomegranates contain high levels of antioxidants and vitamin C, which helps boost the immune system. What’s more, it is good for the heart and helps reduce the risk of most cancers, including prostate cancer, breast cancer, and lung cancer.
Since there’s no way we can totally eliminate carbohydrates in our diet, we can always switch to whole grains, which are rich in fiber and keep our digestive system regular. Researchers claim that whole grain pasta has three times more antioxidants than enriched or refined varieties. Whole grains have been found to help fight heart disease, colon and breast cancers, diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke.
Unlike red meat, fish are low in bad fats and high in protein and is good for the heart. Fish is a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and phosphorus, and vitamins such as D and B2, as well as minerals, such as iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium. Omega 3 fatty acids are extremely powerful anti-oxidants that can stop the decay of cells and retard the process of ageing at the cellular level.
Aside from calcium and good bacteria that help prevent osteoporosis and intestinal illnesses, respectively, yoghurt also contains B complex vitamins, vitamins B2, B12, potassium and magnesium. Calcium plays a big role in maintaining bone and teeth health, while B complex vitamins are important in energy metabolism and strengthening of the immune system.
Red wine contains resveratrol, an antioxidant that helps reduce bad cholesterol and prevents blood clots. Some studies claim resveratrol actually helps activate genes that slow cellular ageing. The French paradox states that despite having a diet high in rich and creamy foods, the French enjoy a low death rate from cardiovascular diseases. Red wine is a staple in the French diet.
Organic milk comes from cows that are not treated with Bovine Growth Hormone and fed with fresh grass. Although it is more expensive than your regular milk, studies reveal that organic milk contains higher levels of vitamin E, vitamin A and antioxidants, such as Beta-carotene and Alpha tocopherol.
Bok choy is leafy Chinese cabbage that is very low in calories and high in fibers. It is also a very rich source of many vital nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Nutrients in this vegetable were found to reduce the risks of cancers, such as lung, bladder, breast, colon and prostate cancers. It is also good in reducing bad cholesterol levels in the blood.