At some point in life we all start to think about our mortality. Whatever age that is for you, whether you are thinking smart and starting young or reflecting at an older age, there are ways to slow down aging or to age more gracefully and fully. That’s the path actually, to live life full and vibrant at any age. To live it now. And, one place to start is with the foods you eat.
Every bite of food either adds to the health of your body or to the dis-ease of your body. Think of it this way, every bite of food either adds vibrancy or age. You get to choose. And that is the first step, thinking of every bite of food for what it will do for you or against you. Then, remember, every bite of food produces a reaction in your body. Decide which you want.
We often overlook our food when we think of aging or disease, but that is exactly where we should start. Our bodies are complex systems that rely on vitamins, minerals and nutrients from food to operate properly.
Think of your body like your car. It has to have gasoline and engine oil to run. And, it needs a specific kind. If you decide to put sugar in the tank, what will happen? If you choose to forgo the oil, what would happen?
Same goes for your body. Every body needs the nutrients from our foods. From certain foods—real foods. And, if you put “other” things in your body (ie: sugar and processed foods), it will not operate as it is supposed to. It will become diseased. It will age more quickly. It will show those signs of aging to you as a plea to make changes. The question is, are you listening?
Let’s dive into some foods that will slow down aging and add to the overall health of your body.
Avocados are known for their high healthy fat content and referred to as a superfood. They are loaded with fiber (good for the gut) and a powerhouse of nutrients, some of which are vitamin K, Folate, vitamin C, B5, B6, E and Potassium (higher than bananas) plus 4 grams of protein. Their high anti-oxidant and omega-3 healthy fat content lend to their anti-inflammatory, brain health, and disease fighting properties. (1, 2, 3, 4)
2. Nuts & Seeds
Almonds, Brazil nuts, sunflower & pumpkin seeds, chia & flax seeds all provide nutrient dense nourishment to slow aging and boost overall health. They are packed with fiber, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and are antioxidant powerhouses. Nuts & seeds help with gut health, boosting your immune system, reducing inflammation and fighting numerous disease including cancer and heart disease. (5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
3. Leafy Greens
Green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, romaine, chard, watercress, beet greens, collard greens) are packed with nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and fiber. Known to combat many of the major diseases, plus reduce the risks of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, increases bone health, eye health, cancer fighting, cellular health, digestion, lower blood sugar levels and the list goes on. (11, 12, 13)
Look to plate your meals first with your leafy greens and a variety of colorful veggies. The differing colors bring a variety of vitamins, minerals and nutrients to the table. Red bell peppers, broccoli and Brussel sprouts pack in the vitamin C, K, folate and numerous others nutrients. While veggies like sweet potato and carrot are rich in the powerful antioxidant beta-carotene. They also pack in vitamin C, B6, potassium and fiber. And, don’t forget asparagus, cabbage, and cauliflower. The goal here is to include as many differing whole vegetables as possible. Vary them from week to week to receive the variety of nutrients offered to fight cancer, protect your heart, protect against oxidative stress, premature aging, chronic disease, boost your immune system and brain health.
Berries are packed with anti-oxidants and also offer a low glycemic load, meaning they aid your insulin response and improve blood sugar levels. They are high in fiber, help fight inflammation and cancer and their overall high anti-oxidant levels add to their immune boosting and overall anti-aging properties. (18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23)
Herbs are loaded with compounds and qualities that are immune boosting powerhouses. They not only enhance your eating experience but also help your body fight off viruses, infections, inflammation and various diseases. Turmeric (or curcumin the active ingredient), garlic, rosemary, thyme and oregano are all packed with antioxidants that help fight disease, cancer and inflammation among numerous other benefits. (24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34,35)
7. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna, and even oysters are all packed with omega-3 fatty acids among numerous other nutrients. Omega-3s are one of the most widely researched nutrients and have been shown to support brain health, fight inflammation, cancer, depression, heart disease, help with mental decline and disorders, improve menstrual pain, and even help your skin. (36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44)
8. Dark Chocolate
Now, this is not the milk chocolate found on the candy isle laden with sugar and myriad other ingredients. This is primarily straight and organic raw cacao or nearly 100% dark chocolate bars. Raw Cacao is rich in polyphenols (a powerful anti-oxidant found in wine), flavonoids and magnesium, improves energy, mood, promotes healthy skin, aids digestion, improves cognitive function, and reduces the risk of heart disease, fights cancer, decreases inflammation and helps control blood sugar and weight. All of that in a glorious little piece of goodness. (45, 46, 47, 48, 49)
9. Green Tea
Said to be one of the healthiest beverages available. Green Tea is loaded with antioxidants, rich in polyphenols, may boost brain function and protect it from aging, is anti-inflammatory, fights cancer, aids insulin sensitivity, and helps fight against heart disease. (50, 51 52, 53, 54, 55)
10. Lentils and Beans
Beans and lentils are a rich source of fiber, B vitamins, protein and a good source of many other nutrients. They are best known to aid insulin sensitivity and support gut health (which in turn supports a healthy brain and body). (56)
While water is not necessarily a food per se. It is indeed a required element to not just a healthy body, but also pure survival. Your body must have water to live and it uses water in all of its cells and functions. From brain function to the exterior of your skin, water is essential for a healthy, long lived life. Replace sodas and flavored drinks with water through out the day to refresh and regenerate your entire body from the inside out.
To slow aging and have a life long lived and full of energy, passion, and movement food must be prioritized. Every bite of food you take adds something to your body.
The foods listed above will add qualities that help keep you strong, free of disease and full of energy and clarity up to a healthy long life span.
Look for whole foods as they are naturally found in nature as much as possible.
Start with leafy greens and vegetables plus a healthy fat at each meal. Then, add responsibly sourced, organic or grass-fed and pastured raised protein in moderate portions.
Know your healthy foods, plan around those and eliminate sugars and processed foods.
Want to know what to stock for a healthy pantry?