If you’re looking for a magical pill to stop the aging process, you won’t find one. But, you can at least slow things down with the foods you choose to eat. Healthy aging can best be accomplished by incorporating foods high in antioxidants into your diet. Antioxidants are compounds found in food that can help combat damage to cells by removing free radicals (waste products) from the body at a cellular level. Antioxidants are found in a variety of foods, which can easily be added to a daily menu in order to promote healthy aging.
Several studies have looked at the relationship between a diet of foods high in antioxidants and the aging process. One study published in the journal Dermato Endocrinology found that fruit and vegetable consumption may represent the most healthy and safe method to maintain a balanced diet and youthful appearing skin. A more recent study out of the University of Colorado, Boulder found that older adults who took an antioxidant specifically targeting mitochondria saw age-related changes in blood vessels reverse by the equivalent of 15 to 20 years within six weeks.
Eating foods rich in antioxidants helps the whole body look and feel more youthful and promotes overall healthy aging. You can gain the anti-aging benefits of antioxidants by eating these antioxidant-rich foods.
- Berries – Berry fruits are rich in antioxidant polyphenolic compounds that protect against the age-related deterioration of cognitive and motor functions. Eating about a cup of berries a day—fresh or frozen—reduces oxidative stress, lowers inflammation and improves brain cell signaling.
- Red Peppers and Oranges – Vegetables and fruits that are high in vitamin C help prevent skin appearance changes related to aging. Regardless of age, sun exposure or other factors, people who eat more foods that are rich in vitamin C have fewer wrinkles, less skin dryness and thinning of the skin layers.
- Fish – It’s long been touted as a powerful brain boosting food, but now there’s evidence that fish helps keep your mental abilities strong while you age. Compared with people who ate fish less than once per week, those who ate fish once weekly or more often showed a slower rate of age-related cognitive decline.
- Cocoa – Move over green tea! Cocoa is higher in the powerful phenolic phytochemicals that fight oxidative damage. Indeed, cocoa leads the list for antioxidant capacity – ahead of red wine, green tea and black tea. Make it with skim milk and you’ll help strengthen your bones as well.
- Greens – High vegetable consumption produces a slower rate of cognitive decline with age. A study of more than 3,700 people aged 65 or older and found that those who ate about three to four daily servings of vegetables – particularly leafy greens like spinach, kale and collards – had much less decline in memory, recall and other mental functions than those who ate less than one serving of veggies per day.
- Walnuts – Scientists now believe that these nuts may be responsible for improving cognition after observing their ability to improve motor performance (such as walking on a plank) and thinking skills in aged rats.