We all want to age healthfully and gracefully and there are certain lifestyle choices, including diet, that can help us reach that goal. Foods that are rich in certain nutrients and vitamins help to keep our bodies healthy on the inside and also promote longevity and youthfulness in our outer appearance.
Berries are high in antioxidants and vitamin C and help maintain the collagen that keeps our skin looking firm. Papaya, avocado and citrus fruit also assist in skin health and the flavonoids and carotenoids in citrus fruit may provide protection against cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative diseases.
Some of the healthiest foods we can add to our diet are cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, kale and cauliflower. These vegetables contain an array of nutrients, from vitamins A, C, E, K and folate, minerals including calcium, potassium and selenium and carotenoids such as lutein, beta-carotene and zeaxanthin.
Studies have shown that consuming these greens contributes to brain health and heart health. They are also a great source of soluble fiber, which helps to regulate blood sugar levels and prohibits the absorption of fat to prevent weight gain. Cruciferous vegetables are high in antioxidants, which help to prevent cellular degeneration to ward off illnesses, such as asthma, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, and to keep skin looking full and healthy.
Salmon and other fatty fish offer many health benefits. The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon, assist in eye health, brain health to help prevent cognitive decline and may prevent or reduce the severity of certain types of cancers. Omega-3s also promote elasticity and moisture in our hair, skin and nails.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, which helps prevent heart disease, high cholesterol and some forms of cancer. Lycopene also promotes healthy skin by preventing UV damage that causes sun spots and wrinkles. Eating cooked tomatoes allow our bodies to more readily absorb lycopene.
Regular consumption of turmeric has been shown promote brain health and can improving age-related memory decline and neurodegeneration that causes diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Finally, two foods you can enjoy without guilt are red wine and dark chocolate. Red wine contains resveratol, which has been shown to slow cellular aging, promote brain health and regulate blood sugar levels. A recent study reveals that polyphenols in red wine fight oral bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. The cocoa found in chocolate is rich in flavanols and helps preserve the health of blood vessels to lower the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease and dementia.