Taking care of yourself by eating healthy, exercising, getting enough sleep, and avoiding harmful substances like tobacco are all important suggestions for living a great life, but can these recommendations also provide anti-aging benefits? Research says yes! One of the best things we can do to live a long and healthy life is to eat the best foods for our bodies, ones that have been shown to reduce inflammation and prevent age-related diseases, and avoid the so-called pro-inflammatory foods that make you age faster. It turns out that an “anti-aging” diet is really a common sense diet that can help you look and feel younger.
As we age, we start to notice subtle changes: wrinkles, memory loss, weight gain, reduced muscle tone, and the onset of chronic diseases. Years ago, all of these changes were simply chalked up to “getting older” and people were resigned to dealing with whatever issues aging brought. However, today’s research shows we don’t have to resign ourselves to feeling old as we age. In fact, making the right choices in regards to the foods we eat can have a huge effect on our bodies, both inside and out. Foods that contain phytonutrients are known to battle free radicals in the body, those pesky molecules that can lead to such diseases as cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease. As the body ages, the accumulation of too many free radicals can wreak havoc within the body and cause inflammation that could lead to bigger health issues down the road.
Here’s the good news: all of this is totally preventable! Choosing to eat foods that are high in antioxidants and are shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, such as fish, fruits, and vegetables can actually help to reverse age-related damage. In contrast, eating a diet that is packed with pro-inflammatory foods such as saturated fats, trans fats, sugar and starches causes an increase in insulin and makes us age quicker. Although other factors such as stress, sun exposure and immune system problems can also cause accelerated aging, making good diet choices is one of the best ways to ensure the body is receiving beneficial nutrients and is able to fight off the signs of aging that make you look and feel older.
If you have not already included the following foods in your diet, now is a great time to start! Fatty fish has great anti-inflammatory properties. Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants. Whole grains contain fiber, and nuts have healthy fats that fuel your brain and are good for your heart and skin. You can also help your body age gracefully by trying to add yogurt, beans and green tea to your diet and by drinking plenty of water. By making sure your diet is packed with good-for-you foods, you can look younger, feel better and ward off those diseases that used to be accepted as just a part of aging!