Super Foods for Super Aging
Jan 31, 2016, 6:50 p.m.
Super foods are often described as providing a number of nutrients and health benefits all in one package. The Institute of Food Technologists listed their top super foods:
Chia Seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants; Flaxseeds are a good source of protein, fiber, antioxidants and phytoestrogens in the form of lignans and omega-3 fatty acids. A study has linked eating ground whole flaxseed to lowering blood cholesterol; Sunflower Seeds provide monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, protein, fiber, vitamin E and phytochemicals like choline, lignan, phenolic acids and betaine; Pumpkin Seeds are packed with protein, fiber, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus; Blueberries - daily blueberry consumption may reduce blood pressure and arterial stiffness and are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, fructose and antioxidants. Antioxidants in blueberries are linked to the prevention/delaying of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and the aging process; Acai Berries are a rich source of anthocyanin and have a fatty acid ratio similar to olive oil. They have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties; Tart Cherries are high in anthocyanin and have high antioxidant activity – reported benefits include enhanced sleep, anti-inflammation in arthritis and gout, and sports recovery; Avocados have beneficial effects on cardio-metabolic risk factors that extend beyond their heart-healthy fatty acid profile including reducing bad cholesterol; Cranberries have long been associated with benefiting urinary tract health but have also shown to benefit heart health, cancer prevention, oral health and glycemic response.
Other studies say to add the following super foods: Sweet potatoes, pumpkin and carrots for healthy skin and eyes, and to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis; Tomatoes offer antioxidants for heart health and protect skin against aging – cooking tomatoes increases their lypocene content (an important anti-aging nutrient); Leafy greens are good for your eyes, reduce heart disease and help to prevent free radical damage which is strongly related to accelerated aging; Olive oil promotes heart health, reduces cancer and makes your skin look and feel better; consider adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet in a variety of ways – in addition to chia and flax seeds listed above, salmon is a good source and Dr. Oz says that eating seven walnuts a day will add up to five years to your life! Cucumbers promote joint and bone health; watermelon boosts metabolism and helps rid the body of dangerous toxins; Beans and legumes are healthful additions to any diet. And don’t forget to eat your broccoli and cauliflower.
In their December 2015 issue, Prevention magazine described additional anti-aging nutrients that everyone needs more of no matter your age. Oxidative stress, which damages cell structures such as telomeres, is also linked to degenerative health conditions associated with aging. Vitamins A, C and D (found in many of the super foods listed above) combat oxidative stress. Polyphenols (found in green tea and cacao beans) are also powerful antioxidants. Turmeric, a spice common in Indian food, has anti-cancer properties and reduces inflammation. Magnesium plays a key role in more than 300 vital body process including sleep, blood pressure regulation, bone formation and controlling blood sugar levels. Resveratrol, found in red wine is linked to longevity. CoQ10, an enzyme that plays a crucial role cell health, is reduced as we age.
Looking for more ideas to defy age through nutrition? Energy Times magazine recently published an article on using herbs to ease the infirmities that come with growing older. “Many of the long-term disorders that plague seniors have one factor in common: runaway low-level inflammation. This hidden biological fire has been linked to everything from cardiovascular disease to Alzheimer’s to several types of cancer. Cutting sugar intake is the first step in dousing inflammation’s destructive flame, as is switching to a diet rich in low-carbohydrate vegetables.” The article goes on to list herbs that can help. You can view the article online at www.energytimes.com/pages/ features/1015/herbs.html
As always, be certain to consult with your health care providers when considering changing your diet or adding supplements. Sometimes even healthy foods don’t mix with your prescription drugs. Live long and prosper.
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