Our society is constantly fighting aging. And it’s no wonder! Social media seems to glorify beautiful, young people. But the fact is, we are inevitably going to grow old. How quickly or slowly we look—and feel—old is actually up to us. Yes, we do have control over this!
Many people think the best way to fight aging is by spending thousands of dollars on expensive anti-aging treatments, getting injections of Botox and facial fillers, or even subjecting oneself to a surgeon’s knife. While these things may help you look younger externally, they do nothing to improve your health or help your body slow aging from within.
Finding natural solutions to slow aging from the inside shows up on the outside. Consistently having good habits of diet and lifestyle over a long period of time will definitely do more than a plastic surgeon can ever do!
Despite all the many anti-aging supplements out there, most dieticians and nutritionists would agree that the most important thing is to eat real food, as opposed to taking supplements.
A healthy diet full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory foods, natural proteins and healthy fats will help you dramatically slow down the primary things that accelerate aging:
- Advanced Glycated End Products
These substances not only speed up aging, but they also are the beginnings of chronic disease.
On the other hand, there are many older adults who are still active, fit, strong, productive people with amazing health. Much of this has to do with—you guessed it—their diet!
There are literally hundreds of foods that fight aging, but I wanted to put together a short and simple list of my favorite age-fighting foods for you. Keep in mind, virtually every fresh brightly colored vegetable or fruit contains numerous substances (some we have yet to discover!) that fight aging and protect our health.
Below are my favorite choices for foods to fight and reverse the signs of aging and disease:
Avocados are tops on any list of anti-aging superfoods. They are super high in antioxidants and inflammation-fighting healthy nutrients. The phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats from avocados slow down aging and fight diseases.
The folate you get from avocados may also lower your risk of certain cancers, such as prostate and colon cancer.
Folate also lightens up depression, and research shows a link between depression and low levels of folate. Folate occurs in leafy green veggies and avocados, among other things. Folate helps to lower an inflammatory substance called homocysteine, which can contribute to inflammation, heart disease, depression and other chronic diseases related to aging.
The healthy fats in avocado also help to stave off arthritis and boost bone health because of the high levels of vitamin K they contain.
In addition, avocados’ fiber helps the body’s digestive system. The potassium and magnesium in avocados help to lower blood pressure, helping to prevent strokes and heart attacks.
While the oleic acid in avocados helps to lower inflammation, it’s also great at promoting smooth soft skin, preventing cancer, and fighting heart disease. Avocados also contain a nutrient that helps us to lower our cholesterol levels.
Two other antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, protect the eyes from UV light damage, preventing cataracts and macular degeneration-two eye diseases that often accompany aging.
Avocados are mild tasting and versatile to use in salads (get those green leafy veggies too), soups, smoothies, on toast, in eggs, desserts, dips and more.
Pomegranates have been considered one of the healthiest fruits because of their powerful polyphenols and anti-aging antioxidants. These nutrients have been shown to help prevent a variety of health issues including fighting cancer, preventing high blood pressure and heart disease.
Recently, a new study found a compound in pomegranates called “urolithin A” which has the ability to influence mitochondria and cellular health in a very positive way. Scientists have discovered that this molecule which is transformed by microbes in the gut, enables muscle cells to protect themselves against one of the major causes of aging.
Urolithin A can actually re-establish a cell’s ability to energize the mitochondria, the cell’s powerhouse. In older mice, this shows up as a 42% increase in endurance. Studies are also underway in humans as well.
Pomegranates are also known to protect the skin against the adverse effects of UVB radiation (sunburn), improving wound healing, and protecting against disease-causing bacteria.
This super-fruit has even more benefits including:
Protecting the immune system, cancer prevention, protecting against Alzheimer’s disease, reducing gut inflammation, helping lessen arthritis, fighting heart disease, and lowering blood pressure.
Always be sure to get pure pomegranate juice without added sugar or other juices to get the best health benefits.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention blueberries and blackberries. Those dark pigments in blueberries and black berries are called anthocyanins. Here’s a few reasons why these dark berries are superfoods:
Both Blackberries and blueberries are super high in antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage and protects the DNA, which helps prevent cancers. These berries also slow tumor growth and stop cancer spread, as well as encouraging the cancer cells to self-destruct.
The plant compounds called anthocyanins have strong antioxidant properties. One of the things these berries do is to help protect and actually reverse aging caused from sun exposure. Being in the sun can generate free radicals which then break down collagen and cause wrinkles.
A diet high in antioxidants from brightly colored fruits and vegetables has been proven to promote better skin quality due to their ability to fight free radicals in the skin and prevent skin cancer as well.
Other studies show that this active ingredient in these dark colored berries increases collagen production. One cup of berries supplies an abundant amount of vitamin C which is important for collagen production as well.
As you age, you want keep your mind sharp! Blueberries and blackberries slow down damage to brain cells as well, which can result in dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Additionally, blueberries and blackberries also protect against DNA damage, helping your cells to reproduce more healthy cells. They also fight metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and even cancer. Studies have shown over and over that blueberries increase longevity and slow the aging processes.
Lycopene in tomatoes is type of antioxidant called a carotenoid. Tons of research has shown for that these antioxidants help protect the skin against sun damage and wrinkles.
Skin cancer risk tends to increase with age. Research in the CMAJ: the Canadian Medical Association Journal shows that cancer risk goes down with increased tomato consumption.
Lycopene helps prevent the breakdown of collagen in the skin. Collagen, as you know, helps keep your skin firm and smooth and a lack of collagen is what contributes to wrinkling.
Lycopene also helps prevent chronic diseases as well. In fact, people with highest levels of this nutrient had a lower risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease.
Lycopene also has antibacterial and antifungal properties and is especially helpful for tooth and gum health.
Lycopene is also active against certain toxins such as aflatoxins (a type of mold often found in peanuts and peanut butter) and toxins in cigarette smoke, second-hand smoke and air pollution.
The most concentrated amounts of lycopene come from cooked tomato sauces like spaghetti sauce. Try it on veggie spirals instead of pasta for a healthier meal.
Dark Green Leafy Veggies
Greens like kale, collards, mustard greens, swiss chard, spinach, arugula, watercress, parsley and romaine are packed with the most nutrients of any food on earth. Leafy greens are full of folate, an essential B vitamin. Folate deficiency is very common, because people just do not get enough green leafy veggies in their diet.
Folate is responsible for digestive health, cardiovascular health, and brain health. Folate is also essential to help the body ‘methylate’ which basically means, putting your B vitamins to work. Folate is crucial to help genes express their best. It is also necessary for healthy DNA and RNA synthesis and protects against cancer.
Greens also specifically fight aging by protecting the brain. A study carried out at Rush University medical center reported a decrease in dementia in the participants who ate the most dark green leafy vegetables.
Researchers associated the high vitamin K, folate, beta carotene and lutein present in greens as part of their anti-aging effect.
Leafy greens also help to reduce blood clots and prevent heart attacks.
Leafy greens provide folate in its natural form, which is far superior to the synthetic form of folate, folic acid, which is often added to processed foods.
It’s well-know that wild caught fatty fish like salmon help fight aging with their plentiful supply of omega 3 fats. However, I want to be sure to include Grass fed beef, because (sorry vegetarians) I strongly believe it is super important to include beef in your diet. As we get older, increasingly need high quality protein sources and grass fed beef definitely supplies this.
Grass fed beef contains plenty of healthy fats—saturated fat, omega 3 fatty acids, and conjugated linoleic acid—all important fats that contribute to our health, help us burn fat, and fight diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Plus, it’s low in inflammatory omega 6 fats, especially if it’s 100% grass fed. And healthy bioavailable protein actually helps keep our bones strong as well.
Grass fed beef also contains essential nutrients such as vitamin B12, B3, and B6. It’s also rich in heme-iron, which means your body can easily put it to use helping build red blood cells and transporting oxygen. Grass fed beef also contains the essential minerals selenium and zinc. In fact, grass fed meat contains almost every nutrient that you need to survive. Eat grass fed meat two times a week for the best benefits.
While it’s not really a ‘food’ I definitely wanted to include ginger in my list of favorites. I love it! But its more than a zingy flavor addition to your smoothies. Ginger contains a massive amount of anti-inflammatory substances along with antioxidants. Ginger is so powerful it can actually take the place of some medications!
Ginger–which is related to turmeric–is one of the most powerful natural medicines you can use for a variety of health conditions.
Here are a few:
- Ginger works to prevent motion sickness and nausea and can be as effective as Dramamine, the sea-sickness medication.
- Ginger’s antioxidant activity and ability to stop inflammation means that it can help to prevent, slow or stop diseases like cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s.
- Ginger can actually reverse amyloid plaques in the brain from Alzheimer’s disease, and it helps improve some of the dysfunctional behaviors observed in Alzheimer’s patients.
- Ginger’s powerful anti-inflammatory activity makes it almost as powerful as an anti-inflammatory medication like Advil. And it’s not hard on your liver, like NSAIDS can be.
- Ginger also helps prevent strokes and heart disease by thinning the blood and preventing dangerous clots.
- AND, ginger helps to speed up your metabolism to burn fat better. Research shows that ginger can speed up metabolism and increase fat burning by up to 16%. Also, ginger helps to suppress your appetite, so having a cup or two of ginger tea during the day will help curtail cravings for snacks.
Here’s a few more reasons to include ginger every day:
It’s immune boosting, reduces pain, fights fatty liver disease, curbs migraines, helps indigestion, fights gum disease, and increases energy. And it tastes great!
Given all these amazing benefits, ginger is something you should add to your daily diet! It’s a great addition to juices, smoothies, sauces and even salads.
Another celebrated superfood, garlic, has some incredible benefits! Here’s a reminder of just a few of those benefits.
Garlic can actually kill a large variety of common, but dangerous bacteria including: campylobacter jejuni (which is responsible for food poisoning), pseudomonas aeruginoasa (pneumonia and urinary infections), E.coli, staph aureus, klebsiella pneumonia (pneumonia, meningitis), shigella sonnei (diarrhea, dysentery), salmonella typhi (typhoid fever), as well as helicobacter pylori responsible for stomach ulcers and cancer. Garlic can attack these dangerous germs with none of the bad side effects of antibiotics.
Garlic is also an effective antifungal and can kill off unwelcome fungus like candida overgrowth in our digestive tract.
Garlic can help stabilize blood sugar, prevent blood clots that cause heart disease and strokes, lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol. And garlic is effective at helping fight cancer as well.
There are plenty of studies showing garlic’s sulfur components fight cancer. And the benefits of garlic are not limited to any particular type of cancer. However, garlic is especially effective against prostate and stomach cancers.
Include raw, chopped or crushed garlic in your soups, salads, smoothies, sauces, and dressings.
One of my favorite anti-aging drinks is coffee. Coffee has numerous anti-aging health benefits and that makes me happy because I love coffee!
According to recent statistics, coffee just happens to be the most popular drink in the world. Coffee is also very high in antioxidants called polyphenols. A special report from Purdue University shows coffee as one of the richest sources of polyphenols. And coffee’s antioxidants lower inflammation by up to 20%. Coffee also helps improve overall cholesterol levels and HDL cholesterol.
Coffee’s antioxidants have been shown to help prevent Parkinson’s disease. Six studies have shown that people who drink coffee daily are up to 80% less likely to develop Parkinson’s. Some of the newer Parkinson’s drugs actually contain a coffee derivative. The caffeine seems to block a malfunctioning brain signal in Parkinson’s disease, and is safe and inexpensive.
Coffee also helps to lower the amount of amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s patients, reducing brain inflammation and helping with mental alertness.
Coffee is effective at fighting colon cancer as well. Drinking 1-2 cups of coffee per day is associated with a lower risk of colon cancer and the more coffee consumed, the better. And along those lines, coffee also helps you to stay regular.
One of the most common diseases of aging is actually liver disease—especially fatty liver disease. Coffee can protect and detox the liver. Coffee drinkers have up to an 84% lower risk of developing cirrhosis, with the strongest effect coming from 4 or more cups a day. The livers of coffee drinkers are also protected from cancer, as studies show coffee drinkers have a 40% lower risk of liver cancer.
On top of those anti-aging benefits, coffee also helps improve asthma, helps get rid of migraines, reduces cholesterol and lowers inflammation.
There are a lot of oils you can use for cooking, but if you saw my recent blog on the dangers of processed seed oils you know that vegetable seed oils can be extremely bad for your health. On the other hand, saturated fat is one of the best fats to cook with as it has a low smoking point and remains stable even with heat.
Butter is one of my all time favorites. Butter, and its counterpart, ghee, have been around since our ancestors first started domesticating animals. Butter has been used for about 4500 years. Butter actually contains vitamins, minerals and other powerful nutrients.
Here are some of the benefits of butter:
- Contains CLA, which is a fat burner, muscle builder, anti-cancer substance, and immunity booster.
- Great source of vitamin A which is good for eyes, skin, thyroid, and adrenal glands.
- Contains vitamin K2, a unique vitamin only found in the milk of grass fed animals. K2 helps get calcium into the bones and teeth where it belongs.
- Contains high levels of vitamin D, essential for bone health, immunity, cancer-fighting and fighting depression.
- Butter contains a substance called the “Wulzen Factor” which protects against degenerative arthritis, hardening of the arteries, cataracts and calcification of the pineal gland.
- Butter is high in selenium, necessary for the immune system, thyroid function and cancer fighting.
- Butter is a good source of lauric acid, important for healthy immune function.
- Butter contains lecithin, essential for healthy brain function, liver function and to supply choline, for healthy cell membranes.
In addition, butter makes almost everything taste better, especially when you choose grass fed butter. To be sure I get the most benefit from butter, I add some grass-fed butter to my organic coffee every day!
That is my top ten list of favorite foods that fight aging. Keep in mind that there are hundreds of foods that can help fight aging, but even if you include these top ten anti-aging foods in your diet every day—or most every day–they will go a long way towards helping you look and feel younger!
Do you wake up in the morning with stiff joints or pain in your hips, back, knees or elbows? Then chances are you’re feeling the effects of chronic inflammation taking its toll on your body.
The good news is that it is NEVER too late to help get this under control. And the best part is there are certain foods that help you do this naturally, without the need for prescriptions medications.