Natural Remedies: Anti-aging Superfoods

Everyone is looking for natural remedies for anti-aging, but keeping the body young starts with what you put into it.  In fact, according to Adam Friedman, M.D., director of dermatological research at New York City’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine, "Nutrition plays an important part in limiting the aging process and helping to protect against damage from UV rays, the number one cause of lines and wrinkles."

There are a number of foods that are gaining attention for their youthful effects on the mind and body.  Incorporate some or all of the following foods into your diet to help fight aging from the inside out.

Whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal are rich in selenium — a mineral that helps protect the body from harmful UV rays which can have an aging effect on the skin.  Australian and Dutch research in 2009 found that higher levels of selenium in the blood were associated with reduced non-melanoma skin cancers by about 60 percent.

Colorful fruits and vegetables provide a host of anti-aging benefits.  Blueberries, blackberries, black currants and raspberries are rich in phytochemicals found in their skins that protect the body from harmful free radicals.  Dark berries are also thought to help promote coordination and short-term memory.

Orange fruits and vegetables like cantaloupe, apricots, carrots, squash and sweet potatoes are good sources of beta-carotene which fights free radicals and may slow aging by boosting the production of collagen in the skin and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) which help the skin retain moisture.  Dark, leafy, green vegetables such as collard greens, kale and spinach are also high in healthy beta-carotene.

Lycopene is another important carotenoid found in cooked tomatoes and products like tomato paste and tomato sauce.  In a study published last year, researchers found that women who consumed roughly two ounces of lycopene-rich tomato paste daily for 12 weeks experienced less damage to skin with exposure to UV light than women who did not consume the tomato paste.

To enhance absorption of carotenoids, combine colorful vegetables with avocado.  Avocados are a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) which are believed to lower levels of bad cholesterol in the body.  This healthy, creamy fruit also contains potassium, which fights fluid retention and high blood pressure, lowering the risks for stroke.  Avocados are a good source of vitamin E – which is thought to improve hydration and elasticity in the skin and reduce hot flashes, a byproduct of menopause. They are also rich in folate, which may be helpful in reducing the risks for heart attack.  Lastly, avocados contain antioxidants, which help shield the body from harmful free radicals that can damage cells, tissues and organs.

Salmon and Tuna are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which have antioxidant properties and help to reduce inflammation in the body.  In addition, new research suggests that these important fatty acids may affect the brain, leading to enhanced mood and attitude in healthy individuals.  Omega-3 fats promote healthy skin by improving firmness and elasticity and reducing dryness.  People who are not fond of fish can get Omega-3 fatty acids from walnuts, almonds, pecans, cashews and flaxseed.

While wrinkled skin is an obvious effect of aging, other signs are memory loss, reduced brain function and greater risks for chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease and hypertension.  Incorporate the nutritious and delicious foods above into your daily diet to help with all these signs and symptoms of aging.

Sources:
http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/diet-plans/anti-aging-diet-tips
http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/guide/anti-aging-diet

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