Today, people are searching for ways to keep themselves feeling and looking younger. In addition to keeping an active lifestyle, eating well can decrease risk of heart disease–the no. 1 killer of women in America—as well as other health issues. Eating a fresh whole-food diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals will keep women of all ages feeling and looking their best. Here’s a brief list of foods that have been shown to fight the effects of aging in women:
Blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, blackberries and gooseberries are all foods that are rich in flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants, one of the greatest anti-aging assets found in organic foods.1 Berries protect against the deterioration of cognitive and motor functions, reduce oxidative stress, lower inflammation and improve brain cell signaling, according to Dr. Barbara Shukitt-Hale, Ph.D. They’re also a great source of vitamins and can even ensure proper blood flow. Besides flavonoids, berries also are loaded with other nutrients, including vitamin C, potassium and folate (vitamin B9). There’s a large amount of fiber in a daily serving of berries, which also offer digestive benefits. Consuming berries on a consistent basis provides the body with minerals and salts that destroy free radicals, which helps protect women against aging. Shukitt-Hale suggests 1 cup of berries per day to prevent memory loss, lower disease risks and curb weight gain.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olive oil provides the clean, healthy fats the body needs to maintain healthy skin and hair throughout life. In general, “good” fats—monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil’s case—are lacking in the diets of most North Americans. Extra virgin olive oil represents your best choice because it is minimally handled and processed, and it tastes delicious. Warning, do not cook with olive oil. Once the oil is heated, it often changes color or starts to smoke, if that happens the olive oil actually turns into a rancid trans fat!
In order to keep skin supple, women are encouraged to eat about 12 ounces per week of wild salmon, as suggested by the American Heart Association. Salmon also contains omega-3 fatty acids, is rich in vitamin B12, vitamin D, reduces inflammation and slows the progression of chronic disease. Salmon is known to reduce blood pressure, a common health issue for women over 50.2
Dark, Leafy Greens
Kale, spinach, collard greens, romaine lettuce and Swiss chard are dark green vegetables that are full of vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, iron, potassium, calcium and magnesium. The vitamin B in greens guards the heart and memory. Vitamin A supports skin cell turnover, and the lutein found in many forms of green vegetables protects vision. According to Martha Clare Morris ScD, director of the Center of Nutrition & Aging at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, those who eat three to four servings of greens a day will experience less of a decline in memory, recall and other mental functions. Morris and her team have tested 37,000 people. The antioxidants in greens prevent fine lines and wrinkles. Lycopene, lutein and beta-carotene–commonly found in green vegetables–help block UV rays that cause skin to age rapidly. The nutrients in greens help fight against cardiovascular disease, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and may even prevent certain types of cancer.
Garlic is equally as delicious as it is good for you. Garlic is part of a class of vegetables known alliums, which help support your liver’s natural ability to neutralize and remove toxins and carcinogens. To prevent cell degeneration, garlic keeps blood thin and also prevents heart disease.3 Like many of the other foods on the list, garlic is rich in antioxidants. It can help limit the growth of abnormal cells and increases blood flow that goes to the brain for awareness. According to Dr. Ian Smith M.D., garlic also helps fight acne, prevent dandruff and kill bacteria.
Top Anti-Aging Foods for Men
The benefits of eating healthy are endless. While many initially choose to rework their diets in order to look better in a bathing suit, those who stick with a high-quality, whole-food diet experience less illness and typically enjoy long, active lives.
The bottom line? What you put inside of your body will show on your exterior and may add years to your life. For men looking to get fit for life, we’ve listed five foods that will help you look, feel and age better.
According to Christopher Mohr, Ph.D., RD, professor of nutrition at the University of Louisville, quinoa and other healthy grains are high in fiber, protein and vitamin B. All are necessary essential in maximizing health and well being. Beta-glucan is a naturally occurring fiber found in good grains like quinoa. Consuming healthy fiber has been shown to lower cholesterol, blood pressure and weight. Quinoa also helps improve blood sugar levels, which protect your heart, digestive system and overall health. Quinoa is filled with healthy minerals like tryptophan, manganese, and phosphorus, plus they have a good serving of B vitamins. Plus, it keeps you full—so fewer midnight cravings.
Nuts are extremely high in protein, fiber and vitamin E. According to Gary Fraser, Ph.D., almonds help with a man’s digestive system and skin wellness. Nuts are a great source of both protein and healthy fats. Healthy fats are an essential source of clean, efficient energy for the body.1 Although they are high in calories, by eating just a handful at a time you can stay full for a longer amount of time.
In order to improve reproductive and immune system function, men should increase the amount of zinc and selenium in their diet. Turkey is a quality source of both these vital nutrients. Selenium and zinc are known as anti-aging enzymes because they are filled with superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase, two of the most powerful antioxidant enzymes in the body. Glutathione is particularly important. It is used by almost every cell in the body and plays a crucial role in preventing the spread of harmful free radicals. Lean ground turkey meat also contains significant amounts of vitamin B and various amino acids, according to Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD.2
Black beans have more fiber than any other legume, as well as a significant amount of protein. They contain no saturated fat and have more flavonoids that most beans. The antioxidants in black beans help stifle the aging process, according to Jennifer Bathgate, R.D. The copper and zinc found in black beans play a key role in preventing wrinkles.3
Sweet potatoes contain lycopene that protects from UV damage and vitamin C producing collagen for healthy skin. However, because of their natural sugar content, sweet potatoes should be avoided if weight loss is a goal. Maximized Living recommends sweet potatoes only for those on the Core Plan