Age, they say, is but a number. But if we think there is nothing we can do to stop our digits from ticking forward, we can slow it down or, in very specific cases, change the direction of our biological clock. Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the best ways for us to boost our longevity. Whether this is having more antioxidants and vitamins in our diet, while also consuming healthy doses of fat, there are a variety of foods that we should incorporate into our lives to slow down our aging. Let’s get into it.
For the pescatarians out there, this staple is high in Omega-3 fats and lean protein. Crucial for supporting your heart and nervous system, fish like salmon can also build lean muscle mass. The importance of good fats cannot be underestimated. You need to have a healthy dose of good fats to keep your hair and skin looking young. When choosing oily rich fish, look for or low mercury catches such as wild salmon. Heavy metal fish like tuna requires a limited intake.
One of the best foods out there for fighting off aging, just as long as you consume them on a regular basis. Nuts, such as walnuts, can play a crucial role in heart health. Walnuts can help lower your total cholesterol, specifically your LDL or “bad” cholesterol. They also contain numerous anti-inflammatory phytochemicals. Consuming a healthy dose of nuts that contain Omega-3 fats, protein, polyphenols, and fiber may also help to maintain and slow down cognitive decline, a key factor in reducing the aging process.
An excellent source of fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C, they are a wonderful way to preserve brain health, promote heart health, while also lowering your risk of certain cancers. The deep blue color comes from a key phytochemical anthocyanin and the vitamin C will promote cellular protection and skin health.
A key part of the Mediterranean diet, which is considered one of the most healthy diets linked with longer and healthy lives. Legumes are a great dose of plant-based protein for vegans, and are shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Full of vitamins, phytonutrients, and all-important fiber that keeps healthy weight management in check, the versatile variety of beans such as fava, cannellini, and black beans make them easy to incorporate into anybody’s diet. What’s more, they are a cheap way to boost your diet and fight the signs of aging.
Olives are an excellent source of polyphenols and phytonutrients that protect your DNA and give you more energy. They also providing a healthy dose of omega-3 and good fats. When choosing olives, it is crucial to find fresh olives. Canned or jarred olives are stripped of their vital ingredients during the pitting process. The next time you venture to an Italian restaurant, order that side of olives and give your health a boost!
A wonder food for anybody’s diet, avocados contain essential nutrients our bodies cannot produce by themselves. Avocados are full of antioxidants that reverse the sign of aging, good fats to maintain brain health, and the monounsaturated fats found in avocados work to lower cholesterol naturally.
One of the greatest sources of polyphenols around. Consuming dark chocolate on a regular basis can work wonders for reducing the signs of aging. Polyphenols can switch on certain signaling pathways to compound anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants to make your skin and body healthier. Cocoa polyphenols are shown to induce nitric oxide release, which is a key component of heart health. But all chocolate is not made equal! When looking for a dark chocolate bar, the higher percentage of cocoa, the better. When in doubt, go for raw cacao. Cacao is classed as one of the superfoods, which is rich in magnesium, essential vitamins like vitamin B, and minerals like zinc. They work to fuel anti-aging properties.
The second most consumed beverage in the world after water, tea contains phytochemicals, including theanine, flavonoids, catechins and EGCC that fights inflammation. Consuming unsweetened black tea may lower the risk of heart disease by up to 12%. However, the benefits are felt more by the aging population, which is great for anyone concerned that it is too late to turn back the clock. Tea promotes heart health by lowering the risk of death from heart disease in 65 year olds and over by 10%, and may reduce blood pressure and fat absorption in the body.
If you are on a low-carb kick, this might be the thing to lure you back. Sweet potatoes are not just a tasty addition to your meal, but are full of essential vitamins and minerals, and fiber. 200g of a baked sweet potato with the skin on provides 769% of the recommended daily value of vitamin A, which is a nutrient that can revitalize collagen production in the skin. If you are looking to brighten your complexion, a sweet potato is the way to go! In addition, full of potassium and manganese, as well as a variety of antioxidants including anthocyanins, the purple variety could slow down the growth of certain types of cancer cells in test tube studies.
We have talked about food, but we can’t forget about what goes on our food! Herbs and spices provide all-important flavor to our foods, but they don’t just make our foods taste delicious, they can help to reduce our added sugar and salt intake, which we need to reduce inflammation, therefore helping us age healthily. As a key component of the Mediterranean diet, which is one of the key markers of a long and healthy life, herbs and spices appear to be invaluable. Ginger has an abundance of anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory effects. Turmeric and rosemary make your food taste fantastic while also benefiting the immune system.
The importance of a healthy diet is something we’re all aware of. When we incorporate a healthy diet as part of a healthy routine, we will benefit long into our twilight years.
If you need help losing weight, Dr. Anand Thakkar and his dedicated team at the Chicago Weight Loss Clinic are here to help. Dr. Thakkar has an extensive background in internal medicine. His mission is to help people become the healthiest versions of themselves using movement, nutrition, and a whole-body approach to medical care. You can schedule a free consultation at a location closest to you.
Dr. Anand Thakkar is a licensed Internal Medicine physician. He is Board Certified in Anti-Aging & Regenerative Medicine and has been a member of the teaching faculty for students at Chicago Medical School. He has been featured on ABC, FOX, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes as a recognized authority in wellness, fitness & nutrition, weight loss, anti-aging, hormones & metabolic medicine, holistic medicine, lifestyle coaching and women’s & men’s health.
This blog is for informational purposes only. Do not make any major changes to your lifestyle, diet, or exercise without the supervision of a licensed medical professional.