By Mark Stibich, Ph.D., About.com
These food and drink options will help your body fight off the damage caused by aging (see exotic anti-aging foods for some odder longevity foods). Just work them into your daily and weekly meal plans and you’ll be getting extra vitamins, antioxidants and other substances that will help your body fight age-related illnesses. Start today!
Avocados lead my list of anti-aging foods because that are just so delicious. Of course, avocados are loaded with healthy fats to help improve your cholesterol, but the main reason to eat avocados is because they taste so good.
I know I need to eat more omega-3s
and that fish are a great source, but I have to admit that possible mercury contamination
of fish has got me a bit scared off. That’s where walnuts come in. Turns out that walnuts are a great (and mercury-free) source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Eat a handful or two a day for all your omega-3 needs.
I know, it’s pretty boring to talk about the need to eat more vegetables — but here’s the thing, we all really need to do it. In fact, if the country could get 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day, we’d see a huge decrease in heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure and more. So find some way to eat one more veggie or fruit this week, then add another next week until you get to 9 servings. Focus on leafy or deeply colored vegetables for the most benefit.
Water is good for you. This seems pretty basic. There is some disagreement in the medical world whether drinking TONS of water is really a good idea, but while they sort that out stay focused on water. Your goal should be to make water your primary drink. This way, you’ll be drinking a no calorie, no chemical drink all day long instead of the many, many high-calorie, high chemical alternatives.
Berries are packed full of antioxidants and other chemicals that your body can use to make repairs and prevent some of the damage caused by aging. Best of all, berries taste really, really good. Be sure to eat your berries without any sauces or sugars. Just enjoy them plain for their goodness.
Green tea has been a longevity supplement in Asia for thousands of years. It is a great thing to work into your daily life. Green tea contains high concentrations of just the chemicals your body needs. Green tea is also inexpensive, delicious and gives a mild (and gentle) energy boost from its caffeine.
Red wine is good for you — it contains a substance called “resveratrol” that help your body fight off age-related illnesses. At the end of your day have a glass or two to relax and unwind. You’ll get the benefits of a delicious drink along with the anti-aging properties of resveratrol.
Beans are a great source of healthy protein and antioxidants. Really, beans are a wonder food. Some researchers (like T. Colin Powell
) believe that animal protein may cause many of the illnesses we face as we age. Switching to a (healthy) vegetarian diet certainly will help improve the health of your heart and arteries. Beans are a necessary part of any healthy vegetarian diet. If you don’t want to go all the way to vegetarianism, then just start by substituting a few meals a week with bean-based entrees.
When I think of fruit, I don’t always think of melons. That’s a shame because melons have some of the best nutritional profiles of all the fruits. They are pulpy (so they fill you up) and contain lots of vitamins for your body. Work melons into your daily/weekly diet and you’ll be reaping health benefits as you enjoy them.
I put chocolate last in this list only because it doesn’t need to be higher up to get your attention. Chocolate (dark chocolate, that is) is good for you. It has a balance of fats that don’t harm your body and tons of healthy chemicals that your body needs. The only draw-back is that chocolate also has calories. Have a little square every day, but don’t overdue it.
Get creative and incorporate these foods in your diet and see your body change. Trust me…berries will become sweet and replace candy, beans will fill you up and make you reconsider heavy meats and water…I can’t say enough about water…WATER IS LIFE!