Do you ever wonder why some people seem to hold onto their youth, while others age prematurely? Is it possibly just “good genes” or is there something else in the mix? Could it be a healthy diet with a side of exercise?
There is something to be said about diet and aging, as the National Institute on Aging explains in some detail, you are what you eat. A healthy diet full of fruits, grains, and veggies can slow the aging process and prevent age-related diseases.
Further proof of diet in relation to health is evident in the health issues many Americans face because of a poor diet. These include heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Building the Immune System
The immune system is the body’s best defense against aging. Those little antibodies that act behind the scenes do wonders for us, attacking bacteria, viruses, toxins and cancer cells, to name a few. As the Albert Einstein College discovered, aging has an impact on how the immune system responds to the invaders.
Antioxidants are the best protection in slaying free radicals, chemicals that can damage cells and genetic material, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. In their natural form, antioxidants can rebuild, repair and strengthen an aged defense system. Foods that include natural antioxidants include
- Fruits and Berries: Gojo and acai berries are highest in antioxidants, followed by blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries, strawberries, and pomegranates.
- Vegetables: Highest in antioxidants are greens like kale, spinach, and broccoli.
- Beans or Legumes: Black beans are highest in antidoxidants, with kidney beans close behind.
- Nuts and Whole Grains: Pecans are the best, but walnuts and almonds are great, too. Steel cut oats, quinoa, and whole grains are also noteworthy.
There are foods that can help you stay keep a youthful appearance, while preventing disease at the same time. The Cancer Nutrition Centers of America has some suggestions of anti-aging foods:
- Avocado: High in vitamin E, and rich in antioxidants, they keep your skin looking young by regenerating skin cells.
- Broccoli: Broccoli may prevent cancer and is full of vitamin C. It also contains the liver detox nutrient sulforaphane.
- Bell Peppers: Peppers contain strong antioxidants, stick with the brighter colored red, orange and yellow ones. They also help reduce sun damage and certain cancers.
- Oranges: As we well know, they are high in Vitamin C. They can also boost your immune system and offer skin firming collagen.
- Sweet Potatoes: Not only are they filling, delicious and sweet, they offer antioxidants and anti-inflammatory relief. They are high in vitamins A, C, and E, which are good for your complexion and a healthy head of hair.
Avoiding foods that are highly processed, such as chips, ice cream, boxed and canned foods, and fast food, is the best way to keep free radicals out of your body and help keep your immune system in top shape.