Mental Health

Eat This and Take Years Off Your Age

July 3, 2012

I awoke this morning only to discover a new wrinkle, an unwelcome addition with far too many friends to count.  Aging is a natural phenomenon in a human lifecycle.  It cannot be prevented, and as we age our bodies will change and deteriorate.

Wrinkles and memory loss are just two of the many manifestations of aging.  A higher risk of contracting diseases like cancer, developing Alzheimer’s, elevated blood pressure, and cardiac failures are all associated with it.

We cannot reverse the aging process, but we can slow it down by eating the right kinds of food and living healthfully.  In general, keep your calorie and saturated fat intake down; eat plenty of whole grains, oily fish, fruits, and vegetables; cut down on salt and sugar.  There are ten specific anti-aging foods that will help you in your fight against Mother Nature, and should be regularly included in your diet.

  • Avocado: this fruit is a good source of monounsaturated fat and reduces the LDL cholesterol.  It also is an excellent source of vitamin E that will help prevent skin aging and alleviate menopausal hot flashes.
  • Berries: All black and blue berries contain phytochemicals, which help protect the body against free radicals and aging.  Blueberries are known to have memory-boosting potential.
  • Cruciferous vegetables: includes cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, turnip, brussel sprouts, radish, and watercress.  These vegetables assist the body in its fight against toxins and cancer.
  • Garlic: Eating a clove of garlic a day helps keep cancer and heart disease away.  A 1994 study in Iowa suggested that women who ate a clove of garlic at least once a week were 50% less likely to develop colon cancer.  Another study in India found that garlic reduced cholesterol levels and was more effective at blood thinning than aspirin.
  • Ginger: can be used to boost digestive and circulatory systems and helps alleviate rheumatic aches and pains.
  • Nuts: They are high in calories and fat, but in small amounts are a good source of minerals, especially walnuts and brazil nuts.  They enhance the digestive and immune systems, help control/prevent cancer, and control cholesterol levels.
  • Soy: Helps menopausal women maintain estrogen levels and assuage hot flashes.
  • Whole-meal pasta and brown rice: These are complex carbohydrates that supply energy throughout the day–helpful at a period in your life when your energy can be low.
  • Watermelon: Both flesh and seeds are nutritious and help protect against free radical damage and aging.
  • Water: Drink at least 8 cups of water a day.  It helps us get rid of the toxins and waste from our bodies.

Scientists at the USDA have developed a ratio scale that measures the antioxidant content of various plant foods.  The scale is called ORAC – Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity.  They found that a small group of “super foods” have up to twenty times the antioxidant power of other foods.  It is recommended that one consumes 3,000 ORAC units a day, which is not too difficult: ½ cup of blueberries are 2,400 units.

Food

ORAC Score

Prunes

5,770

Raisins

2,830

Blueberries

2,400

Blackberries

2,036

Kale

1,770

Strawberries

1,540

Spinach

1,260

Raspberries

1,220

We are what we eat. Fortunately, many foods are proven to drastically enhance our lives. A combination of the ten specific anti-aging foods mixed with the ORAC superfoods have the power to delay aging and make our bodies healthier. These foods will make you feel better, younger, and fend off disease.  Throw in a high-quality antiwrinkle cream and you’ll look great, too!

 

Aliza Beer, M.S., R.D., is a registered dietitian with a masters degree in nutrition and has a private practice in Cedarhurst. Consultations can be done in office, or by phone/email. Aliza can be reached at alizabeer@gmail.com.