Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Top 10 Foods to Keep You Young

Lynn Maison


The basics of a perfect anti-aging diet would include lots of fresh fruits and veggies, solid amounts of whole grains and fiber, and oily fish 2 to 3 times a week. Cutting back on fat and sugar-laden foods is an important step in keeping you looking and feeling both healthy and young. Besides these basics, though, there are other foods you should be considering to help maximize your anti-aging strategies. Here are the top 10 foods to help keep you young.

Avocado

Although most people think avocado is a vegetable, it's actually a fruit loaded with monounsaturated fats, which the body needs to combat high cholesterol in the bloodstream. Avocados also are a great source of Vitamin E, which helps minimize visible signs of aging, and have tons of potassium, which helps lower blood pressure, lessens water retention, and can even help with muscle cramping.

Berries

Any sort of dark berry -- think blueberries, blackberries, or even black grapes -- are loaded with phytochemicals. These flavonoids act as heavy duty antioxidants that help the body fight off free radicals that can cause visible aging on the skin.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables, like cabbage, kale, turnips, cauliflower, and radishes help your body vanquish toxins, and have even been shown to minimize the risk of some cancers. You do need to cook these vegetables lightly and for as short a time as possible -- long amounts of cooking or boiling will destroy the healthy enzymes they offer. Try steaming them or eating them raw in a salad for maximum impact.

Garlic

While garlic may or may not help you fight off Dracula, researchers have found that eating just a single clove of garlic daily can help you stave off both heart disease and some cancers. In fact, one study showed that post-menopausal women between 55 and 69 had a whopping 50% less chance of being diagnosed with colon cancer when they added garlic to their daily diets. Studies have also shown that garlic can help maintain or lower cholesterol levels, and can even thin blood more efficiently than a daily dose of low-strength aspirin. Great news for people with a history of heart disease or heart attacks in their family!

Ginger

Ginger has been used for centuries as a digestive aid in many cultures, and can also help relieve arthritic aches and pains. After all, it's hard to feel your anti-aging diet is really working if your bones still creak!

Nuts

Although nuts are high-calorie, high-fat foods, they also contain rich amounts of minerals -- particularly walnuts, which can help provide everything from zinc, potassium, iron, and more to your daily diet. Think of walnuts as nature's supplements, and incorporate them into your diet by sprinkling them on salads or cereals. Nuts can also act as a digestive aid and help shore up your immune system, as well as help lower high cholesterol levels.

Soy

Soy products, especially fermented soy products, are an excellent choice for menopausal or post-menopausal dietary plans, since they maintain a woman's estrogen levels and can ease hot flashes. Soy consumption has also been linked to lower rates of heart disease, Alzheimer's, and even osteoporosis and brittle bone syndrome.

Whole Meal Pasta and Rice

Complex carbs like whole grain pasta and rice help you feel full and stay active throughout the day, as well as deliver solid boosts of fiber and iron to aid your digestive system. Look to add brown rice in particular to your daily routine, since it offers a good amount of B vitamins that can boost energy.

Watermelon

This low-calorie, high-water fruit contains loads of vitamins A, B, and C -- plus the seeds offer minerals like zinc and selenium, which is a known free-radical fighter. Add chunks of watermelon to your smoothies, or mix with feta cheese for a light vegetarian salad.

Water

There's no doubt that a full 8 glasses of water daily will go a long way to maintain your body's health and vitality. Minimize your consumption of sugar and fat-laden drinks, tea, or coffee, and instead reach for low-fat or skim milk, flavored water, or fresh juice as additional liquid replacements. You can also add more H2O to your diet by eating high-water fruits and veggies like cucumbers, melons, lettuce, or tomatoes.

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