Who doesn’t want to live a long, healthy life? I mean, isn’t that the goal for most of us? To make it long enough to leave a lasting legacy, to watch our children grow older and spend time with our grandchildren as they age? But until they find a real version of the fountain of youth, we need to take certain steps to ensure our bodies will make it through the years. These days, science is proving that what we put in our bodies matters more and more.
We all know aging is a natural process we all go through. Our bodies undergo several changes as we age, including decreased bone density, skin elasticity, and muscle mass. If we eat the wrong thing, we can end up with inflammation and chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. However, if you pack your diet with the RIGHT foods, you can slow down that process. If you want specifics on the best foods, keep reading.
More Healthy Fats
You need more fats in your diet, but be sure they’re healthy ones! We’re talking walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, avocados, olives, fatty fish, and dark chocolate (hallelujah for that one!).
If you can add more salmon, sardines, and anchovies to your diet, your risk for autoimmune diseases and cardiovascular issues decreases, and the health of your brain improves. That’s because they contain omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation and are important for the brain, eyes, and blood vessels.
Less Animal Protein
Aim for less red meat and more of the white stuff. Think chicken and turkey here, and fish when you can. Keep red meats like steak to a minimum.
Go black and blue, at least with your berries. Blackberries and blueberries are some of the best foods for your brain. Blue fruit has neuroprotective substances, like anthocyanidins, which pack powerful health benefits. This means they can generally slow down brain aging and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. They’re also helpful for reducing the risk of heart attacks, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Fun fact: blueberries are thought to be so good at protecting our DNA even NASA has studied it for astronauts in space.
Studies show people who regularly eat leafy greens like kale, broccoli, spinach, and Brussels sprouts have about 16 percent lower risk of a heart attack and brains up to 11 years younger than those who don’t eat them. Their blood vessels are much healthier. Leafy greens are packed with key vitamins like A, C, and K and antioxidants.
Nuts and Seeds
Eating pumpkin, chia, and flax seeds are easy to bump up your fiber, which will reduce your risk of heart disease and early death. They’re high in healthy fats and protein, along with minerals and vitamins, including vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against cellular damage.
Nuts are also helpful. Studies show if you eat walnuts, your risk of heart attack decreases. And they help improve cognitive functioning and help protect the brain against Alzheimer’s disease because they contain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and many other phytochemicals. Adding more nuts to your diet also leads to less insulin resistance and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and colon cancer.
All hail this heavenly option! However, there is one caveat. It can’t be just any dark chocolate. It has to contain at least 70 percent cacao. Studies show that dark chocolate can lessen your risk of heart disease, hypertension, and even your risk of death. It contains flavanols that can help reduce inflammation and slow down the aging process. And it helps improve mood. This is my kind of treat!
Legumes like chickpeas, lentils, and peas can cut your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. They have fiber and healthy micronutrients, including magnesium and potassium.
Tea and Coffee
Green and white tea lessen your risk of stroke, heart disease, and hypertension. Green tea is rich in polyphenols, which help protect against cellular damage, and it can improve brain function. Green tea can also cut your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. That’s also the case if you keep your coffee intake under 3 to 5 cups a day. And it’ll also reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and various cancers. The caffeine in coffee slows protein clumping, which also plays a role in aging.
There are many more options to help fight disease, leading to a longer life. Avocados, tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, and certain herbs are among them. Even apples and pomegranates. It’s important to incorporate as many anti-aging foods into your diet as possible to slow the aging process and reduce your risk of chronic diseases. Of course, you should complement it with a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and getting enough sleep. But by making healthy choices with what you put on your plate, you’re much more likely to live a longer, healthier, and more vibrant life.