Written by Josh Horsman
The term 'anti-aging' can often have quite superficial connotations these days. Cosmetics companies frequently overuse the term when describing the aesthetic benefits of miracle creams, moisturisers or makeup. But there is nothing superficial about the genuine anti-aging benefits of these foods. Following a healthy diet and giving your body the right nutrition it needs on a regular basis is the way to keep it functioning effectively. A well-functioning body means you will not be as susceptible to illnesses, mobility problems and other age-related problems. If you continue to eat healthy into your later years, you will ultimately reduce your risk of death and therefore live longer. Now THAT is anti-aging!
Here's our pick of the top 10 anti-aging foods:
Berries are packed full of antioxidants, powerful nutrients which fight against harmful molecules in the body called ‘free radicals’. Some people find cranberries bitter to taste, but whether you love them or hate them, the evidence of their health benefits is undeniable. Research into their effects on longevity has found that fruit flies who were given cranberry extract regularly lived up to 30% longer than those which were not.
Blueberries are a bonafide superfood. Like cranberries they are packed with antioxidants, powerful substances that help the body fight of disease and prevent inflammation.
There is also evidence that blueberries are good for your brain, helping both your body and brain to stay younger for longer!
Not technically a food, but green tea is undoubtedly one of the healthiest things you can consume and the world’s second-most popular beverage is rightly lauded for its anti-aging health benefits. In fact, a scientific study which investigated the drinking habits of 90,916 subjects aged between 40 and 69 years old, discovered that people who drink one or more cups a day reduce their risk of an early death by ten per cent.
Green tea is also notable for the anti-oxidants it contains are thought to reduce your risk of certain cancers, including breast and prostate cancer as well as boosting your brain function and building up your body's defences against cognitive conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Want to live longer? Go nuts! A study at Harvard University found that people who ate a handful of nuts every day were expected to live longer than those who did not.
Nuts contain a range of key nutrients for healthy aging and longevity, including: Fiber, protein, healthy unsaturated fats and antioxidants. The high nutritional content is likely the reason why nuts have also been found to prevent or reduce your risk of a range of conditions. Studies have found that those who eat nuts regularly are less likely to develop heart-disease, respiratory problems and certain cancers. It must be noted, however, that unsalted varieties are much healthier for regular consumption so it is always best to be conscious of this when choosing nuts.
4. Chia Seeds
When it comes to nutrients required for healthy aging, fiber is king! It is perhaps most well-known for encouraging a healthy bowel, but the benefits of fiber go far beyond this.
Fiber also keeps you full and suppresses your appetite helping control your calorie intake as well as keeping blood sugar low. Moreover, eating lots of Fiber also helps to prevent serious conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and colon cancer, meaning you stay healthy for longer. In fact, a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that people who increased their dietary fiber intake significantly lowered their risk of death. Chia seeds are a rich source of fiber and an easy way to get an extra boost of the nutrient as they can be sprinkled on or added to a diverse range of dishes. They are also packed full of calcium and B-vitamins, nutrients which are especially important for those in midlife and beyond.
The right kind of yogurt can be a cheap, nutritious and arguably essential part of any healthy diet. ‘The right kind’ means the low-fat, probiotic, greek variety rather than the sugar-laden artificially-flavoured yogurts. Yogurt has been found to help counter “many of the health problems associated with getting older” write the authors of the book ‘Eat Better Live Longer’ and this is consistent with the findings of scientific studies. In particular, yogurt helps keep blood pressure low and, in turn, this helps protect against conditions such as stroke, heart disease and diabetes.
Being a probiotic food, yogurt also helps to reduce inflammation in the body and encourage healthy bacteria in the gut. Some studies have also suggested that those who include lots of probiotic foods in their diet live longer than those who do not.
Of all fruit and vegetables, tomatoes are one of the most nutrient-rich. Lycopene, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and antioxidants are just some of the health-boosting content of the red fruit. Particularly notable is Lycopene, of which the tomato is one of few sources, which is known to protect the body against prostate cancer, UV skin damage and some cardiovascular diseases. Lycopene is more easily absorbed when cooked, so cooking your tomatoes will actually maximise the benefit to your body.
7. Red Wine
Bear with us here, this may seem unlikely, but research is suggesting with increasing confidence that those who regularly consume moderate amounts of alcohol throughout their lives live longer and enjoy a range of long-term health benefits. These studies include a recent study from UC Irvine Institute for Memory and previous research at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. While this evidence suggests alcohol in general may lead to longevity, red wine has the strongest case for being the drink of choice for those who want to live long into old age. It’s purported health benefits include slowing the development of dementia, preventing breast cancer and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
They’re often overlooked as an integral part of a nutritious diet, but beans really should play a big part in any healthy eating routine. Beans, also known as legumes, are a versatile and nutrient rich staple-food. As well as filling you up, they provide an impressive range of health benefits. They are loaded with that aforementioned supernutrient - fiber. This means that they help regulate cholesterol, lower your risk of diabetes and protect against certain cancers. Because they are dense, but low in calories, regularly eating beans can help control your weight and prevent you from consuming excess calories by making you feel full. One research study into the health effects of legumes discovered that those who never consume beans have a higher mortality rate than those who do!
Fish, being rich in protein and healthy fats is of course good for your body. The omega-3 fatty acids contained especially in salmon work to prevent the clogging of your arteries, reduce blood pressure and keep your heart health. But further to this, fish is one of the most important foods for boosting your brain. It is a key component of the ‘Mediterranean Diet’ which has been found to significantly reduce your risk of Dementia, when followed as part of a healthy lifestyle. In the short-term, regularly eating fish and loading up on omega-3’s will improve your cognitive performance in areas including memory and concentration.
Oats are another rich source of fiber which, as mentioned previously, is an essential nutrient for healthy aging. Fiber-rich foods, such as whole wheat bread, oats and brown rice improve blood cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Oats are a brilliant source of this fiber containing a hefty 9 grams per cup. Oats are also renowned for their heart-healthy properties and regularly consuming oatmeal or other oat-based products has been found to reduce your risk of heart-disease, stroke and other coronary conditions.