What Foods Help as I Age?

As we age, the foods we eat can greatly affect our fitness, appearance, quality of life and disease risk.

Adding nutrient-dense foods to your diet can help you look and feel your best as you age, says Healthline’s recent article entitled “10 Foods That Support Healthy Aging” which looks at 10 nutritious foods that support healthy aging.

Healthy foods
  1. Extra virgin olive oil. One of the healthiest oils on the planet, it’s full of healthy fats and antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and oxidative damage caused by an imbalance of free radicals in the body. A diet rich in olive oil has been linked to a lower risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and certain types of cancer.
  2. Green tea. It’s high in antioxidants, which can help fight free radicals in the body. Free radicals are unstable molecules created as a byproduct of normal cell functioning. They can also form in response to stressors from the external environment, such as ultraviolet (UV) light or tobacco smoke. They can damage your cells, if they’re present at high levels. Therefore, antioxidants can stabilize free radicals, so they’re unable to cause damage.
  3. Fatty Fish. This is a highly nutritious food that can promote healthy skin. Its long-chain omega-3 fats are great to combat heart disease, inflammation and many other issues. Salmon is one of the most popular types of fatty fish. It has additional aspects that may help support your skin’s health. Salmon and other fatty fish are high in protein, which is important to eat so your body can produce collagen and elastin. Eating protein also promotes wound healing. Fish is high in selenium, which plays a part in DNA synthesis and repair and may help reduce and prevent skin damage from UV light. Good levels may reduce the severity of skin diseases, like psoriasis.
  4. Dark chocolate or cocoa. This is a great source of polyphenols, which act as antioxidants in the body. It contains flavanols, which are linked to numerous health benefits, such as a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cognitive decline. If you want to add dark chocolate to your diet, look for a variety with at least 70% cocoa solids and little added sugar.
  5. Vegetables. Most vegetables are extremely nutrient-dense and low in calories. They also contain antioxidants, which help reduce the risk of heart disease, cataracts, and certain cancers. Many vegetables are also high in carotenoids, like beta carotene and lycopene, which may protect the skin against the sun’s UV rays, which are the main cause of premature skin aging. Some of the best sources of beta carotene are carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes. Veggies with the highest vitamin C content include leafy greens, bell peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli.
  6. Flax seeds. These seeds contain lignans, a type of polyphenol that has antioxidant effects and may lower your risk of developing a chronic disease, like heart disease and breast cancer. Flax seeds are also a great source of an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). This helps support a healthy skin membrane, by helping your skin stay hydrated and plump.
  7. Pomegranates. They’re high in fiber, potassium, and vitamin K, which help support a healthy heart. They’re also rich in antioxidants, such as flavonols, tannins, phenolic acids and lignans.
  8. Avocados. They’re rich in heart-healthy fats, fiber and several vitamins and minerals that are essential for health. The high content of monounsaturated fat in this green fruit may help promote healthy skin by supporting a healthy skin membrane, while their high antioxidant content may fight free radicals that damage and age the skin.
  9. Tomatoes. These guys have many impressive health benefits, several of which can be attributed to their high lycopene content. That’s a type of carotenoid that gives tomatoes their red color and acts as an antioxidant to help reduce the risk of chronic disease. Pairing tomatoes with healthy fats, such as olive oil or avocado, significantly boosts the body’s absorption of lycopene.
  10. Collagen peptides. This is the body’s most abundant protein, which is found in high amounts in the skin and joints. As we get older, our body begins to break down collagen and produces it less effectively, which can mean gradual signs of skin aging, like wrinkles and sagging skin. Eating foods that support collagen synthesis can help keep your skin healthy for longer. These include protein-rich foods and vitamin C. Healthy protein-rich foods to eat regularly include chicken, tofu, fish and eggs.

Reference: Healthline (Oct. 22, 2021) “10 Foods That Support Healthy Aging”


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