There’s an old saying that “you are what you eat.” That’s extremely true, especially when it comes to aging. Eating the wrong foods can accelerate aging while eating the right foods can help you to “put the brakes on aging”—slowing down the impact of free radicals on your body.
Here’s What You Should Eat for Healthy Aging
- Nix the Sugar: As many of you know, sugar—including simple carbohydrates—causes inflammation in your body. But did you know that sugar also ages you? That’s because excess sugar intake creates substances in your blood called advanced glycation end products (AGEs) that accelerate the aging process. In fact, there’s considerable evidence linking the high consumption of sugar to premature aging of your skin, heart, and other organs.
- Avoid Trans Fats Like the Plague: Trans fats are essentially a man-made fat that’s created by adding hydrogen to polyunsaturated oils (such as vegetable oil). Food manufacturers use these fats to prolong the shelf life of packaged foods. Trans fats increase free radical activity in the body, which is one of the two top culprits in aging. Plus they promote LDL cholesterol and oxidation, lower healthy HDL cholesterol, and raise Lp(a)—the most dangerous form of cholesterol.
- Enjoy Blueberries: Blueberries are extraordinarily rich in “age-defying” flavonoids. These flavonoids help to prevent macular degeneration and have enormously positive effects on aging brain cells. In fact, research on aging rats showed that consuming blueberries in their feed resulted in a lower rate of memory decline and helped to reverse memory loss—as measured by putting the rats in a maze.
- Eat More Wild Alaskan Salmon: Chances are you know that salmon is rich in heart-healthy omega-3s. But what many people don’t realize is that it also contains a powerful carotenoid called astaxanthin, which gives salmon its distinctive color. Astaxanthin packs a serious antioxidant punch to free radicals, helping to prevent the oxidation of fats in the body, which is important for healthy aging. It also supports eye and brain health.
- Increase Your Intake of Coconut Oil: Unlike other oils, coconut oil is composed mainly of medium-chain-triglycerides (MCT), which are critical for brain function and energy production. You can use coconut oil for cooking (just remember not to heat it to the point of smoking) and mix it with olive oil in your salads or serve over steamed vegetables.