Aubrey de Grey, famous English gerontologist, who studies the scientific aspects of ageing, observes, “There’s no such thing as ageing gracefully. I don’t meet people who want to get Alzheimer’s disease, or who want to get cancer or arthritis or any of the other things that afflict the elderly. Ageing is bad for you and we better just actually accept that.” However, it isn’t too hard to slow down the process of ageing, or delay the effects of growing old. As a part of our regular diet, we often consume food that helps us fight old age. We also eat food that facilitates our ageing. Hence it is important that we recognize the foods that are doing us harm, and embrace a dietary lifestyle which includes healthy ingredients. Healthy food provides us with a plethora of nutrients which can help us ward off diseases associated with old age. As we all know, we are what we eat. So why not eat nutritious, and stay fit? Including a small quantity of these foods in your meals each day can help you stay away from drugs that make false promises, and maintain a youthful lifestyle. Here are ten such foods that can reverse ageing, without asking you to compromise on your taste buds.
This dark green vegetable contains antioxidants in abundance, and has the ability to keep various diseases under control. The most important anti-ageing compound that it is made up of is the isothiocyanate, which helps prevent cancer. Regularly including broccoli in your diet can help fight various kinds of cancer, including that of the prostrate, bladder, breast and lungs. Other vegetables that belong to the cruciferous family, and can help you fight these diseases and hence stay young, are cauliflowers, cabbage, horseradish, Brussels sprouts and watercress. Have stir-fried broccolis or steam them and add them to your salads, and soon you will be saying goodbye to old age.
In contrast to the myth surrounding eggs that say they increase our cholesterol levels, eggs are actually excellent sources of protein. They are rich in vitamin B, especially choline, which is helpful when it comes to keeping brain inflammation in check. This in turn reduces our susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease. Added to that, eggs are a powerhouse of compounds that strengthen bones and our immune system in general. This super food also boasts of being made up of nine most important amino acids as well as the compounds zeaxanthin and lutein, which prevent visual impairment. In fact, several nutritionists suggest that consuming raw eggs as and when possible, especially if you are allergic to cooked ones, impedes our ageing process. The best eggs are those that are free-range organic ones. These versatile little protein suppliers can be cooked and eaten whichever way you like.
3. Flax Seeds
It is a known fact that omega-3 fatty acids are excellent compounds that keep several diseases at bay. Though fish is one of the best ways to obtain these chemicals, for vegetarians flax seeds prove to be a good alternative. They also contain lignans and fiber that is easily soluble; both these nutrients eliminate bad cholesterol, while simultaneously introducing good cholesterol into our body. Flax seeds are best enjoyed when added to our breakfast cereals, but to make them more effective, it is important that we maintain a regular exercising schedule and steer clear of all food containing saturated fats.
Several people over the age of eighty, yet fit and healthy, attribute the secret of their “youth” to the consumption of yogurt on a daily basis. Research is still being conducted on the compounds that this miracle anti-ageing food contains, but it is a well-accepted fact that yogurt is abundant in calcium. This keeps rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis in check. Moreover, the good bacteria that yogurt has helps eliminate all chances of developing intestinal diseases that are a common occurrence as you grow old.
5. Leafy Greens
True, broccoli is the first food that has been listed here, but we aren’t talking of cruciferous vegetables now. Leafy vegetables like kale, beet greens, lettuce and spinach contain essential nutrients, including lutein and zeaxanthin that make them wonderful sources of anti-ageing components. Ensuring that these greens are strictly incorporated into at least two meals a day, especially in their raw form as salads, helps prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. They are chockfull of vitamin K1 and C, beta carotene, folates as well as sulforaphane, which are brilliant antioxidants and cancer-fighting compounds. They also inhibit the formation of varicose veins, prevent thrombosis and help maintain good cardiovascular health.
You must be drooling at the thought of a blueberry cheesecake, but trust me, it’s not all about the taste. Blueberries are extremely rich in antioxidants which prevent various brain disorders. Also, blueberries can help diminish stress, which as we all know, is a major cause and effect of ageing. Consuming blueberries rich in anthocyanins, release a chemical called dopamine into our brains, which help prohibit memory loss and depression. Wild blueberries in particular can help prevent cancer, reduce our levels of bad cholesterol, keep cardiovascular diseases in check, and avoid Alzheimer’s. They also have good anti-inflammatory properties, thus helping you fight arthritis and other infections. Though they are extremely low in sugar content, their taste might lead you to overindulge yourself. It is best to have them in moderation if you want to control your insulin levels. You could also substitute blueberries with the equally nutritious raspberries, strawberries, cranberries or cherries.
7. Olive Oil
If you regularly cook your food in olive oil, you will definitely surpass the average mortality age. Olive oil contains loads of monounsaturated fatty acids, and polyphenols like tyrosol, oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol and oleocanthal. The uses of these compounds does not simple end at fewer instances of cancer, arthritis, diabetes and heart diseases. Various studies that have been conducted in the recent past have proven that olive oil has the potential to prevent premature death. That means, you will now be able to age slower than usual. The oleocanthal contained in olive oil helps remove amyloid-beta from our brains, hence preventing the occurrence of Alzheimer’s and other memory loss disorders. Also, chemicals like oleic acid, procollagen type I N-terminal propeptide (P1NP) and osteocalcin are essential anti-ageing nutrients, that not only make you feel younger, but also make you look younger.
8. Hard Cheese
If you run the risk of suffering from weak bones and disorders like osteoporosis, fear not. Go ahead and indulge in sinful pleasures like cheese. Note here, that you must only pick hard, aged cheese that goes beautifully with another anti-ageing guilty pleasure called wine. Hard cheese has more calcium than its softer siblings. Parmesan and Roquefort in particular are powerhouses of calcium. The harder variants also have abundant probiotics that aid in digestion and keep gastrointestinal diseases away. Hard cheese, especially the mold-ripened ones are excellent anti-ageing foods, which help maintain a healthy heart, check all kinds of inflammation, and do wonders for your skin. So next time you sit down with your boring plate of salad, don’t feel shy; go ahead and sprinkle loads of cheese on it!
Chocolate, especially the darker varieties have been enjoyed for ages, owing to their flavor and ability to make people feel elated. However, chocolate isn’t just a comfort treat. Cocoa and cocoa products are rich in magnesium, iron, copper, soluble fiber and antioxidants known as flavonols. Flavonols reduce the risk of high blood pressure, renal disorders, diabetes, and also ensure smooth functioning of our blood vessels. The polyphenols in dark chocolate increase the levels of catechin in our bodies which help fight DNA damage and inflammation.
Some of us are addicted to the pungent flavor and smell of raw garlic, so much so that we can’t avoid using it on a daily basis in our cooking. This smell, which is alluring to most of us, is due to a chemical known as allicin. Allicin is a miracle antioxidant that produces sulfenic acid inside our bodies, which in turn helps neutralize free radicals and hence impede all forms of brain damage. Garlic also has antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties, making it an essential ingredient in our pantry that can help ward off almost any disease. Be it high blood pressure, inflammation, plaques inside our arteries, cancer, or high cholesterol levels, garlic can single-handedly fight them all. The benefits of this magic bulb are best enjoyed when it’s consumed within a few minutes of being chopped or crushed. Dried or cooked garlic is not as effective as fresh garlic. However, if you do choose to have it raw, you might just end up winning the envy of all those people who don’t know the secret of your glowing youth.