Hippocrates, considered the “father of medicine,” once said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” He understood that certain foods have healing powers that may help prevent and treat disease. The type of food we choose, the quality and the amount we eat has a profound effect on our health and the aging of our bodies. Eating properly allows us to reap the benefits of better energy, clearer eyes, healthier skin and a more youthful feeling and appearance, making it easier to age gracefully.
Implementing a few simple dietary changes can help slow down and even turn back the clock on the aging process. Here are a few places to start:
Eat a rainbow of color – Shop for variety! Red, green, yellow and orange fruits and veggies pack powerful antioxidants to protect cells and stave off aging.
Try green tea – It’s full of polyphenols and catechins, which are anti-inflammatory compounds so important for healthy cells.
Eat broccoli – Grandma was right about those veggies! Broccoli (like Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and kale) contains indolic compounds, which have antioxidant properties that boost detoxifying enzymes.
Benefit from blueberries – These powerful little berries contain anti-cancer compounds and anthocyanidins, important antioxidants that provide their characteristic color.
Add fresh herbs to your menu – Think: Parsley, cilantro, basil, rosemary, thyme and oregano. They’re perfect for salads, eggs, grain dishes, soups and stews, whether as a primary ingredient or garnish. Fresh herbs have antibacterial properties and special plant compounds called phytochemicals; if eaten on a regular basis, they provide powerful antioxidant protection for your cells, helping to slow the aging process.
Spice up your life with ginger – Fresh or dried, ginger is a tasty way to help fight inflammation associated with disease and aging.
Feast on fish – Salmon and other oily fish contain omega-3s, essential dietary fats critical for a healthy brain and a healthy nervous system. They also provide vitamin D, an important hormone-like vitamin, which is critical for protecting bone health, reducing heart problems and preventing cancer.
Nix the sugar – Or at least cut back! Sugar is linked to inflammation, which is, in turn, linked to aging. If you have a sweet tooth, reach for fresh, colorful fruits such as berries, mango, papaya, kiwi, peaches and oranges. Add a square or two of dark chocolate for a satisfying treat that is lower in both sugar and fat than milk chocolate.
Balance is key –
• lean meats, poultry, eggs, fish and legumes for protein
• nuts such as almonds and walnuts, seeds such as sunflower and pumpkin, avocados and olive oil for naturally healthy fats
• whole grains such as brown rice, 100% whole wheat bread and oatmeal
• plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits for fiber, B-vitamins, minerals and immune boosting antioxidants
A balanced diet means balanced blood sugar, which is key for good mood, stable energy and weight management.