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It seems like everywhere you turn, a new product is promising everlasting youth.
Reverse the signs of aging! Diminish wrinkles! Look and feel great!
Who wouldn’t be enticed by such bold promises? The truth of the matter is that most people are already aware that no single product or pill can hold the key to the fountain of youth. Rather, a balanced lifestyle that pays heed to nutrition, exercise, and the support of friends and family seems to be what helps us stay healthy and robust well into our senior years. Here, find 4 items that, when added to your diet, may help you to do just that:
1. Your Number One Weapon May Live in the Berry Patch
Antioxidants – Eating fruits and vegetables that contain antioxidants helps your body to fight cancer, stroke, heart disease, and a myriad of other conditions that creep up on us as we age. Usually, fruits and vegetables that contain high antioxidant counts are of the less “popular” variety, including prunes, raisins, plums, berries, grapefruit, kale, Brussels sprouts, artichokes, beets, and red peppers, all of which can be both nutritious and delicious if enjoyed and prepared properly.
For example: berries and night shade vegetables, like red peppers are acid forming. Acid forming foods should only make up about 20% of a healthy diet, and fruits should be eaten on an empty stomach. Kale is a cruciferous vegetable which can inhibit thyroid function unless lightly cooked or cultured.
2. If it Aids in Digestion… It Slows Aging
Probiotics –Live, healthy micro-organisms, that naturally live in the digestive tract, help support the immune system by balancing the intestinal bacteria that break down food. In turn, this aids in digestion, slows aging, and even prevents some forms of cancer. A growing number of over-the-counter probiotics contain these organisms in capsule, liquid or tablet form.
However, probiotics also naturally occur in many fermented products like yogurts, kefir and kombucha tea, as well as cultured vegetables and raw sauerkraut. So, adding them to your diet may mean a trip to Whole Foods. Remember that the probiotics found in food are more bio-available because they are more likely to survive the journey through your stomach acids.
3. Sibling Foods Help Each Other
Prebiotics – Now that you know what probiotics are, get to know the sibling food (and dietary supplement) sources that help these organisms to thrive inside the body – prebiotics. You can think of prebiotics as food for the probiotics. They provide our bodies with insoluble fiber, which softens stools, increase bulk of stools and decrease our meal’s transit time through our systems.
As a supplement, prebiotics are marked as inulin or FOS (fructooligosaccharides). But, vitamin C, raw apple cider vinegar, undenatured whey protein and cysteine may also add to the lifespan of good microbial organisms. Food products with naturally occurring prebiotics include garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, spinach, Jerusalem artichokes, peas, quinoa, beans, lentils, oats and bananas.
4. Drink Away the Wrinkles
Tea – A recent study showed that drinking tea in moderation can help strengthen bones by improving bone mineral density. Add to that the fact that most pure teas (such as green, white and oolong) are rich in antioxidants, and you’ve got good reason to sit down with a nice warm cup. It’s no wonder then that the Brits have a longer life expectancy than Americans!
(co-authored with Gina Laverde)
Adrienne writes for special-interest magazines and has worked on the production of women’s lifestyle channels at AOL as well as at E! Entertainment Television. She graduated from CUNY Baruch, where she served as the editor-in-chief of the award-winning student newspaper The Ticker.