Proper nutrition plays a pivotal role in slowing the aging process. The foods that we eat contain important nutrients that not only sustain the body, but also protect it.
Every vitamin, mineral, protein, carbohydrate, and fat (the five major nutrients aside from water) has a specific function and contributes toward the growth, maintenance, and repair of our bodily organs and tissues. This is why it is so important that a balanced diet is maintained, one that comprises foods from every food group.
The foods and nutrients listed below, in particular, help to prevent and delay cell damage.
You Need: Antioxidants
Antioxidants (aka the free radical fighters of the body) are nutrients that can be found in many types of foods. In a nutshell, they serve to protect the body from oxidation, which is a process wherein natural cells interact with oxygen, producing changes in the cells that can result in the degeneration of tissue (and disease).
Consider for a moment what happens when you pour some lemon juice over an avocado. The lemon juice interferes with the process by which the fruit would normally turn dark due to oxygen exposure. It’s a little like that. Some good antioxidant sources:
- Veggies (tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, peppers, spinach, beans, etc.)
- Fruits (grapes, kiwis, prunes, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc.)
- Beverages (red wine, coffee, green tea, pomegranate juice, etc.)
- Dark chocolate
You Need: Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids also protect the body and slow the aging process. Omega 3s are important for a number of reasons. They lower triglyceride levels, reducing heart disease. They lower inflammation, staving off diseases like Rheumatoid arthritis. They protect against Alzheimer’s and dementia and promote mental health.
That aside, omega-3 fatty acids – eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), specifically – are necessary for healthy skin and hair. EPA regulates oil production and keeps the skin hydrated, preventing flaking and drying.
Some good omega 3 sources:
- Fish (wild salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, tuna, herring, etc.)
- Nuts (almonds and walnuts)
- Flaxseed and flaxseed oil
- Canola/soybean oil
Eat More: Raw Fruits & Vegetables
Raw fruits and vegetables are good for you. They promote good health and slow the aging process, so it’s worth incorporating more of these into your diet. Some even advocate that following a dietary regimen that is raw fruit and veggies based can do away with wrinkles and other signs of aging completely. While that has yet to be proven scientifically, it is easy to see how that might actually be possible.
As we get older, our bodies lose important enzymes – proteins that increase/decrease the speed of chemical reactions in the body. The more enzymes we lose, the more rapidly we age, and the sooner we die. We need enzymes to digest foods.
Most foods contain those enzymes, but they are lost through the cooking process. As a result, our bodies must make up for this by providing what is needed for digestion. A diet high in raw fruits and veggies ensures that you get those enzymes, delaying aging.
Tip: Eat one meal a day that consists solely of raw fruits and vegetables. That one meal can help you keep up to 30% more enzymes. You stay younger!
Have you found that proper nutrition has helped you delay the effects of aging? What dietary changes have you made, and what impact did they have? Please share your experience. Tell us in the comments below.