7 Best Anti-Aging Foods: The Science of Longevity
Written by Allison Tannis, Author of Aging Bites
Wondering how to age well? From science-backed anti-aging foods, to which lifestyle habits promote longevity, this is one read to help you stay feeling young for years to come. Research shows longevity is influenced by what you eat, and how you live. Discover which factors in your lifestyle and science-backed anti-aging foods can increase your chances of enjoying a long, healthy life.
How to Age Well
- Breathe (reduce stress)
- Stay active
- Build social connections
- Eat antioxidant-rich leaves
- Nourish your brain
- Avoid foods that turn on aging genes
How to Slow Aging Naturally
Does aging have anything to do with good genes? Research estimates that between 10-50% of a person’s lifespan is inherited by their genes: in 2006, a paper published in the Journals of Gerontology found that siblings of Okinawan Centenarians lived approximately 11.8 years longer than siblings of non-Centenarians. However, this means that over half of your genes can be influenced by your lifestyle. It’s possible that you can beneficially influence your genes to encourage health longer. Longevity is influenced by your lifestyle. When the GEMINAL study looked at the effects of a healthy lifestyle (daily physical activity, sufficient sleep, stress management, social connections, whole-food, plant-based diet) on a biologically measurable indicator of aging, researchers found there were significant longevity effects.
Foods to Avoid for Aging
There are certain foods known to accelerate processes in the body that can speed up aging, including:
- Red meats
- Processed foods
- Fried foods
What Should I Eat to Look Younger?
Take a peek around the world, you’ll notice certain populations seem to defy aging. Unlike Western diet followers, people in places like Greece and Japan, enjoy energetic, healthy living well past their 70s, many into the next century. Beyond lifestyle factors, such as traditionally more active, socially connected days, these populations are known for their consumption of antioxidant and nutrient-rich foods. Researchers have looked into many nutrients found in so-called anti-aging foods and found some interesting results. Here are the 7 best anti-aging foods based on science:
B vitamins are must-haves in an anti-aging diet. Key to energy production, B vitamins are also needed to break down homocysteine, an amino acid involved in plaque formation in arteries. Plaques lead to the clogging of arteries and cardiovascular diseases. Scientists have also noted that plaque formation is involved in Alzheimer’s disease. Your body can break down homocysteine into a less harmful substance with the help of B vitamins (riboflavin, folate, B6, and B12). Mushrooms, Brewer’s yeast, lentils, chickpeas, asparagus, and sunflower seeds are sources of B vitamins.
An apple a day just might keep the doctor away, according to anti-aging research. If your goal is to eat for longevity, bite into an apple as they are great sources of quercetin. Quercetin is an impressive anti-aging nutrient. Research suggests quercetin is one nutrient that appears to stop senescent cells (cells that seem to speed up aging). Onions are a less romantic source of quercetin, but according to one human study, onions have the most bioavailable quercetin. Breath-mint anyone?
Yellow curry powder or more specifically the bright inside of turmeric tubers are great anti-aging foods. Curcumin, the active compound in these foods, is great at defending your body against oxidative stress, one of the causes of aging. Preventing oxidative damage is one way science says we can slow aging.
Resveratrol is best known for its presence in red wine, but it’s also in raspberries. This natural plant compound is a science-backed anti-aging nutrient. The longevity-promoting benefits of resveratrol include helping the energy-creating part of your cells, called the mitochondria.
Polyphenols found in many fruits and vegetables, particularly in high amounts in strawberries, feed the good bacteria (probiotics) that live in your gut. Eating a lot of polyphenols can boost your longevity, according to a study published in Antioxidants. It’s a bit of a geeky explanation, but there are 5 ways science suggests polyphenols slow aging, including being an antioxidant, protecting cells, promoting proper protein production, helping with blood vessel dilation, and energy production.
Scoop out the sweet nutrients in a kiwi, because the catechins it contains are another science-backed food that promotes longevity. Catechins defend a longevity pathway in your cells. Green tea is another great source of such catechins, as well as chocolate, blueberries, and gooseberries.
- TEA LEAVES
Polyphenols in green tea leaves, called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), found in the highest concentrations in fresh tea leaves have anti-aging properties, says science. Polyphenols dampen inflammation and improve cell functions that decline with age. Plus, drinking up to 4-5 cups of conventional green tea in a research study was noted as having beneficial effects on the good microbes that live in your gut. There is growing recognition that a well-balanced gut is a significant factor in determining a persons’ health and wellbeing.
Cheers! Here’s to enjoying health for years to come.
Written by Allison Tannis, Author of Aging Bites
The book, Aging Bites is a source of inspiration – a flashlight you can scare away the aging monster you fear under your bed – because you never actually have to feel ‘old’.
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