We’ll give it to you straight: there’s not a magical food that will instantly extend your lifespan and make you look 10 years younger. This Older Americans Month, we’re all about embracing age and all the beauty that comes with it, but there are some aspects of aging that we could do without, like diseases or pain. Combating those ailments entails taking care of your body in many ways, so forget the fancy creams, supplements, procedures, or fad diets. Sara Zimmerman, Registered Dietitian for our campus since 1992, encourages adopting a number of healthy habits to nourish your body, but she also suggests regularly snacking on these six foods to contribute to a healthier – and younger-feeling – you.
Oranges – This refreshing snack is loaded with water to hydrate your cells and give your skin a dewy glow. In addition, the inundation of Vitamin C strengthens your immune system and helps your body produce collagen to firm your skin and keep it looking young.
- Yogurt – Remember the buzz in the 1970’s about people in Soviet Georgia living the longest because they consumed an abundance of yogurt? The correlation could be due to the amount of calcium which wards off osteoporosis or the active cultures which assist in preventing age-related intestinal ailments. When adding yogurt to your diet, Sara recommends the “low fat Greek” variety – it’s strained extensively to remove much of the liquid whey, lactose, and sugar, giving it a thicker consistency. In about the same amount of calories, it has double the protein of regular yogurt, while cutting sugar and sodium content in half.
- Dark chocolate – Bring on the flavanols! These powerful compounds found in cocoa help to maintain healthy blood vessels, which can decrease the risk of developing high blood pressure or dementia. Opt for a dark variety which will have a higher percentage of cacao and less added sugar. Sara notes, “Studies have shown eating less than half an ounce of dark chocolate per day is associated with lowering blood pressure without causing weight gain.”
Cashews – A handful is packed with the good fatty acids that help lower the bad cholesterol while increasing the good cholesterol. This can help prevent strokes and coronary artery disease by keeping your blood lipids in the healthy range.
- Tuna – Load some on a cracker and dig in. Tuna is packed with omega-3 fatty acids which fight UV-related cell damage. Sara suggests selecting tuna packed in water versus oil. This preserves the omega-3s which can otherwise mix with the packing oil and go down the tubes as you drain your tuna.
- Oatmeal – One of the great nutritional benefits of oats is that it’s a solid source of complex carbohydrates, making it a blood-sugar stabilizer throughout the day. This helps keep blood glucose and insulin fluctuations to a minimum, lowering your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Do you try to consume a healthy diet? What have you found to be the best anti-aging superfoods? Leave a reply below!