The phrase “You are what you eat” rings true when you want to delay the ageing process as certain foods have anti-ageing and anti-wrinkle properties. Having a healthy balanced diet is essential.
Certain foods are rich sources of antioxidants or nutrients that block the process of oxidation or ageing caused by free radicals. Free radicals are formed during natural body functions along with environmental factors like sun exposure, cigarette smoke, chemical fumes and even exercise. Free radicals are unstable molecules with unpaired electrons, which cause them to actually scavenge our cells in order to stabilise.
Free radicals have a snowball effect as they keep affecting cells and damaging healthy tissues in our body. Instead of cell regeneration, the cells of tissues undergo degeneration and inflammation at a fast pace. This oxidative stress and inflammation reflects on the skin as a sign of ageing. Eat a low-fat, fibre-rich diet along with a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables as they have regenerative properties.
Anti-ageing Foods to include in your Balanced Diet
- Thomas Gist, author of You Too, Can Have, The Fruits of Life! Without "White Folks" says that tomatoes are rich sources of lycopene, an important and powerful ant-ageing product. Lycopene fights against free radicals by neutralising them and is also known to reduce the chances of certain types of cancer. The presence of antioxidants in tomatoes helps to prevent the skin against sun damage. Cooked tomatoes are a better option as heat allows more accessibility of antioxidants to the body. Tomato juice and pure tomato sauce are good sources of lycopene.
- Garlic and other vegetables such as onions, leeks and shallots contain allium which is a powerful weapon against free radicals. They not only fight ageing but also boost the immune system of the body. In the book, The Official Anti-aging Revolution, garlic has been said to have amino acids, flavonoids, vitamins, trace minerals, enzymes and at least 200 other compounds. Apart from controlling the ageing process of the skin, garlic helps to fight other age-related physical problems like heart attacks as it lowers the level of blood fats.
- Berries of all types such as blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, cherries and pomegranate are all full of antioxidants. Discovery Health recommend consumption of dark coloured fruits and vegetables as they have protective antioxidant chemicals in them and are the best sources of food for anti-ageing.
- Broccoli, broccoli sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage and cauliflower contain potent antioxidants. Other than fighting ageing, they also help ward off risks of cancer and heart diseases keeping you healthy all through your life.
- Spinach contains lutein, which is an antioxidant that helps to protect vision by protecting the retina from sun damage and fighting free radicals.
- Jonny Bowden, author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, the presence of arginine in nuts helps to prevent critical medical conditions like heart diseases. Also, nuts contain healthy fats which help in maintaining the skin’s “plumpness” and elasticity by benefiting the elastin and collagen (proteins found in the skin). Having a handful of nuts everyday will provide you with the required number of antioxidants and vitamins. If you are weight conscious, it is recommended that you consume nuts in moderation because they are loaded with calories.
- Tea which is a commonly consumed beverage in India contains catechins, an antioxidant, which helps to reduce inflammation caused by exposure to UV light. According to Discovery Health, it can increase blood circulation in the skin and improve the ability of the skin to retain its moisture. Furthermore, tea prevents a number of degenerative diseases, reduces risk of cancer and heart ailments. Both green and black tea is equally beneficial. Catechins are also found in dark chocolates and red wine.
- Whole grains such as wheat, rice, corn, oats which have not been refined, meaning the bran, the germ and the endosperm are all intact, are rich sources of antioxidants. They not only fight ageing but also prevent various diseases.
- Beans of all kinds like red, black, kidney are high sources of antioxidants. Soy beans contain isoflavones which have anti-ageing properties. They help in preventing cancer, bad cholesterol, and osteoporosis. Even though beans are infamous because they make one gassy, they are one of the best dietary staples. They are also rich in fibre and other important minerals like potassium, iron and vitamin B.
- Water is essential to keep your body hydrated and the blood flowing properly to the different skin cells that are said to keep the skin from ageing. Drink at least six to eight glasses of water every day.
- Fish and fish oils have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which can delay the ageing process. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in abundance in fish; these are antioxidants that can stop the process of ageing at the cellular level. Fish oil is beneficial for the skin as it not only prevents wrinkles, dryness, blemishes, but also helps in firming and making the skin elastic.
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