It’s always exciting to read about a new anti-aging food with great potential in the area of human health. So many times, however, these foods are exotic, and can be found only in other countries, through specialized programs, or on the Internet through questionable sites.
Fortunately, you don’t have to twist yourself inside out or spend a mint to enjoy the health benefits of anti-aging foods. There are plenty right in your local grocery store. Below are ten that are tasty, easy-to-find, and have shown in studies to have solid potential in preserving youth and vitality.
Mexican researchers studied the properties of avocado oil on yeast cells, and discovered that the oil allowed the yeast cells to survive exposure to high concentrations of iron, which produces a huge amount of free radicals—even up to the higher levels found in some types of human diseases. Scientists concluded that the oil may possess the same kind of anti-aging properties as olive oil, and could potentially be used to help battle cancer or heart disease.
“Our results are promising,” said lead researcher Christian Cortés-Rojo, “because they indicate that avocado consumption could improve the health status of diabetic and other patients through an additional mechanism to the improvement of blood lipids.”
Avocados are also high in vitamin E, which is essential for glowing skin and hair, and is an alkalizing food—perfect to help counteract today’s highly acidic diets.
A study showed that walnuts helped improve blood vessel function in diabetics. Another study from Penn State found that including walnuts and walnut oil in the diet lowered both resting blood pressure and blood pressure responses to stress. New York State researchers also discovered that walnuts help destroy harmful free radical chemicals implicated in dementia, preserve mental skills, and may help delay or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Research from UCLA found that among vegetables, broccoli—specifically, young broccoli sprouts—are the best source of a chemical called “sulforaphane,” a compound that prevents free radicals from breaking down the body and aging you over time. “Our study shows that a chemical present in broccoli is capable of stimulating a wide range of antioxidant defense pathways and may be able to interfere with age-related decline in immune function,” said lead researcher Andre Nel, M.D. Researchers went on to state that broccoli may protect the immune system from typical aging factors like cardiovascular disease, degenerative joint diseases and diabetes.
They’ve got vitamin C, potassium, and lots of antioxidants. Dr. Oz rates them as the “best” anti-aging food. Ranked number one among fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables in antioxidant power, blueberries improved short-term memories in aging rats in a USDA study. The flavonoids are believed to be responsible, enhancing neural connections in the brain and stimulating neural regeneration. Another study out of the University of Cincinnati found that drinking a couple cups of blueberry juice each day gave aging memories a boost.
Recent studies have found that cinnamon extract promotes collagen synthesis in skin, rejuvenating cells and activating growth hormone.
The USDA also found that cinnamon extract, which contains antioxidants, could help reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and heart disease.
6. Dark Chocolate
Cocoa, the major ingredient of dark chocolate, contains the flavonoid “epicatechin,” and has been found to have nearly twice the antioxidant content of red wine, and up to three times that of green tea. Studies have found that dark chocolate helps protect heart health, regulate blood pressure, reduce risk of death from heart attack, and help prevent age-related dementia.
7. Kidney Beans
Packed with protein, fiber, folate, magnesium, potassium, and more, kidney beans (and most beans, in general), have been called a “superfood” because of their many health benefits. Just one cup of cooked red kidney beans provides a third of the daily recommended intake for folate. The renowned “Seven Countries Study” concluded that eating more legumes could reduce the risk of heart attack by more than 80 percent. Kidney beans are also full of antioxidants, particularly flavonoids, which are known to have anti-aging properties. According to an analysis by the USDA, red kidney beans contain more “proanthocyanidins” than blueberries, cranberries, and small red beans.
8. Red Cabbage
According to a USDA study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, red cabbage contains 36 different varieties of the flavonoids called “anthocyanins,” which have been linked to cancer protection. Anthocyanins have also been shown to help inprove heart health and brain function.
These nutritious fruits are a great source of anthocyanins and ellagitannins, both of which are powerful antioxidants. Studies have found the fruit to enhance nitric oxide production in endothelial cells—which may help reduce the risk of heart disease. According to research from the University of Illinois, pomegranate also has potential in helping to prevent breast cancer and prostate cancer, and in helping to retard the growth of cancerous tumors. Pomegranate seed oil was also found to help promote regeneration of skin cells, reducing the visible effects of aging on the skin.
Researchers from Denmark found in 1994 that human skin cells exposed to garlic extract were healthier and lived longer than non-supplemented cells. Another animal study in Japan the same year found that mice supplemented with garlic lived significantly longer than those who did not receive garlic. A later 2006 study found that antioxidant-rich aged garlic extract helped prevent cardiovascular disease and lowered the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.