“Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that happen to a man,” said Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky. He forgot to add, “or to a woman.” And we agree. All of a sudden, we wake up one morning and find ourselves looking at our mothers’ faces.
Alas, there is no Fountain of Youth, but some foods are proving to be helpful in keeping us healthy. These are foods that are rich in antioxidants, nutrient dense and high in fiber. And there aren’t just a few, but dozens of “super foods” that, when combined in moderate portions, create a kind of synergy in the body. Here’s a look at a few of our favorite anti-aging foods.
- Antioxidants: Found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, antioxidants help protect cells from the damage that contributes to the aging process. They include beta-carotene, lycopene, and vitamins A, C and E.
- Fewer Calories: A recent study found that limiting calories delayed age-associated decline in heart function.
- Cocoa: Taking the number one slot in terms of antioxidant power, natural or nonalkalized cocoa powder has more antioxidants than alkali-treated, or Dutch, cocoa.
- Lentils: High in fiber and folic acid, lentils can help control blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Oranges: Most of the vitamin C in oranges is found in the peel (53 percent), while lesser amounts are found in the juice (23 percent) and the pulp and rind (21 percent).
- Spinach: Researchers are stirring up clues that age-related deficits in memory may be reversed with nutritional interventions of antioxidant-rich foods such as spinach.
- Omega-3 Fats: Found mostly in fatty fish like herring, salmon and sardines, omega-3 fats are also found in smaller amounts in plant foods such as flaxseed, leafy green vegetables and walnuts. Omega-3 fats have displayed a range of anti-cancer activities in research studies.
By Cheryl Forberg, R.D., a nutrition expert living in Napa, Calif.