8 Foods That are Better Than the Fountain of Youth
When we think about slowing down the aging process, it’s easy to get caught up in the “miracle” solutions that make outlandish promises. Because who doesn’t want to look 10 years younger just by sleeping with their head pointed north? But as the adage goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
The good news is that while these fountain-of-youth promises probably aren’t going to give you the results you're looking for, there are actionable steps you can take that will help you slow the clock.
A great place to start making these changes is your diet. The food you eat has an enormous impact on your health and aging.
How food impacts the aging process
In an interview with Marianne Wright, licensed nutritionist Annie Gaudreault explains, “Your diet has a huge impact on how you age. The myth out there is that your genes control your health, but the fact is that less than 5% of your genes will determine your health outcomes. That means 95% is influenced by what we call your lifestyle decisions and eating has one of the biggest impacts.”
And it’s about more than just living longer—it is about living healthily longer. “Yes, you want to live a longer life. But you need to also be concerned about your health span, not just your life span,” says Gaudreault. “Your health span is highly determined by what you eat every day. Nutrition is the foundation you need in order to put your best foot forward and make the most of the 95%.”
When you make food choices that support a healthy lifestyle, you protect your health and well-being, lower the risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and build muscle and bone health as you age.
So, what foods should you be adding to your diet at any age to age well?
8 foods that help you age well
An amazing source of vitamin E, avocados should be a part of everyone’s diet. Adding avocados to your diet may help you maintain a steady weight, reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, and vitamin E will help nourish your skin. Full of good fats, avocados can potentially help to lower “bad” cholesterol—LDL—and lower your blood pressure.
These delicious fruits are filled with powerful antioxidants that help fight free radicals in the human body, protect the health of the bones, and bolster the immune system. Free radicals can result in physical signs of aging like wrinkles and sunspots but also have been linked to other age-related health conditions. Even though Canadians recognize the importance of berries in their diet, more than half of Canadians are eating less than the recommended quantities in the Canadian Food Guide. Whether you’re grabbing fresh or frozen berries, the benefits are the same.
Another food packed full of vitamin E, almonds are also a source of good fats, fiber, and antioxidants. The monounsaturated fats found in almonds have been shown to improve blood cholesterol levels.
This might be a vegetable that you never reach for in the grocery store but with 238% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin K per 100 grams, you need to add watercress to your shopping list. It also is low in fat and sodium, and rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, and folate. And studies have found that watercress has anti-inflammatory properties and has been linked to lower cardiovascular disease. Adding watercress to your diet is a great way to improve your overall health and well-being.
Red bell peppers
Rich in vitamin C, red bell peppers promote collagen production which can help keep your skin looking its best. But the benefits of bell peppers are more than skin deep—they are also full of antioxidants called carotenoids. It’s what gives peppers their red-yellow colour and also helps to protect your body from disease and give your immune system a boost. Whether you cook them or enjoy them raw, red peppers are a versatile veggie to add to your diet.
If you’re looking for a powerhouse anti-aging vegetable, look no further than broccoli. This household favourite is packed full of wonderful vitamins and minerals to boost collagen, fight inflammation, and enhance your immune system. Every time you add broccoli to a meal, you’re adding vitamins C and K, a variety of antioxidants, fiber, folate, lutein, and calcium to your diet. One serving of broccoli (about 46 grams) will give you 70% of your daily vitamin C.
What food can help you delay aging, increase your lifespan, and boost your immune system? Fermented food! Fermented foods are foods and beverages that are produced by controlled microbial growth—think kimchi, miso, kefir, yogurt, and sauerkraut. Fermented foods pack a real nutritional punch. Adding them to your diet can improve bone health, decrease blood pressure, and reduce the risk of illnesses like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and colon cancer.
You’ve probably heard time and time again that adding leafy greens to your diet can help keep you healthy. Well, spinach is one of those leafy greens you’ve heard so much about. Full of antioxidants, magnesium, heme iron, lutein, and vitamins A, C, E, and K, spinach helps to reduce inflammation in cells, and vitamin C will help to boost collagen production.
Please always check with a medical professional to ensure these strategies are right for you.