8 Super Anti-Aging Plant-Based Foods
The best anti-aging foods are those that have potent antioxidant properties to help you avoid disease, whilst delivering vital nutrients that support the health of the largest organ in your body - your skin.
The first place you notice the signs of ageing is the skin, which is precisely why an "anti-aging" diet, is one that must be closely tied to foods revered for their powers in maintaining and restoring your external youthful glow.
Including a variety of anti-aging foods in your diet, will help you to prevent illness, whilst also keeping you looking young and feeling energetic.
Here, we discuss eight super anti-aging whole foods that do exactly that.
These foods should form part of a well-rounded, whole food based diet, rich in a wide variety of colour, nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Whether your goal is to slow cellular degeneration, avoid chronic disease or reducing fine lines and wrinkles, these foods can help.
Blueberries have always been considered a superfood, but one of the main reasons is because they’re actually one of the potent anti-aging foods on earth.
Blueberries are incredibly delicious, versatile and readily available year round, which makes it easy to incorporate them into your every day diet - from cereals, to salads and smoothies, or straight out of the punnet for you to snack on and enjoy!
Blueberries are a fantastic source of antioxidants, meaning they help protect your body from free radicals that damage cells and cause oxidative stress. Free radicals is the primary cause of premature ageing, not to mention diseases like cancer. The Anthocyanin in blueberries is the pigment that actually makes this amazing fruit the colour blue - and this is the same nutrient known to be responsible for helping to prevent a range of cancers.
The benefits of Blueberries don’t stop there.
Blueberries can also halt short-term memory loss - which is a sign of degeneration that speeds up as we age, helping us to remain alert and clear of mind as we get older. Other benefits of blueberries include:
- Strengthening blood vessels
- Clearing the arteries
- Healing urinary tract infections
- Reversing mental decline
- Supporting healthy vision
- Reducing hunger
- Promoting weight control
This sweet, juicy tropical fruit is packed with a variety of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are known to support skin elasticity and minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
These powerful nutrients include:
- vitamins A, C, K, and E
- B vitamins
The variety of antioxidants in Papaya helps to thwart free radical damage, thereby delaying the process of ageing.
Papaya also contains an enzyme called Papain which is one mother nature’s most effective anti-inflammatory nutrients. Interestingly, this ingredient is also found in many natural skin care exfoliation products because of its known ability to help the body shed dead skin cells for restoration and youthful glow.
3. Fermented Foods
We've said it before and we'll say it again.
Your gut contains millions of good and bad bacteria, the balance of which determines the strength of your immune system and your resistance to disease.
The key to cultivating good bacteria in your gut and a healthy microbiome, is fermented foods and limiting your intake of processed and refined foods.
Fermented foods contain natural probiotics which deliver beneficial bacteria into your gut that influence your overall ability to slow down the effects of ageing.
These foods include:
- Pickled Vegetables
- Miso soup
- Sourdough Bread
Animal products that also contain powerful fermented food properties include organic yogurt, kefir and soft white cheeses (with vegetable enzyme not animal rennet).
Fermented foods are a vital piece to the anti-ageing puzzle, because they support a healthy gut.
When your gut health is in good shape, the rest of your health quickly follows suit. Your skin will look healthier and more youthful, you’ll have more energy, you’ll feel lighter, and you'll go along way to avoiding many common ailments and even chronic disease.
4. Raw Nuts and Seeds
Raw nuts and seeds are incredibly beneficial to your health, and are one of the best anti-aging foods. Some of the best include:
- Macadamia Nuts
- Flax Seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
Not only are they jam-packed with vital nutrients, minerals and protein, they are also a great source of healthy fats that help ward off heart disease and diabetes, which become more prevalent as we age.
Raw nuts and seeds, especially Almonds, Pumpkin Seeds and Sunflower Seeds, are a great source of vitamin E, which helps to repair skin tissue, retain skin moisture, and protect your skin from damaging UV rays.
Walnuts have anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids that support healthy skin cell membranes, protect against harmful UV rays and helps to maintain glow by preserving your skin's natural oil barrier.
Raw nuts and seeds are a nutritious and handy anytime snack, as well as a delightful accompaniment to salads and cereals like Oatmeal and Home Made Muesli. Also, eat with the skin on, as removing the skin reduces the antioxidant potency by around 50%.
Avocados are one of mother nature's most perfect foods.
Rich in vitamins K, C, E, A and B, Avocados are loaded with anti-inflammatory fatty acids that promote smooth, supple skin. The healthy fats also help the body absorb nutrients such as beta-carotene, which is one of the few nutrients that prevents cognitive decline.
Avocados also contain specific sugars and antioxidants, which are know to build collagen in the skin, helping to smooth out wrinkles, heal scars and reduce age spots.
Buy Avocados just off ripe and allow them to ripen outside of the refrigerator near an open window for 2-3 days. Once they are slightly soft, then store them in the fridge until you're ready to eat.
Avocados are such a delicious and versatile food - slice in half, squeeze with lemon juice, add a sprinkle of Celtic Sea Salt and enjoy as a delightful snack, or chop them into salads, add them to a green smoothie, or mash into a Guacamole with a squeeze of fresh lime, sea salt, coriander (or cilantro) and some finely chopped tomatoes or Spanish onions.
Whatever you do, if you want to support anti ageing, be sure to eat Avocados at least 2-3 times per week.
6. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are an amazing source of calcium, as well as other key nutrients, that support bone health as we age.
Not only do foods rich in calcium help us to avoid diseases like Arthritis and Osteoporosis, but also to maintain strong healthy teeth, hair, nails and skin.
Leafy greens you should eat regularly include:
- Rocket (Arugula)
- Silver Beet and Chard
Packed with vitamins A and C, the antioxidants in watercress are known to be effective for neutralising free radicals and helping to keep fine lines and wrinkles away.
Every day, try to eat a bowl of raw greens in a salad (i.e. Lettuce, Rocket, Spinach or Watercress). In the cooler months, be sure to saute as an accompaniment to your meals or add to your stews and bakes, greens like Silver Beet, Kale or Chard.
7. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are rich in a orange coloured antioxidant known as beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body.
Vitamin A can help restore skin elasticity and promote skin cellular recycling, which ultimately supports supple, soft skin.
This versatile tuber (root vegetable) is also an amazing source of vitamins C and E, known to protect the skin from free radicals and to promote a healthy complexion.
Predominately a vegetable that thrives in the cooler months, be sure to regular include sweet potatoes into your winter recipes.
Serving suggestions include, steaming and mash them together with a little olive oil, fresh herbs, sea salt and pepper. Or, cut them into wedges and drizzle with olive oil or coconut oil and bake as a delicious meal accompaniment or snack.
Broccoli is from the cruciferous family of vegetables, not only powerful for its cancer preventative qualities, but also as an anti-inflammatory and anti-aging food.
The nutrients in Broccoli include:
- Vitamins C and K
- Lutein and;
Vitamin C helps the body to produce Collagen, which is a protein that gives the skin its elasticity and strength.
Other Important Tips
Water, Salt & Movement
Even though these elements are not strictly "food", they are important considerations when it comes to slowing down the effects of ageing.
The human body is made up of around 70% water. Water fuels healthy body and brain function, but the problem is that most people live their lives in a constant state of mild dehydration.
If you don't drink enough water, it means your body has to prioritise sending water to your body’s most important organs first.
Generally, this also means that your skin is deprived of its precious water requirements, which quickly exposes wrinkles, fine lines, age spots and even sun damage. On the other hand, adequate daily hydration can help prevent these from forming in the first place.
Water also helps transport nutrients to your skin cells, while replenishing your skin tissue and helping to keep skin elastic.
Start each day with 500ml - 1litre of pure water and continue to drink water throughout the day. Optimally, aim for 1 litre of water per 22 kilos of body weight. And at the very least, you should be replacing the weight of the brain - which is approximately equal to 2 litres of water - every 24 hours.
Nature-made salt is actually a critical component of your diet and crucial to your health and wellness.
The cells of the body thrive on salt and it helps to improve bone density, circulation, prevent high blood pressure, and more.
"Nature-Made" Salt is salt that has not been refined or tampered with from it's natural, pure state. And two of the most well known and popular forms of nature-made salt are Celtic Sea Salt and Pure Himalayan Salt, which are loaded with vital minerals and help make your food taste amazing!
Nature Made salt also helps balance fluids in the blood to support healthy blood pressure, as well as optimum nerve and muscle function. Salt is also very effective for reducing infection and viral overwhelm in the body, boosting energy and aiding healthy digestion.
Learn more in The Truth About Salt.
Moderate movement is a vital piece to the anti-aging puzzle because it helps maintain strength, mobility and flexibility in the muscles and joints, not to mention the ongoing cardiovascular benefits.
No matter your age, you should do whatever you can to keep your body moving regularly, by walking each day as a minimum - and adding extra layers of low impact exercise like swimming, cycling, yoga or light weight training if you're able to help slow the process of ageing.
Tolman Self Care.