As we age, our body goes through periods of change directed in large part by hormone fluctuations. These changes affect our energy level, mood, sleep, and overall outlook.
Although you can’t prevent the effects of aging, there’s plenty you can do with your diet to make sure you feel young and vibrant for as long as possible. In fact, what you eat plays a huge role in how well you age. For example, because losing weight becomes more difficult as you get older, maintaining a healthy diet becomes super important. Eating a diet high in nutrient-rich, anti-inflammatory foods can help slow the progression of age-related diseases and prevent unwanted weight gain.
Even though you might not feel in your 50s, 60s, and 70s like you did back in your 20s, these superfoods can help keep you healthy from the inside out.
Berries are known for their anti-aging properties. Wild blueberries contain antioxidants, and numerous studies link blueberry intake to Alzheimer’s disease prevention. Cranberries are known for their aid in resolving urinary tract infections and are now thought to have impressive cardiovascular benefits. Though these two berries stand out, all berries — blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc. — are potent sources of antioxidants and phytochemicals that prevent inflammation and keep your digestive tract healthy.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and kale are known for their cancer-preventative properties. They’re also rich in folate and vitamins C, E, and K, which are all important for keeping your immune system strong and combating inflammation. Vitamin K is especially important for maintenance of normal blood clotting, a factor we often have to take into consideration as we age.
Leafy greens like spinach, collards, Swiss chard, and kale are all rich in vitamin K, which is responsible for healthy blood clotting; vitamin C, an important antioxidant and immunity booster; and folate, which plays an important role in cognitive function. Leafy greens, especially spinach and collards, are high in lutein and other carotenoids, the yellowish pigments that include precursors of vitamin A, which may delay the onset and progression of age-related macular degeneration. Greens can be easily added to most meals.
Salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines are all high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are good for people at any age, but their heart-protecting properties become even more important as we age and the potential for heart disease increases. Omega-3s are also important for cognitive function and keeping blood pressure in check. Plus, getting omega-3s from fish means you’re also eating a great source of protein, which is important for maintaining muscle mass.
Yogurt is not only a good source of calcium, which is essential for maintaining healthy bones and preventing osteoporosis, it’s also chock full of protein and probiotics, which help keep your digestive system functioning properly.
Whole grains like oats, brown rice, quinoa, barley, and more are all great sources of fiber, B vitamins, and important minerals. Eating fiber-rich foods also promotes digestive regularity. Fiber is also good for your heart and cardiovascular system because it helps lower cholesterol levels.
Soy products like tempeh, organic tofu, and edamame contain isoflavones, compounds that mimic the structure of estrogen and help regulate hormone levels as you age. As a result, isoflavones may help reduce the risk of certain breast cancers. Unprocessed soy foods are also great plant-based sources of protein, making them heart-healthy choices for vegetarians and meat eaters alike.
This article first appeared on cal-ez.com. It has been reprinted with permission.