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I ON BEAUTY Chapter 21: BEST FOODS FOR AN ANTI-AGING DIET

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PHOTO COURTESY OF IRENE MICHAELS

Diet is a necessary component in both physical and mental health. It is what determines how physically and mentally fit you are for coping with the daily challenges of life. All of us want to feel (and look) young forever. While that may not be exactly possible, these age-defying foods will help you preserve energy levels and look younger.

Olive Oil:
Almost four decades ago, a group of researchers from Seven Countries Study stated that the monounsaturated fats found in olive oils were extremely beneficial for individuals suffering from heart diseases and cancer. Today, it is widely known that olive oil is a rich source of power antioxidants, polyphenols, that prevent age-related diseases and make you feel young and healthy.

Lemons:
The Vitamin C found in lemons is great for your skin, it promotes healing and nourishes the skin. When lemon juice is applied to the skin, it has a bleaching effect that reduces age spots, freckles, and wrinkles. It is also a wonderful alternative to skincare products such as cleansers and toners.

Blueberries:
As small as they may be, blueberries are packed with antioxidants and nutrients that are essential for the skin. The little fruits are rich in flavonols, anthocyanins, and vitamin C that reduce the aging process of skin cells. Daily consumption of blueberries also boosts memory and prevents the skin from wrinkling. It is important to mention here that the darker the color of the blueberries, the more beneficial they are. This is because the highest concentration of antioxidants is found in the darkest colored berries. My personal favorite...I love add to a yogurt shake or steel cut oatmeal.

Leafy Greens:
This is fairly obvious, green vegetables are wonderful for your physical and mental health. The dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two powerful antioxidants that counter the negative effects of ultraviolet rays (from the sun) on the skin. When you go out in the sun, the ultraviolet rays cause inflammation, epidermal DNA damage, suppression of T-cell mediated immunity, and oxidative stress. This increases the risk of skin cancer and promotes aging. A higher intake of green vegetables, particular leafy ones, can reduce these adverse effects.

Tomatoes:
Tomatoes and watermelons have high amounts of lycopene that acts as a natural sunscreen for the skin. It protects the skin against the harmful UV radiation and prevents aging of the skin. It also diminishes sun spots and ageing spots. The Vitamin C in the tomatoes boosts collagen production that makes the skin firm and healthy.

Avocado:
A scrumptious fruit that is filled with fatty acids that are healthy for the skin. The fruit is well-known for its anti-aging properties. The vitamins, nutrients, and unsaturated fats in the fruit provide the skin with the nourishment it needs. An avocado a day will help you attain a natural glow to your skin while reducing the signs of aging at the same time.

Whole grains:
Daily intake of whole grains such as oats, barley, wheat, brown rice, and quinoa lowers the chance of heart diseases and type 2 diabetes. These whole grains are rich in fiber and help regulate the digestive system as well. Whole grains are an essential for any anti-aging diet because of their health benefits.

Yogurt:
It was reported in the 1970s that Soviet Georgia had the highest number of centenarians per capita than every other country in the world. Studies showed that the reason behind the long lives was yogurt. While there are no scientific evidences to support the anti-aging properties of yogurt, the food is rich in calcium. Calcium helps maintain strong bone health and improves gut health preventing several age-related illnesses (such as weak bones and intestinal diseases.

Dark Chocolate:
High quality, dark cocoa is rich in flavanols, a powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation and improves blood circulation. It also promotes the skin's ability to retain moisture making it less prone to wrinkles and other age-related skin deformations.

Try to incorporate these great foods to fight the aging process naturally...check back next month for more healthy living tips.