The proven theory that eating the wrong types of food can age the body faster also, happily, works in the opposite direction as well; eating the right types of food can actually help keep us younger, both in energy and in appearance. By cutting out the types of food that age bodies faster and switching or replacing those bad foods with foods that help with anti-aging benefits can radically improve energy, stamina, longevity, ward off illnesses without medication, and help us look and feel younger.
Foods That Age Us
First, to get any anti-aging properties from our diet, we must know what food to avoid. The single biggest culprit that causes aging and the appearance of aging is sugar. This doesn’t mean just the white granulated stuff in your canister on the counter either. High fructose corn syrup is even worse for the body than sugar, because it has the same negative effect on insulin in the body as well as having the negative effects that corn itself can cause for aging the body.
The second worst food that causes premature aging works in the same way on insulin as sugar does: carbohydrates. Carbs, as they are often called, come in ‘good carbs’ and ‘bad carbs’.
‘Good carbs’ are refined grains, natural fiber, like the carbohydrates found in green, leafy vegetables. ‘Bad carbs’ are sugar, refined or processed foods, flour, starches and the like. Even some fruits, when eaten in excess or as juices, can have an excess of fructose, which will cause an insulin reaction in the body.
Prevention of Aging by Eating the Right Food
So the first step in stopping the aging process, or at least slowing it down considerably, is to cut out all sugar, processed foods, and bad carbs, while limiting some of the natural sugars in our diet too, such as decreasing apples and bananas, focusing more on berries and higher fiber vegetables instead.
Keeping our insulin levels steady and at a lower level will do more for anti-aging from our diets than just about anything else we can do nutritionally. All without any medication, anti-aging creams, or chemicals or surgery.
Foods to Eat to Slow the Aging Process
Once you’ve slowed the aging process by eliminating the foods that can cause premature aging, the next step is to pick the best foods to help combat aging and perhaps even reverse some of the ravaging effects of time. Let’s look at some of the best anti-aging foods.
You’ve probably heard a lot about antioxidants in the news and on television ads. I’ll avoid getting into a detailed explanation of what antioxidants are and how they work, except to say that antioxidants are a good thing to include in your diet for nutritional anti-aging effects.
Foods That Are Highest in Antioxidants
So if you’re looking to slow or reverse the aging process, here’s a list of foods that are low-glycemic index foods (meaning they don’t spike or increase insulin as much as some other foods might), and are high in antioxidants.
~Avocado (Also has good fats that help lower cholesterol)
~Barley (Might help reduce cholesterol)
~Bell pepper (Rich in vitamin C, but eat in moderation)
~Broccoli (One of the richest vegetables for antioxidant properties)
~Brussel sprouts (Estrogenic and might help fight cancer)
~Cabbage, in particular Bok Choy (Chinese Cabbage)
~Carrots (Excess can cause insulin reaction, but small amounts are beneficial)
~Chili Peppers (These are powerful nutritional natural drugs for many benefits)
~Collard Greens (Most all leafy greens are great for anti-aging)
~Fish and Fish Oil (Omega-3s)
~Garlic (Potent and might be great for cardiovascular health too)
~Ginger (Potent for helping nausea)
~Nuts (Good fats, soft protein, antioxidant benefits)
~Olive oil (Another good fat, great for cooking and many benefits)
~Onions (1/2 an onion per day, because they can cause insulin reactions)
~Parsley (Great herb for seasoning and health)
~Spinach (Best fresh, blanched or steamed, but not boiled)
Of course, there are many others, but this list is a good start of things to add into your daily diet while decreasing higher carbohydrate, processed foods. Eliminating processed foods and eating more of these healthy, antioxidant foods can have dramatic benefits on energy levels and in several weeks to months, regular consumption can help reduce the signs of aging.
Calorie Reduction is a Powerful Nutritional Anti-Aging Tool
The last piece of advice I have for alternative health nutritional anti-aging benefits is to reduce your caloric intake. It seems simple enough, but the less your body has to work to process calories, store it as fat or burn it as energy, the less your body will wear and tear and age. WebMD has an entire section dedicated to reducing calories and eating right for longevity. Living longer, living healthier and reducing calories and controlling insulin go hand in hand.
So if you’re looking for an elusive fountain of youth, consider looking no further than a natural diet, as raw as possible, with as little sugar (natural or processed) as possible. Low-carbohydrate diets, with moderate protein and high in good fats might just be the answer for living a long, healthy and youthful life.
WebMD: Aging Well; Eating Right for Longevity, http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/aging-well-eating-right-for-longevity, Retrieved 6/4/2011
Medical Benefits of Whole Foods, http://www.naturalways.com/medValFd.htm, Retrieved 6/3/2011
Calorie Restriction Experiment, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/11/magazine/11Calories-t.html, Retrieved 6/5/2011, Original 2009