Secrets to Staying Young Preventing Aging Through Food

Secrets to Staying Young Preventing Aging Through Food

There is no longer any doubt, thanks to science and technology, that nutrition is a serious weapon in the fight to stay young and prevent aging. Our cells are under constant attack, and if we do not have the resources to stave off these attacks, the damage compounds, and the result is aging -- the degradation of our body. What we now clearly understand is that food is our number one weapon in this war.

The new buzz word is Telomere!

Science has discovered that the chromosomes in our cells have a sort of cap on the end called a telomere (imagine the plastic cap at the end of a shoelace,) and each time a cell reproduces, this telomere becomes smaller. Eventually, when the telomere is gone, the cell can no longer divide. This a root cause of poor health, and ultimately, age  decline through cell death. A biologist name Hayflick determined that the maximum lifespan of a human is limited to 120 years due to this process. Furthermore, environmental factors can speed up the telomere depletion as well.

So how do we slow down the aging process and prolong our youth?

There are two approaches. First, we need to protect against the damage to our DNA, slowing the shortening process while maintaining their structural quality. Then we need to nourish and improve the health of the telomere so that it actually regains some of its original size.

Great news ... science has shown us the way back to basics.

As a result of this knowledge, a flurry of new discoveries about aging and how we can combat it have followed. Arguably the most important approach is nutrition, which can help keep your cells healthier longer and you looking and feeling younger. 

Science figured out that genes are in a sense mercurial. They can be influenced by outside factors (called epigenetics), and that nutrition is one such factor. For instance, vitamins like B, C and E, minerals like magnesium, certain proteins, choline, SAMe, and other specific nutrients are central to telomere health. Deficiencies in these nutrients can lead to poor cell health and faster aging decline. Studies are starting to mount up showing how nutrition is critical.  An example is the study found that men with higher levels of folic acid had longer telomeres. So understanding how to properly feed your cells means staying younger longer.

But before we get into the nutrition, let's talk free radicals.

Free radicals are molecules in your body with an unpaired electron. These unstable molecules collide with other molecules in an attempt to 'steal' an electron, starting a chain reaction, damaging your DNA (amongst other things,) and leading to the aging process and other serious health problems. Free radicals are called ‘free’ because they attach to the wall of the cell and steal essential elements causing oxidative tissue damage (in the same way that metal rusts or apples brown.) Under this inflammatory stress, cells  divide and replcate faster in order to restore themselves. This response to cell damage actually accelerates telomere loss, speeding up the aging process, so the problem gets  compounded.

Even though free radicals are a natural part of life, our body does have a defense.

Antioxidants are nutrients that neutralize free radicals and protect our cells from oxidative damage.

Hundreds of studies have now linked diets high in antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables to not only better cell health, but also a lower risk for diseases like cancer, heart disease, cataracts, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and arthritis.

In 2001, the Age-Related Eye Disease Study, a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial, showed that high-dose antioxidant supplementation of 500 mg of vitamin C, 400 IU of vitamin E, 15 mg of beta-carotene, 80 mg of zinc, and 2 mg of copper significantly reduced development of advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) compared to placebo. We could easily roll out hundreds of such studies to support the benefits of antioxidants in combating all areas of age-related decline.

Suffice it to say, antioxidants are the key to slowing down the aging process. The answer is nutrition! Forget the pills, the injections, the creams, and all the fads.

We can eat our way to youthful rejuvenation! Food is a fountain of youth.

We just need to eat the right foods to supply our body with these critical resources.

So what are the best foods for staying and looking young?

There are lots of sources of antioxidants, but for this discussion, we are looking for the big guns. The foods that really pack a nutritional health punch in the arena of cell health.

First let's point out that taking multivitamin-style supplements to get your nutrients is a poor choice. Isolating the nutrient from the food source increases the likelihood that the benefits will suffer. The nutrition is only as valuable as your body's ability to utilize it. Most multi's are comprised of synthetic nutrients (because they are cheaper and last longer.) What makes more sense to you? Taking 100mg of ascorbic acid in a pill, or eating an orange? The vitamin C in the orange is wrapped in the embrace of other nutrients, like the fiber that contains it. Whole food sources are the way to go. When taking any supplement, make sure it is "food based" or "100% whole food" where possible.

Most synthetic ingredients are not as useful to the body. Plus, it is easy to over supply certain nutrients which can do more harm than good (for instance, too much vitamin A can be toxic.) Deciding the correct nutrients and their appropriate dosages for optimal health is very complicated and very individalized. If you are not working your doctor and a lab, then you are better off leaving it to nature. Eat the right foods and your body will take what it needs and be healthy.

So that said, let's talk anti-aging food.

What is the best food for cell health and slowing the aging process?

Of course, we start with the fatty fish like sardines, tuna, salmon, anchovies, etc. Research shows that diets rich in fatty seafoods (and nuts and seeds) lead to overall better heart and cell health. One study in Norway found a considerable difference in age health between coastal dwellers who had a heavy fish-based diet and those who dwell in the middle regions where diet was more animal-based.

The key for vegetables and fruits is in the color, so look for deep colors. Eat green vegetables for phytosterols, antioxidants and flavonoids like broccoli, kale, parsely, etc. Eat purple fruits for anti-oxidants and anthocyanins like berries, pomegranates, grapes, etc. Eat red foods for polyphenols and lycopene like watermelon, berries, peppers, etc. Finally, eat yellow and orange foods for vitamins, anti-oxidants and beta-carotene like bananas, carrots, etc. The list is extensive, and we are simplifying here, but this is a fundamental food strategy for staying young. 

These are the most important foods to get into your daily diet:

Dark berries (acai, blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, etc),
Red Grapes (see also resveratrol),
Blood Oranges,
Beans (particularly lentils),
Garlic (and onions),
Tomatoes (and watermelon), 
Bell Peppers, 
Cucumber (eat the waxy peel),
Sunflower Seeds,
Brazil nuts,

Remember, we are just focusing on the anti-aging heavy hitters, to drag out our metaphor. There are obviously a lot more great foods to embrace, and this is not meant to be all-inclusive, but rather we are looking for maximum bang for buck.

Add these foods to your regular diet and you are sure to find yourself bursting with cellular vitality, maintaining young skin, peak-functioning organs, a sharp brain, and better overall health. Food for telomeres.

But realistically, since it won't be easy getting all these foods into your every day meals, the last question remains, what are the worthwhile supplements to use as an adjunct to this youth-promoting diet? We already dicussed why multi-vitamins are not the answer.

Well the exciting news is that studies have shown that some foods not only hold their nutritional bioavailability when dried and powdered, but they can actual increase in potency. This means that supplements can be an outstanding weapon in the arsenal -- as long as the ingredients are in whole form. That means dried and powdered fruits and vegetables, not extracts, isolates, or synthetics. When we made our resveratrol and fruits complex ResveraYouth, or our GREEN 33 daily vegetable complex, both full of pure organic goodness, we wanted to create such a truly health-promoting whole-food supplement. This is how you supplement so that you actually receive full benefit from hard-to-get foods that will help keep you young on the inside and out. 

4 G's for Anti-Aging: garlic, ginger, ginseng, gingko biloba 
The Power of Pomegranate Keeps You Young

superfruits resveratrol supplement

Walford, Roy, M.D., and Lisa Walford. "The Anti-Aging Plan: The Nutrient-Rich, Low Calorie Way of Eating for a Longer Life -- The Only Diet Scientifically Proven to Extend Your Healthy Years." Marlowe & Company. 1994.
Cassetty, Samantha B., M.S., R.D., and Delia Hammock, M.S., R.D. "Best Anti-Aging Foods." WebMD. (June 8, 2011)
Klein, Deborah A. "The 200 Superfoods that will Save Your Life: A Complete Program to Live Younger, Longer." McGraw-Hill Professional. 2009.

The opinions expressed in this article are of the author. Content and other information presented on the site are not meant to be medical advice or any substitute for professional advice, counseling, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard professional medical or mental health advice from your physician or other qualified health provider.

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