(NaturalNews) There are certain antioxidant-packed "power foods" that boost, protect, and prime us for a longer, healthier life, both externally and internally.
Here are the top 8 foods with powerful anti-aging properties that are built to better our health and appearance while also encouraging longevity. They should be added to your arsenal of daily health-promoting tools in order to keep you looking and feeling great no matter how many years you've got under your belt.
Leafy greens and cruciferous veggies
We're always hearing natural health experts and nutritionists touting leafy greens - and with good reason. These impressive, nutrition-packed veggies contain folate, calcium and other nutrients that support bone health, protect against cognitive decline and help prevent age-related eye problems (http://chealth.canoe.ca). More significantly, these green veggies boast powerful anticancer properties.
Diets high in cruciferous veggies like broccoli also help reduce the risk of memory loss. Crucifers and leafy greens like kale, Swiss chard, escarole, beet tops and spinach make delicious additions to all kinds of dishes, including stir-fries, salads, stews and soups.
This little peach-like fruit may appear fragile but it packs a potent anti-aging punch. The bright orange exterior of apricots comes from carotenoids, powerful antioxidants that help prevent heart disease, reduce bad cholesterol levels and protect against cancer. Our bodies convert the carotenoid beta-carotene into vitamin A, which contributes to healthy eyes, skin, hair, gums and glands.
Years of research has proven that apricots possess the highest levels and widest variety of carotenoids of any other food. They are also excellent at regenerating body fluids, detoxifying the body and quenching thirst (http://blog.everythingantiaging.com).
Scientists have found that berries have some of the highest antioxidant levels of any fruits (measured as ORAC). Kale and spinach are the only vegetables with ORAC values as high as fresh berries (http://berryhealth.fst.oregonstate.edu). Fresh berries are also chock full of phytochemicals and color pigments called anthocyanins that have been associated with a lower risk of certain cancers, urinary tract health, memory function and healthy aging.
Berries are great sources of quercetin, a flavonol that works as both an anti-carcinogen and an antioxidant, protecting against cancer and heart disease. The anti-inflammatory properties of berries is thought to slow down the loss of mental function that is often associated with aging. Researchers report that blueberries might even help slow down the cognitive deterioration that comes with Alzheimer's disease. For an extensive list of scientific studies that document the anti-aging properties of berries, visit this site: http://berryhealth.fst.oregonstate.edu
Italians are known for their long lifespan and ability to age gracefully, and this should come with no surprise considering that olive oil is a huge staple in their Mediterranean diet. Olive oil is packed with the best health-forming fats available in the form of omega-3 fatty acids. These necessary fats not only help to keep you lean and heart-healthy by reducing inflammation, they also lower cholesterol and improve skin circulation and digestion. All of these factors lead to a healthier body and a longer life.
Wild Alaskan salmon
The huge antioxidant boost you'll get from wild salmon will get your skin glowing faster than almost any other type of fish. Wild salmon's pink hue comes from a diet of nutrient-rich krill; this offers a healthy dose of the beneficial pigment astaxanthin, which has notable anti-inflammatory properties. Another antioxidant in salmon, the mineral selenium, protects healthy skin cells by fighting off free radicals. It also helps the thyroid function properly, which keeps both your weight and overall health in check.
Eating tomatoes may help protect your skin, according to German researchers (http://alternativeremedies.boomja.com/index.php?ITEM=115590). Volunteers swallowed a daily shot of tomato paste mixed with extra virgin olive oil or just plain olive oil for 10 weeks. After daily exposure to UV light, the tomato group had 40 percent less sunburn than those who consumed only olive oil. The magic ingredient in tomatoes is lycopene, which protects skin from the oxidation that results from sun damage and leads to wrinkles. Drizzling tomatoes with a little healthy fat like olive oil helps you better absorb the lycopene.
Almonds are packed with hard-to-get vitamin E, and just one small handful offers half your daily dose. Raw almonds are the healthiest form of this nut, delivering a higher nutritional content in a pure, unprocessed form.
When researchers from several leading medical schools looked at the impact of different vitamins and minerals on speed, coordination, and balance in people over age 65, the only one that made a difference was vitamin E. Volunteers with the weakest physical performance had the lowest levels of E, whereas more agile participants had adequate amounts of the vitamin in their system. This power vitamin keeps us coordinated by neutralizing free radicals in both our muscles and nervous system.
Brimming with the highest quality omega 3s, avocado is one of the most alkalizing foods available. Avocados are also very high in vitamin E, which is essential for glowing skin, shining hair and keeping wrinkles off your face. Have a raw avocado salad or cover some fresh avocado with lemon and sea salt for a nutritious snack.