6 Best Superfoods for Anti Aging
What if I told you it’s possible to slow down the aging process? Well, it is! Because how fast or slow you age has almost everything to do with what you eat and how you choose to live your life. The truth is your genetic code plays a very small part in whether you live a long, healthy life or not. YOU have the power to turn your disease genes off or your longevity genes on. Which means the choice is YOURS! So if you choose to age slowly while looking and feeling your best, consuming an abundance of antioxidants is a great place to start. Let me explain…
Many experts would agree that aging is essentially caused by processes that lead to cellular damage and ultimately dysfunction. As this occurs, the visual signs of aging appear and age-related diseases develop that make us feel crappy and eventually shorten our lives. Thankfully, there are certain phytonutrients (plant nutrients), vitamins, and minerals that act as antioxidants. Molecules that protect your cells and DNA from damage. And since your cells are always at risk from toxins in our environment as well as natural biochemical reactions, you need a constant stream of antioxidants to keep your cells youthful and functioning at top speed.
I’ve written an entire article on antioxidants and specific antioxidant here. However, there are a few antioxidant superfoods you should know about when it comes to anti aging.
Baobab fruit is native to the savannas of Africa. It has a tart, citrusy flavor. It grows in pods and dries naturally from the heat of the sun. When the pods are harvested and opened, the dried pulp is scooped out and ground into a powder. The fruit powder is especially rich in vitamin C, a potent antioxidant.
In fact, one teaspoon offers over 100% of the daily recommended intake for adults. Baobab fruit also contains a high concentration of antioxidant phytonutrients known as polyphenols. Research has shown that polyphenols help maintain healthy blood glucose levels and a healthy insulin response. And this study found that the polyphenols specifically in baobab fruit can significantly slow the digestion of starch in white bread.
Essentially, participants didn’t experience a spike in blood sugar or insulin when they consumed white bread baked with baobab fruit powder. This is important because chronically high levels of blood sugar and insulin ultimately leads to cellular damage, dysfunction, disease, and death. And the benefits don’t stop there! One teaspoon of baobab fruit powder offers 2 grams of fiber that feeds the good bacteria in your gut. And I can’t express this enough...a healthy gut is essential to optimal health.
There’s just no way around it! Baobab fruit powder is often sold in health food stores. You can also purchase it online on websites such as Amazon, Thrive Market, and Lucky Vitamin to name a few. I recommend adding a teaspoon or more to your shakes or smoothies for an antioxidant boost.
Like baobab, camu camu is a fruit packed with vitamin C as well as polyphenols. And this combination has been shown to have more antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power than supplementing with vitamin C alone. I also recommend adding camu camu powder to your shakes or smoothies. It may be easier to find in stores than baobab, but can also easily be found online on the websites I mentioned above. Look for organic and “raw” varieties, which means the fruits were grown without pesticides and were minimally processed. This helps maintain the integrity of the nutrients. Other fruit powders that can be used in the same way and offer high levels of antioxidant activity include Indian gooseberries (amla berries), and acai berries.
All spices, dry and fresh, are high in antioxidants. But interestingly enough, certain dried spices have higher antioxidant activity than their fresh counterparts. In fact, cloves, oregano, rosemary, peppermint, and thyme are above baobab fruit. Cinnamon and turmeric are slightly below baobab, but higher than acai berries and camu camu.
Thus, I always recommend adding herbs and spices to all your dishes. Even if the recipe doesn’t call for it. They add flavor as well as anti aging super powers. In addition to containing antioxidant compounds, herbs and spices are often anti-inflammatory. Especially turmeric. And this is important because we now know that chronic inflammation is the precursor to many age-related diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
Cinnamon is one of my favorites for anti aging. Research suggests cinnamon contains compounds that work against type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease as well as neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. To boost your cinnamon intake, try my cinnamon coffee cake collage fat bombs or my sweet cinnamon dolce latte.
Additional Anti Aging Superfoods
In addition to foods with high levels of antioxidant activity, some foods contain other anti aging nutrients that work in different ways.
Chicken liver is extremely nutrient dense. When it comes to aging, it’s an excellent source of antioxidant nutrients, including vitamins A and C as well as zinc and selenium. It’s also a great source of B vitamins, which help your keep your energy levels up. And speaking of energy, CoQ10 is another nutrient found in chicken liver that is essential for energy production.
While your body is capable of making CoQ10, production naturally decreases as you age. And many conditions, such as heart disease, fatigue, and oxidative stress have been linked to a CoQ10 deficiency. Chicken liver has more CoQ10 than other most other organ meats. Plus, ground chicken liver can easily be incorporated into chili, meatballs, and hamburgers without even noticing it’s there. However, I only recommend consuming liver from humanely treated, pastured raised birds.
Broccoli Sprouts Broccoli sprouts are exactly what they sound like. The young sprouts of broccoli plants. And they are an excellent source of a compound commonly known as sulforaphane. Much higher than their adult counterpart. So what makes sulforaphane so special? Well, it has been studied extensively. And research has shown sulforaphane:
- Has antioxidant activity
- Helps fight bacterial and fungal infections
- Protects against cancer
- Reduces inflammation
- Protects the brain from neurological disease
- Help maintain healthy blood sugar and insulin levels
- Reduces skin aging by protecting it from UV light damage
A pretty impressive list of benefits when it comes to anti aging! Wouldn’t you agree? Due to these revelations, broccoli sprouts are becoming easier to find in markets. They are also super simple to grow in your kitchen. All you need is a baking dish, some organic soil, broccoli sprouting seeds, filtered water, and some sun. Broccoli sprouts can be used as a nutritious garnish on almost anything, such as salads, soups, and eggs to name a few.
Your body makes an enzyme known as AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase). It plays a huge role in energy production. And it’s often referred to as the anti aging enzyme. Because high AMPK activity is associated with health and longevity, while low AMPK activity is associated with disease. AMPK activity helps prevent the formation of body fat and promotes fat burning to help you lose weight. It also regulates a very important anti aging process known as autophagy.
Essentially, autophagy destroys unnecessary or damaged cellular components and reuses them to build new, healthy cells. Without this process, our bodies would age quickly. And the benefits don’t stop there! AMPK regulates your body’s internal antioxidant genes. This means that AMPK activity stimulates the synthesis of internal antioxidants that are extremely potent.
Overeating (especially processed carbs and sugar) and nutrient deficiencies can reduce your AMPK activity. Over time, you’ll gain weight, feel sluggish, increase your chances of disease, and ultimately decrease your lifespan. So why are rose hips on my list? They don’t contain AMPK, but they have been shown to help activate AMPK. And it’s important to give your body any boost it can get. Because as with CoQ10, AMPK activity naturally decreases as you age. Rose hips are the fruit of the rose plant. You don’t want to eat them.
Instead, use them to make a rose hip tea. You can either buy rose hips in bulk online from reputable sources, such as Mountain Rose Herbs. Or, you can try the Rose Hips with Hibiscus Tea from Traditional Medicinals. Research also suggests that certain polyphenols, such as resveratrol, quercetin, epigallocatechin gallate in green tea, and curcumin in turmeric also help activate AMPK.
Mulberries are one of the richest sources of resveratrol. You know the compound found in red wine. Well, the truth is, you’d have to drink a lot more than a healthy serving to get a good dose of resveratrol. Which isn’t recommended, especially when it comes to optimal health and anti aging. So what’s so special about resveratrol? Well, it’s a potent antioxidant. And I’ve already mentioned that it helps activate AMPK.
But research also suggests that it helps activate another enzyme known as SIRT1, which is believed to slow down the clock when it comes to cellular aging. You can usually find dried mulberries in health food stores as well as online. And they can be added to a homemade trail mix with nuts and seeds. Lingonberries are next on the list, which are usually found as a dried powder and can be added to smoothies and shakes. Red currants are also a good source of resveratrol and are great for topping salads.
Adding the foods I discussed above to your diet can give your body the extra support it needs to age gracefully and in good health. However, while your diet is one of the most important factors when it comes to aging, food alone won’t cut it. In this article, I share additional ways to slow down the aging process. Because your age should just be a number. Not a disease.
Keep thinking Big and living BOLD!