One of the best ways to feel great and stay looking young is to eat a nutritionally rich diet – but not all healthy foods are equal, as some have benefits that elevate them to the status of nutrient powerhouses.
In this round-up we’ve gathered the top 10 antioxidant rich foods that have the power to halt the ageing process and stop time in its tracks. These wonder foods do it all – from reducing wrinkles and firming sagging skin, to improving cholesterol levels, and reducing your risk of serious conditions, such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer.
By feeding your body and mind properly, you can improve almost every area the ageing process impacts, prolonging life expectancy, lubricating your joints, and encouraging the production of collagen, which is essential for youthful looking skin.
Diet is a much better way of getting your daily nutrients hit than supplements, as the body more easily absorbs vitamins and minerals from food. Read on to discover the many benefits of our top 10 anti-ageing miracle foods, then take action to slow down the ageing process by incorporating them in your daily diet. All of the foods on our list of anti-ageing are natural and highly affordable – plus they are also easy to obtain, as they’re commonly found on the shelves of most supermarkets!
Did you know that eating 80g of watercress daily could help to reverse wrinkles by up to 39%? That’s what one study, conducted by Edinburgh Napier University found – and the trial also discovered that this handy herbaceous improved energy levels and pore size, while decreasing the appearance of age spots!
Watercress is a rich source of Vitamin A, C, E, folate and iron – perfect for fighting free radical oxidative damage that’s known to accelerate the ageing process. Vitamin C also provides major collagen benefits, as it boosts the production of collagen, helping to ease arthritis and keep skin plump. The Vitamin A in watercress gets converted into beta carotene in the body, which is highly effective at combating free radical damage when it’s combined with Vitamin C. This makes watercress the ideal food to help prevent age-related conditions brought on by oxidative stress!
One research trial found a statistically significant odds reduction for the development of advanced age-related vision loss in participants who took beta carotene supplements. As 100g of watercress contains approximately 1914 µg of beta carotene, you’re better off getting your daily dose of beta carotene and Vitamin C by incorporating this zingy green into your diet instead.
Watercress is delicious in sandwiches, salads, or blended into smoothies and can also be used to garnish fish dishes or pasta. It’s such a powerhouse of nutrition that scientists claim it can even reduce your risk of cancer – research published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found it decreases many of the biomarkers related to cancer risk and increases blood levels of antioxidants!
If your aim is to live as long as possible, you should definitely incorporate a handful of nuts into your diet every day, as research has found a link between regular nut eating and longevity.
One study, which assessed data on nearly 120,000 people found that groundnut munchers, who ate cashews, brazil nuts or peanuts, or tree nut eaters, who consumed almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, or walnuts daily, had a 20% reduction in all-cause mortality. Scientists found that the biggest benefit of eating nuts was a dramatic reduction of 29% in heart attack mortality risk – and discovered that this healthy daily habit reduced mortality from cancer by 11%.
Nuts are delicious and they’re easy to snack on, plus they’re loaded with skin-friendly nutrients like Vitamin E, to improve skin elasticity and moisture levels. Though some people might shy away due to the calorific content of nuts – we think the health benefits more than balance out the calories. They are a superb food if you’re battling age-related weight gain – research published in the British Medical Journal found that regular consumption can lead to less body fat and a lowered obesity risk!
A diet rich in nuts has been linked with decreased cholesterol and reduced levels of inflammation, as well as lowered insulin resistance. Plus, if sagging skin and deepening lines are a concern, nuts are your new best friend, as they’re rich in antioxidants like ellagic acid and vitamin A, so they’re effective at fighting premature skin ageing, loss of collagen, and wrinkles.
Broccoli is one of the most concentrated sources of Vitamin C and flavonoids and it’s known to promote collagen production, which cushions joints and improves arthritis. As Vitamin C offers collagen benefits, foods rich in this vitamin also help to keep skin looking young and feeling firm. Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, so it also contains sulforaphane, a chemical which boosts levels of antioxidants, stems free radical damage, and stimulates immune cells.
When we age, our immune system’s capacity to fight disease and guard against the development of cancerous cells slows down, due to the impact of free radicals, which also cause skin damage and the signs of ageing to appear. But research has found that eating broccoli regularly re-activates multiple antioxidant enzymes in your immune cells, helping to stave off cancer, prevent the development of age-related conditions, and halt the effects of ageing on the skin.
One study of breast cancer survivors showed that women who consumed cruciferous vegetables like broccoli regularly had a 62% reduction in mortality from the disease. Broccoli is also rich in nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), which gets manufactured naturally within our bodies but depletes as we get older. Decreased NMN levels lead to mitochondrial decay, inflammation and cognitive impairment – supplementing or eating a broccoli rich can help to reverse this process.
Scientists found that when elderly mice were given water enriched with a high dose of NMN, they displayed improved immune system function, as well as increased liver and eye function. NMN is good for diabetes and obesity too, as the mice had lower body fat than the control group, plus a decreased insulin sensitivity. While NMN supplements are expensive, broccoli is highly affordable – so to prolong your longevity and look great, why not add this tasty vegetable to your shopping basket instead?
Avocados are stuffed with beneficial nutrients, such as Vitamin A, K and E, as well as potassium and magnesium, plus they’re high in monounsaturated fat, which decreases LDL cholesterol. Eating just half of an avocado a day helps to encourage the maintenance of healthy cells and cell membranes, which prevents wrinkles and fine lines and keeps the skin moisturised.
Though it’s widely known that avocados can help combat skin ageing, you might not know that this pear-shaped fruit can guard against diseases caused by the degenerative effects of ageing as well. This is because the ageing process is a major contributor to the development of degenerative diseases, including Alzheimers and Parkinson’s – and antioxidant rich foods can protect against this.
Researchers have discovered that avocados have an incredibly high amount of the antioxidants and neuro-protective phytochemicals that slow down the effects of oxidative stress, which is involved in creating the neuron damage that accelerates disease progression..
Scientists also found that avocados help lower the chance of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease, by improving cardiac health and they can lower obesity risk by supporting healthy weight maintenance. Another study published in The Physician and Sports Medicine Journal found that the fruit could play a vital part in the management of osteoarthritis – as they improve joint stiffness and arthritis, due to the high content of anti-inflammatory nutrients, like vitamin E.
If you haven’t already incorporated this mini miracle into your diet, we really think you should, as the humble avocado provides a plethora of anti-ageing benefits, from improved skin, shinier hair, and stronger nails, to lowered cholesterol levels and improved cardiac health!
5. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is chock full of antioxidants including iron, zinc, potassium, copper and magnesium and it’s absolutely loaded with polyphenols, flavanols and catechins to boot. Its fatty acid profile is also good, as it consists mostly of heart-healthy oleic and cholesterol- neutral stearic acid, so it’s no surprise that cocoa extract’s antioxidant content helps with the reduction of age spots and wrinkles.
One study found that dark chocolate wielded greater amounts of polyphenols, and flavanols and had more antioxidant power than many fruits, including blueberries – a known superfood! Due to its rich amounts of nutrients, cocoa has also been found to have Alzheimer antioxidants benefits, so consuming small amounts of dark chocolate regularly, not only contributes to more youthful looking skin, it keeps your brain healthy too!
Cocoa is a potent anti-inflammatory with immense power to boost the immune system and research has shown that it can also decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by up to 9%. This is because it’s effective at lowering LDL cholesterol levels and blood pressure and it improves insulin sensitivity and overall heart health.
Populations known for their high cocoa consumption typically have extended life expectancy and are among the healthiest people in the world. Scientists studied the Kuna Indians, in Central America who drink up to 900 mg of cocoa a day and found that despite having a high salt diet, they have a low occurrence of high blood pressure, a factor known to contribute to cardiovascular disease.
Blueberries are one of nature’s miracle foods and are stuffed with anti-ageing benefits, as they can do everything from boosting skin elasticity and smoothness, to improving memory and reversing cognitive decline.
Studies have shown that the anthocyanins in blueberries provide Alzheimer antioxidants benefits because they slow down the impact of ageing on brain cells and help guard regions of the brain associated with memory from oxidative stress and inflammation. Neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinsons and Alzheimers are caused by an excess of abnormal brain proteins and these plaques contribute to memory loss – but research has now discovered that supplementing with blueberries decreases the production of these proteins.
The benefits of blueberries don’t stop there because this superfruit can also tackle heart disease, as it lowers the contributing risk factors, like hardening of the arteries, obesity, and diabetes. There’s even evidence to demonstrate that blueberries can help to stave off cancer – by decreasing inflammation and helping to block DNA damage. As DNA is the blueprint for cell reproduction, blueberries could have an important role to play in the prevention of cancerous cell development.
The high anthocyanin content in blueberries not only improves your health, it helps to stimulate collagen synthesis and boosts collagen production, helping your skin to look youthful. This brightly coloured berry can even help you to live longer – scientists studying fruit flies given blueberry extract discovered that the flies lifespan increased by over 14%, while levels of one key function impairing age-related protein were decreased by 20%!