Is Fighting Aging Possible With Antioxidant Super Foods?
The fight to live longer with healthier bodies begins earlier and earlier with each generation. Antioxidant and anti-aging super foods might be the key in doing so.
My grandma who lived to be 105-1/2 had very few wrinkles, (*never* had any work done on her face — not even injectables), she had the smoothest skin and not one ounce of cellulite on her.
Honest to goodness, my grandma looked like she was in her early 80′s at 105 – it was as if she was some sort of genetic anomaly. Doctors were astounded with not only how physically youthful she was, but that she also had a youthful soul. When we had to move her into an assisted living home, there were men in their 70′s and 80′s flirting with her! She never let her hair go grey either! No one could ever guess her age.
She always had a strong heart, basically healthy – rarely and I mean rarely got sick. My grandma continued to walk (albeit very slowly and wobbly) with the aid of a walker up until the last month of her life (She refused to be wheeled around in a wheel chair for fear people would think she was old).
I think all of this is attributed to the fact she grew up on tons and tons of sauerkraut, onions, watermelon - and she absolutely loved raspberries! Guess what – all these are super foods, with tons of antioxidants. I’ve always wondered what some secrets to her long life and beauty were. Now, I think I know!
Here are some pictures of my grandmother showing just how well she aged through the years:
What are antioxidants?
I’ve already talked about what super foods are in my posts Can Super Foods Really Tackle Cellulite and 4 Amazing Super Foods for Skin with That Dewy, Youthful Glow!” – so now I’d like briefly talk about antioxidants. In a nutshell, antioxidants are powerful elements that combat free-radical damage that have accumulated by various means in your body.
What are free-radicals?
Free-radicals are harmful organic molecules all around and inside you. They cause you to age faster, cause faster tissue deterioration which leads to cellulite, and as well as certain diseases. Were you aware that food nutrients are used by your body on a cellular level, which is the driving force for a number of reactions which occur inside you?
These reactions are known as cellular metabolism or respiration; free radicals are by-products created by these reactions. Free-radicals travel around like little creepy crawlies bouncing from organ to organ, popping into your tissues, blood vessels and everything else wreaking havoc along the way.
Where do free-radicals come from and how do you fight them?
Free-radicals which I mentioned before, are present not only inside your body but also in the environment. Stress, pollution, pesticides, smoking, alcohol are only a few of the free-radicals that trigger the aging process faster than you’d like.
Antioxidants help to overcome the misery of these dreadful contaminants allowing you to age gracefully.
Here is a look at just some of the super foods that pack the most punch:
Berries – Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, Goji berries, mulberries, and Acai’ berries are excellent choices to get your fill of antioxidants.
Grapes – Red and purple grapes contain the antioxidant Resveratrol which contains polyphenols; this little gem is a phytoalexin and is produced by a plants as their defense system – acting as an antibiotic protecting them against disease.
Red and purple grapes also contain the flavonoid Quercitin which helps reduce stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression as well as allergy symptoms. Quercitin also boosts collagen production which is among having skin-plumping properties, and is also essential for fighting cellulite. Pretty fascinating right?!
Carrots – A well-recognized antioxidant carrots contain is beta-carotene which is a Vitamin A derivative. It’s good for your eyes, it’s an immunity booster, and helps with cellular repair.
Watermelon – Many people don’t realize this yummy treat is an excellent source of concentrated antioxidants of Vitamin C as well as beta-carotene. It also contains the carotenoid antioxidant, Lycopene.
Sauerkraut – My Grandma’s “secret” aging weapon! (Cabbage) - Sauerkraut is the fermentation/curing of this cruciferous vegetable. It has powerful antioxidant properties because the glucosinolates in it trigger your body’s antioxidant enzymes.
It also contains flavonoids and the trace mineral Selenium, both of which help guard your artery walls from oxidative havoc.
According to the journal article, Cruciferous Vegetables: Cancer Protective Mechanisms of Glucosinolate Hydrolysis Products and Selenium, by Anna-Sigrid Keck and John W. Finley:
Dietetic professionals urge Americans to increase fruit and vegetable intakes. The American Institute of Cancer Research estimates that if the only dietary change made was to increase the daily intake of fruits and vegetables to 5 servings per day, cancer rates could decline by as much as 20%.
Among the reasons cited for this health benefit are that fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
They also contain non-nutritive components that may provide substantial health benefits beyond basic nutrition. Examples of the latter are the glucosinolate hydrolysis products, sulforaphane, and indole-3-carbinol.
Epidemiological studies provide evidence that the consumption of cruciferous vegetables protects against cancer more effectively than the total intake of fruits and vegetables.
This review describes the anticarcinogenic bioactivities of glucosinolate hydrolysis products, the mineral Selenium derived from crucifers, and the mechanisms by which they protect against cancer.
These mechanisms include altered estrogen metabolism, protection against reactive oxygen species, altered detoxification by induction of phase II enzymes, decreased carcinogen activation by inhibition of phase I enzymes, and slowed tumor growth and induction of apoptosis.
Onions – This favorite childhood and adulthood raw snack of my grandma’s (yes, snack!) contains the trace mineral chromium which is very beneficial to your cells. Additionally it is loaded with Vitamin C (who knew right?) and a ton of flavonoids, including Quercitin.
Prunes – Not the most popular for obvious reasons, but prunes do help get the digestive system moving to flush out toxins.
Beans – Loaded with protein, they contribute in developing muscle, and reducing cholesterol. Red beans in particular have a high level of antioxidants including Folate and Magnesium, fiber, Thiamin and Molybdenum.
The trace mineral Molybdenum is required for several biological functions such as; producing needed energy in your cells, filtering waste through your kidneys, and proper functioning of your nervous system.
Asparagus – This super food has anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s packed with phytonutrients as well has a low glycemic index of 15 — which can help reduce cholesterol levels and helps against heart disease.
Here’s a little tip: the most colorful fruits and veggies contain highest levels of antioxidants.
Antioxidant super foods can slow down father-time – so try to include as much as you can into your diet.
My question to you is - are you eating foods that are speeding up your aging process, or are you eating foods that will help you age gracefully?
I’d love for you to share your thoughts below!