Who says we can’t stay young? While there are many cosmetic and surgical ways to maintain youth nowadays, I myself believe that because ageing is a natural process, it can also be slowed down through natural means. If we stay healthy on the inside, it shows on the outside! And though we cannot stop ageing once and for all, there are ways to age gracefully and stay youthful at any age.
As experience and research have taught me, the natural ageing process is sped up by three things we cannot seem to avoid: stress, sugar, and toxins. In our fast-paced modern world, sources of stress are everywhere, sugar finds its way on our plates without us knowing, and toxins are unavoidable. But, with extra care and attention, we can prevent these age accelerators from sabotaging our health.
I try to do my fair amount of exercise every day and get as much sleep as I can, but I find that what I put in my body is the most important factor and contributor to my overall wellbeing. Food is good! The right food in the right quantities is even better. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the foods on this list are among my favorite!
Here are the top ten foods that keep me on tip-top condition from the inside out:
Tofu, and other soy products such as soymilk, is one of the most famous anti-ageing foods today. It is packed with all the good stuff such as calcium and protein, and contains all eight amino acids. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and is an excellent source of iron.
I bumped into tofu during my quick vegetarian phase and I’ve loved it ever since! It is filling but light on the tummy as well. Tofu is a great dairy and meat substitute. In the mornings I sometimes skip the eggs and make tofu omelet instead. The kids love it! Or, when we are craving for something savory, I make tofu and vegetables curry. It has my family clamoring for more!
Having protective effects against diseases such as cancer, olive oil is definitely a favorite. It is good for the heart and, as my research has led me to believe, decreases the expression of inflammatory genes in humans and lowers the risk of dementia. My brain literally loves the stuff! When my heart and brain agree on something, I make it a point to listen.
Drizzling olive oil on salads is a good way to go, but you can also get creative and use it to make delicious dips. I’ve tried dipping pita bread in olive oil and hummus. Yum!
Juicy tomatoes are good for the skin and are rich in a powerful antioxidant called lycopene, which protects the skin from free radicals that cause skin diseases and wrinkles. It can also prevent sun damage and helps keep the skin clear, smooth, and glowing.
I personally love snacking on cherry tomatoes. I take a handful and pop them into my mouth one by one – hunger solved! Toss them in salads, make them into rich tomato soup, or juice them and say bye-bye to wrinkles!
Another wrinkle-fighting food! Carrots are rich in Vitamin A, known as beta carotene, that promotes clear skin and keep wrinkles from forming. It also helps the production collagen. Don’t you just love it?
Carrots are my go-to healthy snack. I cut them up into sticks and stock them up in the fridge for when I have the munchies. They can also be steamed, put into soups, blended into smoothies, or drank as juice. It’s hard to go wrong with this one!
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, tuna and other fatty fish like salmon and sardines preserves collagen and helps keep the skin smooth. It also reduces inflammatory compound that cause tumor growth, thus helping prevent skin cancer. Not only is it good for the skin, it’s good for the heart too! Omege-3 fatty acids are the good fats that keep our cardiovascular system healthy!
If you’re like me who loves seafood, this is pretty easy to prepare. There are many interesting ways to cook tuna. I put tuna into salads, wraps, sandwiches, pot pie – you name it!
Now we go into holy ground. I have so much love for tea, it’s almost ridiculous. Almost. Tea in general has all kinds of health benefits, but green tea, white tea, and oolong tea have special anti-ageing properties. They contain high levels of antioxidants and promote digestive health. An interesting Chinese study has shown that the cells of those who drank more green or oolong tea showed less wear and tear compared to the cells of those who drank less of it.
I drink a minimum of 5 cups of tea daily. I know, that’s a lot of tea! I’m not much of a coffee drinker, so my tea is really an important part of my daily diet. I have an entire shelf in my kitchen solely dedicated to tea. It’s like a shrine to tea. I told you, it’s almost ridiculous!
I’m pretty sure you’ve heard about Greek yogurt one way or another. Rich in calcium, Greek yogurt can help keep the bones healthy and can reduce risk of osteoporosis. It also contains good bacteria that promotes healthy digestive system and prevent age-related intestinal problems.
Greek yogurt is good as dessert, in smoothies, and you can also eat it plain. Top it with berries and fruits, and you get a satisfying and healthy sweet treat.
Also known as “queen of fruits”, grapes contain a lot of health benefits. The skin of red grapes contain resveratrol, an anti-inflammatory that helps keep the skin looking good and keeps UV damage at a minimum. It is also a great source of potassium, which can level out excess sodium. Grapes are also good for the eyes, knees and boost brain power. And, my kids love it!
Blueberries contain high doses of vitamin C and high levels of antioxidants. They are wonderful for the skin and taste delicious!
Blueberry smoothie is a hit in my household. When we are in a rush, my kids like adding blueberries to their cereal or oatmeal. It’s a good and healthy way to make bland oatmeal interesting. It also makes a great snack and dessert. I almost automatically reach for blueberries when I want a sweet snack.
Yes, you read that right. Chocolate has anti-ageing properties. But sadly, not all chocolate are created equal. Dark chocolate with high cocoa content contains antioxidants and is loaded with soluble fiber and minerals. It is also said to have cancer-fighting properties.
As a treat, I like to take good quality dark chocolate with 70% cocoa and eat it when I crave for something rich and sweet.
So, there you have it! Together with exercise and enough sleep, these foods have helped keep my skin clear and smooth, prevent lines on my face, and generally keep my feeling good inside. I don’t really have fixed rules about what not to eat, not even to my kids, but I always try to keep track of what I do eat. Moderation is key!