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Let’s admit it – we’re not getting any younger. It’s time we accept that fact and start figuring out how to maximize our quality of life as we age. There have been countless studies on the positive effects of certain foods and how they make us look and feel good. No matter how old you are, by incorporating these foods into your diet, you may see certain health improvements that may include better energy and sleep, and lower disease risk and appearance of wrinkles.
While a good amount of scientific evidence supports the consumption of these foods for anti-aging purposes, it doesn’t hurt to eat well on a consistent basis. Eating a balanced diet helps us feel great from the inside out, and when we feel better, we look and perform better. Below are my top nine foods to include in your daily diet to help you age gracefully and stay at peak health.
1. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a step above regular yogurt – it’s higher in protein, and contains more GI-friendly probiotics. However, you must read the nutrition facts label carefully because many companies sell varieties that have as much as 22g of sugar! Search for brands with less than 10g of sugars per serving. Always opt for plain, non-fat Greek yogurt, since full-fat can contain as much as 4g of saturated fat. Individuals who consume a 2000-calorie diet should limit saturated fat consumption to 20g or less daily.
Blueberries are high in soluble fiber to support your heart and help regulate blood glucose levels. Blueberry skin is actually the reason they’re considered a superfood. They’re extremely high in antioxidants, vitamin C, and vitamin K, which are all important for delaying some of the early signs of aging.
Drinking coffee has been associated to reduced risk of devleoping heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain infections, and even breast cancer in women. Yes, enjoying a cup of Joe on a daily basis has even been associated with reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions with old age.
An apple a day may no longer be enough to keep the doctors away but there’s no denying that they’ll make your doctor visits more pleasant. Apples contain a type of fiber, called soluble fiber, which acts like a sponge and soaks up cholesterol in your bloodstreams before carrying it out of your system. They also help control the absorption of blood sugar to reduce the risk of diabetes. Apples are high in vitamins to strengthen your immune system, potassium to support healthy cardiac functions, and antioxidants to protect your cells from damage. And best of all, it’s a convenient and healthy snack that you can have on the go!
This South American seed is chock-full of protein, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. And, like most grains, it’s also high in fiber. Quinoa is very versatile – it can be used in place of refined grains like white rice or pasta, enjoyed as a side dish or main dish, baked into meatballs, or even served as a warm breakfast cereal!
If you could only eat one vegetable for the rest of your life, it should be broccoli! It contains high amounts of a wide variety of nutrients, from fiber to antioxidants to vitamins A, C, and K. Broccoli is beneficial to every part of your body, including your eyes, bones, blood, heart, and immune system!
Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, also known as “good fats.” They protect us from cardiovascular diseases by keeping our arteries and veins working properly. They can also reduce inflammation throughout our body to help improve joint and brain function.
8. Leafy Greens
If you’re not a fan of broccoli, leafy greens are the next best thing! Choose from kale, spinach, Swiss chard, escarole, arugula, collard greens, and other favorites. They give your body a boost of nutrition, whether you choose to cook them, juice them, or eat them raw. And, like broccoli, leafy greens deliver health benefits throughout your entire body!
9. Dark Chocolate
Chocolate lovers rejoice! Dark chocolate contains both flavonoids and polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that help prevent heart attack and stroke. Chocolate also has positive effects on blood pressure and can possibly help clear arterial blockages. To get the most out of your dark chocolate, opt for varieties that are at least 70 percent dark.
There are countless ways to incorporate these foods into your diet, like creating an anti-aging meal plan. Here’s what a day can look like:
Want to get more bang for your buck when it comes to making a smoothie? Try our Collard Greens Smoothie, packed with anti-aging ingredients in the form of a tasty and convenient NutriBlast smoothie. It doesn’t get easier than that.
You can’t turn back time, but you can at least take control of your health by maintaining a nutritious and balanced diet. And, in doing so, you can ensure that you’ll look good and feel good for many years to come.
Jenn Giles, R.D., C.S.S.D. is all about health and wellness. She has over 15 years’ experience, including a dual master’s degree in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from Columbia University. She is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD). She supplements all of this with her spin instructor certification and USATriathlon Level I Coach Certification.
Jennifer is passionate about (actually, obsessed with) the sport of triathlon. She has been personally participating in triathlons since 2000 and running road races since 1992. She is a two-time Ironman finisher and has completed countless numerous marathons. She has been a member of Power Bar Team Elite since 2006 and competed as a member of the 2006 Aquaphor/Active.com Sponsored Athlete Team. She was ranked as USAT All American Honorable mention in 2006 and 2011. Jennifer does all of this along side of her husband, Patrick, who is an equally accomplished triathlete and runner. They try as hard as they can to do all of their training and racing together.
She will tell you, however, that her most important, most rewarding and most challenging job is as a mother of four. She knows first hand the challenges of maintaining optimal fitness, overall good health and achieving goals while raising a family - of which good nutrition is the cornerstone.
Most importantly, she knows how to motivate, inspire and challenge athletes based on their own abilities, strengths and everyday lifestyles. She believes there is an athlete in everyone - no matter what their abilities are – and if those abilities are manifold, then there is an even better athlete in there!