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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Eat to Cheat Your Age

We're living for longer than ever before, but who wants to look their age? Fortunately, science is proving that the food we eat can put the brakes on the aging process, both on the inside and the outside.

Investing in a healthy diet now can help reduce the likelihood of suffering from ailments such as failing eyesight, arthritis and heart disease, as well as fatigue and lackluster skin.

Many of the visible effects of aging, such as wrinkles, and also those that we can't see, such as deterioration of the heart and eyes, are caused by free radicals -- highly reactive molecules that damage cell walls and the genetic material within cells.

Free radicals are hard to avoid, as they're produced naturally in the course of everyday life: Factors such as smoking, pollution, and overexposure to sunlight can accelerate their production.

But eating lots of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables can be a powerful defence against them.

Vitamin C-rich citrus fruit can also help to boost the immune system, promote healthy skin, and reduce the risk of eye disease.

Growing old gracefully is an art that anyone can master -- with a little help from the right foods.

Bananas are high in potassium, which keeps high blood pressure in check and reduces the risk of heart disease. In conjunction with sodium, they help maintain the fluid and electrolyte balance in body cells, thus maintaining healthy nerve and muscle function.

They also contain tryptophan, which the body converts to serotonin to aid peaceful sleep.

Pineapple is main benefits come from bromelain, an effective anti-inflammatory, making it exceptionally good for joint problems. Rich in vitamin C, pineapple supports the immune system and defends against free radicals, which can cause premature aging. An excellent source of manganese, important for antioxidant defences and energy production.

Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is essential for the manufacture of collagen -- a protein that helps to maintain the structure of the skin.

Vitamin C also plays an important role in healing wounds and can ward off gingivitis, the gum disease that affects three out of four adults. They also contain ellagic acid, a phytochemical with powerful anticarcinogenic properties.

Full of fiber, rhubarb acts as a natural laxative, keeping the digestive system in good working order and helping to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease. Rhubarb is also high in calcium, which is good for bones, and potassium to keep blood pressure in check and protect the heart. It is also extremely high in water, which helps to keep the body well-hydrated.

Loaded with vitamins C and E, avocados are excellent for keeping skin soft, supple and healthy, and for maintaining glossy hair. High in omega-3 fatty acids, they help prevent wrinkles, enhance brain power and treat arthritic pain. They contain the antioxidant lutein, which has been shown to protect against eye problems and cardiovascular disease.

Containing the powerful antioxidant betacyanin, which gives beetroot its deep red hue, this vegetable purifies the blood and has anti-carcinogenic properties.

Research shows it boosts the body's natural defences in the liver, regenerating immune cells. Also contains silica, vital for healthy skin, hair, fingernails, ligaments, tendons and bones.

Used topically, cucumber helps to maintain a youthful appearance, thanks to its hydrating and anti-inflammatory properties. When ingested, the high water and balanced mineral content makes it one of the best diuretics. Cucumbers are a rich source of silica, a mineral needed for healthy skin, bone and connective tissue.

Silica also plays a major role in preventing cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.


Rich in lycopene, which neutralizes free radicals before they can cause damage, therefore staving off everything from wrinkles to heart attacks.

Studies indicate that lycopene could have twice the anti-carcinogenic punch of beta-carotene. They also contain a little iron, which is well absorbed by the body when accompanied by vitamin C and prevents anaemia and fatigue.

Watercress is rich in vitamin C, thus aiding the regeneration of skin cells, keeping the liver healthy and defences strong. It also contains phenethyl isothiocyanate, a chemical that helps the liver to detoxify and is said to neutralise carcinogenic cells.

A useful source of iodine -- essential for the proper functioning of the thyroid, and vitamin B6 to prevent memory loss.

Radishes are rich in sulphur, essential for youthful, healthy skin, hair and nails, and also have anticarcinogenic properties.

Assisting the body in ridding itself of toxins, radishes help to treat gall bladder and liver problems, which might cause premature aging.

Mushrooms contain more protein than most vegetables, as well as vitamin E and selenium, which help maintain healthy skin and hair and protect against heart disease. They also boost immunity and have anti-carcinogenic properties.

Shiitake mushrooms specifically boost immunity, the reishi variety combats high blood pressure and asthma, and maitake treats blood pressure and liver disease.

A fantastic source of folic acid, said to prevent damage to the arteries that supply blood to the heart and the brain. Folic acid has also demonstrated anticarcinogenic properties. Asparagus contains asparagine, which, along with its high potassium and low sodium content, makes it an excellent diuretic and cleanser.

Beta-carotine, which the body converts into vitamin A, is especially important for eye health. It's also of great benefit to the skin, and the immune and digestive systems. Carrots are also loaded with fiber and water, which cleanse the liver, boost detoxification, and plump out the skin to stave off wrinkles.

Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts are about 70 percent fat. Half of this is oleic acid, the building block for the omega-9 fatty acids that are excellent for the skin and have anti-inflammatory properties.

The rest is made up of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids, which promote healthy skin, glossy hair and a good memory.

Peanuts provide the most protein of all nuts, and they are high in monounsaturated fats, which reduce cholesterol levels and protect against clogged arteries and heart disease. They are also high in vitamin E, which maintains wrinkle-free skin and glossy hair.

Because of their low glycemic index score, the nuts help to prevent adult-onset diabetes.

Source: http://www.thirdage.com/heart-health/eat-to-cheat-your-age

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