What you eat can affect your health and your longevity. Find out which foods experts day we should enjoy for a long life -- and which ones to avoid. Why are some people “old” at age 70 while others are “young” at 90? Experts have different theories about why we age, but they agree we can influence the process. Longevity isn’t just about delaying death — it’s about enjoying more years of health and vitality. Diet is one of the lifestyle choices we can make to slow down the aging process and delay the onset of age-related chronic illnesses.
How, exactly? The body needs a variety of nutrients to keep its systems — like our immune system and endocrine system (which regulates hormones) — running at their best. However, our diet does more than just provide fuel. In her new book, The Longevity Diet, dietician Leslie Beck outlines the ways food choices affect the aging process. First, certain foods can cause or prevent inflammation in the body. We’re not just talking arthritis — chronic inflammation also contributes to illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease, heart attack and type 2 diabetes. Foods that are high in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, monounsaturated fat and phytochemicals promote the production of anti-inflammatory compounds.
In contrast, foods which are high in fat, refined sugars and refined starches can promote inflammation. Second, foods containing high levels of antioxidants combat the harmful effects of free radicals — compounds which can damage proteins, cell membranes and genes. Free radical damage accumulates over the years when the body can’t produce enough of its own antioxidant enzymes to keep up. You’ve likely heard some of the big names like polyphenols, phytochemicals (such as flavonoids, beta carotene and resveratrol), vitamins C and E and selenium.
This gallery was the courtesy of 50Plus.