“Superfoods” is a relatively new term describing foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (1). But can consuming these superfoods truly make a difference in how long we live? The fountain of youth lies in a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle with superfoods sprinkled in.
Although there’s no scientifically based definition for superfoods, they’re considered foods that offer high levels of nutrients and medicinal-like properties which may support a longer, healthier life (2). Packed with abundant minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, these foods offer many essentials for overall wellness and disease protection.
Antioxidants, or naturally occurring molecules in certain foods, play a role in neutralizing free radicals within our bodies. Free radicals are unstable molecules which can cause harm to our cells, ultimately making us more prone to disease and aging. Some foods can influence our cellular aging process by decreasing damage from oxidative stress. Simply put, the following superfoods have the potential to actively influence our aging process.
No individual food, not even those deemed superfoods, can provide the sole comprehensive nutrition, health benefits, and energy necessary to nourish our bodies. A balanced diet plays a crucial role in promoting our longevity and overall health.
Numerous studies suggest that including certain food groups in a balanced diet can contribute to a longer, healthier life by providing essential nutrients, reducing inflammation, supporting cardiovascular health, and protecting against chronic diseases.
Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kale. These superfoods include nutrients that can help activate our body's natural detoxification system, helping clear out damaging and aging components that we are exposed to on a daily basis (3). They can also support and protect our digestive system and heart.
Nuts serve as a nutrient-dense source of healthful fats, plant protein, fiber, antioxidants. Even though they likely contain a higher calorie density, eating a handful of nuts on a regular basis has been linked with lower body weight (4). Just make sure to go for the non oiled versions, without added salt.
As for seeds, they offer healthy fats, minerals, and antioxidants. Some seeds pack even more of a longevity punch. Flax, chia, and hemp seeds, for example, are abundant in omega-3 fats. Omega-3 is a powerful anti-ageing component, some studies show that having higher levels of omega-3 in the blood has been associated with an increased life expectancy(5).
Boost your salads with anti-aging properties by adding chopped walnuts or almonds, or a sprinkle of sunflower or pumpkin seeds.
The bright color of berries indicates they are rich in a superfood plant component called phytochemicals. Berries aid in our cell supporting, heart protective, and anti-cancer properties. Scientific evidence suggests that including berries in your diet may play a role in preventing cognitive decline associated with aging (6).
Try this easy Chia Pudding with Berries, which also contains omega-3 from the flaxseeds!
Regular intake of beans and other legumes like lentils contributes to blood sugar stabilization and appetite reduction. That’s because they're packed with soluble fiber which becomes almost a sticky paste in our stomach. Soluble fiber also lowers cholesterol levels and the resistant starch (resistant to digestion) feeds healthy gut bacteria. In exchange, those gut bacteria provide short-chain fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory and protective to our digestive system, heart, and brain (7).
Onions and garlic belong to the allium vegetable family, which contributes to the well-being of our cardiovascular and immune system. A higher intake of allium vegetables has shown to be correlated with a reduced risk of gastric and prostate cancers (8).
To activate these powerful benefits, chop, crush your onion and garlic before eating. Explore the benefits beyond these two with leeks, chives, shallots, and scallions.
Remember that even though certain foods have lots of nutrients, superfoods are not the only thing to focus on for health and longevity. Incorporating a variety of natural foods into your diet is crucial to ensure you get all the nutrients you need while supporting a graceful aging body and mind.
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