What are the best foods to fight aging?

May 1, 2018

Eat well for a long and healthy life – that's a mantra that we're all familiar with, but what are the best foods to help us achieve that goal? In this article, we give you an overview of some of the most healthful and nutritious foods.

person holding grocery bag

What are the best foods for a healthful diet? We investigate.

Official figures indicate that, currently, the top three countries in the world with the highest life expectancy are the Principality of Monaco, Japan, and Singapore. These are places where the inhabitants experience a high quality of life, and an important element of that is eating healthful meals.

Often, we find praise for "superfoods" in the media – foods so high in nutritional value that they are seen as dietary superheroes.

Nutritionists reject the term "superfoods" as a buzzword that can influence people to place too high an expectation on a limited range of foods when, in reality, a balanced diet and healthful lifestyle require more effort than eating your five-a-day.

Still, there are certain foods that are more nutritious than others, and many that, as research has shown, have a protective effect against a range of diseases. Here, we give you an overview of some of the best foods that you may want to consider including in your diet in your quest for a happy, healthy life.

Edamame (soybeans)

Edamame, or fresh soybeans, have been a staple of Asian cuisine for generations, but they have also been gaining popularity on the Western front of late. Soybeans are often sold in snack packs, but they are also added to a varied range of dishes, from soups to rice-based meals, though they are served as cooked and seasoned on their own, too.

tofu, edamame, and soy products

Edamame and tofu are rich in isoflavones, which may have anti-cancer properties.

The beans are rich in isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen – that is. plant-derived, estrogen-like substances. Isoflavones are known to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancer, and antimicrobial properties.

Thus, they can help to regulate the inflammatory response of the body, slow down cellular aging, fight microbes, as well as, reportedly, protect against certain types of cancer.

Edamame are rich in two types of isoflavones, in particular: genistein and daidzein. A study covered last year on Medical News Today found that genistein could be used to improve breast cancer treatment.

In the meantime, the study authors note that "lifetime intake of soy [...] has been linked to reduced risk of breast cancer," so we may want to include soybeans in our normal diet.

Tofu (soybean curd)

Similarly, tofu, a white cheese-like product made of soybean curds, has been linked to a wealth of health benefits for the same reasons. Tofu is often found cooked in typical Eastern Asian dishes; it can be fried, baked, or boiled (for instance, in soups).

As a soy product, it is rich in isoflavones, whose health benefits we've outlined above; it is also a good source of protein, and it contains all the essential amino acids that our bodies need to synthesize protein.

Moreover, it is also rich in minerals, which our bodies need to keep our teeth and bones strong and healthy, and to derive energy. Tofu is a source of calcium, iron, manganese, selenium, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc, and copper.

Some specialists also suggest that eating tofu can make you feel fuller for longer, so incorporating it into your meals may help to prevent overeating.

Carrots

This common culinary ingredient, best known in its orange variety, is famously recommended for its high content of beta-carotene, a pigment — and carotenoid — that gives the widespread version of this root vegetable its color.

selection of carrots

Carrots can protect against age-related eyesight damage.

Beta-carotene can be converted by our bodies into vitamin A, which, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), "is involved in immune function, vision, reproduction, and cellular communication." Our bodies cannot produce vitamin A on their own, so it must be derived from our diet.

This pigment is also an antioxidant that can protect the cells in our bodies from the aging damage caused by free radicals.

Moreover, research has shown that foods rich in carotenoids — and, of course, carrots are a prime example here — can protect against age-related macular degeneration, the vision damage caused by old age.

Some varieties of carrots, such as white carrots, do not contain the orange pigment beta-carotene, but they do all contain falcarinol, a nutrient which, some studies claim, may have a protective effect against cancer.

While raw carrots may be best for health, as they retain their nutrients, there are also ways of cooking carrots that can keep most of their nutrients "locked in."

In an interview, one researcher who investigated the anti-cancer effect of falcarinol from carrots, Kirsten Brandt — from Newcastle University in the United Kingdom — suggests that we may want to boil our carrots whole if we want them cooked, but still bursting with nutrients.

"Chopping up your carrots increases the surface area so more of the nutrients leach out into the water while they are cooked. By keeping them whole and chopping them up afterwards you are locking in nutrients and the taste, so the carrot is better for you all round."

Cruciferous vegetables

Another important type of food on our list are cruciferous vegetables — also known as "Brassica vegetables" — which include a wide array of green foods, such as cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, radish, and kale.

basket of cruciferous vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables can bring a wealth of health benefits.

These vegetables boast an especially rich nutrient content, including many vitamins (C, E, K, and folate), minerals (potassiumcalcium, and selenium), and carotenoids (lutein, beta-carotene, and zeaxanthin).

Cruciferous vegetables also contain glucosinolates, the substances that give these greens their characteristic pungent flavor. These substances have been found to bring diverse health benefits.

Some glucosinolates seem to regulate the body's stress and inflammation response; they have antimicrobial properties, and some of them are being investigated for their anti-cancer potential.

One recent study covered on MNT found that leafy greens, including some cruciferous vegetables such as kale and collard greens, helped to slow down cognitive decline. Consequently, the study researchers suggest that "adding a daily serving of green, leafy vegetables to your diet may be a simple way to foster your brain health."

Kale, broccoli, and cabbage have also been shown to have a protective effect on heart health, thanks to their vitamin K content.

Finally, cruciferous vegetables are also a great source of soluble fiber, which plays a role in regulating blood sugar levels and diminishing the absorption of fat, thus helping to prevent excess weight gain.

Salmon

Recent studies have suggested that consumption of meat — mostly red meat, but also some kinds of poultry meat — could be harmful to our health in the long run. A good alternative for protein in this case is fish, and salmon, in particular, affords many nutritional benefits.

salmon

Salmon could protect cognitive health, researchers say.

Salmon is packed with protein, and also contains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which is said to be beneficial for eyesight. Research has demonstrated that omega-3 protects against dry-eye syndrome, characterized by insufficient lubrication of the eyes, which can lead to soreness and blurred vision.

Moreover, omega-3 fatty acids have been associated with brain health, and researchsuggests that they can stave off cognitive decline associated with aging.

Salmon also has a high potassium content and, according to a new study reported on MNT last autumn, potassium can prevent the onset of heart disease.

Additionally, this type of fish is rich in the mineral selenium, which contributes to the health of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland helps to regulate hormonal activity and is involved in metabolic processes.

What are the best diets for 2018?

What are the best diets for 2018?Learn which diets researchers recommend for a healthy life.READ NOW

Although both farmed and wild salmon are available on the market, wild salmon has been found to be more nutritious overall, with a higher protein content, and also to have less saturated fat, which means that it is more healthful, and better for weight management.

However, farmed salmon is a more sustainable resource, and specialists say that the differencesbetween farmed and wild caught salmon may not be so stark as to motivate us to prefer one type over the other.

Citrus fruits

Finally, citrus fruits are the unsung heroes of a healthful diet; these include a number of fruits that are now available worldwide, such as oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, clementines, mandarins, and tangerines.

basket of citrus fruits

The flavonoids in citrus fruits have been cited in connection to longer lifespans.

For a long time, citrus fruits have been recommended by nutritionists and grandmothers alike for their high content of vitamin C, which has antioxidant properties, and is said to bring a wide array of health benefits, including to reduce inflammatory damage, and to fend off infections.

Specialists point out, however, that this type of fruits goes well beyond just vitamin C when it comes to nutritional content.

"The fruits are abundant in other macronutrients, including sugars, dietary fiber, potassium, folate, calcium, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B-6, phosphorus, magnesiumcopper, riboflavin and pantothenic acid."

If this list of dietary goodies hasn't colored you impressed, the specialists then go on to explain how citrus fruits contain even more organic compounds — such as flavonoids, coumarins, and carotenoids — that have been said to have protective effects against cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Research has shown that flavonoids — in which citrus fruits are particularly rich — can "prevent or delay chronic diseases caused by obesity."

Flavonoids have also garnered a lot of scientific attention for their anti-cancer potential, and consumption of especially flavonoid-rich citrus fruits has been associated with a significantly prolonged lifespan.

The inhabitants of the Japanese prefecture of Okinawa, known to be some of the longest-living populations of the world, regularly eat shikuwasa, also known as "shequasar," a citrus fruit typical of the region, which contains more flavonoids than most other citrus fruits.

Drinking shikuwasa juice rich in flavonoid content has also been linked to better liver health.

Although all of the foods mentioned above are appreciated for their significant health benefits, we should not forget that well-being and longevity cannot be achieved without a balanced, inclusive diet and a healthful lifestyle.

Moreover, current studies suggest that our genetic makeup may have an important say as to which foods work best for our health. So, keeping our list of nutritious foods in mind, make sure you follow the healthful diet that is most effective for you!

Written on
April 30, 2018

Continue reading...

More from our Blog:

Safety Tips for Exercising Outdoors

Enjoy your outdoor exercise while keeping an eye on your safety! Stay safe, live well!

Read Post
Why you feel tired all the time

If you are concerned that you have a medical condition that is causing you to feel tired, arrange an appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss your worries as soon as possible.

Read Post
Daylight Savings 2018: When do US clocks go forward and why do we have it?

Daylight Savings 2018: When do US clocks go forward and why do we have it?

Read Post
Five St. Patrick’s Day Safety Tips

St. Patrick’s day calls for drinks with friends, a heap of green, and a healthy dose of responsibility. With that formula and the above tips, you can make March 17 a greater and safer night out for you and your loved ones.

Read Post
Diabetes Alert Day March 27 2018

American Diabetes Association Diabetes Alert Day ®, observed annually on the 4th Tuesday in March, is a 1-day wake-up call to inform the American public about the seriousness of diabetes, particularly when diabetes is left undiagnosed or untreated. Diabetes Alert Day 2018 will be observed on Tuesday, March 27.

Read Post
The Four Most Dangerous Holiday Driving Hazards

Whether it’s making a “Merry Christmas!” phone call from behind the wheel, rushing to the next holiday party or indulging in some rum eggnog prior to hitting the road, here are some of the most dangerous behaviors drivers exhibit during the holiday season.

Read Post
GRIEF & THE HOLIDAYS

Holidays are clearly some of the roughest terrain we navigate after a loss. The ways we handle them are as individual as we are. What is vitally important is that we be present for the loss in whatever form the holidays do or don’t take. These holidays are part of the journey to be felt fully. They are usually very sad, but sometimes we may catch ourselves doing okay, and we may even have a brief moment of laughter. You don’t have to be a victim of the pain or the past. When the past calls, let it go to voice mail…it has nothing to say. You don’t have to be haunted by the pain or the past. You can remember and honor the love. Whatever you experience, just remember that sadness is allowed because death, as they say, doesn’t take a holiday. Even without grief, our friends and relatives often think they know how our holidays should look, what the family should and shouldn’t do. Now more than ever, be gentle with yourself. Don’t do more than you want, and don’t do anything that does not serve your soul and your loss.

Read Post
Christmas tree and decoration fires

Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. Carefully decorating your home can help make your holidays safer.

Read Post
Protecting Your Family AMERICA'S OPIOID EPIDEMIC

Opioid pain-killers and drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in the United States.

Read Post
Officials warn about carbon monoxide as residents turn on heaters

If you suspect you home may have carbon monoxide, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Read Post
Five Safety Tips for Deep Frying Turkey

Fried turkeys are delicious, but they come with a slew of safety issues. Thousands of fires as well as many deaths and injuries happen each year due to turkey fryer fires. Before you set up your turkey fryer this Thanksgiving, remember these safety tips.

Read Post
The theme of World Diabetes Day 2017 is Women and diabetes - our right to a healthy future.

All women with diabetes require affordable and equitable access to care and education to better manage their diabetes and improve their health outcomes.

Read Post
Vaccine Effectiveness - How Well Does the Flu Vaccine Work?

The large numbers of flu-associated illnesses and deaths in the United States, combined with the evidence from many studies that show flu vaccines help to provide protection, support the current U.S. flu vaccination recommendations. It is important to note, however, that how well flu vaccines work will continue to vary each year, depending especially on the match between the flu vaccine and the flu viruses that are spreading and causing illness in the community, as well as the characteristics of the person being vaccinated.

Read Post
Fire Prevention Week October 8-14 2017

Fire Prevention WeekIn a fire, seconds count. Seconds can mean the difference between residents of our community escaping safely from a fire or having their lives end in tragedy. That’s why this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme: “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” is so important. It reinforces why everyone needs to have an escape plan. Here’s this year’s key campaign messages:

Read Post
2017 National Seasonal Preparedness

Download the Ready 2017 National Seasonal Preparedness Messaging Calendar (PDF) Download the Ready 2017 National Seasonal Preparedness Messaging Calendar (JPEG)

Read Post
10 Driving Safety Tips For A Happy Halloween

Halloween is a holiday that children and adults alike can enjoy. Who doesn’t love costumes, candy, and scary stories? But Halloween can also be a very dangerous time to be a driver and a pedestrian. If you have to drive this Halloween, follow these driving safety tips.

Read Post
Halloween Health and Safety Tips

Fall celebrations like Halloween and Harvest Day are fun times for children, who can dress up in costumes, enjoy parties, and eat yummy treats. These celebrations also provide a chance to give out healthy snacks, get physical activity, and focus on safety.

Read Post
When & How to Wash Your Hands

Keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. If clean, running water is not accessible, as is common in many parts of the world, use soap and available water. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to clean hands.When should you wash your hands?

Read Post
Concussion Safety

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth.

Read Post
Bullying: What Schools, Parents and Students Can Do

According to the FBI, “Bullying remains one of the largest problems in schools, with the percentage of students reportedly bullied at least once per week steadily increasing since 1999.” Additionally, cyberbullying has become more rampant and has contributed to the suicides of multiple children. The Internet has unleashed meanness to a degree unseen before. Thanks to the accessibility to the Internet and the affordability of new technology, bullies now have multiple ways to harass their victims. The current generation has the added ability to use technology to expand their reach and the extent of their attacks exponentially.

Read Post
BACK TO SCHOOL SAFETY

As summer draws to a close and children start heading back to school, family life can get pretty hectic. It's important to remember – and share with your children – some key tips that will help keep them safe and healthy throughout the school year.

Read Post
Dog Days of Summer - Are you aware of Heat related issues?

For more information, read the Red Cross Heat Wave Safety Checklist. Tags: Heat, Health & Safety.

Read Post
Come Visit Nottingham Ambulance Squad at National Night Out Tuesday August 1, 2017

We have many opportunities for membership, including contributing members and active riding members. If you are interested in joining, please visit our website and complete the membership application.

Read Post
Summer Vacation Safety

As the warm weather approaches and thoughts turn to getting away for a few days, being safe while on summer vacation helps ensure that you and your loved ones only have good memories of your time away from home. There are many things you can do to keep yourself, your family and your valuables safe.

Read Post
Insect Sting Allergy Treatment

Call 911If the person does have severe allergy symptoms (anaphylaxis): Seek emergency care if the person has any of these symptoms or a history of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis), even if there are no symptoms: Difficulty breathing or wheezingTightness in the throat or a feeling that the airways are closingHoarseness or trouble speaking Nausea, abdominal pain, or vomitingFast heartbeat or pulseSkin that severely itches, tingles, swells, or turns redAnxiety or dizzinessLoss of consciousness

Read Post
Nottingham Ambulance Squad answered 50 calls for service in March 2017 logging 504 volunteer hours

Nottingham Ambulance Squad answered 50 calls for service in March 2017 logging 504 volunteer hours

Read Post