“The evidence in: Choose your food wisely and you can add years to your life. Our list of anti-aging foods goes way beyond green tea!
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“Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old”: When it comes to anti-aging foods, it doesn’t matter how you eat your green and yellow legumes, as long as you eat them. Eating whole, cooked peas and other legumes—a staple of the Mediterranean diet—may actually slow aging on a cellular level, according to a study published in BMJ. Researchers speculate that it’s the fiber and antioxidants that give them their longevity powers. Check out these 8 wrinkle-fighting foods that make skin look younger.
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Going nuts for nuts may be one of the best things you can do for your health. People who eat these anti-aging foods, especially walnuts, three times a week or more enjoy two to three more years of life, according to research published in BMC Medicine. Nutty folks significantly reduced their risk of cancer and heart disease, the two biggest killers we face as we age. There is one caveat, however: A second study found that the life-lengthening benefits did not extend to peanuts or peanut butter. Sorry, PB&J fans!
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Carrots are the quintessential health food, so it’s probably no surprise to hear they’re really good for you. But did you know that they can not only lengthen your life span but also help you look sexier doing it? A study done by the Universities of Glasgow and Exeter found that the carotenoids that give carrots their bright-orange hue can slow down the aging process and have the added bonus of making you more attractive to potential mates.
“One medium carrot provides 204 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin A, an antioxidant vitamin needed to create new and healthy skin cells,” says Toby Amidor, MS, RD, author of Smart Meal Prep for Beginners. “Vitamin A also protects your skin from bacteria and viruses.”
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Omega-3 fatty acids have powerful longevity benefits, helping to reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. But while you can find these miracle compounds in all kinds of fatty fish, one of the best, and least-known, sources is sardines. Yes, just one serving of those tiny fish that come complete with eyeballs and laid out in a tin as if they’re sleeping (don’t think about it) provides half of your daily value for omega-3s and nearly 400 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin B12, another nutrient tied to a longer life. And because sardines are tiny, they’re at the bottom of the food chain, which makes them less likely to be contaminated with toxins than bigger fish like tuna and salmon. Check out more omega-3–rich foods that add years to your life.
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Snails haven’t broken into culinary circles in America the way they have in other cultures, and that’s unfortunate because we’re missing out on a tasty and bioavailable source of iron, according to Nigerian research. The tiny gastropods have around four milligrams of iron per serving—more than red meat—and having enough iron can help prevent anemia and extend your life span. Start developing these 7 eating habits your 80-year-old self will thank you for.
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Sauerkraut and other foods rich in good bacteria can help you live longer, research shows. The key is in the wide variety of probiotic strains found in fermented anti-aging foods. The bacteria reduce inflammation, boost your immune system, and help your metabolism, which in turn adds more healthy years to your life, researchers say. Learn about the 14 anti-aging treatments doctors actually use.
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This traditional Korean food, made from fermenting vegetables, is another rich source of healthy-gut probiotics. This tasty condiment also reduces inflammation, a side effect of exposure to free radicals in the environment that accelerate aging. To help reduce inflammation and boost gut health, include fermented veggies in your daily diet.
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Sweet potatoes shouldn’t be relegated to Thanksgiving-side-dish status; they deserve a starring role in meals thanks to their life-lengthening properties, according to Kansas State University researchers. They reported that the colorful tubers (the eye-popping purple variety in particular) contain high levels of anthocyanin, a compound found to reduce cancer risk and increase life span. But don’t even think about topping sweet potatoes with gooey marshmallows—sugar is one food known to shorten your life. Try this absolute best anti-aging workout.
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Not only are blueberries delicious, but they’re also chock-full of tons of nutrients, namely vitamins A and C, as well as anti-aging antioxidants like anthocyanin. “Studies have found that a higher intake of anthocyanin may be associated with reductions in age-related decline to help preserve your health as you get older,” explains Dr. Axe. “The antioxidants found in blueberries can also protect against oxidative damage to your cells and decrease the risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases.”
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Popeye was on to something! You can’t go wrong with adding a heaping pile of spinach—very low in calories and extremely nutrient-rich—onto your plate at least once a day. “Spinach contains antioxidants that fight free radicals that can cause cell destruction and premature aging,” says Brooke Alpert, RD, author of The Diet Detox. “Spinach also contains vitamin A, which helps keep skin healthy and aids in wound repair, and vitamin C, which is used to make collagen—a protein that assists in the production of new skin cells.” Spinach is also high in iron, an essential nutrient that few of us get enough of. Find out the best anti-aging products for every decade of your life.
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Besides being incredibly versatile, creamy, and delicious, avocados are full of essential nutrients that can protect against aging to help optimize health, Dr. Axe explains. “In particular, avocados are an excellent source of inflammation-busting healthy fats that can keep your skin glowing and smooth,” he says. “They’re also high in vitamin A, which aids in skin-cell turnover and strengthens the skin’s natural barrier to ward off infections and skin conditions.”
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