Sadly there is no fountain of youth. However, even though we can’t stop the aging process, we can still be aware of how we treat our bodies in the process. The food and nutrients we give our body as we get older will be one of the best ways we can take care of ourselves.
But how do we know which foods are the most helpful when it comes to turning down the aging dial? Thankfully, we talked with multiple dietitians, doctors, and nutrition experts to find the answers. Read on to learn about popular foods that slow aging after 50 years old, and make sure to also check out Popular Foods You Should Never Eat After 50.
For those looking to age well, avocados may be a helpful addition. Laura Burak, MS, RD, founder of GetNaked® Nutrition and author of Slimdown with Smoothies, says that avocados are a necessary part of her daily life. “Rich in heart-healthy fats and fiber, B vitamins, potassium and vitamins A, C, E and K, avocados are not only helpful in protecting us from the inevitable aging process, but they’re also satisfying and delicious. Plus, they make your meals happy, which in turn makes you happy, and don’t they say happier people live longer?”
When it comes to maintaining that glowing skin, Melissa Mitri, RD says avocados are a reliable source. “Avocados are an abundant source of inflammation-fighting fats that promote smooth, glowing skin,” says Mitri, “and they are rich in vitamin A, which may help the body shed dead skin cells.”
Certain types of fish with plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, cod, and herring, have been proven to help with inflammation in aging skin, as well as reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. Research shows that fatty fish has the ability to slow and sometimes prevent the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease in aging patients. According to a PLEFA Journal article, taking into consideration that some AD cases are genetic, it has been proven that a steady diet of omega-3 fatty acids can in fact lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
We now know that vitamin A, which is also found in avocados, can help our skin keep elasticity and fight against inflammation. “Blueberries are a rich source of vitamins A and C, which may reduce inflammation that can lead to skin damage and aging,” says Mitri.
Blueberries, along with strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries, have tons of antioxidants and bioactive compounds, making them incredibly powerful superfoods to fight aging. “Blueberries also contain a specific antioxidant called anthocyanins, which may protect the skin by reducing overall inflammation in the body,” says Mitri.
Leafy greens like kale or spinach are also known to help slow aging in people over 50 years old. According to Marie Ruggles, MS, RD, CN, CDE, creator of The Whole Foods Quick Start Guide with Tracker, “foods that provide high levels of nutrients and anti-inflammatory compounds are anti-aging because these compounds protect our cells and DNA.”
While there are a ton of different foods we can go to in order to get these nutrients and compounds, Ruggles believes leafy greens are some of the best. “Packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other bioactive compounds, leafy greens provide a robust supply of anti-aging compounds that are needed on a daily basis,” says Ruggles. “Cooked greens, such as sautéed baby kale or a salad with raw dark greens both work very well.”
Olive oil is made up mostly of a monounsaturated fatty acid called oleic acid, which is one of the many reasons it is such a crucial part of a healthy diet as we age. “Olive oil has been studied in-depth as a common key ingredient in the diets of Blue Zones, which are the areas of the world where people live the longest,” says Burack.
There’s a reason olive oil is such a popular addition to many people’s skincare routines. According to Ruggles, one reason olive oil is so good for aging skin is that its compounds mimic some of those in our own skin. “Our cell membranes are made up of fatty acids just like those supplied by olive oil,” says Ruggles. “Cells are constantly renewing and need a regular supply of fatty acids from olive oil to manufacture new healthy cells.” (Read more: What Eating Olive Oil Does to Your Body.)
Speaking of healthy fats, nuts are also great additions to an aging-friendly diet. “Nuts and seeds are plant foods rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, which can be beneficial to repair skin from damage as we age,” says Burack.
Vitamin E not only helps repair our skin and maintain its elasticity, but it also helps our overall health as we age. It has been proven that as we get older, we experience more inflammation in our bodies. And according to a 2009 French study on vitamin E and elderly populations, vitamin E has been found to reduce this inflammation, improve the function of our immune systems, and improve our metabolism as we get older.
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