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HEALTHY LIVING

Superfoods to turn the clock back

Pick foods that combat the effects of ageing and make you feel young again

Compiled by Pia Hatch

When you reach a certain age, flipping through photo albums from your teenage years can be a rather painful reality check. No matter how plump, spotty, gangly or nerdy you may have considered yourself to be at the time, there’s one thing about the you of yesteryear that shines through: how very young you looked.

While we may have outgrown the weird hair and questionable dress sense (thank goodness!), most of us have also left those fresh unlined faces and firm ‘everything in the right place’ bodies behind. The good news though, is that while nothing can be done to stop the clock ticking, resisting its detrimental effects is within our grasp.

Lifestyle choices are key and the food we consume is the best place to begin.

 

Some of our strongest allies in the battle against ageing are superfoods – i.e. nutrient rich foods that are highly beneficial to health and wellbeing, and help slow the ageing process not only on the outside but more critically, on the inside too.

Among the superfoods we should consume regularly are egg yolk (which lowers the risk of age related eye degeneration), garlic (which is said to help prevent heart disease and strokes), turmeric (which, like high antioxidant champions blueberries, helps fight cognitive decline), and strawberries, apples and pears (all of which contain flavonoids with antioxidant powers that could help keep the heart healthy). Both oatmeal and mixed nuts are credited with reducing the risk of developing a long list of ailments – they combat everything from cancer to respiratory disease.

Our skin is usually the first giveaway so it pays to take the best possible care of it.

The skin loves fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish and other types of lean protein. When it comes to fruit, opt for a col-our palette since doing so will ensure you receive a variety of nutrients.

Oranges are an excellent option since they’re loaded with water, which hydrates the skin; they also deliver a generous dose of vitamin C, which helps produce collagen – that oh so vital ingredient for supple skin.
Grapes are thought to fight the effects of UV light and damage from the sun. Avocado is another excellent pick or consider pink grapefruits and tomatoes instead. Pomegranates also go a long way as a half cup of the seeds cover 15 percent of your daily vitamin C requirement, and helps fend off skin damage and premature ageing.

Lean beef, lightly cooked, is also good for the skin. Other sources of protein such as eggs, chicken, tofu, beans and fish will do just as well for those who avoid red meat. The best fish for the job at hand is salmon because it contains vital omega-3 fats.

On the other side of the clock are foods that accelerate the ageing process. These include refined sugars, which induces a process known as glycation (which damages cells and causes wrinkles). Some grains also lead to glycation while trans fats and hydrogenated oils lead to inflammation, which may lead to premature ageing, heart disease and certain types of cancer. Artificial sugars or other artificial ingredients contain large amounts of chemicals, and contribute to speeding up the ageing process.


However, food isn’t the only factor.

A good night’s sleep is one of the best warriors in the fight against ageing while exercise helps lubricate joints, enhances car-diovascular health, supports detoxification and improves lean muscle mass. While sleep and exercise are your friends, exces-sive alcohol consumption and smoking are most certainly not – both contribute greatly to accelerated ageing.
Last but not least, as the class of ’99 learned a long time ago, always (and we mean always) wear sunscreen.

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