We have ALL been touched by the lofty hand of age-related disease... cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's and the like. Watching those around us degenerate is both tragic and ultimately inevitable. And although we cannot fight age itself, we can absolutely give our bodies a fighting chance to thrive into our later years.
What's diet got to do with it you may ask? Quite a lot! According to Rachael Stolzenberg-Solomon, a researcher at the National Cancer Institute, "The easiest and least expensive way to reduce your risk for cancer is just by eating a healthy diet." In fact, researchers say that up to 60% of the disease could be prevented if people were to adopt healthier lifestyles (aka diet and exercise). I don't know about you, but we think those odds alone are worth the effort it takes to eat healthfully (we love doing it anyhow!). Here are some of the healthiest foods that fight off these heartbreaking diseases as we grow into our well-earned wisdom.
Wonderfully rich in antioxidant compounds known as anthocyanins which have been shown to slow the growth of certain cancers as well as improve brain function, muscle tone and balance, berries are the quintessential anti-aging food. And, of all the berries, blueberries are the richest in cancer fighting compounds.
Nuts & Seeds
Varieties such as almonds and walnuts contain a generous helping of healthy fats, vitamins and protein that benefit cardiovascular and brain health. Nuts are also high in compounds that ease inflammation linked with age-related dementia.
Flax, in particular, contains lignans that can have an antioxidant effect and block or suppress cancerous changes.
Pistachios, in particular, are high in antioxidants and fight inflammation, protecting blood vessels and reducing risk of heart disease. Even a moderate intake of pistachios has been shown to increase levels of lutein, an antioxidant well known for protecting against oxidized LDL.
Dark Leafy Greens
The health benefits of leafy greens are innumerable, but when it comes to aging, they are known to help keep your eyesight in check, while preventing memory loss and forgetfullness. The generous doses of calcium found in deep, dark greens like kale and collards can also retard age-related bone loss.
Whole books have been written on the amazing powers behind these pungent little cloves! Garlic contains a number of compounds that can protect against cancer, especially that of the skin, colon and lungs. In addition, garlic's unique sulfuric compounds help protect us against oxidative stress and unwanted inflammation, keeping hearts healthy and strong for a long, long time.
Rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, whole grains can lower the risk of age-related illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Because they're digested more slowly than processed grains, they also help prevent high blood sugar and diabetes.