Some of the most powerful weapons you have against aging are antioxidants—certain vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that take on free radicals and combat the extensive harm they can cause to the body. Some common and powerful antioxidants include vitamin A, C, E, B6, and B12, beta-carotene, and folic acid. Other potent antioxidants include phytonutrients, which are special chemicals found in plants.
As your body metabolizes food through a process known as oxidation, it also produces nasty byproducts called free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause significant damage to the body’s tissues and contribute to aging (including wrinkled skin) and certain diseases, such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, macular degeneration, and heart disease. Thus one goal of an anti-aging food plan is to include lots of antioxidants.
One important thing to remember about antioxidants is that they work best as a team: consuming many antioxidants is much more effective than using just one. One of the best ways to get a wide variety of antioxidants is to eat many different fruits and vegetables, which are naturally rich in antioxidants.
What You Can Do Now
- Eat about nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily. The 2005 US Dietary Guidelines recommend 5 to 13 servings daily, with the numbers adjusting according to the total number of calories consumed. Nine servings are recommended for a 2,000 calorie per day diet.
- When you want something sweet, reach for a piece of fruit. Or try some variety: slice up a fresh apple and pear, add some orange or tangerine slices, a handful of berries, and squeeze some lemon juice on the mixture. This is a great snack, dessert, or a complement to your breakfast.
- Introduce more vegetables into your menu by adding chopped favorites to stews, soups, or stir-fry.
- Include a salad on your menu every day, and be creative. Try several different types of lettuce and spinach as your base, and then add shredded carrots, radishes, daikon, and red cabbage, toss in cooked string beans and peas, brighten it with chopped beets and avocado slices, and top it off with chopped walnuts and slices of red onion.
- Stuff vegetables with vegetables! Acorn and butternut squash, green and red peppers, large tomatoes, and cabbage leaves can be stuffed with a mixture of steamed and seasoned vegetables mixed with brown rice, barley, or beans.
Category: Fight aging now