Proper nutrition plays a pivotal role in building and maintaining physical and mental wellness. A properly planned and well-balanced diet is an important element in staying healthy as you age. It helps you stay active, live healthily, maintain a proper weight and keep several diseases and chronic health conditions away. Read on to learn more about some super foods that are packed with nutrition and reduce inflammations- a major agent of aging.
Blueberries are low in calories and densely packed with antioxidants. Blueberries are a good source of dietary fiber, it helps in lowering the cholesterol levels and prevent heart diseases. They contain antioxidants like flavonoids that neutralize the free radicals in the system and reduce the damage of DNA. This, in turn, slows down the aging process and prevents cancer. Free radicals and oxidative stress can damage the neurons and lead to gradual memory loss. Antioxidants in blueberries delay this process and enhance brain function.
Blueberries reduce inflammation caused by oxidative stress in the muscles. They reduce the damage in the muscles at the molecular level and prevent muscle soreness and weakness. They also contain compounds that prevent bacteria from adhering onto urinary tracts preventing infections.
Dark chocolate is a rich source of antioxidants like flavonoids, catechins and theobromine. Flavanols in dark chocolate stimulate the inner walls of arteries to produce nitric oxide. This causes the arteries to relax and lower the blood pressure. Flavanols protect the skin against sun damage, increases blood flow towards the skin, improve skin density and keeps it hydrated.
The caffeine and theobromine present in dark chocolate improves cognitive brain function and reduces mental impairment. The phenylethylamine in chocolate releases endorphins and makes you feel positive. Dark chocolate is also rich in minerals like copper and potassium which prevents strokes.
Also known as Baby Bella, Portobello or Cremini mushrooms, these coffee brown colored mushrooms are excellent sources of minerals like copper, selenium, zinc and phosphorus. They are also rich in B vitamins like niacin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid. Recent studies show that they are effective in preventing hormone imbalances and reduce the occurrence of hormone induced cancers like breast cancer, endometrial cancer and uterine cancer. They contain linolenic acid which controls estrogen production and prevents tumorous growth. This also prevents the weight gain and water retention in older women.
They are low in calories, cholesterol and sodium. They have a savory taste and add a good flavor to the dish. They also contain vitamin D, which helps ward off cancer, diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Compared to other exotic counterparts like oyster, shiitake and white button mushrooms, they are more effective in providing immunity benefits. Crimini mushrooms contain L-ergothioneine, a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from mutation, sun damage, prevents inflammation and helps liver detoxification.
Wild salmons are rich sources of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. They contain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which help in the proper functioning of the brain, heart and joints. They help in maintaining a healthy nervous system which reduces cognitive decline in elderly. This, in turn, helps in leading an active adult life. Omega-3 fatty acids also come with vascular benefits like preventing the inflammation that leads to complications like heart attacks, strokes, arrhythmia and high blood pressure.
They also contain proteins called bioactive peptides. One such protein calcitonin improves and stabilizes collagen synthesis in cartilages (soft bones). This enhances bone density and strength. Salmons also contain the antioxidant astaxanthin which gives salmon its typical red color. Astaxanthin reduces LDL (bad cholesterol), increases HDL (good cholesterol) and lowers the chances of heart diseases. Astaxanthin also prevents skin damage and helps you look younger.
Goji berries had been used for thousands of yours by Chinese and Tibetan healers to treat diseases like tuberculosis, skin rashes, infections and insomnia. They contain high levels of antioxidants, especially zeaxanthin which prevents age-related eye disorders like macular degeneration. They are also good sources of beta-carotene and promote healthy skin. Antioxidants like heme oxygenase-1 and metallothionein, present in goji berries offer photoprotection and prevent sun induced skin damage and cancer.
Goji berries are filled with vitamin C and help in building immunity and preventing cancers and tumors. They also reduce the cytokines levels. Cytokines are biomolecules that cause inflammation. However consult your doctor before taking goji berries, especially if you are diabetic, have high or low blood pressure or using blood thinners.