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6 Foods that Slow Aging and Prevent Disease

- Tuesday, May 24, 2011

There is no magic bullet that can stop the aging process. But scientists have identified certain foods that can boost your physical and mental health, prevent disease and help slow down aging.

1. Nuts
They are high in calories, but you don't need to eat a lot of them to reap their benefits, which include protein, fiber and crucial minerals such as potassium, iron, zinc and magnesium. They are reported to be good for your digestive and immune systems, helpful in the fight against cancer, and the oils are good for your skin. Their high Omega-3 fatty acid content also helps keep your brain and body healthy.

2. Fish
Research suggests that the Omega-3 fatty acids from certain fish can lead to improved mood and mental capacities. These oils have antioxidant properties, meaning they attack the cells that cause the body to decay. Omega-3s are the same acids that combat chronic inflammation, which can lead to all sorts of health complications. Salmon and tuna are two of the most popular and readily available fish with high levels of Omega-3.

3. Whole Grains
Avoiding all carbs makes no sense, when whole grains such as whole wheat, oats, brown rice, farro, barley and wheat berries are so rich in fiber, which keeps your digestive system regular and helps you feel full. Their low glycemic levels mean that they don't play havoc with your blood sugar levels. Whole grains have been widely accepted as a smart way to combat all types of illnesses, such as heart disease, colon and breast cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke.

4. Cruciferous Vegetables
This family of vegetables includes broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnips and Brussels sprouts. They are an effective aid to the body in fighting toxins and cancer. And they have a high concentration of antioxidants and sulfur, which provide energy and can keep your skin healthy. Raw or lightly cooked makes their protection properties even more effective.

5. Avocado
Avocado is a fruit which is chock full of monosaturated fat. This is believed to reduce levels of bad cholesterol in the body.  Avocados have a lot of potassium, which combats fluid retention and high blood pressure and the risk of stroke. And they have a high level of vitamin E, which is thought to prevent skin aging and may also be helpful in reducing hot flashes associated with menopause. Finally, they are rich in folate, which is thought to decrease the risk of heart attacks, as well as antioxidants, which help your body protect itself from free radicals, which means keeping your organs and tissues healthy.

6. Berries
Blueberries have gotten their fair share of health news but in fact all black and blue berries, such as blackberries, black currants and black grapes, contain antioxidants that are known to protect the body against damage caused by free radicals and aging. These phytochemicals are called flavonoids, and are found in the pigment of the berries. In addition, dark berries are also believed to aid in maintaining good balance, coordination and short term memory.

Information from AARP.org - by the Editors of Cookstr.com