Maintaining a youthful and healthy body is about more than longevity; it's a quality of life issue. And having a high quality of life means that you put good, tasty and beneficial things into your body rather than simply avoiding the bad -- foods high in saturated fat, like buttery desserts and fatty red meat.
An entire industry is built around putting the good stuff in a bottle. Vitamins and supplements are seemingly everywhere. But why pop some largely unproven pills off a store shelf if nature provides what you already need? The top anti-aging foods don't have to be created -- they're grown.
- Veggies: Your body ages due, in part, to free radicals: unstable chemical compounds. Research indicates that free radicals may even cause cancer. Enter anti-oxidants, which are found in abundance in vegetables. By eating vegetables you'll give your body the fuel to kill free radicals, which damage cells. Picture fewer wrinkles and perkier skin and suddenly broccoli, dark and leafy greens and carrots look a lot tastier.
- Berries: Think of berries as nature's dessert. These sweet treats are full of flavanoids, a type of antioxidant. You don't even have to eat very many blueberries, raspberries or strawberries to receive a benefit. You'll get a big dose of anti-aging nutrients simply by eating a half cup each day.
- Citrus fruits: Vitamin C is another anti-oxidant and there's plenty of it in citrus. It plays a strong role in helping you maintain healthy skin. But don't just focus on the juice. The pulp from citrus is a type of fiber that helps you feel full. If you're full of healthy food, you'll be less likely to reach for a snack that's high in cholesterol.
- Nuts: Picture a healthy salad using the three types of foods above: spinach leaves and romaine lettuce, strawberries and some orange slices -- and then a sprinkling of sliced almonds. Nuts provide minerals like potassium, which helps keep your blood pressure in a healthy range. Nuts also contain healthy fats that, some researchers believe, preserve elasticity in your skin.
- Whole grains: It's more than mush. Whole grains include brown rice, oatmeal and even whole-wheat pasta. That'll provide your body with iron and also B vitamins, which keep your energy level high. The fiber in this natural food source also keeps your digestive tract in good, working order.
High energy, vibrant skin and a healthy, disease-free body -- it's an attractive set of benefits and it's what these anti-aging foods offer.