Raise your hand if you want to live longer.
Is your hand up? Mine sure is.
Well luckily for us, an exclusive diet of alfalfa sprouts and kale isn’t the answer. Just adding a few (delicious!) foods into your life can help you live a long, healthy life.
Fountain of youth food #1: Salmon.
Cold water, fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and anchovies are some of the richest food sources of key omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA).
These fish oils, especially EPA, help balance the body’s natural anti-inflammatory response, which in turn may help promote joint comfort. In one study, overweight adults who supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids – at least 1.25 grams per day up to 2.5 grams per day – significantly reduced key blood markers of inflammation compared to those who consumed a typical American diet.
Omega-3s may help you look young as well. Omega-3 fatty acids help to make up the cell membrane, which acts as the passageway for nutrients to enter the cell and for waste products to exit. The better the cell membrane works, the better your skin cells look. The cell membrane also influences the cell’s ability to hold water, and the more water it can hold, the more moist and plump it will be.
As far as brain benefits, fish oil omega-3 fatty acids help you preserve memory, maintain mental sharpness, and avoid age-related forgetfulness and memory lapses. In one study, healthy men and women who took fish oil supplements that provided 2.2 grams per day of omega-3 fatty acids significantly increased their brain function compared to those who took a placebo. In short, they had better attention, decision-making speed and memory.
Fountain of youth food #2: Berries.
Berries contain a huge amount, and a huge range, of antioxidants. While it sounds like a mouthful, antioxidants help fight off, and even reverse the damage to your cells caused by free radicals (those pesky substances you find in the environment and in your body which cause all sorts of problems).
Berries are a rich source of a particular type of antioxidants called anthocyanins. Several studies have found an association between the consumption of anthocyanin-rich foods and protection against heart disease. As part of the Iowa Women’s Health Study, over 34,000 postmenopausal women without heart disease were followed for over a decade and a half. Researchers found that consuming anthocyanin-rich strawberries and blueberries once a week was associated with a significant reduction in death from cardiovascular disease and coronary artery disease.
Research also suggests that anthocyanins can enhance memory and help prevent age-related declines in mental functioning. In a recent study published in the Annals of Neurology, U.S. scientists surveyed over 16,000 women and found that those who ate plenty of blueberries and strawberries experienced slower mental decline with age than women who consumed fewer of the flavonoid-rich fruits.
Fountain of youth food #3: Beans
Yes, my 12–year-old son loves that silly poem, but beans really are a magical fruit. In addition to being a quality carb that can help fuel even the most intense weight-loss efforts, they’re a great plant-based source of protein, which can help you build lean muscle without the added fat, calories and cholesterol you’d get eating meat.
Beans are also a great source of dietary fiber, which will help speed waste through the digestive tract, taking potentially dangerous carcinogens along with it. Aim to eat up to 6 servings of navy beans, black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans and other dried beans. They should be unsweetened and not refried. (One serving is one-half cup cooked.)
Are you hoping any of your favorite foods are going to make you look and feel younger? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll check it out for you.
Steve Sisskind, M.D.
Hi, I'm Dr. Steve Sisskind, Chief Medical Officer & Founder at RealDose Nutrition.
As a young physician, I struggled because my patients came to me with serious health issues, but I didn't have the right tools to help them. Medical school taught me how to put "band aids" on their symptoms with drugs and surgery, but not how to address the root causes of their problems.
Years later I discovered a better approach... based on the fundamental idea that the power of nutrition can transform your health and vitality. But there's a lot of confusion... What foods should I eat? Which supplements should I take? What does the science say?
I have dedicated my life to answering these questions... And I share this knowledge with you every day here at RealDose Nutrition.
I invite you to connect with me by joining my free private community. I've helped thousands of people and I know I can help you too!
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Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Belury MA, Andridge R, Malarkey WB, Hwang BS, Glaser R. Omega-3 supplementation lowers inflammation in healthy middle-aged and older adults: a randomized controlled trial. Brain Behav Immun. 2012;26(6):988-995. PMID: 22640930.
Witte AV, Kerti L, Hermannstädter HM, Fiebach JB, et al. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids improve brain function and structure in older adults. Cereb Cortex. 2013 Jun 24. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 23796946.
Mink PJ, Scrafford CG, Barraj LM, et al. Flavonoid intake and cardiovascular disease mortality: a prospective study in postmenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;85(3):895-909. PMID: 17344514.
Devore EE, Kang JH, Breteler MM, Grodstein F. Dietary intakes of berries and flavonoids in relation to cognitive decline. Ann Neurol. 2012 Jul;72(1):135-43. PMID: 22535616.