Everyone wants to stay young. The 16th century Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon was obsessed with the Fountain of Youth. This obsession led him to discover Florida, where he led his men on intrepid suicide missions determined to find the magic elixir that led to eternal life. Instead, he died in 1521 of a festering arrow wound in his thigh, never reaching his goal.
Today, people are living longer than ever, but the Fountain of Youth lies not so much in one miraculous component but in the way we live our lives. While we can't turn back the hands of time, we can slow down the aging process with a nutritious diet and exercise. Here are some natural foods that may help:
- Dark chocolate. According to Complete Wellness, eating a small portion of chocolate with between 70% and 90% cacao has been shown to slow the effects of aging.
- Salmon. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish two times a week, particularly fatty fish like salmon. Fatty fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which fight inflammation and remove triglycerides from the blood. Better yet, salmon is a complete protein, meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids. Protein is what our bodies use for growth, maintenance, and repair.
- Avocado. Half an avocado provides approximately 25% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin K. According to Medical News Today, eating a diet with adequate vitamin K can help support bone health by increasing calcium absorption and reducing the urinary excretion of calcium. Avocados have more potassium than bananas. Potassium is a crucial mineral that helps regulate blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart attacks.
- Nuts. According to Healthline, nuts are loaded with antioxidants, specifically polyphenols that combat oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals, and protect your cells against damage. Nuts may also lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Pistachios, especially, have been known to lower triglycerides in obese people and those with diabetes. Almonds and hazelnuts have been shown to raise the levels of HDL, or "good" cholesterol. Tasty macadamia nuts have been scientifically proven to reduce overall cholesterol levels as much as a lowfat diet.
- Bone Broth. According to Complete Wellness, sipping bone broth is an excellent way to consume a wide range of minerals and healthy compounds to build and maintain bone strength. It also contains glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate to reduce inflammation and ease arthritic pain.
- Turmeric. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which has tremendous heart healing potential. Not only does curcumin help support healthy blood pressure and prevent blood clots, it can raise the healthy cholesterol (HDL) levels by almost 30%. Additionally, researchers in Japan have found that curcumin helps prevent cardiac hypertrophy, or enlargement of the heart chambers, associated with heart failure.
- Berries. Colorful berries are excellent antioxidants. Blueberries, for example, contain anthocyanins, which have been shown to protect our brains against Alzheimer's disease, while strawberries are high in vitamin C, which improves overall immunity and brain health.
- Figs. According to Complete Wellness, figs are high in minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins. They are also great for your digestive system and may lower cholesterol levels and help prevent high blood pressure. Figs contain calcium too, which helps improve and maintain bone strength — which is essential for anyone who wants to live a long, healthy life.
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