You are what you eat, so they say. We can’t eat ourselves young but we can give ourselves the healthiest foods and prevent our bodies from struggling to stay well. The body gets tired if we don’t nourish it effectively, that stress and tiredness promotes ageing, it’s as simple as that. So what do we need to incorporate into our diets to ensure we are full of vitality, energy and vigour?
As well as exercising regularly and getting plenty of sleep we also need to, from within, nourish our skin, our brain, our muscles and always maintain a healthy gut. We need to pack ourselves full of antioxidants, nutrients, healthy fats and always always make sure we are hydrated. The best foods available to us, all kinds provided by Mother Nature come in plant form, to variate a plant-based diet is to give you body a wide run of all the best nutrients out there. Combine this with whole grains, fibre and proteins and we are giving our body everything it needs to flourish. Certain fruits and vegetables have amazing properties which, when we incorporate into our diet regularly, can help our body to keep a healthy, youthful glow. We have the power to take control and recognise what fuels our fire in the most efficient way. If we keep this up our body can show us how it feels via the health of our biggest vital organ – the skin. It is the main indicator of health when it comes to visibly noting how we are feeling.
Anti-ageing: add the following to your diet and shine from the inside out…
This is a nutrient-dense green that will give you plenty of health benefits delivering phosphorous, manganese, calcium, potassium, and vitamins A, C, E, K, B-1, B-2 and B-6. Another bonus offered by the leafy green is that it boosts circulation and delivery of minerals in the body. Our skin has naturally occurring anti-ageing chemicals which watercress can help to replenish.
One of the best sources of antioxidants (carotenoids) and vitamin C, red peppers are excellent for collagen production which helps to plump the skin and reduce wrinkles and lines. They also help to protect the skin from sun-damage, toxins and pollution due to the anti-inflammatory properties they carry.
A great source of vitamins A and C blueberries also contain anthocyanin which is an antioxidant that greatly supports anti-ageing as well as a variety of phytochemical which help to reduce the risk of cancers, strokes, and neurodegenerative diseases. Blueberries help to prevent collagen loss and balance inflammation.
One of the superfoods that truly deserves the title, papaya is rich in antioxidants, minerals and vitamins (A, C, K, E, Bs, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous) all of which help to prevent the damage caused by free radicals and so slow down the ageing process. They also help to improve the elasticity of the skin reducing fine lines and wrinkles. It also has anti-inflammatory properties in the form of papain, an enzyme which also helps with anti-ageing.
It’s good for the brain, it’s anti-inflammatory and an excellent source of vitamins, antioxidants, fibre, calcium, folate and lutein. It promotes the production of collagen, helps to preserve brain function, and is great for strengthening the bones. Keep your mind and body fresh and youthful by adding plenty of broccoli to your diet.
Another hydrator, spinach has many other health benefits being packed full of vitamins A, C, E and K, magnesium, iron, and lutein. Spinach promotes collagen production which firms the skin as well as strengthening the hair follicles and keeping your hair shiny, and reduces inflammation.
Consume a variety of nuts on a regular basis and reap the extensive benefits. They are rich in vitamin E which is wonderful for your skin – repairs tissue as well as moisturising and protecting from UV rays. Nuts also have a high level of omega-3 fatty acids which helps to strengthen skin cells. Opt for raw, unsalted nuts with the skins on as that is where a whole lot of their goodness lies. Nuts are great for joint health as well as warding off neurological decline. A variety of nuts including cashews, walnuts, almonds, contain a decent amount of fibre, protein and phytosterols; go for a handful a day or chop them up and sprinkle them over your food, savoury or sweet.
Get your healthy fats here. Avocados contain a wealth of vitamins (A, C, E, K and some B) and potassium as well a range of nutrients which help protect us against the signs of ageing. They also contain carotenoid which protects our skin from sun damage and toxins.
It is a wonderful way to ingest intense goodness, boost your immune system, brain and entire body. However, you can also apply it directly onto the skin as a treatment which will leave your complexion soft, moisturised, and potentially smoother whilst reducing any redness and fighting inflammation.
Did we mention hydration? Well this is one excellent way to up your levels while having a delicious snack or juice and feel and look rejuvenated. For a super anti-ageing bonus we look to the phytochemical lycopene which watermelon has in abundance, for protection from damaging UV rays.
Hailed as one of the top anti-ageing foods the tropical pineapple is something we should definitely eat more of. This super fruit provides us with vitamin B and C as well as phosphorous, magnesium, and plenty of fibre which all work in harmony doing good work for our immune system, lungs, bones, heart, brain and colon.
Packed full of antioxidants, specifically beta-carotene which becomes converted to vitamin A which in turn promotes healthy, younger looking skin due to the promotion of cell regeneration. It is also high in vitamin C and E which keep the free radicals at bay whilst brightening our complexion. This is also one of the most versatile vegetables so there is no shortage of recipes or ways to incorporate it into your diet.
Pomegranates are an amazing source of antioxidants as well as vitamin C and have been used in medicine for hundreds of years. They also contain punicalagins which assist in the preservation of collagen in the skin, thus slowing the ageing process. They also reduce inflammation and protect us from the harmful effects of free radicals. In a study carried out on rats pomegranate was shown to rejuvenate mitochondria in the gut and reversed muscle ageing.
The obvious choice for vitamin C, oranges help to boost the immune system and relieve symptoms of the common cold. As well as this oranges contain collagen which helps the skin to appear glowing and healthy.
LEMONS OR LIMES
Another great source of vitamin C, regular glasses of lemon or lime juiced into room temperature water can keep your skin smooth and youthful.
The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the most healthy in the world, partly due to the indulgence of olive oil. It is not light in calories but when used lightly drizzled on salads for example, we can reduce the development of blemishes and wrinkles. An added bonus is that it can also stabilise blood pressure.
Figs are so rich in flavonoids and polyphenols which can reduce free radicals from within the skin and help to slow the ageing process.
According to recent studies tomatoes are more beneficial to our health once they’re cooked. Tomatoes contain an anti-ageing antioxidant called lycopene which, once cooked, is easier for the body to absorb.
BEANS & LENTILS
Rich in vitamin B9 as well and being an excellent source of protein, beans and lentils give us energy as well as helping to prevent our hair going grey or falling out.
Making the decision to eat the right foods also means cutting out the bad foods we may indulge in from time to time. By doing this we nourish our body, brain, skin and hair as well as boost our energy levels and overall wellbeing. This, in turn, slows down the ageing process and gives us an overall healthy glow. Sounds like a great plan to me!
Online diploma courses in Nutrition
Here at the School of Natural Health Sciences we offer eight courses in Nutrition:
- Child & Adolescent Nutrition
- Ethical & Sustainable Eating
- Clinical Nutrition
- Advanced Nutrition
- Nutrition for Age 50 Plus
- Plant-Based Nutrition
- Sport & Exercise Nutrition
- Vegetarian & Vegan Nutrition
For more information on the above courses, follow the link to the enrolment page
If nutrition isn’t your thing, we offer over 60 holistic health courses – visit our A-Z course listing page to choose your therapy.