Plant-based diet for aging

Food and diet to stay young

Suitable foods to keep us younger for longer

It has been shown that foods rich in antioxidants can help keep the body young for longer.

Antioxidants have the function to neutralize the destructive effects of free radicals on the cells of our body. A diet high in many antioxidants will help to preserve us better.

This diet is very helpful for young people to prevent the effects that free radicals can trigger in the future, but is especially needed for old people who are the ones that are embedded in the aging process. A diet rich in these foods will help to stop the negative impact that free radicals have on the elderly. (See more information in “Diet for old age” in the listing below)

Foods rich in antioxidants

Among these foods we have:

  • Beta-carotene: Precursor of vitamin A. (See vitamin A) Beta-carotene is a carotenoid. This is a plant pigment that, once ingested, turns into the liver and small intestine in vitamin A. It is a very important antioxidant component.

Fruits and vegetables are very rich in beta carotene. Among some foods rich in these principles have, for example: carrots, spinach, pumpkins or tomatoes.

  • Vitamin C: It is another very important antioxidant. Its mainly found in fruits and vegetables. Among the main rich foods in this vitamin we have, for example, peppers, being one of the plants of the world that has more amount of it, after barbados cherry (Malpighia glabra L) or wild rose (Rosa canina). Citruses are also very rich in them (oranges, lemons, grapefruits, etc.).
  • Vitamin E: It protects cell membranes from oxidation by protecting its fatty acids. A lack of this vitamin appears to be produced by degenerative changes in the cells of some tissues such as muscle and heart.
brazil nuts
Brazil nuts, the highest selenium food

Green vegetables, as well as vegetables rich in oil, are those with more of this vitamin, such as, for example, purslane, asparagus, lettuce, peas, nuts, wheat germ or sunflower seeds, which are those with the highest content.

  • Flavonoids: They are polyphenolic compounds are displayed in fruits and vegetables and some beverages, such as green tea, beer or wine. Among these compounds the most important is the quercetin found in many plant foods such as garlic, onion, apple, cabbage, pear, spinach. Other important are the genistein flavonoids of soybeans, the rutin of citrus fruits (oranges, lemons,, pomegranate, grapefruits, etc) and the polyphenols in tea among which the epigallocatechin gallate stands out.
  • Zinc: Rich vegetable zinc foods are: celery, asparagus, borage, figs, potatoes, eggplants, peaches, etc.
  • Selenium: In addition to protecting the heart, encouraging the immune system or to remove heavy metals from the body, aids in the protection of numerous cancers, including colon, prostate or lungs. Selenium-rich foods include: Brazil nuts, oats, brown rice, peaches.

Superantioxidant food

Among the antioxidants we need to highlight some particularly high antioxidant properties and should not be missing from the table of people who want to retain their healthy appearance and youthful. Among them we will mention the following:

  • Berries: The black or dark reddish-purple colors of these foods indicate their richness in antioxidants. raspberries stand out especially, but also blackberries or bilberries can be included in this section.
  • Cruciferous food : The Brassicaceae family is one that contains more antioxidant properties. To this group belongs cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli or any type of cabbage.
  • Pecans: The contribution of tocopherols and antioxidant minerals from pecan nuts helps to improve the appearance of the skin and prevents premature aging.
  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes are rich in glutathione and beta-carotene, two powerful antioxidants. They should not be out of a healthy table.
  • lemon
    Lemons are rich in vitamin C

    Carrots: Carrots are rich in vitamin C and betacarotene. They help to maintain the appearance of younger skin and to preserve the sight.

  • Carambola: Carambola is a fruit with great antioxidant potential. It provides vitamin C and carotenoids with antioxidant properties, but also its organic acids increase the antioxidant power of the other components present in this food (malic, tartaric and citric acids are synergistic antioxidants)
  • Garlic and onions: garlic and onions help to keep the circulatory system in good condition, protect us from cancers and the spread of many bacteria and fungi.
  • Pepper: Black pepper can be considered a natural anti-aging accessible to all palates
  • Grapes: Black grapes contain a flavonoid called resveratrol that is a major detox.
  • Lemons: Lemon juice is an excellent cleanser, protects the circulatory system and prevents us from respiratory diseases. Its richness in vitamin C set it as one of the best antioxidants.

Other aspects we must consider

In addition to an adequate diet, we must consider a series of advice which will make us maintain to us stronger and healthier for longer:

  • Adequate hydration, adequate intake of water is very important for health. Water constitutes 60% of our body. The importance of water lies primarily in its ability to draw out toxins from our body, in its necessary involvement in the oxygenation of the cells or their conservation.

Lack of water can lead to apparent signs of aging such as wrinkles or sagging body. For proper hydration, one should drink at least 1.5 liters of water daily. We must take into account not only water quantity but also water quality. Pure water free of contaminants is the only one that can guarantee good health.

  • Perform balanced and varied meals: The balance of this diet concentrates in the suitable contribution of all the nutrients. A diet that provides fats, suitable carbohydrates, proteins and minerals. A varied diet must include different foods from each of these groups so that each can complement the others and fill the gaps.
  • Moderate, non-excessive and frequent meals: A diet does not have to be excessive. It is best to leave the table with the feeling of not being completely filled to overeat. The “great feasts” should be replaced by smaller, more frequent meals. Ideally, we should make 6 or 7 meals a day.
  • Eating fresh vegetables: Most vitamins and other nutrients are damaged by heat or by contact with air. A good way to avoid this is to eat most servings of raw vegetables or reduce the cooking to the maximum.

The slogan “5 a day” conducted in some communities or nations shows the importance of eating 5 servings of fruits or vegetables a day as a way to encourage consumption of these foods. These campaigns focus mainly on children and aim to create good eating habits, so that young people learn from these foods are needed to prevent many future illnesses and get a longer life expectancy and better conditions.

  • Avoid the excess of saturated fats, refined sugars, alcohol or other drugs, processed, fried or smoked food. All of them constitute a risk for the health and the ingestion of these foods must be minimum.

More information on aging and its natural treatment

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

31 October, 2022

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