Food, water and exercise are the most important things human beings can do for their health, skin and mind. As some of us approach midlife especially around age 45, we start to think we had better start acting right, eating better, hydrating, and exercising. A healthy diet compounds all this 'adulting' and benefits all aspects of life. Good food can keep us from getting sick; it also acts as an anti-aging supplement when taken correctly. Here are the delicious ways to keep diabetes, weight gain, joint pain and other age-related ailments, away.
Turning 45 isn't middle-age for most people like it was a century ago. Now, you can look as good as Jennifer Aniston - age 47 - and Charisma Carpenter -age 45 - by eating correctly; note that these stars were born about that long ago, and none look anything close to “middle-aged.”
When you take care of your body by eating well, you prevent age-related weight gain which is the number one way to slow the passage of time. It is more than about how you look though; when you slow the aging process, you expand your career opportunities. A University of Florida study showed that for women, gaining 25 pounds—about the average gain between the ages of 20 and 45—results in a salary that’s almost $16k lower than those who keep their weight in check.
Eating correctly prevents all the other expensive and negative signs of aging, from doctor visits to forgetfulness. We recommend all 25 of these foods; some may of course be better for you than others. Even simple things like replacing sugary soda drinks with Green tea consumption may help to increase the levels of serotonin in your brain, according to the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition." The active ingredient most likely responsible for this effect is L-theanine, an amino acid found in Green tea that can cross the blood-brain barrier and may be able to get the brain to produce more serotonin.
To keep your healthy skin, body and smile and look like a celebrity YOUR age, we identified tea and 24 other foods to keep you lean, fit, and a healthy 45+ year old star. Eat these daily and live a healthier, longer life.
Lower Your Cholesterol
“As women and men get older, their cholesterol levels rise—it’s just a natural part of the aging process. Partly due to hormonal changes and partly due to a decrease in lean body mass and a subsequent increase of fat mass” says Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN, author and dietitian. To keep your “bad” LDL cholesterol levels low and ward off clogged arteries, steer clear of trans fats, or partially hydrogenated oils. as well as reduce your sugar consumption, since sugar has been linked to high cholesterol. Another smart consideration to increase your mood and memory? Add more of the cholesterol-lowering foods below to your grocery list.
1. Wild Salmon
Good Fatty fish like wild salmon contain omega-3 fatty acids which reduce inflammation, slow the plaque buildup inside blood vessels and increase the ratio of good to bad cholesterol levels. They’ve also been shown to lower blood pressure, decreasing the odds of stroke and heart failure. The Journal of American Medical Association recommends that eating one to two 3-ounce servings of fatty fish each week reduces the risks of dying from heart disease by over 35%! If you’re already suffering from heart disease they recommend upping your intake to three 4-ounce servings. Additionally, take one 1000 mg omega-3 vitamin containing EPA and DHA daily, three times per day.
Mono and polyunsaturated fats in avocados help lower cholesteroland decrease risk for heart disease when consumed in place of saturated or trans-fats. Don't however overload your shopping cart with them however. A medium avocado fruit has 227 calories and 77% of the calories are from fat, making it one of the fattiest plant foods but its health benefits are tremendous. One half per day is ample and keep the pit in the uneaten portion, squeeze on some lemon juice and then firmly wrap it with plastic wrap. This will keep it fresh and green until you’re ready to eat the remainder.
3. Green Tea
Green tea is the healthiest beverage on the planet. It is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have powerful effects on humans. Benefits include improved brain function, fat loss, a lower risk of cancer and many other incredible benefits. Green tea aids weight loss and helps you recover faster after a workout and its potent antioxidants also lower levels of “bad” cholesterol levels, while simultaneously increasing levels of “good” cholesterol levels, according to Harvard researchers. How does this work? Polyphenols in green tea blocks cholesterol from being absorbed in the intestine and also help the body get rid of cholesterol.
4. CHIA SEEDS
Nuts and fish are most widely cited for omega-3 content, with salmon as the unofficial poster child of the nutrient, however Chia seeds in your oats, smoothies or Greek yogurt can help you meet your 600 to 1100 mg daily dose, according to The Institute of Medicine. Two Tbsp. of chia seeds serves up a whopping 4,500 milligrams. Chia seeds 22 grams per 2 Tbsp. makes for a healthy breakfast addition. With every 10-gram increase in fiber eaten daily, belly fat reduces by 3.7 percent over five years. Get your Gwen Stefani abs and benefit your heart and lifespan, too.
Good news, oatmeal lovers, you’re go-to morning meal is the best food you can eat after you celebrate the big 4-5. The soluble fiber in oats helps lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber is thought to stick to cholesterol and prevent it from being absorbed in the body. If you have high cholesterol, you may want to consider eating oats daily. Mix one cup of cooked oatmeal with 7 chopped walnut halves, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, and 1 cup of blueberries for a meal that’s a powerhouse of heart health or simply add it to your next smoothie.
Keep Your Mind Sharp
Excess belly fat doesn’t just make your pants feel tight and wear out your knees, it also harms your brain. Midlife obesity is a risk factor for dementia later in life. What’s the belly-to-brain connection? Just as the fat in your midsection causes plaque to clog the arteries feeding blood to your heart, so, too, does it clogs arteries around the brain which is a contributing factor of Alzheimer’s. To protect your brain and ensure you’ll remember your youth well into old age, stock up on these delicious foods that have been shown to shrink your waist and increase brain function.
6. & 7. STRAWBERRIES & BLUEBERRIES
They’re fantastically sweet and juicy and they make perfect additions to salads, oats, and smoothies. Berries are amazing brain food and a potent sources of fiber, a nutrient shown to aid weight loss. The Annals of Neurology reports, consuming a diet rich in blueberries and strawberries helps slow mental decline and help maintain memory and focus into your golden years. Strawberries are very rich in folate, a nutrient that when consumed with B vitamins have been shown to prevent cognitive decline and dementia. Fiber in blueberries lowers the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream and decreases the risk of heart disease.
8. OLIVE OIL
Olive oil is rich in cancer-fighting polyphenols and monounsaturated fats that boost heart health, slow brain aging and reverse age-related memory deficits. A diet rich in this Mediterranean staple has been shown to increase levels of adiponectin, a hormone responsible for breaking down fats in the body, lowering BMI. Reap the benefits by making olive oil your go-to cooking fat and using it in dressings and sauces. Oil is still a fat and we still need to be cautious of our overall daily caloric consumption to prevent weight gain. Consume no more than a tablespoon a day.
Eggplants are loaded with free radical removing chlorogenic acid, and it is good for more than just Italian parmigiana. The shiny, purple veggie is also packed with powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins that provide neuroprotective benefits like bolstering short-term memory. Additionally, anthocyanins can help prevent heart disease by reducing inflammation and decreasing arterial hardening. Add to your turkey burgers, sandwiches, seafood risottos, and pasta dishes as it is a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin B1, copper, manganese, vitamin B6, niacin, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. Pick up two today and look and feel like you are 19 all over again.
Walnuts are a nutritionists perfect food. They one of the best dietary sources of polyunsaturated fats, a type of fat that activates genes that reduces belly fat, and they’ve been shown to improve brain function for Alzheimer's disease suffragists . Adding the nut to your diet can only benefit your health, so it's definitely worth a shot. Top your oats and salads with walnuts, or toss some in the food processor and add the mixture to homemade pesto sauces and decrease LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, increase gamma-tocopherol, and increase omega-3 fatty acids in red blood cells (alpha-linolenic acid).
Help Control Your Diabetes
Diabetes is a terrible scourge. According to the American Diabetes Association, as we age, our risk for type 2 diabetes increases each year. Unfortunately,there's nothing you can do about getting older, but you can stay active, lose weight and add diabetes-fighting foods to your diet to lower the odds and risk you’ll develop the condition. If you already have diabetes, aside from a list of protective foods, we’ve also gathered additional dietary suggestions that can improve your condition. Continue on to keep learning which SuperFoods you need in your shopping cart the next time you head to the grocery store.
People with high levels of vitamin C in their systems typically have the lowest incidence of diabetes. However, before you reach for an orange to stay healthy, consider that Guava provides 600% of the day’s vitamin C in a single cup! A small round orange, on the other hand, has only 85%. The fantastic smelling tropical fruit has 4 grams of protein per cup, so pairing guava with an additional source of protein like nuts or a low-fat cheese stick ensures blood sugar levels remain even keel. Guava fruit is extraordinarily rich in vitamin C, lycopene and antioxidants that are also beneficial for skin.
Beans may be the most powerful anti-diabetes medicine in the grocery store. Diabetics who ate a cup of beans every day for three months saw better improvements in their blood sugar levels and body weight than those who ate other sources of fiber. A high intake of beans was associated with a 38% reduced risk for diabetes. Kidney beans pack the biggest dietary benefit; just a half cup provides 14 grams, or more than 3 servings of oatmeal! This resistant starch takes longer to digest than other fibers, making it a low glycemic carbohydrate that helps prevent blood sugar spikes.
Want a 6 Pack Abs? Cherries zap fat like no other fruit does and additionally they are packed with anthocyanins, the antioxidant we mentioned that helps lower blood sugar levels in diabetics. In fact, a Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry study found that anthocyanins could reduce insulin production by as much as 50%! Cherries can also help burn that awful belly fat. Who doesn't want help with that? They have many additional benefits as well. Cherries have cancer-fighting antioxidants, reduce post-exercise muscle fatigue, joint pain, lower your risk of stroke and gout, and support healthy sleeping habits with melatonin, Who wants some?
Eggs help you lose your belly fat and ward off disease. Half the protein of an egg is found in the egg white along with vitamin B2 and lower amounts of fat and cholesterol than the yolk. They are rich sources of selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12 , zinc, iron and copper. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found an inverse relationship between eating eggs and low blood sugar levels. Eggs have been shown to prevent large fluctuations in glucose and insulin levels. It is a potent source of choline too and helps regulate the genes that cause abdominal fat storage.
15. UNPROCESSED WHEAT BRAN
The most important nutrient is Fiber. It is hunger satiating, making it a must-eat for those looking to lose weight, reduces the risk of heart disease and helps control blood sugar levels. The Mayo Clinic says vegetables, fruits, nuts and legumes contain the nutrient. Wheat bran is one of the most potent sources, carrying a whopping 14 grams per half-cup. Made from the dense, outer hull of wheat grains, this slimming grains can be used to add sweet, nutty flavor to anything. If you’re really trying to boost your dietary fiber, consume it porridge-style, with a sprinkling of cinnamon and fresh berries.
Sardines are a very potent source of omega-3s EPA and DHA, a nutrient that can improve everything from your cholesterol profile and mood to your ability to ward off Alzheimer’s disease. According to a Harvard study, of 148 people who were at risk of diabetes, researchers found that those with a higher ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 in their blood were more likely to improve their blood glucose levels and reduce their diabetes risk than those with a less favorable profile. You can eat sardines from the can, but for a more sophisticated approach, wrap a sardine around an almond-stuffed olive.
THEY KEEP INFLAMMATION AWAY
As you pass each new birthday milestone in your 40's, aches and pains become all the more common, usually as a result of inflammation or excess weight. When you’re heavy or experience weight gain, the additional pounds can stress the joints and causes them to wear down faster. That’s why people who are overweight are also at an increased risk of developing arthritis. Additionally, fat contains inflammatory chemicals called cytokines, which can promote inflammation and negatively affect different systems of the body, including our joints. Read further to discover which foods can help ease your inflammatory pain!
Increasingly popular, turmeric is Mother Nature’s all-natural ibuprofen. Curcumin, the active ingredient in the Indian spice, blocks the effects of pro-inflammatory enzymes and chemical pain messengers, easing arthritis pain and swelling. Turmeric has also been found to interfere with the growth and spread of cancer cells and lower cholesterol levels. To add the yellow spice to your diet, sprinkle it on a tofu scramble, toss it with roasted vegetables or add it to your brown rice. The options are truly endless. For even more culinary inspiration, or for a whole host of healthy ingredients check out the next ten healthy Super Foods.
Carrots are super rich in vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, vitamin B8, pantothenic acid, folate, potassium, iron, copper, and manganese. Thanks to their vitamin A and beta-carotene content, orange vegetables like orange peppers and crunchy carrots, are strong inflammation fighters. These vegetables are also rich in beta-cryptoxanthin, a type of carotenoid pigment, that will ward off inflammation-related conditions like arthritis. Most of the benefits of carrots can be attributed to their beta carotene and fiber content. This root vegetable is also a good source of antioxidant and anti-aging agents.
19. LEAFY GREENS
Leafy greens are useful in reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease as they are low in fat, high in fiber, and rich in folic acid, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium, as well as contain a host of phytochemicals, such as lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene. Nutrient-packed kale, bok choy and spinach should make a regular appearance in your diet. They also help keep your aches and pains at bay. Thanks to their high levels of sulforaphane, a compound that blocks enzymes linked to joint destruction and inflammation these pain-fighting green Superfoods they are very beneficial.
Blood Pressure Benefits
Steer clear of the salt shaker and ditch the sodium-filled processed food to keep your blood pressure low. Our blood vessels have receptors that monitor our blood pressure and naturally make changes to help maintain a consistent blood pressure. As we age, these receptors become less sensitive so blood pressure can change due to less regulation. Our arteries become thicker, stiffer and less flexible. Our arteries help pump the blood from the heart, so if the blood flow isn’t as good and the heart has to work harder, blood pressure increases. Bring your levels back to normal and add these Final Six blood pressure-lowering foods.
20. & 21. BEETS & BEET GREENS
Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Beets also contain the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects. Beets and beet greens are rich in nitrates, a natural chemical that increases endurance, lowers blood pressure and protects the heart by de-stiffening arterial walls, according to the Mayo Clinic. The root veggie also contains 12% of the day’s potassium, a mineral that regulates blood pressure and helps flush out excess salt.
22. SWEET POTATO
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene). They are also a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B6, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, and phosphorus. Sweet potatoes are packed with potassium, a mineral that can lessen the effects of sodium on blood pressure. They’re rich in carotenoids, powerful antioxidants which stabilizes blood sugar levels and lower insulin resistance, which prevents calories from being converted into fat. Roast them up as a side to grilled meats or fish, or slice and bake them into healthy fries, drizzled with coconut oil.
23. DARK CHOCOLATE
Who doesn't love chocolate? A 100 gram bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa contains 11 grams of fiber! The same dark chocolate that makes your tongue salivate can also do wonders for your blood pressure. Cocoa products are rich in flavonoids that can lower BP among those with both hypertension and prehypertension, according to a BMC Medicine study. It raises HDL and protects LDL against oxidation and indicates that cocoa’s flavanols can help the body form nitrites, the same chemical in beets and beet greens that widens blood vessels, eases blood flow and blood pressure levels.
24. WHOLE GRAIN BREAD
Whole grains are packed with nutrients, including protein, fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, and trace minerals (iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium). A diet rich in whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some forms of cancer. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports eating three servings of whole grains daily was linked with a reduction in systolic blood pressure. Quinoa, amaranth, farro, wheat berries and bulgur are some of our favorites. We’re also big fans of whole grain bread since it’s super simple to add into any existing diet.
25. PORK TENDERLOIN
Six cuts of pork meet the USDA guidelines for “lean,” with less than 10 grams of fat per serving. A 3-ounce serving of pork tenderloin is an excellent source of protein, thiamine, vitamin B6, phosphorus and niacin and a good source of riboflavin, potassium and zinc. A three-ounce serving also carries 10% of the potassium and 6% of the magnesium you need every day—two of the most potent blood pressure lowering nutrients around. Cook up a batch of tenderloins in the beginning of the week and keep them on hand so you can easily add them to your weekly meals.