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April 03, 2008

Food that cheat your age

Your indispensable guide to the top everyday foods that will keep you looking and feeling younger.

We are living for longer than ever before, but who wants to look their age? Fortunately, science is proving that the food we eat can put the brakes on the ageing process, both on the inside and the outside. Investing in a healthy diet now can help reduce the likelihood of suffering from ailments such as failing eyesight, arthritis and heart disease, as well as fatigue and lackluster skin. Many of the visible effects of ageing, such as wrinkles, and also those that we can’t see, such as deterioration of the heart and eyes, are caused by free redicals highly reactive molecules that damage cell walls and the genetic material within cells.

Growing old gracefully is an art that anyone can master with a little help from the right foods.


The richest herbal source of the mineral potassium, which stimulates the kidneys to eliminate waste matter and reduces high blood pressure the number one cause of heart attacks. Parsley has anti inflammatory properties, thus protecting against arthritis. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin A for the eyes, and magnesium and calcium to protect bones and the nervous system.

It protects the digestive system against premature ageing, thus aiding the general absorption of nutrients. The root helps regulate the pancreas and by lowering cholesterol levels. Because ginger is such an effective anti-inflammatory, it is among the most respected herbs for the such as arthritis.

Honey is 79 per cent sugar. The rest comprises water and small amounts of vitamins, including vitamin B6, which is good for the brain. It also includes calcium which helps strengthen bones. Used topically, honey is a humectants, attracting and retaining water, which keeps skin soft and supple.

Olive oil contains vitamin E, which helps keep skin wrinkle-free and hair glossy. It is also rich in monounsaturated fat, which is believed to have anti-carcinogenic properties, and helps lower blood pressure and prevent diabetes. A rich source of polyphenols, known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-coagulant action, it is thought to help stave off conditions such as arthritis.

The high level of vitamin C in lemons means they are vital for healthy skin and gums. Also a good source of bio flavonoids, such as quercetin, which boost the effects of vitamin C, and are particularly important for the health of blood vessels and to prevent varicose veins. Like other citrus fruits they contain terpenes, which are anti carcinogenic.

Full of fibre, rhubarb acts as a natural laxative, keeping the digestive system in good working order and helping to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease. Rhubarb is is also high in calcium, which is good for bones, and potassium to keep blood pressure in check and protect the heart. It is also extremely high in water, which helps to keep the body well hydrated.

Loaded with vitamins C and E, avocados are excellent for keeping skin soft, supple and healthy, and for maintaining glossy hair. High inomega-3 fatty acids, they help prevent wrinkles, enhance brainpower and treat arthritic pain. They contain the antioxidant lutein, which has been shown to protect against eye problems and cardiovascular disease.

Used topically, cucumber helps to maintain a youthful appearance, thanks to its hydrating and anti-inflammatory properties. When ingested, the high water and balanced mineral content makes it one of the best diuretics. Cucumbers area rich source of silica, a mineral needed for healthy skin, bone and connective tissue. Silica also plays a major role in preventing cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.

Radishes are rich in sulphur, essential for youthful, healthy skin, hair and nails, and also have anticarcinogenic properties. Assisting the body in ridding of toxins, it help to treat gall bladder and liver problems.

Mushrooms contain more protein than most vegetables, as well as vitamin E and selenium, which help maintain healthy skin and hair protect against heart disease. They also boost immunity and have anticarcinogenic properties. Shiitake mushrooms specifically boost immunity, the reishi variety combat high blood pressure and liver disease.

A fantastic source of folic acid, said to prevent damage to the arteries that supply blood to the heart and the brain. Folic acid has also demonstrated anticarcinogenic properties. Asparagus contains asparagines, which, along with its high potassium and low sodium content, makes it an excellent diuretic and cleanser.

Whether red, green or brown, lentils are a great source of protein, which we need to keep our skin, hair, teeth and nails strong and healthy. Lentils also contain high level of B vitamins, particularlyB3, which protects against poor memory, and B12, which helps to prevent everything from arthritis to tinnitus.

Checkpeas are a good source of protein, vital for the healthy repair of cells. Their high vitamin content boosts the immune system, protects the heart and promotes healthy skin and hair. They also contain zinc, which enhances immunity.

An excellent source of protein, which helps keep energy levels steady as well as maintaining cells, they are rich in folic acid, good for healing wounds and preventing heart disease. They are full of fibre, vital for keeping cholesterol levels down. They are also a valuable source of iron, helping to prevent anaemia.

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