The following 25 incredibly healthy foods have the potential to slow biological aging by acting in a number of ways. They provide unique antioxidants and nutrients that bolster our immune system, they defend against free radicals, they maintain a healthy blood-glucose and insulin level and they help to keep inflammation at bay.
Almonds: Rich in vitamin E (an antioxidant) and a good source of monounsaturated fat (an anti-inflammatory).
Avocados: High in monounsaturated fat and an excellent source of folate (which helps to repair DNA in cells).
Beets: Contain anthocyanins (antioxidants) and betaine, a compound that protects cells from aging.
Berries: Packed with many phytochemicals that act as potent antioxidants.
Black beans: Deliver low-glycemic carbohydrate, plenty of plant protein and their antioxidant content outranks other beans with anti-cancer properties.
Cabbage: Rich source of glucosinolates, phytochemicals that mop up free radicals and help rid the body of carcinogens
Broccoli: Contain sulforaphane, a phytoc of glucosinolates, phytochemicals that mop up free radicals and help to rid the body of carcinogens
Dark chocolate: Good source of flavonoids, compounds that have antioxidant, ant-inflammatory and anti-blood-clotting properties (all it takes is one small square!).
Flaxseed: Excellent source of alpha linolenic acid or ALA (an omega-3 fat) and lignans, phytochemicals thought to guard against breast and prostate cancer.
Garlic: Loaded with natural sulphur compounds that help to boost your immune system and may keep your heart healthy.
Green tea: Rich source of flavonoids, powerful antioxidants that may help to prevent heart disease and certain cancers.
Kale: Good source of vitamins A, C and K, folate, calcium and potassium and is plentiful in phytochemicals that help preserve eyesight.
Lentils: Great source of soluble fibre (the type that keeps LDL cholesterol in check) along with slow-burning, low-glycemic carbohydrate and folate.
Oats: Deliver cholesterol-lowering fibre and unique antioxidants called avenanthramides that protect LDL cholesterol particles from free radicals.
Olive oil (extra-virgin): Excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat along with vitamin E and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals
Oranges: Packed with vitamin C, a nutrient that keeps your immune system healthy as you age, as well as limonoids, phytochemicals linked with disease protection.
Pomegranates: Seeds deliver polyphenols, antioxidants thought to reduce the risk of heart disease and possibly prostate and lung cancer.
Red bell peppers: Good source of vitamin C and beta carotene, two antioxidants linked with protection from heart disease and certain cancers.
Red grapes: Contain resveratrol, a phytochemical with anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
Salmon: One of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, anti-inflammatories shown to combat aging in cells by preventing special sequences of DNA (called telomeres) from shortening; telomere shortening is linked with the aging process and poorer health.
Soybeans: Nutrient-rich and an excellent source of isoflavones, phytochemicals that may help to reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancer.
Spinach - packed with lutein for eye health and a good source of anti-cancer compounds including vitamins A and C, beta-carotene and flavonoids.
Sweet potatoes: Rich in beta carotene, a phytochemical that not only protects from free-radical damage, but is also thought to guard against cancer by stimulating communication between cells.
Tomatoes: Contain lycopene, a phytochemical shown to help lower prostate-cancer risk when consumed from heat-processed tomatoes (e.g. tomato sauce).
Walnuts: Important source of monounsaturated fat and alpha linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid that helps to reduce inflammation.
From Leslie Beck's Longevity Diet © Leslie Beck, 2011.