Anti-Aging Nutrients and Supplements
One of the most feared words in our culture is “aging”, but the truth is getting older can be a beautiful thing! Whether or not we want to, we’re all getting older every day, and there are both signs we can and cannot control. The search bar is full of suggestions when it comes to anti-aging cures and longevity secrets. Whether it is out of vanity or maintaining an active lifestyle in our older years, we all have our valid reasons to crave youthfulness.
The research on being ‘forever young’ has accelerated over the past several years. The symptoms of aging and premature aging range from lost skin elasticity & wrinkles, to poor cognitive function, to a lack of energy. You have the ability to slow down aging in your body, repair damaged cells, regenerate new cells, regain energy, and reverse the onset of age-related diseases. There are recent studies, which I will cite below, that explain how age truly is just a number, and how the fountain of youth is a combination of lifestyle choices, diet, environment, mindset, and science.
Anti-aging foods and practices literally fight degenerative agents in your body, while longevity-promoting foods, supplements, and lifestyle choices support the natural abilities your body has to stay vibrant & sharp. Below is the latest on longevity nutrition and 12 anti-aging supplements to add to your diet depending on your age and dietary needs.
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NUTRITION FOR LONGEVITY
I. Anti-Aging Foods & Nutrients
Hydration - Hydration is really important for skin health. Our cells are made up of 70% water and your skin is one of the first places that you will notice the effects of dehydration. Water is also the main thing your brain needs to function, being chronically dehydrated can cause everything from memory issues, to poor decision making, to poor sleep, to unhealthy cravings. Drinking enough water is also important when it comes to detoxing your body. If your organs and systems don’t have enough clean water to remove toxins and excess waste, free radicals can have more opportunity to cause damage and early aging.
Antioxidants - Antioxidants, such as those found in foods like berries, green tea, or even dark chocolate are really important for maintaining youthful skin and more. Antioxidants protect your cells from damaging free radicals, which are naturally created by your body, but also can come from environmental factors like pollution, chemicals and smoke. If free radicals and antioxidants are out of balance in the body, it can cause oxidative stress, which plays a role in several age-related diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, dementia, cancer, atherosclerosis, vascular diseases, obesity, osteoporosis, and metabolic syndromes (source) that can exacerbate the signs of aging. Here are a few antioxidant-rich plant-based superfoods!
- Almonds, Avocado, Kale, Dark Chocolate, Watercress, Broccoli, Pomegranates, Blueberries, Spinach, Red Bell Peppers, Papaya, Sweet Potatoes.
Culinary Alchemy® - One of the key practices in my method, Culinary Alchemy®, is eating a wide array (or the “rainbow”) of vegetables and fruits. This habit will help your skin radiate from the inside out as you are nourishing all of your body’s systems and organs.
Probiotics and Prebiotics - Probiotic and prebiotic-rich foods not only contribute to a healthier gut microbiome, they are proven to enhance your skin’s appearance and fight the signs of aging. Including these fermented, gut-healing foods in your diet will restore your skin PH, reduce oxidative stress, reduce the signs of photoaging ( sun or solar damage ), improve the skin barrier function to protect your skin health, and even support healthy hair.
Legumes - Legumes have an inverse relationship with aging and degenerative diseases. All legumes serve as healthy functional foods due to the proteins, polysaccharides, vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, and fatty acids. The darker the bean the more phenolic antioxidants it contains. The phenolic compounds found in legumes limit the development of cancers, diabetes, heart diseases, and osteoporosis. Legumes also contain oligosaccharides which have an anticancer effect and protect your liver. Did you know that chickpeas, lentils, and soybeans have prebiotic and probiotic properties to them as well?
Protein - Processed, smoked, and BBQ meats are linked to disease and cancer, but a proper portion of wild meats and plant-based meat may increase your lifespan. The quantity of specific nutrients we consume is linked to longevity. Our cells need amino acids, the building blocks of protein to function, regenerate, and for energy.
An enzyme called TOR tells your cells to grow or be on alert, depending on how many amino acids are available in the body. It has been proven that TOR gets highly active when there are plenty of amino acids available and that this escalated level of TOR in the body is associated with neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, heart disease, and shortened life spans.
What is especially important to your body when it comes to longevity and protein, is your protein turnover rate. Longevity is associated with lower protein turnover rate and lower energy demands within cells. Meaning, your body efficiently uses the proteins and can deal with short term stress. One way to improve this turnover rate is through intermittent fasting.
Cruciferous Vegetables - These fiber-rich vegetables actually modify your hormones, help your body detox, and deter the growth of cancerous cells. The phyotchemical, sulfurophane, leads to an up-regulation of the genes that enhance stress resistance and lifespan.
Green Leafy Vegetables - Microgreens and lettuce are full of phytonutrients that keep your organs and systems thriving optimally. A diet high in a variety of leafy greens is known to reduce degenerative diseases, risk of cancers, obesity, heart disease, and more. Leafy greens help regulate blood sugar and improve cellular health.
Berries - Berries are especially important for brain health and heart health due to their antioxidant properties. Consuming blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and other wild berries daily can prevent cognitive decline and fight cancerous cells.
Pomegranate - The phytochemical punicalagin, protects your heart by clearing arteries and reducing plaque. Pomegranates are also neuro-protective and fight the development of cancer cells.
Mushrooms - Most modern medicines today are composed of mushroom compounds. Their adaptogenic properties can help us reduce stress and maintain balanced hormones. Mushrooms reduce inflammation, improve brain health, enhance stamina, stop angiogenesis (uncontrolled formation of new blood vessels), prevent DNA damage, and promote immune function in cells. Try adding in exotic varieties as well as white mushrooms. The reishi mushroom has been known as the mushroom of immortality for thousands of years.
Olive Oil- When it comes to healthy fats, olive oil is most associated with longevity along with nuts and seeds. Research on olive oil shows that it reduces inflammation and slows the shortening of telomeres, one of the hallmarks of aging. Olive oil actually alters the aging process in your body and slows age-related decline in health.
2. Anti-Aging Supplements
Probiotics & Prebiotics - Two of the most important supplements for skin are probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics are essentially “good” bacteria that help balance the microbiome in your digestive system. Prebiotics are natural fibers that feed probiotics. Research has found that the health of the gut microbiome is interconnected with skin health (amongst other things such as healthy brain function, and strong immune function).
Green Super Powders - if you find it difficult to include a robust variety of vegetables into your diet, you may want to consider adding supergreen powders such as spirulina and chlorella.
Vitamin C - In terms of specific vitamins to support youthful skin, vitamin C is an important one. Not only is vitamin C an antioxidant, it also supports collagen production, which keeps your skin looking youthful and taut.
Vitamin E - is another antioxidant that also helps protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays, which can damage and age skin.
Omega-3’s - Research has also shown that Omega-3 supplementation (you can also get Omega-3s from eating fish, flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts), can reduce the shortening of telomeres, DNA sequences which shorten with age and of which the shortening is associated with age-related disease. Omega-3 fatty acids support healthy aging by preventing the shortening of telomeres, which can lead to age-related disease.
Calcium - It is also important to get enough calcium so as to prevent calcium deficient associated bone deficiencies later in life. It preserves a healthy skin glow, protects against eczema, and helps keep skin healthy. Calcium is also a helpful nutrient in reversing and preventing diabetes.
Vitamin D - Vitamin D can be taken in tandem with calcium to support absorption. Being deficient in Vitamin D is a major risk factor for developing skin cancer. New studies on Vitamin D have shown that deficiency increases susceptibility to autoimmune diseases, type-1 diabetes, diseases associated with the nervous system, and dementia. It was found that Vitamin D is an epigenetic controller; meaning it influences several hundred genes in our body - many of which control disease expression and suppression. Vitamin D also decides which proteins are being made from our genetic code.
Collagen - Collagen is a protein, the amino acid hydroxyproline, that’s unique in youthful skin and an essential component of bone, muscle, ligaments, and skin cell health. There are 28 different types of collagen, some of which benefit your skin's water content. Use creams that contain Vitamin A and Vitamin C to boost collagen production.
Nitric oxide - Nitric oxide is a molecule created by the body, which supports healthy blood vessels and circulation. As we age our body becomes less efficient at creating nitric oxide.
B-vitamins - B vitamins support the body’s energy production. Vitamin B12 specifically may help prevent cognitive decline. As we age, vitamin B12 absorption decreases. Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient, a deficiency of which may lead to symptoms of cognitive decline.
L-arginine - L-arginine supplements support the body’s natural production of nitric oxide, which will support your blood vessels and circulation. It also has been found to lower blood pressure.
Just Add Water® - One of my personal favorite skin supporting supplements is lucuma. Usually found as a powder taken from the lucuma fruit, it is thought to be a superfood that supports both digestion and skin health. Most of these supplements can be consumed through food or for more convenience, through a supplement, such as my superfood supplement Just Add Water.
MINDSET OF LONGEVITY
Part of living a fulfilling life is a mindset of appreciating where you are in the moment, no matter how old you are. Staying connected to a community, engaging in games to keep your mind sharp and positive thinking are all essential parts of healthy aging as well.
Including these nutrient-rich foods and supplements into your diet can improve your overall health and vitality. Combined with exercise, reducing stress in your life, having meaningful relationships, knowing and living your purpose, and living in a healthy environment - you may be able to add years to your life.
XO - Serena