Eating well is an important part of longevity, but figuring out exactly which foods to fuel up on can be difficult.
“Trying to find the right mix of nutrients in your daily diet can feel overwhelming, but no matter what age you are, nutrients make a difference,” said Dr. Taz Bhatia, an integrative medicine physician and board-certified nutritionist, told Yahoo Life. Eat the right balance of foods, says Bhatia, and you’ll help yourself lead a happier, healthier lifestyle.
It’s easy to think of food as something you eat, but Bhatia points out that what you choose plays a crucial role in how the body works. “Food is medicine and nutrients make the difference,” she explains. “They regulate our hormones, they improve our mental health, they improve how our brains work, even how our bodies move. It all starts with consuming these nutrients regularly and consistently.”
According to Bhatia, one place to look for inspiration is in the so-called Blue Zones, which include Italy, Greece and Japan. These are areas “where people can live to be 100 years or more and be vital and thriving,” says Bhatia. A common denominator in these areas? People focus on a diet rich in plant-based whole foods.
Want to add more healthy ingredients to your daily diet? Consider these proven health boosters.
Eggs “are an easy way to start the journey to healthier eating,” says Bhatia, adding that they’re a “superfood.” Eggs are rich in B vitamins, choline, protein and omega-3 fatty acids, among other things. “Now, all of these nutrients are important for hormone health, for your gut health, for maintaining muscle mass, even for your brain, improve our feelings about anxiety and depression, and keep us all more alert,” says Bhatia.
Her advice: boil them and eat them in the morning or mix them up in a skillet. You can even add them to your favorite baked goods. “All forms of using eggs bring the nutrients you need,” says Bhatia.
Olive oil is rich in omega-9 fatty acids. “Omega-9 fats may not get as much of a push as omega-3 fats, but we do know that omega-9 fats are crucial for gut health and even hormonal health by helping to regulate estrogen levels, which we do.” “Balance estrogen levels and also help with brain health,” says Bhatia. She likes to put a tablespoon of olive oil on a piece of toast or rice cake, use it in a salad dressing, or drizzle it on a stir-fry after cooking.
Just a word of caution: if you heat olive oil past a certain point, a lot of the nutrients are lost. “That’s why it’s really important to get that tablespoon of olive oil at room temperature every day, not at a heated temperature,” says Bhatia.
Avocados are another important superfood. “You only need about a quarter of an avocado, but that gives you the amount of omega-9 fats, selenium, and even vitamin E you need on a daily basis,” says Bhatia. The nutrients, she explains, are important for brain health, improve circulation for hormone health, and promote a healthy gut. “They contain medium-chain fats, and that helps keep your gut stable and prevents many of the nasty digestive issues that sabotage your nutrients in the first place.”
Try chopping up avocados and adding them to a salad, eating them plain, sprinkling salt and pepper on top for a healthy snack, mashing them up and using them as a dip, or blending them into a smoothie.
Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A. “Vitamin A is crucial when we’re talking about longevity,” says Bhatia. “Vitamin A comes in, improves cell turnover, keeps your cells from breaking down and your muscles, skin and hair from deteriorating.” She recommends baking a sweet potato, or shredding and roasting it, or boiling it. “You can do so many different things with sweet potatoes and they’re easy to digest. They don’t hurt your stomach and they’re also incredibly tasty,” says Bhatia.
Kale is “super high” in vitamin A and vitamin C, says Bhatia. Vitamin A “helps the immune system and helps us fight off viruses and bacteria,” she says. Vitamin C “plays an incredible role in keeping your gut healthy, your skin healthy, your muscles, your bones and so much more,” she says. Kale also helps with glutathione. “Glutathione is a powerful, powerful antioxidant that really oxygenates all of our cells, keeps us healthy, keeps every organ and muscle in the body vital and thriving, and keeps us in our best shape,” says Bhatia.
Kale is also a cruciferous vegetable, she points out, which helps metabolize estrogen and cleanse the liver. “One of the big problems with aging is that our liver gets a little sluggish and can’t pull things through,” says Bhatia. “Kale is one of those ingredients that supports the liver.” Consider shredding kale and using it as a base for salads or adding it to soups.
This fruit is high in fiber, minerals, and resveratrol, says Bhatia. “There are so many great studies out there about resveratrol and how it really promotes longevity and healthy aging,” she adds. Her advice: Halve a pomegranate, squeeze out the seeds and eat. “I love adding it to salads or decorative recipes when I’m trying to make something because they’re so pretty too,” she says.
Bhatia recommends incorporating these foods into your diet and aiming to eat them three to five times a week. “There is no right or wrong way,” she says. “It’s about building small, simple, healthy habits into your meals so you get the nutrients you need to stay fit and energetic for longer.”
https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/longevity-aging-nutrition-142451540.html Eat yourself to a long life with these 6 superfoods