One vibrant role model of mine recently told me that all her life she has eaten non-processed, whole foods. This client was my dear grandmother at the healthy age of 80. She had an unusual amount of energy, looked 20 years younger than her true age and glowed with beauty that radiated from the inside out. I attribute my grandmother’s glowing health and youthfulness to the fact that her healthy diet minimizes the effects of oxidation and inflammation in her body.
Oxidation is a major cause of rapid physical aging and disease. Cigarettes, cleaning agents, air pollution, chronic stress and lack of sleep are significant causes of oxidation and, as a result, the creation of free radicals in your body. Exposure to these tissue-altering compounds over time has the potential to cause cancer, Parkinson’s, arthritis, cardiovascular disease and macular degeneration. The good news is that this process is slowed by eating antioxidant-rich foods like whole grains and berries.
Excess inflammation is another cause of increased aging. Inflammation is the body’s basic response to injury. Although genetics, free radicals and your daily environment all affect levels of inflammation, diet is key. Eating refined sugars, processed foods, and foods high in animal products- a typical “Western diet” – is a significant cause of inflammation-related illness in the US today.
The secret to healthy aging is to prevent damage before it starts. Adopt a sensible lifestyle and eat foods full of antioxidants, nutrients and anti-inflammatory compounds and stick with them. You’ll feel great and look vibrant – no matter what your age!
Did you know…
- Choosing anti-inflammatory foods like fatty fish, walnuts, canola oil, dark leafy greens, black pepper, ginger, organic soy, cinnamon and honey can help keep you living younger longer.
- Omega-6 fats, animal fats and trans fats are inflammation-CAUSING culprits. You should avoid consuming excess soybean, sunflower and soybean oils, butter, margarine, baked goods, fried foods and meat.
- Eating several mini-meals and snacks throughout the day will keep your metabolism burning and slow the aging process. You’ll have more energy and feel better too!
- The top 5 veggies eaten by Americans are: Iceberg lettuce, French fries, potatoes, potato chips and canned tomatoes. This is an alarming fact because these foods have fewer vitamins than other vegetables. Do not be part of this statistic-instead make an effort to eat one new veggie per week to provide a wider variety of nutrients.
- Many people think that getting older means the brain’s ability will decline. This is not always true- your diet has a crucial impact on memory and cognitive function. Research has proven that eating just 2.8 servings per day of veggies is associate with decreased memory loss.
Imagine a sliced apple. Oxidation is what turns the apple brown. Free radicals, the harmful result of the oxidation process, cause aging by pulling apart molecules in healthy living tissue. Free radicals will eventually cause the apple to dry and shrivel, and human skin to wrinkle. Antioxidants help prevent or slow this process. Picture this apple as you choose a rainbow of colorful, antioxidant-rich plant foods to enrich your diet every day:
- Veggies such as broccoli, onions, garlic, cabbage, cauliflower
- Fruits such as berries, red/purple grapes, apples
- Green tea and red wine
- Whole grains
Here’s an easy, delicious recipe rich in anti-inflammatory ingredients.
Poached Salmon with Orange Basil Relish
For the Orange Basil Relish:
1 1/4 cups orange segments
3 tablespoons basil
1 cup finely diced red onion
1 jalapeno pepper, cleaned and minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Nu-Salt (Salt free alternative)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
For the Salmon:
2 cups fresh, organic orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 cup white wine
1 1/2 lbs. salmon fillet, cut into 6 portions
- Simply combine all ingredients for the relish and mix well. Set aside..
- Combine orange juice, orange peel and white wine in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. One at a time, simply place salmon fillets into poaching liquid and allow liquid to return to a simmer, cover and remove pan from heat. Let sit for 10 minutes. Carefully remove from liquid.
- Serve 1 salmon fillet with 1/4 cup relish