Scientists believe physical aging can begin as soon as we’re 20 years old, with the more noticeable effects typically appearing later in life.
But aging doesn’t have to limit day-to-day activities, and the food we eat can play a big part in that. Certain foods, for instance, may help your joints move better — while other ones may help strengthen your ticker to keep you active.
“Many of the delicious foods provided by Mother Nature have wonderful, naturally occurring anti-aging properties that are able to make us feel young at heart, from the inside out,” Emily Kyle, MS, RDN owner of Emily Kyle Nutrition, told Fox News.
Consider adding these six foods and drinks to your meal rotation to help you look and feel stronger:
“Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and cranberries are super foods in the sense that they have the ability to help us feel our best from the inside out with their high antioxidant content,” Kyle said. “Antioxidants act as the defenders within the body, helping to destroy problematic compounds known as free radicals. When we consume enough antioxidants through food, we give our bodies the ability to fight off potential invaders that can cause health problems down the road, which may cause us to feel older and more tired over time." Berries may also help the mind stay sharp by decreasing cognitive aging.
Try it: Snack on a handful of berries, sprinkle them on top of Greek yogurt, or blend them into a Berry Almond Cocoa Smoothie.
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This spice (a main ingredient in curry) may help you move better as you age — it’s anti inflammatory and may help decrease arthritis symptoms. In particular, it may help control arthritis-related knee pain, per research.
Try it: Cook up some curried vegetables, add it do scrambled eggs, or sip a turmeric latte.
Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and anchovies contain the health-promoting omega-3s EPA and DHA. “Known as brain food, fish has been shown to lower risk of depressive symptoms,” Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, author of “The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club,” told Fox News. It also boasts protein that helps keep bones strong as they age. “It's important to spread protein throughout the day,” Harris-Pincus noted.
Try it: Whip up a salmon and veggie omelet, or grill mackerel with a side of veggies.
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Chickpeas, white beans and other beans offer a combo of fiber and protein. “This helps stabilize blood sugar levels, and prevent energy crashes and mood swings that can come with them,” Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CFT and Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CFT, co-authors of “The Nutrition Twins' Veggie Cure.” “The fiber helps prevent constipation, helping you feel light.” Eating beans is also connected with heart health.
Try it: Add beans to a salad, puree cooked white beans into a smoothie, or whip up Spiced Roasted Chickpeas as a snack.
Linked with a decrease in blood pressure and an increase in “good” HDL cholesterol levels, cocoa may help keep the heart healthy. “Cocoa powder contains polyphenols, which are antioxidants that protect the body from oxidizing agents,” Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN, author of “25 Anti-Aging Smoothies for Revitalizing, Glowing Skin.” Bonus: “These polyphenols can help protect the skin and cells from tissue damage.”
Try it: Nibble on a dark chocolate square, or add unsweetened cocoa powder to a smoothie or bowl of yogurt.
6. Green tea
“Green tea is prized for its many health benefits, including its high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties,” Kyle said. “The polyphenols found within tea leaves have the ability to reduce the amount of inflammation within the body, which in turn helps lower a number of symptoms that cause us to feel pain, such as joint pain associated with arthritis.” Tea may also help your heart: It’s connected with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.
Try it: Have a cup or two a day, or bake tea into recipes, such as these Matcha Green Tea Energy Muffins.