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Super-foods For Anti-Aging

The secret to aging gracefully is exercise; eating the right foods, and in particular adding super-foods to your diet. Living longer isn't much fun if you're not healthy enough to enjoy it.
  1. Choose Soy For The Heart

    Add soy foods such as tofu, soy milk, soy nuts, or the green soybeans called edamame by the Japanese, to your diet.

    Soy has an impressive resumé, along with some inevitable controversy. Adding soy to your diet has been shown to significantly lower cholesterol, which can reduce your risk of heart disease. Plus, soy is high in iron, which many women need. Some women also say that soy helps them manage hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause, although those benefits have not been proven by long-term clinical studies.

    Still, its cholesterol-lowering benefits are beyond question. The right diet can lower cholesterol as much as medication, according to a study reported July 2003 in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

    That four-week study found that a diet of soy fiber, protein from oats and barley, almonds, and margarine from plant sterols lowered cholesterol as much as statins, the most widely prescribed cholesterol medication. Soybeans themselves provide high-quality protein, are low in saturated fat, and contain no cholesterol, making them an ideal heart-healthy food.

    To lower your cholesterol, the American Heart Association suggests you look for products that provide 10 grams of soy protein per serving, and try to eat three or more servings per day.

  2. High Fiber Foods

    "I don't think it would be a bad idea to flip the food pyramid and suggest nine to eleven servings of fruits and vegetables a day instead of the five to seven we recommend now," says William Hart. "None of us eats enough fiber." The average American eats 12 grams of fiber a day; most health organizations recommend 20-35 grams.

    • Studies have shown that dietary fiber - including foods such as apples, barley, beans, and other legumes, fruits and vegetables, oatmeal, oat bran, and brown rice - clearly lower blood cholesterol.
    • High fiber foods are also digested more slowly, so they don't cause spikes in blood sugar levels like white bread, potatoes, and sweets do.
    • Everyone knows that fiber helps keep you regular, but so do laxatives. Fiber, however, has an added plus; high-fiber foods help us feel full, making it easier to control weight.

      You get more nutritional "bang for your buck" with high-fiber food, says Hart.

  3. Antioxidant 'Super-foods' For Your Cells And Heart

    When you're thinking "super-foods," think color, says Beverly Clevidence, PhD, a research leader at the USDA's Diet and Human Performance Laboratory. That means foods that are deep blue, purple, red, green, or orange. The carotenoids and anthocyanins that provide the color for these foods contain health-enhancing nutrients that protect against heart disease and cancer, and also improve our sense of balance, our memory, and other cognitive skills.

    Your "super-foods" color chart should include :-

    • Deep green - Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli may help prevent colon cancer, while spinach and kale are good sources of calcium. And kale also helps fight against age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older Americans.
    • Red - Red tomatoes, especially when cooked, are beneficial sources of lycopene, which helps protect against prostate and cervical cancer.
    • Orange/yellow - Squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, and yams promote healthy lungs and help fight off skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma.
    • Deep blue/purple - Eggplant, plums, blueberries, blackberries (strawberries, raspberries, and cherries come under this category as well) lower your risk of heart disease by helping the liver "sop up" extra cholesterol, as well as improve your mental functioning.

    "I've definitely been adding berries to my diet throughout the year," says Clevidence. You don't have to limit your berry intake to in-season either. Fresh, frozen (without sugar), or dried ... the benefits are the same.

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