Saturday, February 16, 2008

Top Ten Power Foods For Long Life

-- body + mind + spirit--

The fountain a youth my be a stones throw in any grocery aisle, if you just know where to look. Scientists are unanimous that what we eat greatly defines how well, and how long, our bodies function. The key to understanding optimal health is not only knowing what to steer clear of, dietary speaking, but actually what to steer to. Below is a list of top ten power foods (all packed with the key, anti-oxidants) that are guaranteed to get your body set on the course for healthy and long living.

1. Dark Green Leafy Vegetable: Think green (and we're not talking environment here). Dark greens deter cognitive decline, heart disease and Alzheimer's - all associated with high levels of Homocysteines (typically associated with healthy protein metabolism). In order to break them down one must have adequate amounts of Folate, B12 or B6, found in dark leafy vegetable such as swiss chard and collard greens.

2. Tomatoes: Good news for Pizza. Tomatoes are a massive source of Lycopene which has been shown to reduce risks of heart disease, improve mental functioning in old age, and most impressive reduce cancer by over 40% (highest success in prostate, lung and stomach cancers). Lycopene not only helps reduce risk of cancers but actually has shown increase in rates of survival. Concentrated forms of these good red stuff especially in the form of pasta sauces and canned tomatoes are actually more potent, by much as three times.

3. Garlic: You might need a breath mint, but you'll live longer to need one. Packed with anti-oxidants, Garlic has also been linked to reducing cancer risk, reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

4. Spinach: Mom and Popeye were right - eat this stuff, and lots of it. This good green is so chock full of anti-oxidants that it is only second to Garlic.

5. Think Red - Red Grapes, Red Grape Juice, and Yes Red WINE: Another miracle anti-oxidant, red grapes pack a punch of up to four time that of orange or tomato juice. Red Wine (in moderation, up to 2 glasses a day) is equal to drinking grape juice or tea.

6. Tea: The English and the Chinese were on to something. Black tea or Green tea is a powerful anti-oxidant. In fact one cup of black tea a day has shown to cut heart disease risk in half.

7. Olive Oil: Fat can be good for you. This miracle oil explains the healthy stats of Mediterranean living. The oil, high in anti-oxidants, reduces death from cancer and heart disease. Folks regularly using the oil have HALF the death rate of folks on ordinary low fat diets.

8. Salmon and Other Fatty Fish: Embrace the word fat folks, cause here it is again. Just like Olive oil, the fat in Salmon and other fatty fish (herring, tuna, sardines and mackerel)contains Omega 3 oils that fight virtually every known disease. Add to that increase in brain function, joint function, improvement in mood disorders and you have no reason not to make friends with your local fish store. P.S. - Two servings of week is all you need to do the trick.

9. Go Nuts: Most varieties are full of (yet again) good FATS...those monounsaturated kinds. 5 ounces of nuts a week reduce heart attacks in women by 40%. In addition Almonds and Walnuts have shown to reduce cholesterol.

10. So Berry Good: Blueberries are the super berry, with the mega wattage they pack in anti-oxidants. Half a cup a day has shown to ward off declining memory.

Add to the list, a diet full of whole grains (that stabilize blood sugar and insulin), a good amount of water, a moderate daily dose of exercise and most importantly an optimistic and creative attitude that wards of stress, and you have the recipe for a body worth inhabiting...and the map to the illusive fountain of youth.

*This article was based on research found through the Neurosciences Laboratory of the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging

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