We’re all getting older, and no amount of make-up, Botox or cosmetic surgery can change that fact. But you can give your body the best chance of resisting the most obvious penalties of age by eating right. This means a healthy balanced diet, packed with essential vitamins and minerals.
Choose proven healthy ingredients
As well as following the tried and tested rules of a healthy diet – plenty of fruit and veg, lean protein and not too much fat and sugar – you can improve your odds of staying young-looking by targeting specific foods which have a proven benefit. Take tomatoes, for instance: there’s increasing agreement among medical researchers that lycopene, the nutrient that gives tomatoes their red colour, has powerful antioxidant properties which could protect your skin from damage, help you to stay young-looking, and even help prevent some cancers. The best way to maximise the benefits is to eat processed, concentrated tomato paste, which means that in this case, pizza is healthier than salad!
Keep your diet varied
There are lots of other so-called “superfoods” which some nutritionists have made miraculous claims for – remember the blueberry craze and the pomegranate obsession? – but there’s not a lot of hard evidence for any of them. What does make sense though is to include as much variety as possible when you’re shopping for fresh fruit and veg and planning each meal. The more colours there are on your plate, the better, as this means you’ll be eating a broad range of nutrients.
Breakfast is a great time to up your fruit intake – a handful of berries, a chopped banana, some raisins or dried cranberries can all give your body a welcome morning boost and set you up for a healthy day. Make the most of this important meal by using porridge or other oat-based cereal as the base ingredient: oats contain a special kind of soluble fibre called beta-glucans which lowers cholesterol and keeps your heart healthy.
At the other end of the day, a delicious, quick supper can also boost your body’s anti-ageing prospects. How about adding a little tofu to a stir fry for a low-fat protein kick that also contains plant oestrogens that may help to ward off brittle bones later in life? Or reach for some salmon, mackerel, tuna or other fish rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 which protect your heart and stimulate your immune system. Throw together a salad to have with it, dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and a little garlic, and you’ve instantly added three more youth-enhancing ingredients to the meal.