Anti-aging is all about improving your body’s response to stress. What does that mean? It means getting a handle on inflammation. Inflammation wears away at your cells and speeds up the aging process.
The way to stop it? Building a diet around anti-inflammatory foods (that’s one) that are rich in antioxidants (that’s two).
Anti-inflammatory foods—usually rich in antioxidants—can put the brakes on an overactive immune system to protect your cells and organs. These foods can reduce the risk of age-related conditions like high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and dementia. Instead, they promote greater resiliency and have anti-aging capabilities.
Here are a handful of the best foods to prevent inflammation and encourage anti-aging:
- Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cranberries are all loaded with antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. Including berries into your diet may lower the risk for cardiovascular disease and lower blood pressure, likely by relieving inflammation in blood vessels. Inflammation in the blood vessels can speed up the aging process, making them stiffer and making it more difficult for blood to pass through.
- Matcha: Matcha is a brighter, stronger, and earthier version of green tea that’s sold as a powder. It’s whisked into beverages to make it smooth and open up some of its unique antioxidant effects. Its anti-aging benefits are likely from epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a powerful antioxidant associated with battling inflammation, reduced risk for heart disease, and several other health benefits associated with lower levels of inflammation.
- Walnuts: Walnuts and other nuts are high in unsaturated fats, and particularly polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). PUFAs have anti-inflammatory properties that can lower cholesterol and reduce the stress and aging on your veins and arteries. Replacing saturated fats like those found in butter and whole-fat milk with walnuts or olive oil can have anti-aging effects for your body.
- Olive oil: Olive oil, particularly extra-virgin olive oil, is associated with several anti-inflammatory/anti-aging benefits. The benefits are from PUFAs, and a phenolic compound called oleocanthal, which may help ease joint pain, lower the risk of heart disease, and neurological conditions.
Antioxidants and an anti-inflammatory diet have the potential to drastically slow the aging process and keep you healthy and functional for a long time, particularly compared to the standard American diet. Try including more of these foods into your life, or adopt an eating style that resembles the Mediterranean diet.