Super simple life:
The best way to promote longevity and lead a long, happy, and healthy life is simple – It starts with a good balance of good-for-you foods and a moderate daily exercise to reach a healthy lifestyle. Raw, unrefined and minimally processed foods are the best kinds of foods to eat as they jam in plenty of heart healthy and longevity increasing goodies. Make a start by cutting out foods that contain unhealthy substances such as bad cholesterol, added bad sugars, Trans fats and saturated fats. It’s really as easy as swapping out that unhealthy, bleached and highly processed flour for a more nutrient dense flour such as oat or coconut flour that’s super high in nutrients and fiber in your yummy baked goods instead… your kids won’t know the difference! Superfoods, are becoming more and more popular, and for great reason too! Superfoods are nutritionally dense foods that are high in fiber, are minimally processed, unrefined and have shown to have many health benefits. Let’s have a look at a number of superfoods that can be easily found today and after plenty of research, have been shown to be beneficial to our bodies in many ways, including promoting longevity on both the inside and out:
Berries are famous for their large antioxidant content which is vital in assisting our bodies in fighting off harmful free radicals, and also to protect our cells from any damage, whether it be from the environment around us, or the type of lifestyle we may lead in today’s busy world. Goji berries contain a whopping 500x more of the free radical fighting antioxidant Vitamin C alone, compared to that of an orange along with an abundance of other important antioxidants and healthy nutrients needed for a long healthy life. They have been called the longevity fruit and for good reason too! They are very rich in carotenoids such as beta-carotene and zeaxanthin which helps to protect our eyes retinas by absorbing blue light and acts as an important antioxidant that prevents cell damage in the eyes which could in turn lead to development of age related macular degeneration which is the leading cause of vision impairment in people over the age of 65[i]. Free radicals cause gradual cell damage that responsible for visible aging and can also boost development of some genetic and age related diseases such as cancer or dementia. Goji berries also contain a large amount of polysaccharides which causes the body to produce more human growth hormone (HGH) from the pituitary gland which can help slow down the aging process. Goji Berries are very beneficial in cardiovascular health and our circulatory system, due to their super cholesterol lowering properties, which helps to keep your heart in tip-top shape and your blood balanced – two very important aspects of a healthy human body.
Radically raw plant foods:
Raw fruits, vegetables and seeds such as hemp and chia are all part of a balanced diet with their large, naturally occurring amount of nutrients and minerals. They contain fabulous anti-cancer phytochemicals (naturally occurring plant chemicals), which provide stress damage resistance to the cells in our body and therefore help to prevent development of aging, and certain stress or age related diseases[ii]. Essential fatty acids and high antioxidant levels found in seeds such as hemp and chia, help to boost cardiovascular health by lowering bad (LDL) cholesterol levels, maintaining the health of your skin, hair and nails and therefore protecting them from signs of aging, helping to boost visual acuity, decrease the risk of developing Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, along with protecting the brain from aging effects, helping to maintain alertness and mental health. Raw plant foods also contain anti-inflammatory properties, which have been associated in helping to reduce inflammation in related health issues such as arthritis, which can provide some comfort and relief to associated pain to those certain affected areas.
A unique polyphenol called Avenathramides can be found in oats and has the ability to keep the arteries clear and free of any plaque buildup. This same compound lowers the pro-inflammatory cytokines that can cause inflammation in the body that is associated with certain health issues such as Parkinson ’s disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer. Beta-glucan is another substance found in oats, which help to boost our immune system, which is very beneficial in the elderly to keep their resistance strong to certain diseases and illness.[iii] Quinoa is another ancient grain jam-packed with longevity loving goodness. It contains high levels of magnesium, which help to relax your muscles and blood vessels that affects blood pressure and is crucial for cardiovascular health. Manganese and Copper act as antioxidants in your body to get rid of disease causing substances which may be effective in treating conditions atherosclerosis, breast cancer, diabetes and insulin resistance helping to prolong a long, healthy life.
RAWsome Cacao (raw chocolate):
Unlike commercially processed and refined chocolate bars, antioxidants are preserved in raw cacao and score a huge 62,000 on the ORAC scale. By keeping cacao in its raw state, it results in a much higher level antioxidants that are not lost during intense processing methods that can dissolve plaque built up on artery walls, keeping them clear and are therefore less likely to negatively affect your hearts health. Raw cacao, being one of the richest natural sources of antioxidants has twice as much as red wine and three times the amount of green tea! These antioxidants, along with anandamides (neurotransmitters) help to increase cardiovascular health by improving blood vessel dilation, blood pressure and also lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol levels which are all essential in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, one of the leading causes of death in North America. A feel good stress defense shield called serotonin helps us to have a good night’s sleep and also protects us from stress related diseases as we age. In addition to all of these essential disease fighting substances, there are phytochemicals found in cacao that reveal it may be the most chemically complex food on earth when consumed in raw form and in every human diet to promote well-being and longevity [iv].
Copyright, Ann Barnes 2016.