11 Nutrients That Can Fight Inflammation & Aging, According To Experts
As we get older, our bodies begin to age, and we might experience inflammation and external effects, such as wrinkles, that demonstrate such decline. However, there are certain foods that can fight inflammation and aging, and while it's impossible to stop the aging process, it is possible to slow it down and promote greater looking skin and agility, as explained by Dr. Axe on his blog.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on boosting their bodies' ability to function and on feeling glowing, energized, and youthful in their daily endeavors. Inflammation can lead to soreness, fatigue, bloating, and other consequences and impairments, and it often occurs when we are under stress, explains running coach and personal trainer Susie Lemmer over email with Bustle. Lemmer explains the importance of lowering inflammation, as it can tear our bodies apart by messing with our digestion and energy levels. By eating foods that can give that inner radiance and get rid of water retention and stress, we'll be able to balance our digestive systems, slow the aging process, and feel more confident and less anxious in our skin. Here are 11 nutrients that can fight inflammation and aging and help us feel healthier and happier in our daily lives.
Over email with Bustle, Dr. Charles Galanis, a Board Certified Surgeon in Chicago and Robert Dorfman, Research Fellow at Northwestern Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, explain that antioxidants can fight off free radicals, which "damage tissues by causing oxidation of DNA. If there is oxidation of DNA by free radicals, that would introduce mutations to DNA, which could potentially cause cancer." You can find antioxidants in colorful fruits and veggies, like blueberries and pomegranates.
2. Vitamin A
"Galanis and Dorfman explain that vitamin A can help prevent of free radical damage, and thus delay the aging process. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, and therefore, needs to be consumed with fat in order to have optimal absorption," Galanis and Dorfman say. "High vitamin A foods include sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens, and winter squashes," Galanis and Dorfman add, as a recommendation for sources of intake.
3. Vitamin C
Galanis and Dorfman say that vitamin C can help eliminate free radical damage and promote healthier, glowing skin. It also boosts the immune system. "High vitamin C foods include bell peppers, dark leafy greens, kiwifruit, berries, and citrus fruits," Galanis and Dorfman recommend as being optimal and delicious sources. Try including a couple servings of fruits and veggies each day for maximum benefits.
4. Vitamin E
Vitamin E can nourish skin and prevent free radical damage, as it brings moisture, anti-inflammatory properties, and a more graceful aging process, explain Galanis and Dorfman. "Foods high in vitamin E include dark leafy greens (spinach), nuts (almonds, hazelnuts), sunflower seeds, avocados, fish (trout), and some fruits such as kiwi," Galanis and Dorfman add. Plus, most of these have healthy fats, which are great for reducing inflammation, Galanis and Dorfman further explain.
"Resveratrol is another antioxidant found in red wine and chocolate, which when consumed in moderation have been shown to have health benefits," Galanis and Dorfman say and recommend consuming such elements in moderation (an entire bar of chocolate or bottle of wine is overboard!) in order to promote anti-aging and anti-inflammation. You can also find resveratrol in red grapes and peanuts for a healthy snack.
According to Galanis and Dorfman green tea is high in polyphenols, which can promote clearer skin, less inflammation, and longevity. "Green tea has large amounts of polyphenols, such as flavonoids and catechins, which act as potent antioxidants," Galanis and Dorfman explain. Also, tea expert, CEO, and founder of Pique Tea, Simon Cheng, says over email with Bustle, "antioxidants in green tea, with catechins in particular, are some of the best known anti-inflammatory agents."
"Wild blueberries are loaded with anthocyanin, which is another flavonoid that functions as a powerful antioxidant," say Galanis and Dorfman. By adding blueberries to a breakfast cereal, oatmeal, or yogurt, or eating as a snack, you can keep inflammation at bay throughout the day. Other great sources of anthocyanin include red cabbage, eggplant skin, red grapes, purple asparagus, other berries, and purple olives, as claimed by Densie Webb, PhD, RD over interview with Today's Dietician.
"The enzyme glutathione peroxidase is particularly important for eliminating free radicals, which is the most damaging of the free radicals," say Galanis and Dorfman. "Glutathione is an antioxidant, and foods rich in glutathione include asparagus, spinach, garlic, avocado, squash, zucchini, potatoes, melons, grapefruit, strawberries, and peaches," Galanis and Dorfman add. Enjoy these foods with a little protein for a balanced meal.
"Non-ionizing radiation can also damage DNA, thereby contributing to inflammation and aging. The most common source of non-ionizing radiation is UVB sunlight," say Galanis and Dorfman, but recommend eating foods high that can convert to melanin to counter these effects. "Melanin, which is the pigment to the skin, can help protect against UV-B sunlight. Food does not contain melanin. Melanin is derived from the amino acid tyrosine. Some foods that are high in tyrosine include seaweed, eggs, cheese, and fish," Galanis and Dorfman explain.
10. Vitamin K
Over email with Bustle, Andre Kroecher, co-founder of Daiya Foods recommends adding vitamin K rich greens to the diet for anti-aging benefits. "Incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet is known to aid in lowering inflammation in the body. According to Harvard Medical School, dark, leafy green like spinach, kale, and collards are chock-full of health benefits that boost your immune system and can fight inflammation," Kroecher says.
11. Healthy Fats
"Aiming for healthy sources of fat, such as nuts, seeds, some vegetable oils, and fatty fish like salmon can also provide anti-inflammatory nutrients, such as omega 3 fatty acids," says Ashlea Braun, registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center over email with Bustle. "Healthy aging as a whole also includes other factors, such as maintenance of bone and muscle. Nutrients important for these include protein, as well as plenty of Vitamin D, Vitamin K, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium," Braun adds.
In order to slow the aging process and fight inflammation in the body, snacking on these tasty, simple, and versatile foods can allow you to reap major health benefits and feel that inner and outer glow each day. Have fun trying new recipes and experimenting with different tastes, flavors, and textures!
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