Could These Foods Reduce Signs of Aging?

There are many healthy foods that enhance immune function, reducing your risk of chronic disease, but what about foods that target the aging process?

Well, when it comes to anti-aging properties and nutrition, researchers may have uncovered just that —  a natural compound that offers real anti-aging effects.

Study Finds — Natural Anti-Aging Compound

As we age, our bodies lose their capacity to make NAD – Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide is a coenzyme found in all living cells. A key component for the production of energy. This results in changes, including loss of insulin sensitivity and weight gain. On a more positive note, based on a study out of Washington University, it’s been found that NMN -Nicotinamide Mononucleotide which is a precursor to NAD+ which is an activator of SIRT1.

SIRT1 is a gene found in humans and other mammals that helps to promote survival by protecting cells during times when food (and therefore energy) is scarce.  NMN, a natural compound found in broccoli, may be an anti-aging remedy.

As stated in the study, published in Cell Metabolism, NMN also occurs naturally in cucumber, edamame, avocado and cabbage. Studied in mice, those who were given NMN, experienced a slower  ‘physiologic’ decline. Meaning, when compared to young mice, they exhibited similar metabolism and energy levels.

Although studied in mice, human cells rely on this same energy production process, so researchers are hopeful that these effects will translate to people, helping us age more gracefully. Within this study, it was also reported that NMN supplementation yielded long-term benefits, including improved skeletal muscle function, liver function, bone density, body weight, and overall immunity.

Amazingly, mice who were given NMN also gained less weight as they aged, even though they ate more food. This is believed to be based on NMN’s ability to boost mitochondria function — the powerhouse within our cells. Some of the other positive effects included improved insulin sensitivity, better retina function, and increased tear production — something that is typically lost with aging.

When given to younger mice, there was no effect, as these mice were still making plenty of their own NMN, which is converted into NAD. For the older mice, NMN was administered in their drinking water, appearing in the bloodstream in less than three minutes. Like the younger mice, the NMN in their blood rapidly turned into NAD in multiple tissues.

What Else Can I Do to Reduce Signs of Aging?

When you live a balanced lifestyle, good nutrition, and regular exercise become second nature — they’re simply a part of your everyday life. The combined effect of your overall lifestyle, is what will dictate your health. Meaning, although there have been positive effects found regarding NMN, you can’t just eat broccoli and hope that it will counteract the effects of smoking or excessive drinking.

We all know it doesn’t work like that, so how do you truly reduce signs of aging? Both internally and externally.

Choose the right foods

This is pretty straight forward, as nutrition is known to combat a wide range of health conditions. Not only should you eat a colourful diet, but also one that is full of antioxidants. Green tea, for instance, offers your body polyphenols, protecting your cells from free radical damage. Also eat plenty of wild-caught fish, berries, spices, fresh herbs and dark leafy greens.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you choose the wrong foods, you will experience a much more negative effect. Consuming plenty of refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, trans fats, and alcohol will actually promote the aging process, as well as inflammation — potentially leading to certain types of cancer and heart disease.

Exercise on a regular basis

Surprise, surprise, exercise made the list. When it comes to getting healthy and aging well, there are no magic tools or secrets, it really is as simple as eating right while maintaining an active body and mind. Exercise not only promotes a healthy weight, reducing your risk of diabetes and other serious conditions, it also supports your heart, joints, and muscles.

We often exercise to benefit our weight externally, however, you may be pleased to know that physical activity may also slow brain aging by as much as ten years. A recent study, published in Neurology, found that people who exercise less, show greater declines in their cognitive scores in comparison to those who exercise.

Invest in your mattress

Sleep is critical for health and is our best recovery tool. It’s well known that poor sleep quality increases as we age and that sleep deprivation is linked to a range of diseases. With this in mind, it is highly recommended that you get 6 to 8 hours of deep uninterrupted sleep each night. The goal is to  wake up feeling rested and rejuvenated.

It’s important to take care of your health before you reach your later years, supporting a long and fulfilling life. Although the study above is exciting, it’s nothing new in terms of a balanced diet — good food will promote positive health and in turn, positive aging. Take your lifestyle seriously and you will most certainly reap the rewards.

photo credit: DarlingJack Cosmic Cucumber via photopin (license)

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