Can ‘Anti-Ageing’ Foods Make You Feel Younger?

Article by Bethany Cox
anti-ageing foods feel younger

A wonderful article by our nutritional ambassador, Bethany Cox. Check out her page for more posts.

 

Can ‘Anti-Ageing’ Foods Make You Feel Younger?

 

You’ve read the headlines: “Eat this anti-ageing food to feel younger!” “Add this superfood to your daily diet for eternal youth!” Sounds great, but what’s the evidence to back this up? In this blog post, I’ll identify some of the top ‘anti-ageing foods’ and assess the real science behind the headlines to see if we really can eat ourselves young.

 

Ageing is a natural but complex process. It’s believed to be the result of accumulated damage to our cells. Part of the ageing process is down to our genetics, but there are environmental factors which can increase and decrease this process. And this is where food comes in.

 

Blueberries and kale

‘Superfoods’ like blueberries and kale are hailed as ‘anti-ageing’ because they contain high levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants are believed to protect healthy cells from the free radical damage linked to ageing. Free radicals come from environmental elements like radiation, pesticides, chemicals and alcohol and are also created in the body. Problems occur when the free radical load becomes higher than the antioxidant level. Several studies have shown that adding antioxidant foods into your diet can have huge benefits for your health and help you feel younger. But, while these foods are great sources of nutrients and antioxidants for health, unless you’re buying organic produce, you may be adding free radicals from pesticides to your load as well!

 

Red wine and dark chocolate

Probably two of the most popular ‘anti-ageing’ foods, red wine and dark chocolate are labelled as ‘anti-ageing’ because they contain a plant compound called resveratrol. Studies have shown that resveratrol can extend cell life. However very few studies are human trials, and the level of resveratrol found in red wine or dark chocolate doesn’t compare to that used in the research – the amount you would need to consume would most likely be counterproductive due to the levels of alcohol and sugar. Having said that, choosing a glass of red wine over white or a square of dark chocolate over milk is still more beneficial because of the overall nutrient levels found in each.

 

Broccoli and avocado

Research has shown that foods like broccoli and avocado, which contain Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN) can help slow the ageing process. In simple terms, levels of this compound, which helps enhance energy metabolism and prevent age-associated cell deterioration, diminish with age. Studies supplementing NMN have shown a positive anti-ageing effect – on mice. It’s believed these results could translate to humans, but the research hasn’t yet been done. Again, it’s important to note that the levels used in trials are far higher than those found in a regular portion of broccoli or avocado. That said, there are so many benefits of eating these foods that adding them to your diet will always generally be beneficial.

 

Sadly, there isn’t a single magic ‘anti-ageing superfood’ you can eat to feel young. It comes down to a combination of what you eat and the lifestyle you live which will leave you feeling your most youthful!

 

References

 

1.  Besdine RW (2016) Introduction to Geriatrics, MSD Manuals, Available at: http://www.msdmanuals.com/en-gb/professional/geriatrics/approach-to-the-geriatric-patient/introduction-to-geriatrics

2.  Murray and Pizzorno (2010). The Encyclopaedia of Natural Medicine Third Edition. New York: Atria Paperback.

3. Wolfe KL et al (2008)Cellular Antioxidant Activity of Common Fruits’ Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 56:18 pp.8418-8426 Available at:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18759450

4. De Bont R and van Larebeke N (2004) ‘Endogenous DNA damage in humans: a review of quantitative data’ Mutagenesis 19:3 pp.169-85 Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15123782

5. Smoliga JM et al (2011) ‘Resveratrol and health – A comprehensive review of human clinical trials’ Molecular Nutrition and Food Research Journal 55 pp:1129–1141. Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mnfr.201100143/full 

6. Mills KF et al (2016)Long-Term Administration of Nicotinamide Mononucleotide Mitigates Age-Associated Physiological Decline in Mice’ Cell Metabolism 24:6 pp.795-806. Available at: http://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/abstract/S1550-4131(16)30495-8?_returnURL=http%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS1550413116304958%3Fshowall%3Dtrue&cc=y=

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