Last week I got a shocking surprise in the mail—an AARP card. At first I was annoyed. I’m not old enough for one of these, I thought. But in fact, I am. So before I allowed my mind to settle on the bummer mood that was looming, I decided to change my attitude. I didn’t want this week’s blog to involve complaining or mourning over my lost youth. I want to inspire all of us to bask in the sunshine (with sunscreen, of course) of our “Golden Years.”
I used to think the Golden Years were the grandparent years. You know, the “Bea Arthur and Betty White Golden Girls in caftans and sensible shoes” years. The years when you can finally do exactly what you want, and finally have the nerve to say exactly what you’re thinking. That, of course, was before I turned 50, and the AARP found me.
Well, wake up and smell the prune juice, kids. As our good friend Dave P. always says, “These are our golden years.”
So now that we’re all on the same page, let’s deal with this age-old question (can’t get away from that “old” thing): how the heck are we going to retain our youth?
There are many ideas of age. You’ve got your physical-appearance age, your attitudinal age, and your “can’t do a darn thing about it” chronological age.
Since our culture seems to value the physical-appearance age most, let’s focus there. Now if you think I’m going to suggest a shopping spree at Forever 21, or another appointment with Dr. Botox, you’re on the wrong blog. (I’m not judging, I’m just saying….). And since I really don’t know a whole lot about the best cosmetics and make-up that will keep our youthful glow, I’ll just stick to what I know. That would be food.
So here’s a list of super foods you might consider adding to your shopping cart the next time you’re in the market. Each one has special properties to help with healthy aging and keeping our skin all aglow as well. Remember, what we eat has a direct correlation to how we look.
Berries – blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cranberries.
What luck – this is berry season! Blueberries in particular have the most powerful disease-fighting antioxidants of all fruits and veggies. They play a significant role in lowering cardiovascular disease because they possess strong anti-inflammatory properties. All berries have antioxidants and will slow the process of cell aging, resulting in healthy skin. Berries are a perfect addition to your meals as well as beauty regimen. Toss them onto your salads, or in your cereal, or just eat them by the handful. Sweet, delicious, and good for you.
Citrus Fruits – oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes.
The vitamin C in citrus fruits and other fruits helps rejuvenate the skin and support overall health. Instead of your morning o.j., why not eat an orange? You’ll get more fiber as well as a burst of refreshing flavor. Or squeeze a lemon or lime wedge into one of the 6-8 glasses of water you should be drinking each day. Gotta keep hydrated to smooth out those tiny lines.
Fatty Fish – tuna, salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, and halibut.
All of these fish contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which are linked to the reduction of inflammation all over your body, including your face. Salmon in particular has wonderful properties for your skin.
If you’re a vegetarian, you can still get this wonderful healthy fat by eating ground flax seeds, flax oil and walnuts.
Sprinkle the ground flax seeds on yogurt with fresh fruit and walnuts, or add it to your salads. I love a squirt of flax oil in my morning smoothie.
Spinach benefits the body by helping our systems function properly, repairing cell damage, enhancing our immune system, detoxifying pollutants, and reducing chronic inflammation as well as delivering a ton of nutrients to the skin and other body parts. Glutathione and alpha lipoic acid are two of the antioxidants that many researchers feel are most important to the body. However, as we age, our body’s ability to produce these antioxidants is diminished. Spinach has a natural supply of both of these.
Orange-fleshed fruits and vegetables – carrots, pumpkin, winter squash, sweet potatoes, apricots, cantaloupe, mangoes, and orange bell pepper.
The beta-carotene and alpha carotene that make these fruits and veggies orange helps the body form collagen and regenerate the cells, along with a host of other wonderful benefits. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of beta-carotene may help to prevent the progression of atherosclerosis and heart disease. Though beta-carotene is fabulous to include in your diet, it’s the addition of alpha-carotene that will help slow the body’s signs of aging. The more you eat, the younger you may look. It’s also been shown to protect against various cancers and cataracts.
So, my gorgeous “golden guys and gals,” remember to eat your berries, citrus fruits, fatty fish and/or flax seeds, walnuts, spinach, and orange- fleshed fruits and veggies to help keep the signs of aging at bay. Also, drink lots of water and remember your sunscreen. We might not be able to stop Father Time, but we sure can show him that we’re in control and not ready yet to wear those sensible shoes.
Until next time,