We all want to stay youthful and beautiful for as long as we live. Though biological aging is a part of life, the rate of aging we have become familiar with is far from our truest potential. The secrets of staying young are beginning to unfold rapidly as the combination of modern science and traditional holistic practices discovers and reveals the mysteries of the human body. In fact, more information is discovered each day, leaving our human potential still in the unknown. However, what we do know is there is great potential in not only slowing, but reversing the signs of aging.
When setting out to achieve any goal we must define it. In this case, anti-aging can be defined as maintaining a youthful appearance, energy, and state of mind. We want to not only look young, but feel and think young too! Now that we have defined our goal, let’s take a look at our possible routes to achieving it.
One of the most popular approaches in anti-aging and health is diet of course. The truth is food can be powerful anti-aging medicine. However, with the abundance of information on diets and nutritional programs, it can be hard to know which approach is more beneficial than the other.
The key to successfully determining the optimal choice in an anti-aging nutritional program is to find one that provides foods that are both nutritionally balanced and delicious. Let’s face it, the most nutritionally optimal diet will have no use if it is not tasty enough to consume! Here are some vital aspects you want to look for when putting together an ideal anti-aging diet:
1. Favor Fresh
There are foods that can attribute to accelerated aging within the body and there are foods that enhance regeneration. With all the hype on raw foods there has been a misconception formed that cooked foods = dead foods. This, however, is far from the truth.
A dead food would fall into the category of canned, frozen, and packaged, or any extent of processed food. Fresh foods, on the other hand, are going to have minimal time elapsed between harvest and consumption. Dead foods are devitalized of their nutrients through very heavy processing, chemical altering, and the time it takes to do so. Fresh foods will provide the most abundant amount of enzymes, water, vitamins, and minerals that all aid in healing the body and regenerating it.
As for preparation, there are many methods that enhance and ensure optimal nutrient content. In short, some foods are better cooked than raw, such as cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower. While many foods are best raw, different methods work in different scenarios. The point is to have nutrient dense foods that digest best in the body.
As far as finding fresh foods is concerned, the best place to look is always in nature! Pick wild food when possible. Simple wild foods could be dandelion, aloe, and berries, depending where you live. For the majority of your foods, shopping at a local farm or farmers’ market will provide you with food freshest from harvest. When in a pinch, stores like Whole Foods and other health food stores do a great job of maintaining truly fresh food with emphasis on locality.2. Go Organic
The importance of organic food is slowly becoming mainstream, which is good news! Though we’re still learning, when discussing food the topic of organic food is too important to leave out. Choosing fresh organic foods is like a shortcut to optimal health. Organic food, before you’ve even seen it, has already met many standards that ensure it’s as nutrient dense and close to its natural state as possible: no pesticides, chemicals, GMOs, or other harmful substances.
When it comes to our food, we want it pure as possible so we can ensure copious amounts of anti-aging nutrients and cofactors while excluding any harmful substances that could attribute to aging or disease. Organic is the surest way to finding anti-aging foods when out shopping!
The idea of liquefying food has been around for some time now. Turning food into liquid via juicers, blenders, extractors, presses, and other means has multiple anti-aging benefits. First of all, liquid foods are incredibly hydrating. Hydration is crucial to staying young. The water naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables replenishes our cells and detoxifies the body. When consuming liquid foods we are almost secretly getting way more water into our diet! A clean, toxin-free body, as assisted by water, is one of the surest ways to keeping it young and vibrant.
Another key anti-aging quality of a liquid diet is ease of digestion. Digestion requires valuable energy; therefore, the simpler it is for your body to digest, the more energy you will have. And remember, health is simply energy! The more natural energy your body has, the younger and more beautifully vibrant you will be!
One of my personal favorite methods of liquefying my diet is through a morning juice of raw vegetables. A simple concoction of celery, cucumber, carrot, and lemon is incredibly hydrating, cleansing, and nourishing for the organs.
Another option would be to blend your food. Smoothies are fantastically delicious and provide more satiation. Adding easy-to-digest proteins like Sunwarrior’s Warrior Blend not only provides essential amino acids that create lasting energy but assists the body in rebuilding tissues so we can have beautiful hair, skin, nails, and lean muscle tone.
Throw some raw coconut water, a handful of fresh berries, an avocado, some greens powder, and a scoop of Sunwarrior protein into a high-speed blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec and you have yourself an easy-to-digest anti-aging powerhouse rich in antioxidants, healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.4. Probiotics
Probiotics are the “healthy bugs” in your gut. They are the very base of your immune system and therefore overall health! Having an intestinal tract teaming with healthy bugs will bolster your immune system by assisting you in proper digestion of your food, balancing vitamin and mineral deficiencies, fighting free-radicals, and, in general, keeping you young! There almost isn’t anything these little bugs can’t do!
The trick with probiotics is that you want to have the correct balance of bad bacteria to good bacteria at all times. An imbalance on either end can lead to issues. The surest way to keep your gut healthy is to consume probiotic or fermented foods that promote the growth of good bacteria naturally. The most affective and delicious of these foods are raw coconut kefir, raw sauerkraut, raw miso, kvass, and raw dairy kefir or yogurt. You can make any of these foods at home very simply and cheaply. These are all loaded with probiotics and assist in the growth of your own healthy gut flora to nourish the body within that creates beauty and energy on the outside.5. Tastiness
Of course no healthy diet can be achieved without it being tasteful! The quickest way to fail at anything would be forcing yourself to do it instead of finding a way to love to do it. I find creating a healthy diet that is filled with flavor to be the secret ingredient in all successful programs. When you long for your anti-aging foods with the same passion you did for cookies as a child you will have achieved your goal!
There are two parts to creating a flavorful anti-aging diet. The first step is the most obvious: find fresh, organic foods that promote youthfulness and you enjoy eating. Then find ways to prepare them to make them taste even more delicious. The use of herbs is incredibly beneficial because they add delightful tastes to regular foods. A pinch of real sea salt to a dish of steamed vegetables, sprinkled with garlic and rosemary, becomes a delicious anti-aging, power-packed meal!
Another great herb is stevia. This Chinese herb provides a very sweet taste and is a great replacement of sugar, which can be very aging on the body. A few drops of stevia and cinnamon into a Sunwarrior protein pudding made from avocado, cocoa powder, chia seed, and almond milk becomes a decadent treat that actually works to rejuvenate the body!
Over time your taste for food will begin to change. With a clean diet and a healthy body your taste buds will spark to life. You will begin to find the flavor profiles of simple foods come to life! Powerful anti-aging foods that typically do not taste as delightful at first, such as kale, you will start to long for in salads and other recipes!