Anti Ageing Foods

Reporter: Marguerite McKinnon


1. FISH - Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish offer genuine health benefits; they stop blood clots and help thin the blood, lower the amount of fats in the body and help fight obesity. 2 to 3 serves of fish a week may reduce the risks of diseases ranging from childhood asthma and prostate cancer. For looking younger: it helps keep the skin supple.

TIP: Fish Oil tablets and Flax Seed are just as good if you can't eat fresh fish.

2. AVOCADOS - many think avocados are "bad" because they contain fats...the fats avocado are GOOD FATS - monosaturated fats which contain oleic acid can help lower cholesterol, improve fat levels in the body and help control diabetes. Avocados are a huge source of fibre (10 grams per avocado) and contain 30% more potassium than a banana. Avocados are the perfect food for pregnant women - folate in one avocado provides almost 30% of the daily dosage. Avocados won't help you lose weight if you eat a lot of them - avocados contain 730 calories. Oils are also good in this group here: aim for olive oil, hazelnut oil and walnut oil.

TIP: Avocado is great for skin, and when you finish with the avocado, rub the inside of the shells on your heels to get rid of dry skin.

3. BERRIES - great source of phytochemicals - which help fight diseases and some say can help treat disorders. Cranberries and Blueberries can help prevent and treat painful bladder infections. Blueberries, raspberries and strawberries have anti cancer agents. Berries contain powerful antioxidants which can slow the ageing process and keep us healthier. Berries also contain Lutein for healthy vision. A cup of berries contain almost the equivalent of Vitamin C in orange juice, but have many other minerals too. Look younger - antioxidants in berries fight free radicals found in pollution.

4. CRUCIFEROUS VEGES - family of vegetables that include cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprouts. Excellent liver cleansers to keep blood flowing and skin glowing.

These foods contain substantial quantities of the phytonutrients called isothiocyanates, specifically two isothiocyanates called sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol. Research indicates that sulforaphane has the ability to increase the capacity of the liver to detoxify harmful, cancer-causing compounds. A study published in the August 2003 issue of the International Journal of Cancer suggests that eating lots of cruciferous vegetables may provide a significant survival advantage for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Cruciferous vegetables are also believed to help prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, two debilitating diseases that can lead to vision impairment and blindness. These vegetables also contain a vast array of the vitamins and minerals that are necessary for optimal health.

5. GARLIC - Super food. The benefits have been documented for more than 5,000 (India) 3,000 (China) years ago. When cloves are chewed, crushed or cut, they release a sulphur-bearing compound called allicin - the chemical that gives garlic its pungent taste and smell. And it's the allicin that scientists have discovered is the magic ingredient thought to be responsible for garlic's therapeutic qualities. Garlic helps lower cholesterol, blood pressure, can protect against heart attack and stroke, reduce blood clots, fight off infections due to its antibacterial qualities. It's antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic and antioxidant.

6. GINGER - Super food. Again, benefits stretch back 5,000 years in India and China. Ginger can block the effects of prostaglandin - a substance that cause inflammation of the blood vessels in the brain and can lead to migraines. Ginger was found to be effective for relieving the severity of nausea even in cases of pregnancy. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can lessen the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. Respiratory infections - it is well known for its warming action on the upper respiratory tract, so it has been used to treat colds and flu. It has been found to be effective in cramps caused by stomach gas. Ginger also stimulates digestion. It has a wholesome effect on the circulatory system as it makes the platelets less sticky and is of great benefit in case of circulatory disorders. As a mood enhancer, ginger's cineole content may help contribute to stress relief. It is a great mouth freshener and ginger tea has vastly refreshing properties. What many people do not know is that ginger can also be used for anti-aging purposes. The root and the oil of ginger are both highly suitable additions to any anti-aging regimen and it is simple to learn how to use them for this purpose.

TIPS: chop up fresh ginger and use in stir fries several times a week (make sure ginger is peeled). add to the juicer with carrot and apple. Put ginger drops into your favourite moisturiser to help fight signs of anti ageing. Have ginger tea everyday - make your own: thin slices of ginger pour boiling water over it, you can even add honey. Take a ginger supplement daily.

7. UNSALTED NUTS/SEEDS - high in calories and fat but if you eat small amounts they are incredibly good for you. Regular nut eaters have lower risks of heart disease. Nuts are the best plant source of protein. They're rich in fibre, phytonutrients and antioxidants such as Vitamin E and selenium. The good fats in nuts and seeds help LOWER CHOLESTEROL. Trivia: Peanuts are not true nuts rather legumes! Nuts and seeds are fantastic for your skin.

8. GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES - Coenzyme Q10 was discovered by scientists in 1957. It's a powerful antioxidant found in every cell off the body. It is used to help prevent anti ageing in skin and is an ingredient in many moisturisers. Leafy green vegetables contain this along with folate, another component which is great for skin. Eat these every day.

9. WHOLEGRAIN PASTA/BROWN RICE - Complex carbohydrates provide a consistent supply of energy throughout the day and should make up the bulk of your diet. Wholemeal pasta is an excellent complex carbohydrate. It is high in fibre and contains twice the amount of iron as normal pasta. Brown rice is another recommended complex carbohydrate, which is high in fibre and B vitamins. TIP: Brown rice can be chewy and a put off to some - try organic brown rice - it's fluffy like white rice but much better for you.

10. WATER - Drink at least 8 glasses of water every day in order to remain healthy. Water helps us to get rid of the toxins and unwanted waste materials from your body. Don't rely on thirst; this sensation diminishes with age. Dehydration is the major factor of aging skin. Therefore, those suffering from aging skin must first increase their water intake to flush out toxins and naturally keep the skin cells hydrated and plump with water. Needless to say, hydrated skin not only maintains skin elasticity but also avoids pimples and other skin problems.

Janella Purcell - Naturopath and Nutritionist

Author of "Elixir - How to Use Food As Medicine"

Janella is based in Sydney and as well as running her clinic, she conducts cooking classes and is working on her second book due out mid year, has consultations for clients runs cooking classes.