Monday, September 21, 2009
Research has shown that some chemicals in foods such as sulforaphane, a phytochemical in broccoli, works with your genetics to raise your natural defenses, knocking out toxins and free radicals before they can damage cells that leads to cancer, cardiovascular disease, and premature aging.
Hopefully in the future doctors will be able to tell someone what diseases they might be genetically predisposed to, so their diets can be adjusted accordingly. You'll know which foods to add, which foods to avoid, and be able to take a more active role in preventing or stopping a genetic disease.
Meanwhile, many foods have been determined to slow down the aging process.
Lycopene, found in tomatoes, is said to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease, and some cancers as well as macular degeneration. It’s also been said that it increases self sufficiency in elderly adults. Fresh tomatoes have a good amount of lycopene. The most usable form is found in cooked tomato products, like spaghetti sauce, soup and fresh salsas. Other great sources of this phytochemical are pink grapefruit, guava, red bell peppers, and watermelon.
Beta carotene is another great phytonutrient. If you eat at least two cups of orange fruits like sweet potatoes, squash and carrots you will boost your intake of beta carotene. This converts to vitamin A, an essential component for healthy skin and eyes. This nutrient may also reduce the risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, as well as osteoporosis. Lutein and lycopene, found in orange produce as well, may also reduce the risk of macular degeneration and protect skin from sun damage and reduce wrinkling. Other beta carotene sources are mango's and cantaloupes.
The one essential thing you need to change in your diet is eat dark leafy greens. This type of greens have been shown to greatly reduce your risk for heart disease and could save your eyesight. The best dietary guidelines advise three cups of greens a week. Frozen and bagged are as good as fresh.
To help the mental aging process, heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to keep your brain sharp. Some studies found that a higher intake of fatty fish greatly slowed or reduced mental decline. When fresh fish isn't available, canned tuna, salmon, and sardines are just as effective.