“Aging” is one word most people don’t want to hear, because aging is not simply having more wrinkles and sagging skin, but also comes with an extra “bonus” that we don’t want: chronic disease. Unfortunately, no one can avoid aging.
Don’t give up yet. There is still hope. There are ways we can slow down the aging process.
So what can we do to slow down the aging process?
One way is by eating a well-balanced diet including adequate vegetables and fruits! Today I am going share how vegetables and fruits can help slow down aging!
Why do vegetables and fruits help with aging?
Vegetables and fruits have antioxidants and phytochemicals.
Many people probably have heard the term “antioxidants”. Antioxidants help slow down aging by helping our bodies repair the damage of free radicals. Free radicals attack our body and cause our cells to suffer damage and eventually reach a stage of inflammation.
Free radicals can occur everywhere in our daily lives, from smoking, exposure to pollutants (both environmental and household), radiation, sunlight, poor diet, illness, and more. Even our body produces free radicals itself because it is part of a regular mechanism. It occurs about 10,000 times per day, which means we get free radicals every 10 seconds. Our body can repair some of those free radical attacks.
But the problem occurs when we are aging and lose the ability to recover the damage. Plus, if there are too many free radicals, our body might reach a point that it can not recover from the damage. That is where inflammation occurs in the body, when it has too many free radicals causing to cells.
Vegetables and fruits contain a plethora of antioxidants such as vitamins C, E, and A (as a form of beta carotene).
Moreover, they contain another important substance called “phytochemicals”.
Phytochemicals are natural chemicals produced by plants. Although researchers are still learning and discover more about the benefits of phytochemicals, many studies have shown that consuming adequate amounts of vegetables and fruits increase benefits for human health, from reduced disease risks to reduced appearance of wrinkles.
It is important to consume antioxidants and phytochemicals naturally, and not through supplements, as supplements have been shown to not always decrease the risk of disease.
So where are these phytochemcials?
Think color! Phytochemicals exist in the rainbow of colors of vegetables and fruits. Here is an easy to make recipe:
Yummy Tomato and Corn soup
Yield: 3 servings
Level: very easy
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
Amount: 1.5 cups of cherry tomatoes or 3 large to medium sized tomatoes.
Tips: Best choice: vine ripe tomatoes, or cherry tomatoes to get more lycopene.
Fibers, potassium, and vitamins A and C containing several carotenoids: great source of lycopene, phytofluene, zeta carotene, gamma carotene, phytoene, beta carotene, neurosporene, and lutein.
Amount: 3 ears of fresh corn
Food source of insoluble fibers, some B vitamins, magnesium, potassium and two great antioxidants and phytochemcals called zeaxanthin and lutein (good for eye health)
3) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Amount: ½ to 1 tablespoon
Great source of vitamin E (an antioxidant), and monounsaturated fatty acids!
Amount: to taste
- Boil 3 cups of drinking water in a cooking pan, then add tomatoes and corn into the water.
- Once the water starts boiling, turn down the heat to medium high and let it boil for about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add salt to taste and turn off the heat.
- After the heat is off, add the extra virgin olive oil to the soup.
Written By: Yu Huei Chen,
Registered Dietitian, Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist
Next month, we will discuss more nutrition tips. Please stay tuned!
【Disclaimer】: The contents from the article/pages are for informational purposes only. They are not to be used as personal medical or legal advice. If you have a special diet, please follow your doctor’s guidelines. Also, please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet.