Is there anything we can really do about aging?

No one wants to age any faster than necessary.  Is there anything we can really do about aging?

Great question!

Does Aging Necessarily Equate with Illness?

Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, tells us that we can defy aging, and one important part of his equation has to do with our Diet.

So, just which foods are Anti-Aging for us?   And, why call them Anti-Aging Foods?

As you probably already know certain foods have special properties, unique components that make them literally anti-aging foods.

That is because Anti – Aging foods fight free radicals.  Free radicals need to be destroyed as they create aging, sickness and disease even faster.

The buildup of free radicals contributes to the aging process and to the development of a number of age-related diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and inflammatory conditions, including osteoarthritis.

What's even worse is that aging increases free radical production. That means your diet should be healthier than ever-- as you and I age.

Which foods have an anti-aging affect on us?

Web MD informs us that foods such as fruit, vegetables, fish, nuts, and whole grains ( if you can digest grains)  protects against many chronic conditions that could limit your life, including diabetes and heart disease. These foods help keep your blood vessels in optimal condition. That’s important for your heart -- and for every organ of your body. Certain foods can even protect vision and hearing. Eating healthy foods may even help preserve memory and protect against Alzheimer's.

Wow, since these conditions are running rampant today, that should encourage everyone to eat healthier?  It does me.

Three of the best anti-oxidant foods are blueberries, red kidney beans, and cranberries.

But, be sure to eat a rainbow of color each and every day.  The antioxidants in colorful vegetables and fruits, such as leafy greens, deep red tomatoes, as stated- blueberries, and carrots, help stop unstable molecules (free radicals) from damaging healthy cells. You cannot feel it when some cells are damaged or dying, but you can see it in the signs of aging, such as (the dreaded) wrinkles. So at each meal, fill about half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Your goal is nine to twelve servings a day. 

That goal is why smoothies are so helpful in getting plenty of fresh raw produce into the diet. To prove that blueberries are outstanding in this category,  in a landmark study published in 1999, researchers at Tufts University’s Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging fed rats blueberry extract for a period of time that in “rat lives” is equivalent to 10 human years. These rats’ outperformed rats fed regular chow on tests of balance and coordination when they reached old age. All berries are low on the glycemic index, and rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals. 

Chocolate:  I was absolutely thrilled to read that chocolate is considered an anti-aging super food, as I just love it.  It kind of scares me to think of something that I enjoy so much is actually that good for me, but, who am I to fight it?  I think I’ll go for it too.  I read that the Kuna people of the San Blas islands, off the coast of Panama, have a rate of heart disease that is nine times less than that of mainland Panamanians. The reason they tell us? The Kuna drink lots of a cocoa beverage, which is unusually rich in phytochemicals that help preserve the healthy function of the cardiovascular system.

Raw nuts are also known to be quite helpful.  They are rich sources of unsaturated fats, so they offer benefits similar to those associated with olive oil. They’re also concentrated sources of vitamins, minerals and other phytochemicals, including antioxidants.

I have always considered greens to be a super anti-aging food.  For more information to show the value of greens, please go here:

I am not suggesting that foods can turn back the hands of time-literally, (although I wish they could) but, it can at least slow things down for us, helping us achieve beautiful skin and sparkling eyes.  I feel that’s the best we can get, so let’s go for it.

So, do everything you can-by defying aging with your diet.

Both you and those you love will be happy you did.

Carmel Aaron lives in Heber Springs has a degree in biology and has been certified by Proevity in Nutrition and Glycemic Indexing. She can be reached at