As you approach your 50s, it’s important to realize that age isn’t your enemy, illness is your enemy – and the crucial force behind that illness is more often than not a lifestyle filled with toxins and chemicals and a diet deficient in vitamins and minerals.
Our bodies are comprised of 60 trillion cells, forming every single part of our bodies, from our heart and bones to our skin and nails. But, surprisingly, our cells don’t age. As our cells become inefficient and die, they are replaced by brand new cells – talk about a lifetime warranty!
Every seven years, our body has completely replaced every cell, which begs the question: Why don’t we look seven years younger? The answer is simple, our Standard American Diet (SAD) is deficient in the nutrients we need for healthy cell growth. Our bodies are pummeled by the processed foods we eat that are laced with chemicals, toxins, pollutants, pesticides, artificial colors, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners … you get the picture. Your diet soda may say “sugar-free,” but it certainly isn’t chemical, acid or toxin-free.
Your best defense against being washed over in waves of illness is to select foods and beverages that deliver the maximum amount of nutrients and nourish all of your 60 trillion cells. Here are my top three picks for fighting the illnesses that often come with aging:
1. Essential Fatty Acids (EFA)
Our brains are made up of 60% fat, so if you aren’t getting enough EFAs, your brain, including memory and mental clarity, is the first to suffer. EFAs protect our bodies from degenerative conditions, help us maintain energy and protect our tissues and organs. EFAs are often referred to as omega fatty acids, consisting of omega-3, -6 and -9, as well as the rare omega-7, found in superfoods like sea buckthorn.
Omega fatty acids are important for everything from smooth skin to fighting depression and heart health, including reducing cholesterol. Unfortunately, these aren’t commonly found in foods that are prevalent in the American diet. Foods rich in EFAs include select fish, sea greens, flaxseed, dark greens and various nuts.
Fortunately, you can find foods that are fortified with omega fatty acids in your supermarket. For example, I simply switched out my morning orange juice for an omega orange juice found among other refrigerated juices at most supercenters. This juice contains omega fatty acids derived from algae, the richest and safest source of EFAs on the planet. EFA supplements are also available in capsule form or great-tasting gummy vitamins that I often eat as a snack.
You’ve likely heard about antioxidants, and for good reason too – there’s strong evidence that supports why you should pay attention. Research has shown that antioxidants fight premature aging caused by free radicals, which are toxins that cause degenerative conditions and inhibit our immune systems. Free radicals often pave the way for serious ailments like heart attacks, cancer, chronic fatigue and conditions that take advantage of a weakened immune system.
While you can eat foods with high antioxidant content, like grapes, blueberries and pomegranates, my recommendation for getting antioxidants is through superfood supplements, which are high in free-radical fighting compounds and nutrients. For example, I take a couple ounces of pure, liquid resveratrol daily, a known natural polyphenol that supports heart health and anti-aging. I also take pure liquid acai daily for its antioxidant, anti-aging and energy-boosting effects. You can find 100% pure liquid resveratrol and acai at health food stores or in some refrigerated juices.
3. Essential Greens
Thousands of good-for-you compounds are in dark, leafy green vegetables. I can’t stress this enough. Dark leafy green vegetables contain EFAs and antioxidants and are loaded with enzymes that help us digest and breakdown waste and flush our entire body of toxins – and by “entire body” I am talking about every single cell.
While I understand that getting 3-5 servings of dark leafy green veggies can be difficult and sometimes outright impossible, in this day and age, there is absolutely no excuse. I start every morning with one scoop of an essential greens powder I picked up at a health food store. This powder has over 75 plant-based nutrients in one serving. It leverages sea vegetables like kelp, spirulina and blue-green algae along with the best of land vegetables like wheat grass, spinach and beet juice powder to cleanse and alkalinize the body. Really, it doesn’t get much easier to detoxify the body and promote heart health, colon health and so much more!
Remember, every seven years our body is like new, but in order to generate the healthiest, most vibrant cells, we have to nourish the body as a whole. The truth is, how we nourish and care for our bodies today will determine how we weather the storms of tomorrow.