We’re fortunate to live in an age of scientific advancements. Thanks to the development of anti-ageing medicine, we have significantly greater knowledge about how our bodies respond to external factors that contribute to the ageing process.
Anti-ageing medicine has been well-documented in recent years, in the form of peer-reviewed medical journals like the American Journal of Cardiology, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet, and others.
But how exactly does one define anti-ageing medicine, and how does it work?
Firstly, it is important to know that this form of medicine is based on scientific evidence, not anecdotal evidence. It requires an organised process for acquiring data in order to reach scientific and non-biased results that determine the most effective course of treatment.
And because the approach is holistic – using a multi-modal, multi-therapeutic approach – one of the key elements is nutrition.
Eating the right things impacts how your skin copes with the passing of time. Cells in your body also need essential nutrients to regenerate and repair. As you age, your body requires greater amounts of vitamins and minerals, ideally synthesized from a nutrient-rich diet.
While there are many superfoods that will help deliver those nutrients, there are some that stand out above the rest:
In addition to being packed with vitamin C which acts as a shield against sun damage and wrinkling, pomegranates help soften skin.
Studies on the properties of pomegranate juice in pomegranate seeds have revealed two magical components: ellagic acid, a polyphenol compound that fights damage from free radicals; and punicalagin, a “supernutrient” that promotes the body’s capacity to preserve collagen, the tissue that makes skin look smooth and plump.
Nutritionists suggest consuming pomegranate seeds once a week.
Kale and spinach
These hearty greens are full of special phytonutrients which are antioxidant compounds that help guard against damage caused by the sun. Spinach is rich with beta-carotene and lutein, two nutrients that have been proven to improve skin elasticity, according to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry.
It is a good idea to consume either kale or spinach, or a combination of both for variety, at least three times a week.
Olive oil contains “good fats”, the heart-healthy omega-3s which improve circulation, leaving skin rosy and supple, with that healthy glow.
A Greek study done on inhabitants of Crete Island four decades ago found that the monounsaturated fats in olive oil were largely responsible for the low rates of heart disease and cancer.
Olive oil also contains polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that may help prevent age-related diseases. Just one tablespoon a day in your food is all you need.
Adding a handful of blueberries to your morning cereal or oatmeal daily will help to prevent cell-structure damage that can lead to a loss of firmness, lines and wrinkles.
Researchers in a study done at Tufts University in the United States found that small animals that were fed blueberry extracts outperformed those that were fed regular feed on tests of balance and coordination when they reached old age.
Compounds in blueberries, as well as other berries, reduce inflammation and oxidative damage that impact memory ageing and motor function.
Many studies have been conducted to determine why the native Inuits of Alaska are remarkably free of heart disease.
Scientists now believe that it is because of their large consumption of fish, which is an abundant source of omega-3 fats that discourage cholesterol build-up in arteries and protect against abnormal heart rhythms.
Having fish in your diet can also strengthen skin cell membranes and retain moisture. It may also reduce chronic skin inflammations such as eczema and psoriasis.
Two servings of fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, lake trout or tuna, every week is recommended.
If you currently avoid consuming nuts because they’re high in fat, you should reconsider, because nuts contain some of the healthiest fats that should be incorporated into one’s diet.
Nuts are rich sources of unsaturated fats, and offer benefits that are similar to those contained in olive oil. They are also concentrated sources of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants.
Snacking on nuts cuts risks of high blood pressure and high cholesterol by about 20%, according to doctors who study the benefits of nuts.
You would only need to eat about four almonds a day, but remember to buy the unsalted kind to reap the full benefits.
A healthy diet is one that contains wholegrains, as they keep blood vessels in peak condition, delivering essential nutrients to the body’s cells. In addition, replacing processed carbs with wholegrains that are fibre-rich, like oats, quinoa, barley, wheat and brown rice, lowers your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Try to add three servings of wholegrains daily.
One of the world’s favourite desserts made the list! But it should be noted that it is cocoa that provides most of the benefits.
The Kuna people of the San Blas islands off the coast of Panama, have been found to have low heart disease rates – in fact, nine times less than that of Panama citizens on the mainland.
Cocoa is unusually rich in flavanols (more predominant in dark chocolate than milky version) that encourage the healthy function of blood vessels, lower inflammation, lower the risk of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, prevent platelets from clotting and kidney disease, and boost brain power.
These superfoods will help your body fight off the damage caused by ageing.
Just work them into your daily and weekly meal plans, and you’ll be getting extra vitamins, antioxidants and other substances that will help your body fight age-related illnesses and be anti-ageing resources for you. Start today!
Datuk Dr Nor Ashikin Mokhtar is a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist. For further information, visit www.primanora.com. The information provided is for educational and communication purposes only and it should not be construed as personal medical advice. Information published in this article is not intended to replace, supplant or augment a consultation with a health professional regarding the reader’s own medical care. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.