“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” These famous words from Greek physician, Hippocrates still resonate today, particularly as we face a lifestyle and environment that stress out our bodies and speed the aging process. Luckily for us, nature has also given us herbs, spices and foods that not only taste great, but slow down the aging process both internally and externally.
Let’s take a look at the 32 essentials herbs, spices and foods that will keep you looking and feeling young for years to come…
This versatile herb contains flavonoids that protect the body from free radical damage, as well as vitamins (A, C and K) that boost the immune system, maintain bone health and maintain a healthy digestive tract.
More studies have been showing just how beneficial avocado is when it comes to keeping you looking young and feeling strong. Avocados are a rich source of anti-oxidants that help to fight oxidative damage in our cells and tissues. Oxidative damage not only leads to diseases like cancer, but it also wreaks havoc on the skin and leads to premature wrinkling and thinning of the skin.
A favorite of Indian cuisine, cardamom can relieve symptoms of indigestion, lower cholesterol, treat urinary infections and detox the body.
In the berry family, blueberries are one of the best sources of bioflavonoids, compounds that have been shown to improve memory and cognitive function. Bioflavonoids also fight free radical damage which is essential for looking young and staying fit. And it doesn’t take a lot to get the benefits of this fruit. Just a handful or two every day is a good starting point.
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Cayenne pepper kills fungus, relieves joint pain, increases metabolic activity, strengthens the immune system and helps reduce cravings.
Grapes are a great food for protecting the skin from harmful UV rays. Resveratrol, one of the key active ingredients in red grapes has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that keep your cells and tissues in good health. To get the benefits of this fruit, try having a small bowl in the morning along with your breakfast. Or snack on a handful throughout the day for a tasty alternative to sugar-laden snacks
Cinnamon fights free radicals, increases circulation, regulates blood sugar levels and prevents sudden spikes in insulin levels, thereby preventing diabetes.
The imposing flavor of this spice comes with the ability to eliminate acne, improve blood circulation, boost energy, improve digestion and fight inflammation.
Yogurt contains gut-friendly probiotics that are necessary for proper absorption and digestion of nutrients. This is important because improper nutrient absorption leads to deficiencies that can affect how organs function and how the skin looks. By maintaining a healthy gut, you’re guaranteed to properly absorb nutrients like vitamin C which is needed in the production of collagen (needed for maintaining healthy tissues and firm-looking skin).
Known in the ancient Sanskrit language as “jira” (that which helps digestion) cumin is also a good source of vitamin E which keeps the capillaries of the skin healthy and vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system.
This fiber-rich grain offers a lot of health benefits and has been shown to increase overall fitness, promote a flat tummy and keep skin healthy.
With its licorice-like flavor, fennel seeds contain quercetin which protects the skin from UVB damage and flavonoids, which fight free radicals.
Due to its high water content – approximately 92% – watermelon is a great way to keep the skin moist and hydrated. It’s also a great source of lycopene and vitamins A, B6 and C.
This root contains a set of chemicals called gingerols that help you avoid heart disease, improve nutrient absorption, boost your immune system, prevent cancer and fight off fungi and bacteria.
Similar in properties to watermelon, peaches also contain a lot of skin-hydrating water to keep you looking young. Peaches are also rich in beta-carotene, which is excellent for eye health, lowering cholesterol and detoxifying the body.
This fresh-tasting herb eases indigestion and bloating, improves irritable bowel syndrome and balances hormones.
There’s a reason why they say “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Apples contain antioxidants and phytonutrients that prevent diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. They also contain a good amount of water that keeps the skin moist and youthful.
Nutmeg is known for promoting restful sleep, improving skin health, relieving pain and even strengthening cognitive function.
Among the fatty fish, salmon is one of the best for obtaining omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3’s improve memory and overall brain function, and also have strong anti-inflammatory abilities.
Oregano has the ability to reduce inflammation, fight allergies and fight microbes that cause the common cold.
As far as plant sources of omega 3 fatty acids go, you can’t beat flax seeds. They reduce inflammation and maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Flax seeds also contain antioxidants which are great for fighting off wrinkles.
Considered by some to be a super-food, parsley is packed with antioxidants, vitamins (A, C and K) and other compounds that allow it to fight bladder infections, improve skin health, relieve digestion problems and fight off free radicals.
Walnuts come loaded with minerals like zinc, calcium, copper and selenium. These minerals play a role in maintaining skin elasticity, brain health and over metabolic health.
Rosemary doesn’t just taste great on potatoes. It also improves memory, relieves muscles aches, and soothes digestive issues.
Macular degeneration and other eye problems tend to creep up as we age. These issues can be prevented or improved upon by making zinc-rich oysters a regular part of your diet.
A good source of vitamin A, folate, fiber and other nutrients, sage lowers inflammation, strengthens bones, prevents the on-set of diabetes and regulates bile flow for healthy digestion.
Cheese is full of calcium and proteins that play a role in bone health, gut health and tissue health. A single serving of cheese provides 500 mg of calcium, so start incorporating healthy cheeses like gouda (which also contains vitamin K2) into your salads and other dishes.
A member of the mint family, thyme contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, supports the immune system, regulates hormones and protects the body from fungal and bacterial infections.
A rich source of beta-carotene (a precursor to vitamin A) and many anti-oxidants, carrots are excellent for eye health and for protecting our cells from oxidative damage. Carrots also protect the skin from sun damage and repair damaged cells.
The main ingredient in curry and a powerful superfood, turmeric has been shown to fight cancer, speed up healing, improve depression, reduce joint paint and even reverse conditions like Crohn’s disease.
A member of the cruciferous (or brassica) family of veggies, broccoli is a natural detoxifier that helps to rid the body of toxins such as pesticides, microbes and heavy metals. This cleansing action allows the liver, kidneys and digestive tract to function optimally, thereby improving overall health.
Did you that one cup of kiwi contains as much vitamin C as a whole orange? Vitamin C is an antioxidant that rids the body of toxins, thus improving the appearance of the skin and decreasing the risk of diseases like cancer.
Dark chocolate is a rich source of flavonoids and resveratrol, both of which are some of the most potent anti-aging compounds found in food. Dark chocolate improves blood circulation and protects the skin from oxidative damage resulting from pollution and other environmental factors. Nibble on a square or two of dark chocolate – at least 70% cacao – each day to enjoy the health benefits and maintain a youthful appearance.