HB and I aren’t very good at self-denial. Or at eating what we don’t like. So we try to find healthy alternatives that taste good too. The healthiest food in the world won’t do you any good if you won’t eat it.
With my food sensitivities, things are a little trickier for me. But we’ve come up with a few ways to work great anti-aging foods that we actually enjoy into our eating plans.
Desserts are one of my big downfalls. I don’t have trouble with cakes, cookies and pies any more because I don’t like being sick. But chocolate, ice cream and some other sweets – like chocolate-covered raisins – are still a temptation I can indulge, but shouldn’t.
So we’ve started buying applesauce.
A bowl of applesauce isn’t a bowl of ice cream. But even the all-natural variety is sweet. To power it up, we add about a half-teaspoon of cinnamon to a serving. While this is tasty, there’s a much better reason to eat more cinnamon.
It has potent anti-aging properties. I’ve seen studies showing cinnamon promotes healthy blood sugar levels, normalized blood pressure and greater lean body mass. As we get older, all three of these can become issues, so cinnamon has become part of our anti-aging arsenal.
I’ve added another treat to my lunch menu – and sometimes supper, too. I now eat 3 to 6 jumbo olives stuffed with a garlic clove almost every day.
Since we don’t eat out that much, and I eat very few packaged foods, we’re not worried about the salt. And this is a great way to work some heart-healthy garlic into my diet.
There are hundreds of studies out there on the health benefits of garlic. And the evidence seems pretty solid that garlic supports healthy cholesterol levels, helps lower the risk of hardening of the arteries, promotes good blood pressure… and may even lower the risk of mental decline.
Of course, with garlic, you have to worry about the odor. But even after eating six cloves of garlic in olives in a single day, I haven’t had a problem. (Trust me; HB would tell me if I started to smell like garlic!) I don’t know if there’s something in the olives that counteracts the odor. But I’m not complaining.
We’re eating more spinach these days, too. I have it in a salad at least four or five times a week. HB also eats a fair amount, though a little less often.
Why spinach? It’s loaded with anti-aging nutrients.
A cup of raw spinach has just 7 calories… but delivers half your daily requirement of vitamin A. It’s also a tremendous source of elusive vitamin K, critical for keeping your bones strong. Spinach is even a decent source of Omega-3 fatty acids.
But where spinach really shines is two nutrients you don’t usually see on product labels – lutein (L) and zeaxanthin (Z). Spinach is one of the rare foods that have good amounts of both.
L and Z are closely related to vitamin A… but they may be even more important to good vision. They’re especially critical to sharp, clear central vision.
We’re always on the lookout for foods like these. Foods we’d eat just for their flavor, but that also have powerful anti-aging properties. Foods like salmon and cherries. But we’ll talk about them some other time.