The impossible dream of "living forever" is as old as human history, from the Egyptians preserved in their pyramids to the cryogenic chambers of modern science fiction. But though that goal is still as unattainable as ever, we do know so much more now about how to extend and improve our lives-and the foods we eat are a vital part of any anti-aging strategy. Here are a few of my favorites.
The Roots: Carrots & Beets.
Carrots are packed with beta-carotene and other antioxidants that provide significant protection against cardiovascular disease. Beets, with their betalin pigments, have been shown to support the body's detoxification process. And both provide plenty of useful fiber that's used to fight the good fight against cancer.
Did you know?
While a great source of iron and vitamins A and C, beet greens are high in oxalic acid, a compound that can be problematic for anyone with arthritis or kidney stones.
The Greens: Spinach & Kale.
The multiple flavonoids found in spinach have been firmly linked to a reduced risk of several types of cancer. The glucosinolates in kale have been shown to be similarly effective in cancer prevention. And both of these delicious leafy greens are packed with lutein, which is proven to prevent macular degeneration and helps protect the eyes against ultraviolet light.
The Berries: Blueberries & Raspberries.
Blueberries are the superstars of anti-aging foods-cardiovascular benefits, cognitive benefits, cancer prevention, you name it. Their intense concentration of anthocyanins makes them an across-the-board whole body antioxidant support system. Raspberries are a hard-working runner-up, with their ellagic acid making a serious contribution to combating inflammation in chronic diseases. And the vitamin C in both berries will contribute to a smoother complexion.
Dark chocolate (70% cacao) is loaded with antioxidants, so it's good for your heart as well as your brain. And it's good for your "heart" in another way-it encourages the brain to produce endorphins, which make us feel loved and content. Just don't get carried away: a few small squares a day is all it takes.
Dark chocolate treasures
Looking for that perfect dark chocolate bar? Here are two brands that we love (also great as stocking stuffers!).
Lily's Sweets stevia-sweetened chocolate bars, shown here in Hazelnut & Milk and Cinnamon.
Madécasse Madagascar Chocolates, shown here in Sea Salt & Nibs.