As you get older, you can expect to encounter a new series of health concerns and fears. In the current times where most people are experiencing a stressful and hectic lifestyle, everyone is facing the fear of age-related decline. With people getting less or no time to do recreational activities, eat right or get enough sleep, the increased percentage in the number of age-related health problems is a daunting concern, which people have been facing for the past few decades.1
According to the World Health Organization, 60% of a person’s health-related issues are correlated with their lifestyle. Lifestyle not only has a significant influence on physical health but also on the mental health and well-being of a person. Diet is the greatest factor in our lifestyle that has a direct impact on our health.2 Certain natural ingredients if included proportionately in our diet can have unprecedented benefits to our health.
Here is a list of the 7 natural compounds that can help with the fight against aging:
Curcuma longa, popularly known as turmeric, is a well-known anti-inflammatory agent. One of its principal components is curcumin which is responsible for the bright yellow color of turmeric. Curcumin has been confirmed by scientific research as a potent antimicrobial, cardioprotective, antioxidant agent, thus making it a perfect anti-aging spice.3 Studies have confirmed the beneficial effect of turmeric on inflammatory status in metabolic syndrome, and its ability to reduce oxidative stress. 4,5
Consumption of green tea has been gradually increasing due to its multiple benefits for your health. Due to the presence of four types of catechins, green tea is an excellent source of antioxidants that provide anti-inflammatory and metabolic benefits. Green tea increases the rate of metabolism and fat oxidation and decreases cardiovascular risks.6-8 Being a potent antioxidant, it effectively protects against cognitive impairment and scavenges skin-damaging free radicals, making you look and feel younger at the same time.9,10
Blueberries are a rich source of flavonoids, especially anthocyanins, which help reduce oxidative stress. Studies suggest that consumption of blueberries can maintain neuronal function and even reverse age-related neuronal deficits. They are beneficial in enhancing memory function and cognition.11 According to a clinical trial published in 2010 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, supplementation with blueberry led to improved memory among elderly subjects and conferred neurocognitive benefits.12
Vitamin D plays a vital role in maintaining our physical,as well as our mental well-being. Its role in the prevention of age-related decline has been an important area of study for quite a few years. Sunlight is a major source of vitamin D, but it can also be obtained through supplements and fortified dietary products. However, due to our irregular sleep cycles and hectic lifestyle, we are not in the habit of obtaining vitamin D from natural sources. The appropriate concentration of vitamin D plays an important role in various biological actions such as regulation of calcium and phosphorus in the intestines and bones, regulation of cellular growth and angiogenesis, renin expression and inhibition of vascular smooth muscle proliferation, insulin sensitivity and secretion, and inflammation and amyloid plaque formation in the brain. Vitamin D deficiency can affect all these biological actions worsening one’s physical and mental health. Thus, vitamin D is essential to prevent, treat and ameliorate the chronic conditions that accompany aging.13
Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), they are part of lipid metabolism and play an important role in human health and nutrition. According to studies, three main omega-3 fatty acids—alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)—are responsible for prevention and curbing various age-related pathologies. The main sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fish, flax seeds and supplements such as fish oils. Among the age-related pathologies, omega-3 fatty acids have an effect mainly on cardiovascular and neurodegenerative health. Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids through fish, seafood, or supplements promotes heart health and improves blood lipids. Similarly, consumption of omega-3 fatty acids has positive effects on certain aspects of cognition such as enhancement of memory, speed, and attention. Apart from cardiovascular and cognitive function, omega-3 fatty acids also have beneficial effects in rheumatoid arthritis and age-related macular degeneration.14
A foremost part of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil is an essential source of fat in the Mediterranean diet and has been traditionally used for centuries for spiritual, religious, and health purposes. Olive oil has a multitude of health benefits that range from preventing cardiovascular diseases to diabetes, cognitive diseases to metabolic syndrome.15 One of the main hallmarks of aging includes the alteration of genes, which leads to genomic instability and cellular aging. Oleic acid, an important constituent present in olive oil, leads to modulation of gene expression, thus affecting direct and indirect mechanisms of aging.16
Resveratrol is a polyphenol most commonly found in red wine, grapes, berries, peanuts, and soy.17 Resveratrol plays an important role in combating aging cells by activating a group of proteins called sirtuins. Resveratrol enhances the deacetylating activity of sirtuins, which causes the removal of acetyl from other proteins, eventually leading to reduced aging-related processes and reactions.18,19 Similarly, resveratrol can successfully fight free radicals that cause oxidative stress by binding and neutralizing them, thus resveratrol is also termed as an effective antioxidant leading to decreased oxidative stress.20
Aging is an inevitable process of life. But with the right diet and sufficient physical activity from a younger age, you can help make sure that you are healthy and active in your 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond!