Want to slow down ageing? There is a way. We break down some nutrients that can help you stay agile and young.
Slow down ageing: Infuse turmeric in milk
That old granny tale about drinking milk with a pinch of turmeric actually works. “Having a pinch of turmeric with milk daily (for an adult) makes your skin shine as turmeric has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties,” explains Sawant. A study published in July 2014 in the PLOS Medicine journal proved that curcumin, the powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant chemical in turmeric, protects the shortening of telomeres, keeping the cells younger. “When had in raw form, turmeric helps in fighting against bacteria and in blood purification,” she says. Those who are lactose-intolerant can have turmeric with water, even honey. The idea is to have it in raw form, as cooking reduces the effects of curcumin, adds Sawant.
Slow down ageing: Limit intake of sugar and salt
Limiting the daily intake of white sugar to less than two teaspoons in your daily diet can help you look younger. “Sugar possibly inflicts the largest damage to the body,” says Sanjiv Shah, senior consultant, endocrinologist and diabetologist, Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital, Mumbai. Sugar bonds with amino acids in the body to form advanced-glycation end products, which result in chronic degenerative diseases, diabetes and ageing. While sucrose leads to an increase in insulin secretion, naturally occurring sources of sugar, like fruits and milk (which contain fructose and lactose, respectively) are quite protective and useful for the body, Dr Shah adds.
Salt, on the other hand, dehydrates the body and increases fatigue levels. “Excess amounts of salt cause kidney disease, high blood pressure and gastric trouble, all of which make you age faster,” says Dr Shah. “Most adults consume 8-9g per day of salt. If you drop that to 6g per day or less, you will slow down your body’s ageing process.”
Slow down ageing: Eat plenty of greens
Leafy vegetables such as spinach and greens like broccoli are packed with antioxidants and vitamins that fight wrinkle-causing free radicals, says Anita Jatana, chief dietitian at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in Delhi. “Antioxidants prevent damage to cells, fight with disease and sickness, making them powerful anti-ageing tools,” she says. Leafy greens not only give you a facelift, but also help you retain your mind’s agility for a longer time. A study of older adults conducted in December by the US’ University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that lutein, a pigment found in dark-green vegetables, helps to preserve cognitive function and mental sharpness as the brain ages.
Slow down ageing: Add in a tomato
Packed with lycopene, uric acid and lutein, tomatoes load your body with antioxidants. “They help maintain youthful skin texture and reduce the risk of heart disease as well as prevent muscular degeneration,” says Jatana. Choose the very red tomatoes as these are loaded with the good lycopene. A six-country study on an anti-ageing diet, funded by the European Commission and published in the journal Nutrients in October, found that age was inversely associated with lycopene. So the more lycopene you have in your diet, the less you age.
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