Superfoods that keep you young

Good Health
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Image: Getty
Brought to you by Good Health magazine

Stock your fridge wisely and you could slow down your body's clock. Karen Fittall tucks into some must-eat anti-ageing foods.


Protects against:

  • Cancer: tomato-based phytochemicals and carotenoids, like lycopene, have an anti-cancer effect. By encouraging skin to repair after sun exposure, they may even protect against skin cancer.
  • Osteoporosis: at least two studies have proven that dietary lycopene reduces the risk of osteoporosis. In 2009, a US study found that people eating more than 4.4 servings of lycopene a week experienced significantly fewer fractures.
  • Heart disease: University of Adelaide scientists say that eating at least 25mg of lycopene daily lowers blood pressure and reduces cholesterol by up to 10 percent.

Eat: One cup of uncooked tomato may contain 3.46mg to 21mg of lycopene. The Adelaide scientists say a daily 500ml serve of tomato juice or 50g of tomato paste provides protection against heart disease.

Boost the benefits by: Eating cooked tomatoes. A tomato's lycopene content increases by 54 percent after two minutes of cooking and by 164 percent after half an hour.


Protects against:

  • Premature death: according to a Finnish study, an apple-rich diet has a positive effect on mortality, thanks to its high levels of flavonoids: plant pigments that have an antioxidant effect.
  • Heart disease: studies link daily apple consumption to a 22 percent decreased risk of heart disease, and a 23 percent drop in 'bad' cholesterol after six months.
  • Alzheimer's disease: apples contain an antioxidant that helps prevent toxicity in the brain's neurons, which is related to the development of Alzheimer's.

Eat: One medium-sized apple provides one serve of fruit.

Boost the benefits by: Eating the peel as well – it contains 75 percent of the fruit's dietary fibre and at least a dozen anti-cancer compounds.


Protects against:

  • Dementia and stroke: eating at least three serves of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids a week may result in a 26 percent lower risk of brain lesions that cause dementia and stroke.
  • Cancer: in studies in Sweden, marine-based omega-3s reduced the size of tumours and killed cancer cells.
  • Heart disease: regularly consuming marine-based omega-3s has been linked to a 45 percent reduction in cardiovascular-related problems.
  • Age-related blindness: eating more than two serves of oily fish a week can reduce age-related macular degeneration risk by 39 percent.

Eat: The Heart Foundation recommends eating at least 500mg of marine-source omega-3s a day, achieved by eating two to three 150g serves of oily fish a week.

Boost the benefits by: Choosing the 'oiliest' varieties of fish. Good choices are Atlantic and Australian salmon, gemfish, blue-eye trevalla, blue mackerel, canned salmon, tuna and sardines.


Protects against:

  • Heart disease: studies confirm that eating oats helps lower cholesterol because of beta-glucan, a soluble fibre that can block cholesterol re-absorption. Oats also contain avenanthramides, which are anti-inflammatory compounds that help to prevent atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries — the most common cause of heart disease.

Eat: Consuming 3g of beta-glucan a day has been shown to help lower cholesterol re-absorption. A 40g serve of porridge oats contains 1.5g of beta-glucan.

Boost the benefits by: Choosing oats that are as unprocessed as possible. The glycaemic index (GI) of porridge made from rolled oats can be as low as 42 per serve, but the GI of quick oats jumps to 66.

For the full story, see the Septmember issue of Good Health. Subscribe to 12 issues of GoodHealth for just $59.95 (that's a 28% saving on the retail price) and receive a Yes to Cucumbers Skin Care Pack, valued at $31.90.

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