Listen up, men: sure, aging is inevitable—but scientists now know that there are a number of things you can do to slow the whole process down, like exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep each night, limiting how much alcohol you drink, and eating a nutritious, balanced diet filled with antioxidants. In fact, your diet can play a significant role in how your body ages. While eating right is important at every stage of your life, experts say it’s especially crucial as you get older.
So, which foods should you be focusing on? Well, in the so-called “Blue Zones” of the world—regions that have the highest concentration of people over the age of 100—it’s all about plant-based eating. According to Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare, people who eat plant-based foods are up to 50% less likely to develop chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Conversely, studies show that processed foods can actually expedite aging.
As the old saying goes, you are what you eat—so, if your goal is to be more youthful inside and out as you get older, here are some of the best foods for guys to slow aging after 50. After, be sure to consult our list of the Eating Habits That Slow Down Aging After 50, Says Dietitian.
It’s easy to love avocados, with their rich, creamy texture that elevates everything from sandwiches and salads to tacos and omelets—but here’s one more reason to add this food to your shopping list.
“Avocados are high in the ‘good for you’ type of fat—monounsaturated fat—which helps with reducing spikes in blood sugar,” says Rachel Fine, RD and owner of the NYC nutrition counseling service To The Pointe Nutrition. “The vitamins and fat content of avocados provides a boost of age-defying antioxidants and phytochemicals. Vitamins B and C, in addition to folate and magnesium, lutein, and beta-carotene are just some of the main anti-aging antioxidants found in this fruit.”
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Whether you steam it, roast it, or air fry it, asparagus is one vegetable that you should definitely be piling onto your plate. Why? Not only have asparagus been linked to the prevention of certain types of cancer, but it’s also one of the best food sources of prebiotics, which facilitate the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut.
“Men need to be mindful to consume a range of prebiotic-rich foods to slow the aging process,” says Kara Landau, gut health expert RD and founder at Uplift Food. “When our gut bacteria is well nourished, the microbiome is more diverse which, in turn, improves our immune system, decreases inflammation, and supports our mood. This compound effect of a healthy gut helps to delay the onset of lifestyle diseases and physical ailments that occur later in life, as well as prevent the onset of depression that may be brought on with lifestyle changes commonly experienced in this age group such as mid-life crisis, retirement, and loneliness.”
Asparagus, in particular, contains inulin, a type of prebiotic fiber that promotes healthy digestion and feeds the “good” bacteria in the gut.
For those who need a quick and easy snack on the go, Landau recommends a handful of Prebiotic Puffs, which contain a scientifically supported blend of fibers, prebiotics, and probiotics proven to support digestive and immune health.
Janet Coleman, RD with TheConsumerMag.com, says fish is an ideal source of protein to focus on as you age for several reasons.
“In one study, people over 50 who consumed fish at least once a week had a 16% lower risk of heart disease and a 25% lower risk of death from all causes,” she explains. “Researchers believe this is because fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation and blood pressure.”
According to Coleman, your body produces less and less of these essential fatty acids on its own as you age—which is why it’s especially important to prioritize foods that are high in omega-3’s after the age of 50.
As for which fish you should be eating—salmon, Atlantic mackerel, cod, herring, and light canned tuna have the most omega-3 fatty acids.
Eating your greens is one of the best ways to slow down the aging process, says Marissa Meshulam, RD and founder of MPM Nutrition.
“Dark leafy greens can help slow down cognitive decline in aging adults,” she adds.
Spinach, kale, arugula, and Swiss chard are especially rich in vitamin K, a protective micronutrient known to have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body, which means it can be beneficial in regards to age-related conditions such as cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis.
Almonds, walnuts, and other nuts are high in powerful phytochemicals that may promote health in a myriad of ways as you get older. In fact, a 2019 study in the journal Antioxidants found that nuts can lower risk factors for several age-related diseases and play a key role in overall lifespan by decreasing inflammation and oxidative stress.
“Nuts like almonds are rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant known for keeping skin healthy and youthful and preventing facial wrinkles,” adds Meshulam. “Other nuts like walnuts provide omega 3 fatty acids, which can reduce inflammation involved in cognitive decline.”
Berries, plums, apples, and sweet cherries are among the fruits highest in antioxidants. That’s noteworthy, says Meshulam, since antioxidants protect cells from the free radical damage that promotes aging.
Try adding berries to smoothies, oats, yogurt, and granola — or just snack on a handful plain. When you don’t have any fresh fruit on hand at home, Meshulam also loves That’s It bars, which contain two whole servings of fruit with no added sugar.
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