The Wrinkle-Busting Diet
Baby boomers seem willing to try anything to slow the physical aspects of growing older, from lotions to pills to home remedies. A new survey reports that 25 percent of boomers would even put off retirement five years if it meant they'd never have wrinkles. The survey, released by the Florida Department of Citrus, sheds light on Americans' top aging concerns and how we are thirsty for ways to feel and look younger.
According to Cheryl Forberg, an expert on anti-aging nutrition and consulting dietitian to NBC's The Biggest Loser fitness reality show, the secret to prolonged youth is as close as the kitchen.
"Baby Boomers can beautify themselves inside and out by selecting foods rich in nutrients," says Forberg, who also authored Stop the Clock! Cooking: Defy Aging – Eat the Foods You Love. "Envision the grocery store as a virtual medicine cabinet of vitamins and minerals. Have fun mixing and matching favorite items to create a tasty, versatile menu that provides benefits for the body inside and out."
Forberg recommends the following nutrients for common aging concerns:
Get Glowing Skin
Keeping skin radiant is top of mind for baby boomers. Collagen breakdown in the skin may contribute to the formation of wrinkles. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for the production of collagen. One serving of 100 percent grapefruit juice contains 72 milligrams of vitamin C, more than a full day's supply. For the 30 percent of baby boomers concerned about weight gain, this juice is fat free with less than 100 calories in each 8-ounce serving.
Boost Your Energy
More than 40 percent of Americans find having less energy to be the most unpleasant aspect of aging. A poor diet is often the culprit in lagging energy levels. To stay energized, avoid processed foods and sugary soft drinks. Add foods rich in iron such as lentils, lean red meats in moderate amounts and spinach. This mineral delivers energy to every cell in the body. Drink plenty of water and limit alcohol intake to one drink for women and two drinks for men.
Strengthen Your Disease Defenses
According to the survey, 54 percent of American adults are most worried about increased risk for diseases as they grow older. Look for foods rich in lycopene, vitamin C and potassium. Studies suggest lycopene may help in the fight against certain cancers and heart disease. Vitamin C neutralizes free radicals to help fight cell and tissue damage that could lead to diseases. Potassium plays an important role in cardiovascular health, and a higher potassium intake has been associated with lower blood pressure and reduced risk of stroke. Load the grocery cart with foods like bell peppers, tomatoes, fresh grapefruit and kale.
Sharpen Your Mental Pencil
Baby boomers commonly experience fading memory or slight changes in motor coordination skills. Spinach, onions and broccoli contain quercetin, a flavonoid found to promote brain function and prevent risk for stroke. Fresh omega-3 rich fish, such as salmon and tuna, also contribute to improved blood flow in the brain.
Don't Forget Bone Health
Women are especially susceptible to postural changes or increased risk for osteoporosis after 40. To maintain bone strength, add calcium-rich foods and beverages to the grocery cart. In addition to milk, there are a variety of foods that contain calcium, including sesame seeds, leafy green vegetables and tofu. Dried plums and peanut butter contain boron, a mineral that strengthens bones to prevent osteoporosis through enhanced calcium absorption qualities.
Forberg says that while it's not realistic to stop the hands of time, it may be possible to stay youthful longer with smart eating habits and regular exercise.