Top anti-aging foods from around the world
By: Mehment Oz and Michael Roizen
February 28, 2010
From exotic juices to cans of cocktail peanuts, more and more edibles in the supermarket are being dubbed “anti-aging foods” by some marketer or media pundit. The real deal about munchies that keep you youthful? They come from the earth, not from a vacuum pack.
We’re not the only ones who are saying that. Take a look at what the longest-lived people in the world are eating (if you know us, this list will look familiar, but with a few twists). Then put their favorites on your own table.
Costa Rica: Beans for breakfast
Residents of Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula are four times more likely than most North Americans to live past age 90. One reason may be dishes like gallo pinto, a tasty mix of black beans and rice flavored with onion, red peppers, garlic, olive oil, cilantro and a salsa lizano — a condiment a little like Worcestershire sauce. The Oz part of this team learned on a trip to Nicoya that big breakfasts beginning with beans rule there. But don’t limit yourself: This dish is great at any meal.
Nova Scotia: Wild blueberry “Grunt”
Some of Nova Scotia’s picturesque villages are home to Canada’s highest percentages of centenarians — people who have lived for at least 100 years. One reason may be polyphenol-packed wild blueberries produced by the millions of tons on this island. Luckily, you can find frozen wild blueberries in your supermarket. Use ’em to make a traditional “grunt” — lightly cooked blueberries (skip the sweetener that’s usually in the recipe; the berries are sweet enough!), served over a biscuit (but please, make it whole grain, or skip the biscuit altogether). It’s also known as a Slump, Fungy, Buckle or Bang Belly.
In this country, local red wine is king. And for good reason. Moderate drinking (one glass for women, up to two for men) with meals seems to explain some of the “French paradox” — low rates of heart disease despite a penchant for artery-clogging goodies like cheese. It may help explain why the French tie the Italians (another nation with a healthy love of wine!) as Western Europe’s longest-living people. Wine’s magic seems to come from a few components: Ethanol, which boosts levels of healthy HDL cholesterol; resveratrol, which new research suggests can mimic the life-extending effects of cutting calories; and polyphenols that rev up the body’s own cell-protecting antioxidants. Why not try a red wine from a vineyard near you, or head for a heart-healthy zinfandel, syrah, pinot noir or cabernet sauvignon?
Greece: Lots of veggies, little meat
On some Greek islands, one-third of the residents have already celebrated their 90th birthdays. Their longevity secret? The famed Mediterranean diet. When researchers quizzed 23,349 Greek women and men about what’s on their plates, they found that death rates were lowest for those who ate the most fruit, vegetables, beans and olive oil. The occasional glass of wine helped, too. So did fish, seafood, whole grains and dairy products. What wasn’t on their plates also mattered. Those who ate red meat just a few times a month lived longer than those who indulged more frequently.
Eating lots of vegetables accounted for 16 percent of the youth power of Mediterranean eating. Drizzle on a little olive oil, top with a scattering of walnuts, and you can more than double the effect. Not only will it taste good, the good fats pamper your heart and help your body absorb more of the carotenoids and other nutrients in cooked veggies and in salad greens.
Tofu’s for sale in the produce department of nearly every supermarket. Good news, because on the Japanese island of Okinawa, it may be why residents age gracefully to 100 or older more often than anywhere else on Earth. Researchers credit this mild-tasting soy curd’s low fat content and high levels of good-for-you saponins and isoflavones. Chunk up some extra-firm tofu in a stir-fry instead of chicken or pork, or use soy crumbles in place of ground meat in a hearty spaghetti sauce. Marinate first to heighten flavor; we love it with ginger, garlic and low-sodium soy sauce.
So instead of falling for an anti-aging additive pitch, steer yourself toward these flavorful, health-giving goodies. You’ll see what these cultures have known for years: When it comes to the tastiest anti-aging foods, Mother Nature makes the best. The YOU Docs, Mehmet Oz and Mike Roizen, are authors of “YOU: On a Diet.”
Mediterranean Diet Protects Eye Health
A Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of the most common cause of poor eyesight in older people, according to new Australian research.
A study from the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) found that people who consume at least 100 millilitres of olive oil a week are almost 50 per cent less likely to develop macular degeneration than those who eat less than 1 millilitre per week.
The study also found that people who eat other foods which are rich in omega-3 fatty-acids, such as fish and nuts, are 15 per cent less likely to develop macular degeneration.
The report’s author, Dr Elaine Chong said olive oil contains a number of protective elements that contribute to eye health.
“Olive oil is rich in powerful antioxidants like vitamin E. It also contains an anti-inflammatory component, similar to ibuprofen, which helps protect the blood vessels in the eye,” said Dr Chong.
“A diet rich in olive oil and other foods containing omega-3 fatty acids such as oily fish varieties like salmon and tuna, and nuts may help protect your eyes against diseases such as [macular degeneration].”
Once diagnosed, there are few treatment options for macular degenerations and researchers say a better understanding of the disease’s risk factors is crucial.
To conduct the study, researchers analysed the diet of 6,700 people aged 58 to 69 years old in the early 1990s.
Participants were then tracked for the development of macular degeneration between 2003 and 2006. Australian Ageing Agenda
Mediterranean diet cuts stomach cancer risk
Apart from its various health benefits, following the Mediterranean diet can help reduce the risk of developing stomach cancer, a new study finds.
The Mediterranean diet had long been linked to a reduced risk of a number of diseases including depression, inflammation, premature death, diabetes, birth defect, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and obesity.
Rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, cereals and olive oil, with a relatively low intake of red meat and dairy products, Mediterranean diet is believed to protect individuals against gastric cancer, stressing that other diets may boost the risk of the disease.
According to the study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, adopting the diet lowers by 33 percent the risk of gastric cancer — the second-leading cause of cancer death worldwide.
The study found the stronger the adherence to the diet, the lower the risk of developing the condition became.
“The results add to the evidence for the role of the Mediterranean diet in reducing cancer risk and add further support for the need to continue to promote the Mediterranean diet in areas where it is disappearing,” concluded lead researcher Carlos A. Gonzalez of the Catalan Institute for Oncology in Barcelona.
Scientists urged individuals to adopt a healthy diet and identify dietary recommendations effective in reducing the incidence of this cancer.
6 Easy Ways to Follow the Mediterranean Diet
By Janis Graham / Readers Digest
If you’re diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, your doctor will almost certainly tell you that you need to lose some weight. Now research identifies the best way to do it: Eat the Mediterranean way.
In the study, 215 overweight people with diabetes followed either a classic, low-fat regimen (based on American Heart Association guidelines) or a higher-fat, Mediterranean-style diet (lots of olive oil, as well as vegetables, whole grains, and fish and poultry). After four years, both groups had lost similar amounts of weight—but only 44 percent of the Mediterranean-style eaters needed diabetes drugs, compared with 70 percent of the low-fat dieters.
The benefits come partly because a Mediterranean diet is full of healthy foods and partly because it doesn’t rely on fat-reduced foods high in refined carbs, says Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Read on to find out which foods will help your blood sugar.
Eat less of these: Beef, lamb, pork
And more of these: Fish, poultry, beans
Eat less of these: Butter, margarine, butter substitue
And more of these: Extra-virgin olive oil or other vegetable oils such as soy bean and canola
Eat less of these: Low-fat crackers, chips
And more of these: Walnuts or other nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, olives
Eat less of these: Reduced-fat cookies
And more of these: Fresh fruit
Eat less of these: Egg substitute; fat-free yogurt; reduced-fat American, Cheddar, and Swiss cheese
And more of these: Whole eggs; whole yogurt; feta, Parmesan, or goat cheese
Eat less of these: Baked potatoes, bread, rice
And more of these: Roasted or sautéed vegetables tossed with herbs and drizzled with olive oil