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12 Heart-Healthy Foods That Help Slow Aging

Refrigerator_FruitsVeggies_400It’s possible to eat your way to better health. These 12 anti-inflammatory foods will help slow the aging of your circulatory system, says author Dr. Mike Moreno in his book, The 17 Day Diet Breakthrough Edition.

Salmon. It’s high in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation. The best choice is wild-caught salmon. (Avoid farm-raised salmon; it’s higher in arachidonic acid, as well as toxins, all of which increase inflammation.) Herring, mackerel, and sardines are also loaded with omega-3s.

Walnuts. These nuts are another plentiful source of omega-3s and other healthful compounds, including vitamin e, which is a powerful immune booster.

Onions. Onions are rich in quercetin, a type of antioxidant that prevents harmful enzymes from triggering inflammation. Onions also contain sulfur compounds that bolster the immune system. Other good sources of quercetin include apples, broccoli, red wine, red grapes, grape juice, and tea.

Blueberries. I can’t say enough great things about blueberries. Blueberries are packed with anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant that boosts immunity and protects the body from free radical damage (an inflammation trigger). other good sources of anthocyanins include blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, and cranberries.

Sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are rich in carotenoids, a type of antioxidant known for boosting immunity and preventing inflammation. Not a sweet-potato kind of guy or gal? Try chomping down on other orange, red, yellow, or green fruits and veggies like carrots, yellow squash, peppers, and mangoes.

Spinach. Spinach also has carotenoids, not to mention immune-boosting vitamin E. Any green leafy vegetable is powerful for immune support.

Garlic. Like onions, garlic is rich in sulfur compounds that boost the activity of immune cells. Garlic is also a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.

Pineapple. Bromelain, found in pineapple, is an enzyme that decreases inflammation and confers some immune-enhancing effects. Pineapple is also an excellent source of the antioxidant vitamin C.

Ginger. Fresh ginger root acts as an anti-inflammatory. It works by dampening the action of inflammation-promoting enzymes in the body.

Turmeric. The key component in curry, turmeric contains curcumin, a compound that has anti-inflammatory effects.

Pomegranate and pomegranate juice. Revered since ancient times, the pomegranate has recently become acclaimed for its cardiovascular health benefits. It is a powerful antioxidant that appears to protect the heart and blood vessels. Pomegranate juice may have anti-clogging properties, slowing the progression of arterial plaques. It may even reduce blood pressure.

Any and all vegetables. Besides the veggies I mentioned above, I want to emphasize the importance of all vegetables for circulatory health. Vegetables, which many people now refer to as “plant foods,” contain phytonutrients—protective disease-fighting substances in foods. some of these may help the body produce nitric oxide, which is a vasodilator and can help reduce blood pressure. A study published in the July 2011 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has linked diets rich in vegetables and fruits to better cardiovascular health and overall longevity. Basically, this study looked at total vegetable intake, total fruit intake, and cruciferous vegetable intake in two large groups of Chinese subjects and found that high intakes of total vegetables, particularly the cruciferous ones (such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage), were associated with a significantly reduced risk of death due to cardiovascular disease. Cruciferous vegetables are rich sources of compounds called sulforaphanes, which act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories in the body. These two effects are of particular importance with respect to heart disease.


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