As a 46 year old Health Coach and an avid follower of latest scientific research, I’m determined to biohack my way into staying as young as possible for as long as possible. To that end, there are a few categories of foods that I make sure to eat every day. Today, I’m sharing 5 of these foods that can easily be incorporated in any diet. These particular foods help me keep my energy levels up, ensure that I’m staying healthy as well as keeping my hormones balanced. Bonus, they also keep my skin glowing!
While you can take vitamins and supplements for most of the nutrients, they are better absorbed by your body from natural sources. One of the main reason is the complexity and potency of nutrients in natural foods (supplements don’t contain all the complex micro-nutrients), which makes the sum greater than its parts when absorbed by our body. In fact, studies show that nutrients from supplements can be consumed in excess and can be harmful.
Here, I’m sharing 5 of these food categories that I eat in a day. I hope that I can provide you with some inspiration and guidance to add to your diet and reap the benefits.
1. Greens (Leafy Greens and Microgreens)
In our household, we love to throw in a handful of greens into each meal. It doesn’t have to be a specific kind (because if you try to add more of a certain kind that you don’t like, you simple won’t eat it in the long run). Pick any kind of greens that you like and try to rotate them. Also, microgreens, sprouts and baby greens are milder in taste and add a ton of nutrients such as ptassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, antixodents and copper.
Besides providing important nutrients, greens help promote a healthy gut. This in turns help you balance cravings, weight, brain fog and hormones in the long run. leafy greens help prevent inflammation and lower levels of stress, which can help improve cortisol levels, according to SFGate.com. They can also help with estrogen balance. In addition, Lutein, which is also found in leafy greens, improves eye and brain function.
My favorite way to eat greens is either in a salad, or add a handful to your smoothies or soups. They also go well in an omelette. Aim to get 1-2 handful a day minimum.
Berries are delicious and make a perfect snack! Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries… they are all chockfull of important nutrients. Berries are high in antioxidants which is good for skin, lower blood pressure, help protect the brain, arterial stiffness, and repair DNA damage. Most berries are also low in sugar which makes them perfect for a snack.
I add berries to my oatmeal or smoothies in the morning, or have them as a snack throughout the day. Aim to get about ½ to 1 cup a day.
3. Good Fats
Did you know that good fats are not only essential for our brain, organs, joints, skin and heart health, they also help balance hormones? Sources of good Omega-3 fats include flax seeds, avocados, egg yolks, fresh coconuts, hemp seeds, chia seeds, nuts and olive oil among many others.
I’ve gotten into the habit of including good fats in every meal, especially in the morning. I’ve noticed that it helps with hunger levels throughout the day as well as keep my hormones balanced, especially as I age.
I’m a big fan of including good probiotics in your daily diet. In short, probiotics are essential for a healthy gut, mental health and energy levels. There are also new studies that have determined that our gut bacteria also determines our personality and social traits. Isn’t that fascinating?
Fermented foods are high in good bacteria. Good sources include miso paste, kimchi, yoghurt (dairy or plant-based), kombucha, sauerkraut, or apple cider vinegar (with the friendly bacteria, labeled ‘the mother’ on the bottle). Cooking can kill good bacteria, so make sure to eat these foods raw.
If adding fermented foods is a chore, or if you don’t like the taste, take a good probiotic pill if you’re finding it hard to incorporate in your diet. Here’s a link to a good one that one of my favorite research scientists, Dr. Rhonda Patrick has suggested in the past. Make sure your probiotics are soil based and have at least over 20 billion strains to be effective.
As I get older, I’ve come to learn the importance of certain nutrients for healthy aging. Calcium is one of them especially for protecting against osteoporosis. Here’s a guide from Mayo Clinic on how much calcium you need.
I get my calcium from fortified plant-based milks e.g. soy or almond milk (make sure to read the label), oranges, seeds, cheese, yoghurt and beans. Once or twice a week, I also take a good multi-vitamin to help against developing any vitamin deficiencies.
6. Ah, yes, there’s a 6th one, but not a food…
In addition to the foods above, I also take vitamin D from a supplement. Vitamin D is actually a hormone and not a vitamin, and we need it for many important functions. It controls the way we age, inflammation levels and moods. Since, I have darker skin, I will need to be in the sun at least 45 min on a hot summer day to get my daily levels. Here’s a link to a talk by Dr. Rhonda Patrick about how much Vitamin D to take. Although, you can get vitamin D from fatty fish, egg yolks and beef liver etc., studies show that most of these sources are not enough on their own. Over 70% of world’s population do not get their required minimums. Here’s a good quality vitamin D supplement, I take 2 tablets a day.
So there you have it! As you can see, there’s a wide variety of foods you can eat everyday under each of the 5 categories for healthy aging. Just make sure to check at least one type of food under each of the 5 categories and get a variety within each. The benefits compound over time, so keep doing it as part of your long term lifestyle.
Leave a comment and let me know below which of these foods you already eat, and what new foods you’re planning to incorporate in your diet.