Foods to Eat

Olive Oil
Four decades ago, researchers from the Seven Countries Study concluded that the monounsaturated fats in olive oil were largely responsible for the low rates of heart disease and cancer on the Greek island of Crete. Now we know that olive oil also contains polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that may help prevent age-related diseases.

Yogurt
In the 1970s, Soviet Georgia was rumored to have more centenarians per capita than any other country. Reports at the time claimed that the secret of their long lives was yogurt, a food ubiquitous in their diets. While the age-defying powers of yogurt never have been proved directly, yogurt is rich in calcium, which helps stave off osteoporosis and contains 'good bacteria' that help maintain gut health and diminish the incidence of age-related intestinal illness.

Fish
Thirty years ago, researchers began to study why the native Inuits of Alaska were remarkably free of heart disease. The reason, scientists now think, is the extraordinary amount of fish they consume. Fish is an abundant source of omega-3 fats, which help prevent cholesterol buildup in arteries and protect against abnormal heart rhythms.


Chocolate
The Kuna people of the San Blas islands, off the coast of Panama, have a rate of heart disease that is nine times less than that of mainland Panamanians. The reason? The Kuna drink plenty of a beverage made with generous proportions of cocoa, which is unusually rich in flavanols that help preserve the healthy function of blood vessels. Maintaining youthful blood vessels lowers risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and dementia.


Nuts
Studies of Seventh-Day Adventists (a religious denomination that emphasizes healthy living and a vegetarian diet) show that those who eat nuts gain, on average, an extra two and a half years. Nuts are rich sources of unsaturated fats, so they offer benefits similar to those associated with olive oil. They're also concentrated sources of vitamins, minerals and other phytochemicals, including antioxidants.

Blueberries
In a landmark study published in 1999, researchers at Tufts University's Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging fed rats blueberry extract for a period of time that in 'rat lives' is equivalent to 10 human years. These rats outperformed rats fed regular chow on tests of balance and coordination when they reached old age. Compounds in blueberries (and other berries) mitigate inflammation and oxidative damage, which are associated with age-related deficits in memory and motor function.

6 Super foods for women

Super Food # 5: Vitamin D fortified low fat milk or orange juice

Goal: At least 400 IUs of vitamin D daily

What it does: “Essential to helping the bones absorb calcium from the gut,” says Somer, “vitamin D helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis and may be vital in reducing the risk of diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and tumors of the breast, colon, and ovary.”

Indeed, recent studies from the University of California San Diego suggest that vitamin D has the potential to prevent up to one–half of all breast, colon, and ovarian cancer in the United States .

Somer tells WebMD that a growing body of research indicates many women may be vitamin D deficient. “A combination of staying out of the sun (which the body uses to manufacture vitamin D) and using sunscreen, which blocks the synthesis of vitamin D, has resulted in many women hitting a dangerously low level of this nutrient,” says Somer.

While Vitamin D is found in salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines, experts say fortified foods, such as milk, are the best source.

6 Super foods for women

Super Food # 4: Tomatoes (or watermelon, red grapefruit, red navel oranges)

Goal: 3 to 5 servings each week

What it does: The powerhouse nutrient in all these fruits is lycopene. And, according to Miller, while the headlines touted its protective effects against prostate cancer, more quiet research has shown it has tremendous health benefits for women as well.

“Research is starting to show that lycopene may protect against breast cancer,” Miller says. "And it’s also a powerful antioxidant that can help a woman fight heart disease.”

The very latest research shows it may also help keep you looking younger longer by protecting against UV damage from the sun.

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