Aging is not a disease, although many people think It is. The good news is that premature aging doesn’t have to happen. While no magic elixir exists to reverse this process, research has shown that certain nutrients can help to slow the onset of visible signs of aging, can prevent many disorders, and can extend life expectancy.
Our Standard American Diet (SAD) accounts for the five leading causes of disease in America. It also contributes to accelerated aging more than any other single factor. The SAD is high in refined carbohydrates, cholesterol, saturated fats, and processed foods. It is low in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts—all of which provide dietary fiber and most of our anti-aging vitamins and minerals. In addition to the SAD’s overload of foods that tax the body and insufficient quantities of foods that feed the body, this diet also harms us by increasing the number of substances that are known as free radicals. Free radicals are produced within our bodies, are obtained from the environment, and are ingested with our food. In our food supply, they come from pesticides; fried, barbecued, and charbroiled foods: alcohol: coffee; and additives. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that can damage cells. This cell-damaging process leads to many disorders and contributes to aging, as well. Free radicals need to be detoxified, and the anti-aging nutrients like Vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and the mineral selenium are found primarily in fruits and vegetables—foods that are in scarce supply in the Standard American Diet.
Clearly, a different diet is needed. Leslie and Susannah Kenton, in their book Raw Energy, state that raw foods have an enormous potential for improving not only a person’s appearance but also the quality of his or her life. For example, they cite the fact that uncooked foods are one reason why many health spas attract so many people. Two weeks on a raw diet, they note, make a person look years younger, with firmer flesh: softer facial lines: and skin, eyes, and hair that glow with vibrant health. Two years on a diet high in raw foods can completely transform a person’s shape, and often can restore health, as well. If that’s not enough to get you excited about raw foods, we guess you probably just don’t get excited!
1. Eat a diet that’s rich in raw fruits and vegetables and their juices. Ideally, 50 percent of the diet should be composed of raw foods.
2. Increase the amount of gel-forming fiber in your diet by boosting your intake of flax-seeds; oat and rice bran; and pectin’s, which are found in fruits and vegetables.
3. Try adding black currant juice to your diet. This juice, which is rich in bioflavonoid, has been shown to promote longevity.
4. Eat more cabbage, yogurt, and olive oil, all of which have been shown to increase longevity.
5. Try adding thyme and lavender to dishes. These herbs have been used traditionally to slow down the aging process.
6. Reduce your consumption of refined foods such as white flour and its products. Yes, there goes your favorite sourdough bread, the morning donuts, arid the white-flour pasta! But the rewards are plentiful for eating whole grain breads, rolls, and pastas.
7. Avoid refined sugar and its products. This includes chocolate chip cookies, frozen yogurt, and your favorite candy bars. But think about the lines you won’t get on your face because you said, “No”!
8. Reduce your intake of saturated fats, cholesterol, and animal proteins. And here’s a surprise: butter is better than margarine. There are substances in margarine that have been shown in studies to contribute to cancer. You can finally say that there is something that tastes better and is actually better for you. But don’t celebrate with too much butter. The general guideline is no more than about four tablespoons of saturated fat per day.
9. Make one or two days a week vegetarian. Try making your main courses on these days from beans, lentils, split peas, and soybean products like tofu. In addition, use more of these vegetable proteins in your daily diet.
10. Select only cold-processed or expelled-pressed vegetable oils, and increase your intake of fish oils.
11. Choose nutritious snacks such as nuts, seeds, nut or seed butters, raw vegetable sticks, whole grain crackers, popcorn without butter, and fresh fruit.
12. Reduce caffeine by eliminating or limiting your consumption of coffee, black tea, and chocolate.
13. Significantly reduce or avoid alcohol.
14. Avoid all processed foods as much as possible.
15. Incorporate a detoxification program into your lifestyle. Use the Juice Fast or another effective cleansing diet to eliminate the toxins from your body.
Nutrients That Help
Vitamins C and E and the mineral selenium are antioxidants that protect the cells from free-radical damage, thus preventing premature aging. In other words, antioxidants gobble up the bad guys before they get your cells.
Beta-carotene and other carotenoids (over 500 have been identified) are antioxidants that are converted by the body to vitamin A as needed. These are some of the most powerful interceptors known to protect the body from a particular free-radical bad guy called singlet oxygen. The carotenoids are also very helpful in preventing shrinkage of the thymus gland, and thus strengthening the immune system.
Bioflavonoid prevent free-radical damage. Like the carotenoids, these nutrients, which are found in plants, are considered antioxidants.
Methionine and cysteine are sulfur-containing amino acids that may promote longevity. Sulfur is abundant in beans, fish, liver, eggs, brewer’s yeast, cabbage, and nuts.
Kale, parsley, green pepper, and broccoli—sources of vitamin C.
Spinach, asparagus, and carrot—sources of vitamin E.
Red Swiss chard, turnip, garlic, and orange—sources of selenium.
Carrot, kale, parsley, and spinach—sources of beta carotene and other carotenoids.
Apricot, black currant, blackberry, broccoli, cabbage, cantaloupe, cherry, grape, grapefruit, lemon, orange, papaya,
parsley, plum, prune, sweet pepper, and tomato—sources of bioflavonoid.
Suggested Juicing Recipes
(1) Beauty Spa Express
-Small handful parsley, Handful spinach, 4-5 carrots, greens removed, ½ apple. Seeded
Bunch up parsley and spinach, and push through hopper with carrots and apple.
(2) Fresh Complexion Express
-2 slices pineapple, with skin, ½ cucumber, ½ apple, seeded
Push pineapple through hopper with cucumber and apple.
(3) High-Calcium Drink
-3 kale leaves Small handful parsley, 4-5 carrots, greens removed.
Bunch up kale and parsley, and push through hopper with carrots.
(4) Garden Salad Special
-3 broccoli flowerets, 1 garlic clove 4-5 carrots or 2 tomatoes, 2 stalks celery, ½ green pepper
Push broccoli and garlic through hopper with carrots or tomatoes. Follow with celery and green pepper.
(5) Cantaloupe Shake
-½ cantaloupes with skin.
Cut cantaloupe in strips, and push through hopper.
(6) Fruit Salad Cocktail
-1 medium bunch grapes, ½ apple, seeded, 1/4 lemon
Push grapes through hopper, followed by apples and lemon.