Here’s the first thing, food.
I have a client who has lost a stone in 6 months through admittedly, quite radical changes to her diet. An anti-inflammatory diet means a longevity diet means, in this case, vegan, low fat, low alcohol. As they say “it’s simple, but not necessarily easy”.
Not only that, but her eyesight has improved so much that she has had to order new prescription lenses for her 4 pairs of glasses, not cheap. In one eye improvement was by 2 units and by 1 in the other eye. PLUS her sciatica has reduced so much that, what was painful before is now possible – she can lie comfortably on her left side.
I find this joyously inspiring. And confirms what is possible through a plant based diet . For you to equate this into something do-able, even though it feels rather extreme, I would suggest this:
- as long as you are not hungry,
- as long as you enjoy the food,
- as long as you find other pleasures in life other than gourmet eating and drinking,
then great health improvements are available.
Here are 3 great anti-aging foods:
- Broccoli and other green leafy vegetables
The wonderfully green broccoli and other members of this Brassica family such as kale and cabbage contain sulforaphane, a chemical that stimulates the body’s natural ability to fight cancer, by preventing cancer cell growth and increasing the rate at which cancer cells commit suicide (apoptosis). It has been found that three day old broccoli sprouts contain up to 100 times more sulforaphane than that found in mature broccoli. Sulforaphane is also a potent tool for improving liver function, as well as helping to balance your hormones.
Kale and spinach, as well as watercress contain a high level of carotenoid pigments, particularly the 2 namely lutein and zeaxanthin, that are found in the retina (macula) of the eye.
As the body cannot make these we need to consume them daily for best eye health. This confirms the benefit of eating plenty of greens to prevent age related macula degeneration.
Berries may be considered a super anti-aging food as they are so rich in anti-oxidants and are anti-inflammatory. Pink and red skins contain anthocyanins which have been shown to be cancer fighting. Blackberries are one of my favorites, (as you may know if you saw my FB live video, on superfood, last week); they are local, wild, and packed full of nutrients – especially high in vitamin C, the mineral copper, fibre and the colourful, powerful antioxidant pigments lutein, zeaxanthin and B-carotene which help destroy the aging free-radicals, promote eye health and protect the heart from disease. They are growing and ripening right now and it looks like a bumper crop this year. Can’t wait.
- Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yoghurt, kefir
Not only do these fermented foods support a healthy gut microflora which is crucial for a strong immune system but they are also a good natural vitamin K2 supplement. Most people do not get sufficient amounts of vitamin K2 from their diet to reap its full health benefits. And why is vitamin K2 important I hear you ask: well without enough K2 the calcium that you absorb from your diet can end up being deposited in less than healthy places ie soft tissue rather than in your bones, where they make them nice and strong. And I have a great recipe for live raw probiotic-packed Sauerkraut, taken from my book Eat Dance Shine:
- Choose a firm white or green cabbage, (my favourite one is the light green sweetheat cabbage as it produces the best sauerkraut).
- Chop in half and remove the core, then finely chop the rest. In a sturdy bowl, pound the cabbage with a rolling pin for about 10 mins. Then sprinkle with 1 tsp sea salt or Himalayan salt and cover with cloth or plate, leave an hour or even overnight.
- Later, take a Kilner or Mason jar with a ceramic crock to push the cabbage down. Fill the jar with about 2 cm of cabbage, then pound it down again with the rolling pin, keep doing this until the jar is nearly full. The pounding down is very important to exclude air.
- Make a brine solution: 1tsp sea salt/Himalayan salt with 250ml boiled cool water. Option: add 1 capsule of probiotic to the solution and mix.
- Pour brine over the cabbage till it is submerged. Use a crock or weight to keep the cabbage submerged at all times.
- Leave at room temperature. It will take anything from 3 days to 1 week to ferment, depending on weather conditions. When it tastes tangy it is ready. Store it in the fridge or in a cool place to slow down the fermentation. Remember, it’s alive! Enjoy.
NB You can also layer other vegetables such as chopped up chard, kale or carrots and also spices e.g. juniper berries or caraway seeds.
When you’ve made your sauerkraut, I’d love to know what you think. Snap a photo of it and post it in the facebook group Nia and Nutrition