Americans spent $44.6 billion on anti-aging products and services last year, according to Norwalk, Connecticut – based research firm Business Communications Company Inc. Expenditures included $37.6 billion spent on drugs and supplements targeted at specific diseases of aging, $7.7 billion spent on appearance products and services and nearly $280 million spent on anti-aging products that use advanced technologies such as hair regrowth.
Growing at an average annual rate of 9.2 percent, the total market is estimated to reach nearly $72 billion by 2009. Still, if people ate the right foods, perhaps they wouldn’t spend so much money on Botox, caviar crÃ¨me, facelifts, and other expensive anti-aging regimens.
The benefits of eating healthy are endless. Health experts said some foods can even help you look and age better. Beans and lentils, for instance, can reduce cholesterol and are rich sources of antioxidants, folic acid and potassium. Try kidney, black, navy, pinto, chickpeas, and soybeans for starters.
You can’t go wrong with a handful of nuts a day. Walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, macadamia and pistachio nuts contain omega 3 fatty acids which are great for your heart. Raw, unsalted nuts and seeds are the best.
Acai berry is one of the most nutritious and powerful foods in the world. It can often be found in juice form in health food and gourmet stores. Garlic, onions, leeks, scallions, chives and shallots can all help the liver eliminate toxins and carcinogens.
Barley can be used as a breakfast cereal in soups and stews, and as a rice substitute. Barley is also high in fiber and helps metabolize fats, cholesterol and carbohydrates.
Green foods like wheat and barley grasses can be bought in powder, tablet or juice form, and offer greater levels of nutrients than green leafy vegetables. They also help control cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and immune response.
Buckwheat is loaded with protein and high in amino acids. It stabilizes blood sugar levels and reduces hypertension.
Both bell and chili peppers contain antioxidants, have twice the Vitamin C as citrus fruit and work as great fat burners.
Numerous varieties of sprouts are great with any meal. They’re a great source of protein and Vitamin C. Try adding them to any dish to boost your immune system.
Yogurt and kefir contain healthful bacteria that aid immune function, and calcium helps burn fat. Try using them as a base for a smoothie.
So what makes certain foods such powerful age-defying weapons? Antioxidants, special substances found in these foods, have the ability to scavenge free radicals, compounds whose unstable chemical nature accelerates the effect of aging on our cells.
If you are already in your forties, eating the foods on our list is not going to magically bring back your hair or make your wrinkles disappear. But they will certainly help reverse the effects of aging.