“You are what you eat”, those words emphasizes the importance of a good diet as a key to good health.

What you eat matters to your body and makes a difference in how you age. So help yourself by following a healthy lifestyle that is, eating a nutrient-packed diet and engaging in physical activity throughout life.

Although there are many factors that are involved in how long you live, following the above mentioned three will help slow your ageing process and even protect you from age related and chronic diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis, hypertension and heart disease.

What to put on your plate

1: Whole grains

Whole grains(oats, wheat, brown rice, quinoa) that are rich in fibers lower your chance of developing type 2 diabetes and maintain your blood cholesterol under control thus keeping your blood vessels in peak condition.

Oats have a low-glycemic index which means they don’t spike your blood sugar like refined breads, rice, and pasta can and have a natural plant chemical that helps prevent damage to skin cells and soothes skin irritation.

2: Omega-3 fatty acid

Fish is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that offer many heart friendly benefits. They reduce the risk of heart attack, protect against hypertension and may even reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Recent studies have suggested that Omega-3 may protect you against skin cancer..

Avocados, olive oil, nuts such as walnuts, macadamia nuts… and seeds are filled with Omega-3 which helps your skin stay hydrated. That same healthy fat can also help you absorb some vitamins and nutrients that your skin needs.

3: Colorful fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetable such as leafy greens, red tomatoes, blueberries, and carrots, are rich in antioxidants that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage.

Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps make collagen thus help keep your skin look younger.

Grapes contain Resveratrol which is a powerful antioxidant that may reduce your chances of getting cancer, heart disease, and may protect you from UV light.

Brussel sprouts are rich in vitamins A and C, as well as folate. Vitamin A and folate may help prevent sun damage.

4: Proteins

Proteins are important building blocks of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.

They help build collagen thus reducing wrinkle appearance and leading to a firmer skin.

Protein sources are fish, chicken, red meat, beans…

5: Dairy products

Dairy products are rich in vitamin D and calcium that is essential for stronger bones. It helps in delaying or even preventing the appearance of osteoporosis later in life.

Yogurt contains probiotics that help add healthy bacteria to the intestines.

6: Water

Water is important for the hydration of all body organs and removal of wastes from the body.It is essential to maintain skin moisture and is the vehicle for delivering essential nutrients to the skin cells.

What to avoid

For a diet that will help you delay ageing, you should avoid some foods that are harmful to your body.

1: Go easy on high-fat foods such as high fat meat, high fat dairy or high fat bakeries that may lead to blood vessel clogging and heart problems.

2: Limit the intake of added sugars in desserts, sweets and carbonated beverages that may cause your blood sugar to rise over time and may lead to diabetes.

3: Spare the salt that may cause high blood pressure and other health problems over time.

Finally, what’s on your plate matters more than you think so eat right today to ensure a healthy tomorrow.

Information courtesy: Reem Abdallah, Assistant Dietician, Health Factory