I recently spent the weekend at a big hotel near Disneyland. While I didn’t set foot in the “Happiest Place on Earth,” I was bearing witness to another kind of magic at RAADfest — a longevity conference dubbed the “revolution against aging and death.”
- Some of the best anti-aging hacks are remarkably simple.
- Leafy greens can boost nitric oxide, while asparagus can help improve glutathione stores.
- I met experts at a longevity conference who told me the 12 anti-aging foods they eat.
Researchers were sharing their latest findings on anti-aging, and some of it felt like Magic Kingdom-level fantasy. Swiss stem cell treatments that were billed as age-reversing, yellowy young plasma injections that promised to cure all, and portable hyperbaric oxygen chambers were all on the menu for eternal life seekers to peruse.
There are plenty of ways to spend thousands, if not millions, of dollars seeking longevity.
But to me, none of these expensive (and potentially risky) regimens were as compelling as the simple, cheap foods I kept hearing about at the conference that we can all eat to live longer. I was amazed at how — once again — so many of the things that experts unequivocally say are longevity-promoters are sitting right in front of us, every day.
Here are 12 foods that I heard about at the conference:
Eating broccoli and leafy greens will help your body produce more valuable nitric oxide
You may have heard that nitrates in processed meats and fertilizer are bad for us. Nitrates that build up in contaminated water, preserved foods, and even some of our drugs may contribute to cancer risk by converting into toxic nitrosamines inside our bodies, which can damage DNA and promote tumor growth.
But the nitrates in a stock of broccoli aren’t dangerous. In fact, they have an anti-aging effect, by improving our circulation and blood flow.
When we eat nitrate-rich vegetables like broccoli, our bodies produce nitric oxide, which is good for healthy aging. Nitric oxide helps oxygen and nutrients move throughout the body more efficiently. And, the antioxidants that are in fresh vegetables actually counteract the production of nitrosamines in the body.
If you don’t enjoy broccoli, other leafy greens like kale, spinach, or arugula, as well as beets, carrots, and raw cauliflower will each pack a big nitrous oxide punch for your system. Eating more antioxidant-rich broccoli can even lower your risk of developing cancer, among other age-related health issues.
It’s just extraordinary how many nutrients we can derive from wonderful vegetables and how good they are for our bodies, Baskin Robbins grandson Ocean Robbins, a veggie-loving plant-based diet advocate who never eats ice cream told Insider.
Glutathione — vital to our healthy immune system — is plentiful in avocados and asparagus
Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that counteracts the stress our bodies go through day to day, helping stave off cancer and keep our immune system strong. Our bodies produce glutathione on their own, but there’s some evidence that as our bodies age, the level of glutathione in our blood may decrease, putting us at risk for more disease development.
Antioxidant supplements that promise to boost your glutathione levels don’t tend to work very well, and may even do some harm.
A group of several studies published in 2014 and 2015 from researchers in the US, Sweden, and Finland suggested that antioxidant supplements like glutathione pills may even contribute to increased cancer risk, in both mice and people.
But glutathione-promoting sulfur-rich foods like asparagus, avocados, green beans, and spinach are a cheap and simple, safer way to improve your glutathione stores.
SuperAgers eat foods rich in carotenoids. They keep your brain and heart young.
Deep-hued carrots, raw parsley, leafy greens, and squash like pumpkin are thought to promote healthy aging due, in part, to the same chemicals that are responsible for their bright, vibrant colors.
Not only are these veggies great for eye health, carotenoid-rich diets have also been associated with lower rates of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular issues, and even dementia.
The longevity diets of SuperAgers living in Loma Linda, California, Okinawa, Japan, and other Blue Zones around the world are all effortlessly carotenoid-rich.
I suspect that the carotenoids play a vital role in the healthy aging trends of the veg-heavy Blue Zones, Dr. Gary Fraser, a cardiologist and diet researcher at Loma Linda University told Insider.