We asked nutritionist Dana James which foods to add to your diet so you can feel like you're 19 again. (Ok, only a time machine can do that, but these will help, we swear!)
The green fruit that could has fat. That's right, it contains monounsaturated fat. This is a good thing. The fat is so tiny it can slip through membranes and protect cells from free radical damage. This enhances vitality and mental acuity, and improves skin texture. Bonus: Avocados may also improve bone density thanks to the mineral boron, which helps absorb calcium, and a whole avocado contains 14 grams of fiber, which expedites the removal of toxins that can lead to aging.
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Avocados are best served as an unadulterated raw food. (We've never liked cooking avocados.) Make a cooling cucumber and avocado soup with fresh mint, toss avocado into organic mixed greens with lemon vinaigrette, or add avocado to a nori wrap filled with baby greens, wild salmon, tomatoes, peppers, and sprouts.
Consider turmeric a regular must-have. It been shown to help prevent cancer, and it contains curcuminoid pigments that turn on genes that enhance the body's own synthesis of antioxidants. Turmeric also protects brain cells and skin cells from free radical damage, improving concentration and slowing the formation of wrinkles and fine lines.
Turmeric's warm peppery flavor adds depth to smoothies, vegetables, and eggs. Add a dash of ground turmeric to an almond milk, banana, and raw honey smoothie, pan-fry organic eggs in coconut oil and toss in ground turmeric, or sauté kale in coconut oil and turmeric.
3. Green vegetable juice
If you juice, pat yourself on the back. Juicing green vegetables breaks down the plant's cell walls so the nutrients can quickly be absorbed and assimilated into the body with very minimal digestive effort, making it the quickest way to infuse the body with antioxidants, phytonutrients, enzymes, oxygen, chlorophyll, vitamins, and minerals. An eight-ounce juice is equivalent to two large salads with no dressing.
Use the season to dictate the ingredients of a green vegetable juice. In summer, try cucumber, fennel, mint, kiwi fruit, and lime. In winter, make a juice with dandelion greens, spinach, spearmint, cucumber, apple, and Meyer lemon. A touch of citrus helps prevent oxidation.
4. Arctic char
Arctic char packs in all the benefits of salmon, but it is actually farmed in an environmentally sustainable manner, making it the preferable choice. It contains the same amount of omega-3 fats as wild salmon- 1300 milligrams per four ounces- which inhibit a wrinkle-causing enzyme. The omega-3 fats also improve the integrity of brain cells, which helps decrease brain fogginess. If that's not enough, char also contains carotenoids, which improve eyesight and protect skin cells from sun damage. Frankly, we can't think of a reason to not eat this magical fish!
Serve pan-seared arctic char over a watercress and pink grapefruit salad, make an arctic char ceviche with fresh lime, or add flaked arctic char to a kale salad with hemp seeds and yellow peppers.
Sushi lovers should be sure to add a hijiki appetizer to their next order. The black sea vegetable is rich in iodine, which increases the synthesis of the thyroid hormone, thyroxine, to boost the metabolism. Also, 40 percent of hijiki is fiber, which helps regulate hormones and enhances liver detoxification.
Hijiki has a pasta-like texture, making it an ideal substitute when following a gluten-restricted diet. Simply soak the hijiki in water for 20 minutes, and then boil it for 10 minutes, just like pasta. Add hijiki to organic mixed greens tossed with spicy pumpkin seeds, avocado, and hemp seeds. Or, you know, just order takeout.
6. Hemp Seeds
Before you shriek and hide from tie-dye and Birkenstocks, relax. Hemp seeds are actually good for your skin. They help improve firmness and radiance.
They're also the only edible source of gamma-linoleic-acid (GLA), an anti-inflammatory omega-6 fat, which forms part of the membrane that surrounds skin cells. Finally, hemp seeds contain 15 grams of protein per three tablespoons, making it an ideal protein source for individuals following a plant-based diet. The protein also helps to synthesize collagen and elastin, keeping skin firm and supple.
Eat hemp seeds raw as heat will destroy their delicate oils. Toss them over a kale and avocado salad, add them to a mango smoothie for an extra protein boost, or make a raw tabouli salad with hemp seeds, parsley, tomatoes, and lime juice.
Need to atone for everything? Welcome to the antidote to your dietary sins. If you drink coffee, chloryphyll helps to negate its acidity. If you drink alcohol, it helps metabolize alcohol faster. If you eat non-organic produce or fish high in mercury, it helps remove these toxins. If you don't do any of these things (Good for you! We'll have another cup of coffee, please!), it simply enhances your own vitality. Chlorophyll is the green pigment in all green plants, but can be bought in a concentrated liquid form made from nettles or mulberry leaves.
Make chlorophyll water by mixing three tablespoons of chlorophyll to 32 ounces of filtered water. Flavor the drink by adding cucumber and fresh mint. Alternatively, make a green tea smoothie with almond milk, matcha green tea, avocado, chlorophyll, vanilla, and cardamom.